Is it safe to travel to Mexico? Before answering you I want to be honest: I am Mexican, I have no intention of making things up but nor of denying reality.
As a Mexican, I am very interested in people continuing to travel, whether getting to know their own country or, if you are a foreigner, you have surely seen brochures or internet pages that tell you about the beauties and tourist attractions that we have, but if you are here it is also because You have seen the “other Mexico” and you want to make a decision about whether or not to travel to Mexico due to possible insecurity.
In recent years, much has been written in the press about the kidnappings, shootings and crimes that are committed in broad daylight in various cities of the Mexican Republic.
It is a fact, there is no denying that these events happen in various parts of Mexico.
But on the other hand we share a long border with the United States, for many the most powerful country in the world and also our first market in terms of tourism and if the “gringos” have something, it is that they are very observant of what happens in other countries, They pay attention to the terrorism or security alerts issued by their authorities and know the situation in Mexico better than anyone.
I mention it because might seem like a contradiction What the numbers tell us in terms of tourism regarding this market:
In the first months of 2023, air arrivals of Americans increased 19.3% compared to the previous year and in the case of Canadians they increased by 158%. For example, in 2021 Mexico was the first tourist destination for Americans.
In 2022, more than 20 million international tourists visited Mexico, an increase of 46.3% compared to the previous year, with the main countries being the United States, Canada and Colombia.
Year after year, the influx of foreign tourists to Mexico has increased, this despite the fact that violence rates have not decreased, not counting the clear 2020-2021 pandemic period where everyone was affected and international tourism decreased.
How dangerous is Mexico?
It may be obvious, but just take a look at Mexican geography and the news to know which are the most dangerous places in Mexico to visit or do tourism.
There are also constantly rankings of the most dangerous cities in the world, what do you think? It is true that 9 of them are Mexican and have come out in several years:
- Ciudad Obregon
Here the complete list
Ahora bien, esta lista si bien es representativa no indica datos exactos sobre cuantos turistas fueron atacados en estas ciudades.
Just take the example of Acapulco, being considered one of the most violent cities in Mexico (according to this ranking), the reality is that it continues to be one of the most visited places in Mexico. by the Mexicans themselves!. Another irony, right?
As you may have also observed, most dangerous cities They are found in the northern part of Mexico, they are even cities or states bordering the United States. It is obvious to think about the reason (weapons trafficking, drugs, prostitution, etc.)
The situation in these states or cities also occurs on their roads, for example Michoacán is one of the states that has had the most security problems of this type.
So, to visit or not to visit Mexico?
In all honesty I can tell you that yes, you can visit Mexico. But traveling somewhere on the border with Mexico is not the same as traveling to Puerto Vallarta, Cancun or the Riviera Maya.
The risks are different according to each destination, activities and travel plans.
The recommendations I can give you, practically They would be the same ones you would take if you traveled to the interior of any countrybut so that you can be calmer, take note:
- When you go out, always carry a copy of your documents, do not carry originals unless extremely necessary. You can leave your passport and documentation in the hotel safe.
- Never wear ostentatious jewelry, even if it is fancy, try not to draw attention to it.
- If you plan to travel by road, try to do it during the day.
- Preferably do not move away from areas considered touristy.
- Don’t carry all your money in one wallet, or display it too much in public.
- Always have the telephone number of your consulate and a cell phone number on hand.
- At night when going to a bar or nightclub, try to be accompanied.
- If you don’t speak Spanish, try to learn basic questions, to ask for help, communicate, say hello or to ask directions.
- Taxis in tourist areas are safe, but take note of the number and plates when you get in.
- Don’t put too much trust in “too nice” people.
- If you receive a phone call where they mention that the hotel is going to suffer an attack, that they are watching you, or they force you to go out, buy cell phones or buy airtime. Hang up immediately! You may be a victim of a virtual kidnapping. (Check out this story).
- Notify your family members about the activities you are going to do, the places you are going to visit, who you are going to go with, etc., whether by communicating with them on social networks, telephone, WhatsApp, etc., they will be calm and so will you.
Mexico is a very big country. True, with problems like most emerging countries, but there is a reason why people keep coming. Which one will it be? As a Mexican I can tell you many things: the people, the gastronomy, the culture, its beaches, towns, landscapes, archaeological sites, islands, etc.
If you have certain doubts about how safe Mexico is, you can stay visiting only tourist areas, since they are more guarded and are where very few mishaps have occurred in recent years, although it is sad that you can no longer “populate” like before in Mexico. Mexico You will be equally or safer in the main tourist areas of Mexico compared to those of other countries.
Es real decir que en la zona turística u hotelera de lugares como Cancún, Puerto Vallarta o Los Cabos es muy segura, igual o más incluso que varias ciudades de origen de los visitantes.
The truth is that in the tourist areas of the main destinations in Mexico you don’t hear so many incidents out of the “normal” of any big city.
If you want to discover all the good things that Mexico has, then I invite you to be encouraged and get to know the friendly side of my country and Vivas México!