If you’re looking to experience culture and city life in Mexico, perhaps you won’t find a better place than Mexico City. The city has the largest metropolitan area in the Western hemisphere, and it is the biggest Spanish-speaking city anywhere in the world. There are countless museums and historic places to visit, art to enjoy, delicious food to taste, friendly people to meet, and cheerful music to listen (and dance) to; the city is positively thrumming with culture and life. But is Mexico City safe?
You might be reticent about visiting Mexico City because of safety concerns. After all, you can’t enjoy the city if you’re in fear of your own safety. In this post, I’ll tell you if Mexico City is safe to travel to, as well as some precautions you should take.
Let’s get started!
How safe is Mexico City?
For those of you who don’t have the time to read the whole article, I’ll provide a short answer: Mexico City is safe, as long as you take some basic precautions and avoid certain areas.
Mexico City, like every city in the world, has areas ranging from very safe to kinda shady. You should avoid the shady areas at night. During the day, you can explore to your heart’s content; just make sure to stay in crowded places.
Lastly, try to make sure that the hotel you stay in follows all the pandemic protocols. The last thing you want to do is get sick during your vacation.
15 safety tips for traveling to Mexico City
- Follow social distancing protocols when you’re out and about. With more than 20m people, Mexico City is very crowded and that doesn’t mix well with the pandemic. Be careful and be safe.
- Speaking of staying healthy, you should always have health insurance when you’re traveling. You never know when you might get sick. The risk has increased quite a bit because of the pandemic, and hospitals in Mexico are very expensive for tourists. Good travel insurance is relatively cheap and you can get one even if you’re in Mexico right now. I have used both Safetywing and WorldNomads. Both are great and serve different kinds of needs. So make sure you read through what’s included and not.
- Don’t drink the tap water in Mexico City, actually in all Mexico. Always insist on bottled water, even in your food. Avoid places that use tap water in their food. A good rule of thumb is that if the restaurant you go to uses a credit card, it likely has a purification system in place for water filtration or it uses bottled water. In any case, you should make sure.
- Similarly, if you buy any fruits or vegetables while you’re in the city, make sure to wash them first. But don’t rely on tap water alone for this purpose. In every grocery store, you’ll find antibacterial fruit/vegetable wash, mix it with tap water and use the mixture to wash your vegetables and fruits before consuming them.
- If you’re unsure that eating at a place will make you sick (because of unhygienic standards), there’s a pretty good way to find out. If you see a lot of locals eating at that place, it’s likely to be safe for you as well. The locals always know which places are good and which aren’t, so either ask them or look for them when picking a restaurant.
- Always be aware of your surroundings, including where you are and where you’re going. Don’t wander aimlessly through the city. If an area feels deserted, or if you feel unsafe in any place, get out of there. Being aware includes not leaving your valuables unattended. When you’re at a restaurant or out exploring, always keep your bags and other valuables on hand and keep a close eye on them.
- Carry a smartphone with working cellular data at all times. For extra safety, pair it with a power bank. Mexico City is a huge place with maze-like streets. It’s very easy to get lost while you’re exploring. If you have a smartphone with a data plan, you can turn on Google Maps and find your way back to where you want to go. SIM cards and data plans in Mexico are quite cheap. The best one is Telcel, which has the widest coverage.
- Do your exploring during the day, and try not to wander around at night. I’m not saying you shouldn’t go out at night, only that if you want to do so, stick to touristy areas and avoid secluded/deserted streets. When it’s dark, always take a cab from point A to B. Don’t rely on public transport.
- Keep a low profile and try to blend in as much as possible. Leave your bling in your hotel room, preferably locked in the safe. Don’t wear or carry anything precious that might get you noticed. It’s highly unlikely that you’ll be robbed at gunpoint, but petty crime is very common and you’ll get pickpocketed or scammed if you get noticed.
- Only carry enough cash for the day and, if possible, leave your debit/credit cards in your hotel room. That way, if you get pickpocketed, you won’t suffer any loss because of your cards being stolen and you’ll only lose a little bit of cash.
- If you can, invest in a good money belt bag. They’re cheap enough and they’ll make you pretty much impervious to pickpocketing. You can have most of your cash in the belt and a little bit in your pockets for spending.
- When you’re hailing a taxi, only go with registered ones. You’ll find plenty of unregistered ones in Mexico City, and they’re not unsafe per se, but you’ll be much safer with registered taxis. It’s really hard to tell unregistered taxis from registered ones, so I just recommend taking an Uber, which are even cheaper and more reliable.
- While you’ll find plenty of people who know English in Mexico City, you should still invest some time to learn a bit of Spanish. I’m not asking you to master the language by any means, just learn some common phrases, like greetings, asking for directions, what to say in emergencies, etc. Knowing even a little bit of Spanish comes in handy when you’re in Mexico in general. It also help to mingle with locals which is one of the best things to do when you travel.
- Stay away from anything that’s drug-related, whether it’s consuming them or buying them. Violent crimes are uncommon in Mexico City, but when they do happen, they’re almost always drug-related.
- When choosing a place to stay, pick an area that’s touristy and popular. The reason being that these areas have much more security, even at night. I wouldn’t stay at a hostel. A hotel might cost a bit more, but it’ll give you peace of mind that your belongings are safe while you’re out enjoying the city. There are so many amazing hotels and Airbnb in Mexico city to choose from and for any budget.
Is Mexico City safe to travel alone?
Absolutely. You can travel alone in Mexico City without any worries. Just follow the safety tips I’ve mentioned above, and practice common sense in general. Research which area and hotel to stay in, as well as every area you’re going to explore in advance. If you’re unsure about whether an area is safe or not, just ask the locals; Mexicans are very friendly and they’ll be glad to help you.
Most importantly, avoid drinking and anything that has to do with drugs. If completely abstaining from drinking is not desirable, drink in moderation. Being inebriated will multiply your chances of getting robbed or pickpocketed.
What are the safest places to visit in Mexico City?
Now that you know some safety tips, I’ll cover some of the safest areas in Mexico City.
Centro Historico is situated in the heart of Mexico City. If you have interest in history and art, this is the best area for you to explore. Centro Historico is probably where you’ll see Mexico City at its most impressive. There are a lot of grand buildings, monuments, historic places, art, you name it. During the day, this area is teeming with locals and tourists alike. However, at night it does get quite shady. I would suggest you find a place to stay in a different area, though.
Also read: The best areas where to stay in Mexico city
Condesa is an upscale neighborhood located south-west from Centro Historico. The upscale nature of this area makes it a good shopping district with lots of fashion boutiques around. Side note, Condesa probably has the best coffee shops in Mexico City.
Roma is bustling with activity at all hours of the day, which makes it quite a safe area to be in, even at night. The nightlife in Roma is one of the best in Mexico City because of the abundance of night clubs and bars here. The area also features a lot of parks and cafes for you to explore during the day.
Zona Rosa (Pink Zone) is famous for its great nightlife, and is the most LGBTQ+ friendly area in Mexico City. The area is bustling with activity, day or night, and is very safe. However, if you’re looking to stay in an area that’s nice and quiet, Zona Rosa isn’t it. You’ll be better off staying somewhere like Polanco, Roma, or Condesa.
Polanco is probably the most upscale neighborhood in Mexico City and is famous for its luxury accommodations and shopping. It’s in fact known as the Beverly Hills of Mexico. If you’re in Mexico City, I highly recommend visiting this area. You’ll feel like you’re in Europe when you’re exploring it.
Is it safe to visit outside the hotels in Mexico City?
Yes, it’s perfectly safe to visit outside the hotels in Mexico City. During the day, you can go exploring pretty much anywhere you’d like. You have to be a bit more careful at night. Just make sure to follow the safety tips I’ve given above and you’ll be fine. Always get an Uber to move around at night.
Is Mexico City safe for female travelers?
Definitely! Even for solo female travelers, Mexico City is very safe. However, there are some extra precautions you need to take. I’ll cover these below.
Research the area you’re staying in
You should research the area you’ll be staying in ahead of time. Make sure that it’s a safe area and you’ll have easy access to cabs at all times. If you’re unsure, you can ask the locals which areas are safe to stay in.
Be careful when drinking
Drinking when you’re traveling solo is a bad idea, whether you’re a male or a female. If you don’t want to abstain completely, avoid drinking to the point that you’re completely wasted. You should also keep an eye on your drinks always and never leave them unattended, even for a minute.
Always take a cab at night
If you have to go out at night, always take a Uber. Never take public transport at night, whether it’s a bus or the metro. Take a Uber to and from the place you’re staying at.
You don’t always have to tell the truth
If someone comes up to you, you don’t always have to tell them that you’re a solo female traveler. You can pretend that you’re in Mexico with your friends and family or your husband. Of course, there are exceptions to this rule if you meet someone you think you can really trust. But be careful about telling the truth in general because you might reveal too many details and scammers, criminals, or con artists might take advantage of it.
Mexico City Safety FAQs
Q. What’s the safest way to get to Mexico City?
The safest way would be to get a flight directly to Benito Juarez Intl. Airport (also known as Mexico City International Airport). The airport is extremely safe; there are plenty of police, airport security, and security cameras all around, so you never have to worry about your safety.
Q. Is Mexico City a good location for families?
Yes! Mexico City is a great place for families to visit and explore. Whether you’re just a couple visiting on a honeymoon or a family with kids, there’s plenty to do and enjoy in this beautiful city.
Q. What’s the best area to stay in Mexico City?
The best area to stay in Mexico City would be Polanco, but, being a luxury area, it can also be quite expensive. If you’re on a budget, Roma is a great area that’s both reasonable in pricing and very safe. I would avoid staying in Zona Centro as it gets quite shady at night and very crowded during the day.