Expert Mexico travel blogger answers the question, “Is Mexico safe?”

Is Mexico safe? That’s a question I get a lot since Mexico is my favorite beach destination. I’ve traveled to both Mexican coasts and a couple of the islands 27 times over the past 30 years. While there is crime and some not-so-safe places (especially in border towns), I have always felt safe to travel to Mexico. Here are some of my safe travel tips and FAQs for Mexico.

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Top 9 travel safety tips for Mexico – and everywhere else in the world

Street art murals Isla Mujeres, Mexico

From my perspective, you simply follow the common-sense safety tips for Mexico just like you would anywhere. Here are my recommendations to help ensure you stay safe while traveling in Mexico. You can apply most of these safety tips when traveling to anywhere in the world. Even your own backyard.

  1. Always be aware of your surroundings – everywhere in the world.
  2. Don’t walk the beach at night in Mexico (or anywhere).
  3. Don’t drive in Mexico. But if you do, obey traffic rules (especially speed limits). I do know people who have been pulled over for no reason and the police in Mexico are notorious for demanding cash bribes. A friend of mine from Mexico advised to not give them cash. Tell them you do not have any cash and politely ask for a written ticket (you can pay when you get back to the states). Eventually they will move on. Of course, use your best judgment on what works best for your situation.
  4. Most cab drivers are very trustworthy and friendly. However, it’s always a good idea to ask how much it’ll be to travel to your destination (and if they have change if you only have large bills). Most hotel lobbies have charts outlining how much it should cost from one place to another. I always like to book my airport shuttle or driving service online ahead of time.
  5. Keep your valuables and passport in the in-room safe (although I’ve never had any issue leaving my iPad or laptop out in the open).
  6. Keep your tourist card with your passport as you’ll need it when you leave Mexico. Tip: You can complete and print your tourist card from home.
  7. Sign up with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program – a service of the U.S. Bureau of Consular Affairs / U.S. Department (for any international travel).
  8. When possible, use the buddy system. I have taken several solo trips to Mexico and have always felt safe. I typically try to be back in my room before dark. However, when I’m not, I typically take a cab or bus rather than walk. And when I do walk by myself at night, I usually follow closely behind another group of people so it looks like I am not alone. Or sign up for a walking tour or food tour. It’s a fun (and safe) experience.
  9. Trust your gut. If something doesn’t feel right, change your plans. I was traveling solo in Madrid, Spain last year. While walking down a street that wasn’t very crowded, I noticed a guy looking at me. He then whistled at someone and got on his mobile phone. And then started following me. I hustled to a busy street and turned around after a block to see if he was still behind me. He was and continued for a few blocks. It could have been coincidental, but I had that feeling something was off. So I slipped into a busy store for several minutes. I did not see him when I exited the store; however, I did cross the street and doublebacked just in case. And then that feeling went away. However, I remained cautious and alert, which is essentially number one on this list. Be aware of your surroundings.

Beach - Cancun, Mexico

Video: Is Mexico safe?

Here’s my perspective to answer your question, “Is it safe to travel to Mexico?” Watch and decide for yourself.

In one word. Yes.

Couple in Cancun, Mexico drinking strawberry daiquiri
My husband Steve and me on our first visit to Cancun, Mexico – May 1990.

Couple and a sunset in Cancun, Mexico
And us during our most recent visit to Cancun, Mexico – Jan. 2020 – our last travel experience before the pandemic.

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Is Mexico safe? Top 9 travel tips from someone has visited 27 times.
Is Mexico safe? Top 9 travel tips from someone who has visited 27 times.

A secret too good to keep - Hotel Secreto in Isla Mujeres sunest
A secret too good to keep – Hotel Secreto, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

How to get to Isla Mujeres, Mexico from Cancun, Mexico
How to get to Isla Mujeres, Mexico from Cancun airport on the ferry

Isla Mujeres Mexico Street Art - picture of hands
Free things to do in Isla Mujeres, Mexico – street art

Sculpture garden Isla Mujeres, Mexico
Isla Mujeres, Mexico – A sculpture garden you don’t want to miss


Twin Cities-based blogger sharing memorable emptynester, solo, family and girlfriend-getaway adventures, as well as my day hiking adventures (including all 66 Minnesota state parks), latest book reviews, and updates on my quest for the best adult mac and cheese. Also two WIPs: historical fiction and psychological thriller


  1. We just went to Mexico for our honeymoon and I actually studied abroad in Mexico in college and never once felt unsafe! Every culture is different so it helps to be aware of those differences and you’ll be fine!

    1. I prefer the Mayan Riviera on the Caribbean side. It depends on the type of experience, who I am traveling with and the duration. Cancun is super close to the airport…we typically stay in the south hotel zone as it’s quieter. And I still think Cancun has the best beaches. My husband and I fell in love with Isla Mujeres last year (you can take a 15-minute ferry from Cancun to there…I have another blog post about that experience) and will definitely go back. I also love Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos, Akumal and Tulum.

  2. Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been to Mexico and my husband and I want to go back. So sad to hear all the horror stories that just aren’t a realistic expectation of what happens in Mexico.

    1. Thank you! I will admit I was hesitant when I started hearing a few stories, but we’ve returned many times since and have always had a wonderful time.

  3. I’ve always wondered this, since I haven’t made it to Mexico yet. And wow, 27 trips in 30 years?! That’s amazing.

    1. I knew it was a lot so I sat down and listed them out (and I didn’t include the times I visited border towns). Mexico is definitely my happy place.

  4. This is good information! I was wondering about the safety of going to this area, I have heard so many things.

  5. Love the 90’s photos! Your video was gorgeous, and there was one wooden door with flowers that I loved! I usually feel safe in Mexico, except for one time that the police pulled our taxi over and we had to pay bribes to let us go. That was scary.

    1. Thank you! I loved that door also. It was at a boutique hotel we stayed at right in Playa del Carmen. That would be scary. My friends in Mexico always have said to tell the police you have no money and then you’re probably fine. So odd that they pulled over a taxi.

  6. Yucatan Peninsula is super safe if you are smart and aren’t doing drugs or getting drunk and walking home on the beach at 2 am all alone…just like in any other city in the world. I actually feel safer in Playa del Carmen and Cancun than I do in my hometown of Seatrle…

    1. I agree. Bad things can happen anywhere unfortunately. In my experience, we have only met extremely kind and generous people in Mexico.

  7. I think things get blown out of proportion here in the news. I felt totally safe in Mexico! Thanks for the info!

    1. I agree…we felt that way when we were warned about visiting Greece a few years. The media made it seem that there were street riots everywhere. We saw one small calm protest (maybe 10 people) and then later saw it on the news and their narrative was so different from the reality. With that said, it’s always about being aware of your surroundings and avoid certain areas.

  8. You’re definitely an expert! Wow, 27 trips is plenty. Have you been all over? What’s your favorite spot? I think like anywhere there’s always higher risk areas than others. I’ve always found Mexico to be safe but I make sure to take precautions and do my research- like anywhere else I visit in US too.

    1. My most frequent destinations in Mexico have been Cancun, Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen. I love the Mayan Riviera because they have the best beaches and have always had great weather. We stayed in Isla Mujeres for the first time last year (an island just off Cancun) and loved it! Much smaller and quieter than Cancun. I’ve also been to Cozumel, Akumal and Tulum on the Caribbean side. I’m not as big of a fan as the Pacific side visited Acapulco (the cliff divers were amazing to watch), Mazatlan (the only place that seemed a little sketchy at night) and Nuevo Vallarta.

    1. I’ve never been to Tijuana, but have been to Nogales (on the border of Arizona) a couple of times and we had a great time (great food!).

  9. We haven’t been to Mexico in like 16 years. I keep saying we are due for another visit as I remember it being so beautiful. Thank you so much for the post! This helps in the decision making process! 😉

  10. Mexico is one of my favorite places! I spent quite a bit of time in Mexico City, and driving was something that made me nervous – but mostly just because of all the traffic!

  11. Great tips thanks for sharing. We are supposed to be traveling through Mexico when borders open and this post will really come in handy. The tourist card is interesting, I hadn’t heard of this. 💛

      1. Such a handy useful guide! I love Mexico, and hopefully things open up soon for travel.
        Thanks for putting this together!

        1. Thank you! Yes, I hope so also. Mexico is my favorite place and had already booked a reservation for January before the pandemic. I’m not sure if I’ll feel comfortable traveling by then, sowill play it by ear.

  12. These are great tips! I have been to Mexico several times, and always feel safe as well! I always get this question as well, so I will be sure to share this with them next time 🙂 Love all your Mexico pictures/memories!

    1. Thank you! I find most places safe to travel solo as a female. I think hearing from others who travel solo alleviates some of the fear.

  13. As a longtime Mexico resident, you offer some really great tips. Your #9 is always my #1 tip, that you *must* listen to your intuition to know if you’re safe or not. I believe you shouldn’t assume any country is safe or not, just whether you’re in an unsafe situation or not in that moment.

    1. Thank you…that means a lot coming from you as a longtime resident of Mexico. Listening to your intuition is one of the best ways to stay safe in Mexico or any county and even your own city.

  14. Your advice was so on point. Thank you for sharing it with us. I must say something similar happened to me while I was solo travelling in India. A guy followed me until someone else stopped by the road and asked me if everything was alright. Luckily, nothing bad happened, but I agree with you on following your gut. It will tell you when something is not right.

    1. Thank you! The gut has never led me astray. These are good safety tips for solo travelers for anywhere in the world…including your own hometown.

  15. Listening to your gut is pretty important when you are in an unfamiliar place. Although Mexico is gorgeous, your safety tips are pretty spot on!

    1. Thank you! I love Mexico and it is a safe place to visit especially if you follow safety tips you would do anywhere you visit.

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