Should a woman traveling alone in Mexico be concerned about her safety?
Many travel blogs assure you that Mexico is completely safe for female travelers. They’ll paint a picture of stunning beaches, thrilling festivals, and delectable cuisine. And, yeah, all of that is true!
However, when you look at the actual data and listen to real news reports, you can see that there are some regions in Mexico where things can be dangerous, especially for women.
In this guide, we want to give you the full picture — the good and the bad.
We’ll tell you which cities are known for being dangerous, but we’ll also show you where you can feel safe as a solitary female traveler. And we won’t stop there — we’ll provide you with practical guidance and safety tips to make your solo adventure unforgettable.
You see, Mexico can be a very safe destination; if it weren’t, it wouldn’t welcome more than 38 million international tourists on a yearly basis.
However, if Mexico were a 100% safe destination for solo female travelers, it wouldn’t be ranked second after Brazil with the highest number of femicides in Latin America and the Caribbean.
As of 2022, Mexico suffered a total of 42,888 killings, and 968 of the victims were women. And that’s not all; in 2019, the country had a total of 1,881 kidnappings, 410 of which were women, and 90% of them were sexually abused.
The Mexican states with the highest number of femicides in 2022 are as follows:
- State of Mexico — 140
- Nuevo Leon — 102
- Mexico City — 74
- Veracruz — 70
- Oaxaca — 45
- Chiapas — 45
On the flip side, the states with the lowest number of femicides in 2022 are:
- Nazarit — 2
- Tlaxcala — 3
- Yucatan — 5
- Baja California Sur — 6
- Aguascalientes — 10
- Campeche — 11
The U.S. Government has not remained silent about safety in Mexico. In fact, it has issued an extensive travel advisory that states the following:
“Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico…”
It also sorts all Mexican states into four safety classifications titled: Do Not Travel, Reconsider Travel, Exercise Increased Caution, and Exercise Normal Precautions.
So, which states should you focus on? Definitely the ones in the last two categories — and if you ask us, they are the states with the most beautiful cities for tourists to enjoy.
To save you the trouble of checking the U.S. advisory, we’re listing the safe areas right here.
The safest states for tourists are Campeche and Yucatan.
On the other hand, the states that are considered relatively safe if you exercise increased caution are Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Coahuila, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Mexico State, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz.
But, what does “increased” and “normal” precaution mean?
Normal precautions are those simple safety habits we all know we need to adopt while traveling, like keeping an eye on our belongings.
Exercising increased caution may require more forethought, and that’s precisely what we’ll talk about next.
Yes, things can get a little risky for female travelers south of the border. However, our goal isn’t to discourage women from visiting Mexico but rather to educate them into making well-informed choices regarding their own well-being.
So, if Mexico is calling your name, we’re going to help you make the most of it. Here are some expert tips to remain 100% safe there.
- We can’t stress this enough, but please consider the government’s travel warning and book your stay in the safest states — the safest are Campeche and Yucatan
- When choosing your destination, research the city’s crime rates on Numbeo and pick the one with the lowest criminal activity
- Investigate what’s the current safety situation in the destination, are any recent news reports regarding criminal activity in the city, cartel violence, homicides, or kidnappings
- Book your stay at respected hotels — they may be more expensive, but they will undoubtedly provide more security than a dorm, hostel, or rental unit
- Choose a hotel near the city center so you’ll be close to all of the city’s attractions, surrounded by people, and always in close proximity when you wish to return to your accommodation
- Look up the nearest police station from the hotel where you’ll be staying, so you’ll always know in which direction to go in case of an emergency — you can also contact the police on 911
- Get travel insurance and register for the U.S. State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive real-time alerts about the safety of your location
- Purchase an air ticket rather than traveling across borders on land, as numerous cartels have been known to frequent the highways and city roads, kidnapping or killing innocent individuals
- Public transportation should be your last option; instead, opt for reliable taxi options like DiDi and Uber — and never, ever, call a taxi from the street
- Opt for modest clothing instead of revealing or expensive clothing, jewelry, and designer bags
- A good old weapon in times of trouble is pepper spray, so make sure you pack one
- If you need to withdraw money, never use public ATMs; instead, go to a mall or a reputable bank with plenty of security and surveillance cameras
- Always keep your location turned ON and share it with your loved ones back home so they’ll always know of your whereabouts
- Never share your personal information with a stranger you’ve just met, including the location of your hotel, your age, your financial stability, and most importantly, don’t say that you’ve come alone to Mexico
- If someone offers you a drink, please decline it because you risk someone putting a drug in your drink
- Drink responsibly and avoid bars or clubs where there are big flocks of intoxicated people
- Try to keep your walks within close proximity to your hotel, and make sure that you are done exploring the city by nightfall — by no means should you roam around outside alone at night!
- Learn basic Spanish so you can communicate with locals more easily
- Always, always, always trust your intuition. If you have a gut feeling that it is better to get out of the taxi, the bar, the restaurant, or anything — do it
- Seek out local women or female tourists to help you with something or keep you company on your adventures.
- Read the Mexican tourist laws because it’s crucial that you do not breach any restrictions and end up in unnecessary trouble
- Last but not least, be cautious everywhere, at all times. Keep an eye on your surroundings and make sure no one is following you or looking at you in an ill manner
That’s it — nothing too serious or hard to remember, just crucial precautions you need to practice everywhere in the world, not just in Mexico.
So, if Mexico is calling your name, you now know how to make the most of it — you should be up-to-date on the government warnings about the area you’re visiting.
A trip is vital, but so is your safety. We wish you safe and enjoyable travels to Mexico!