×

Is Mexico City Safe? A Comprehensive Guide with Tips

Mexico City stands out as a vibrant, diverse, and culturally rich city on a global scale. There is a wide range of attractions available, including ancient pyramids, colonial architecture, modern art, and cuisine. It’s the biggest and most populated city in Latin America, home to over 20 million people and visited by millions, but is Mexico City safe to visit?

With its rich history, vibrant culture, and bustling streets, Mexico City attracts travelers from around the world. However, safety is a top priority when planning a trip and this article explores the safety aspects of visiting Mexico City, offering insights, tips, and practical advice for travelers.

boats in a river or canal in xochimilco, mexico city
How dangerous Mexico City is will depend on the places you explore, stick to the main attractions and you will be safe.

Is Mexico City Safe to Visit?

Yes, Mexico City is safe to visit and travel around, but just like any big city, it has its fair share of obstacles and issues. It’s important to distinguish between perception and reality.

Despite what you might see in the news, Mexico City attracts millions of tourists annually who generally have a safe experience and feel safe while visiting it.

Breaking Stereotypes

Let’s address the elephant in the room: stereotypes. Mexico City is not a lawless, dangerous place. It’s a vibrant city with a rich cultural heritage. Locals are friendly, and the city offers a plethora of experiences.

The Reality of Crime

Yes, crime exists but tends to be concentrated in certain areas. Small theft, pickpocketing, and scams are common in big cities.

By staying informed, sticking to tourist places, and being cautious, you can reduce a lot of the potential dangers.

Planning a Trip to Mexico?
Check Out These Helpful Services:

Find the best flight deals

This is the site I recommend, you can check all the different prices.

Best accommodation prices

I highly recommend this one, it’s the best option right now for Central America

The best way to get around is by car

Check out this site to rent a car and go at your own pace.

Safe Places to Visit in Mexico City

Centro Histórico

The historical center of Mexico City, known as Centro Histórico, is truly the heart and soul of the city. This is where you’ll find the city’s most important and iconic landmarks and attractions, like the Zócalo, the Cathedral, the National Palace, and the Alameda Park.

This is the place where you can find a wide range of cultural and social activities happening, including festivals, concerts, exhibitions, markets, and street performances.

Visiting the Centro Histórico is essential for any tourist exploring Mexico City. Yet, it’s important to give it the necessary attention and care, particularly in terms of safety.

The Centro Histórico is a bustling area in the city, filled with countless people going about their day, and numerous vendors, hawkers, beggars, and performers vying for space and notice. This area is unfortunately a common target for crime and violence, with incidents such as robbery, pickpocketing, assault, and fraud being reported frequently.

Xochimilco and Teotihuacán

Xochimilco and Teotihuacán are the most incredible and awe-inspiring spots in Mexico City, offering a blend of nature and history, both areas are brimming with ancient and mysterious wonders that showcase its rich and diverse heritage.

They also boast some of the most stunning sights and attractions in the city, including the floating gardens, pyramids, murals, and temples.

Xochimilco and Teotihuacan are among the most safe and secure of Mexico City compared to other parts of the city, but, they still have some crime and violence, both are quite secluded spots and that may draw in some unscrupulous individuals like thieves, smugglers, and counterfeiters.

family watching the colorful boats in xochimilco
Visit historic sites, museums, and markets. Enjoy the vibrant street art scene. Be cautious but don’t miss out on the city’s wonders.

Coyoacán and San Ángel

Coyoacán and San Ángel are among the most delightful and scenic neighborhoods in Mexico City for art and culture. The area is brimming with colonial and colorful houses, cobblestone streets, plazas, churches, museums, and markets that maintain the old and traditional spirit.

They are home to some of Mexico’s most famous and influential artists and intellectuals, nowadays, their houses and studios are open to the public, providing a peek into their lives and works.

Coyoacán and San Ángel are pretty safe and secure compared to other areas in the city. Yet, they aren’t entirely devoid of crime, and there are certain risks you should be mindful of. The area tends to get busy, especially on weekends and holidays, and with that, it can also draw in some petty criminals like pickpockets, and bag snatchers.

You’ll also have to deal with traffic and transportation problems like congestion, delays, and accidents.

bikes in a neighborhood in mexico city
While the metro is efficient, taxis and rideshares are reliable, the best way to get around the city is to rent a bike, Mexico City is super bike-friendly.

Polanco and Santa Fe

Polanco and Santa Fe are among the most sophisticated and contemporary neighborhoods of the city, perfect for business and shopping. They are packed with skyscrapers, offices, malls, boutiques, restaurants, and hotels, all highlighting its economic and urban growth.

They also house some of the city’s most prestigious and exclusive institutions and attractions, including the Soumaya Museum, the National Auditorium, Chapultepec Park, and the Santa Fe Financial District.

These areas are pretty safe and secure, however, they are known for being pricey and exclusive neighborhoods, which unfortunately can make them targets for criminals like thieves, burglars, and kidnappers.

They also face environmental and social challenges like pollution, traffic, and inequality.

Zona Rosa and Condesa

Zona Rosa and Condesa are among the top spots in Mexico City for nightlife and entertainment. It’s packed with bars, clubs, restaurants, cafes, and hotels, perfect for a diverse and cosmopolitan crowd.

They are recognized for their inclusive and vibrant atmosphere, as well as for organizing some of the most lively and colorful events and parades in the city, like the Pride March and the Day of the Dead.

These areas are pretty safe and secure when compared to other parts of the city. Yet, they are not exempt from crime and violence, and they do face certain risks and challenges that tourists should be mindful of.

Zona Rosa and Condesa can get pretty lively and bustling, especially after dark, drawing in a mix of different individuals like drug dealers, prostitutes, pimps, and thieves. They may encounter scams and rip-offs like overcharging, fake bills, spiked drinks, and taxi robberies.

building and trees in roma norte in mexico city
Roma Norte is a safe area to visit in Mexico City, it has a lot of things to check out and do, as well as places to eat and more, so you’ll feel safe.

Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Mexico City

In Mexico City, 16 boroughs are divided into hundreds of neighborhoods. Certain neighborhoods are safer and more welcoming to tourists than others, so it’s best to steer clear of some.

Check out these risky areas in Mexico City based on official crime data and reports:

Tepito

Tepito stands out as one of the oldest and most infamous neighborhoods in Mexico City. It’s situated in the Cuauhtémoc borough, close to the city’s historic center.

It is famous for its bustling street market, offering a wide variety of items, it is where you can find the headquarters of one of the most powerful and violent criminal organizations in the city, called La Unión Tepito. This group is engaged in a range of illegal activities.

Tepito has a homicide rate of 127.8 per 100,000 inhabitants, which is over five times the city average and it is known for its frequent clashes between rival gangs, police raids, and shootouts, often leading to casualties and injuries.

Tepito is not a place for tourists, and you should avoid visiting it.

Doctores

Doctores is located in the Cuauhtémoc borough. Doctores is known for its high crime rates, particularly incidents of robbery and assault. It has the highest robbery rate in the city.

Doctores is also recognized for its significant presence of sex workers, drug dealers, and homeless individuals, who frequently target unaware tourists and locals.

Be cautious and alert when at Doctores, especially during nighttime and in secluded spots.

Iztapalapa

Iztapalapa is the biggest and most densely populated borough in Mexico City, home to more than 1.8 million people. It’s situated in the southeast of the city, Iztapalapa has a vibrant mix of cultures and a fascinating history.

Yet, Iztapalapa stands out as one of the most perilous and aggressive boroughs in the city, boasting a high crime and homicide rate, nearly 50% above the city average.

Iztapalapa can be risky to explore, particularly in the outskirts and less privileged areas, where poverty and safety issues are more prevalent.

Art painting in iztapalapa, mexico city
Many neighborhoods in Mexico City are not very tourist-friendly, and despite having some attractions to check out, It’s recommended to stay away from them.

Gustavo A. Madero

Gustavo A. Madero is a bustling borough in Mexico City, home to more than 1.1 million people. It’s up north and offers a diverse and dynamic environment, blending urban and rural landscapes, along with a wide range of attractions and services.

On the flip side, Gustavo A. Madero is known as one of the more risky and aggressive boroughs in the city, with a higher homicide rate and also deals with other criminal activities like robbery, extortion, and sexual violence.

Essential Travel Resources

❗Don’t forget travel insurance


This company is the one I trust, it’s one of the most essential things for any trip. It has your back in case you get sick abroad, or have an accident.

🎒Pack smarter, not bulky


Check out this vacation packing list, including all the essentials you need to pack when traveling, from travel clothing to backpacks and more.

🏡Where to Stay – Here are Suggestions


This is my favorite place to look for accommodations, it offers different types, a ton of locations, and good price options.

🗺️Get Around Hassle-Free


This one is the perfect option to look for different transportation options between cities, from flights, buses, and taxis to minivans and more.

🛫Find Cheap Flights


Whenever I need to fly, I head to this website for low-cost flights.

What are the common safety concerns in Mexico City?

Despite its many charms, Mexico City also has some challenges and risks that travelers should be aware of. Some of the common safety concerns in Mexico City are:

Crime and violence

Crime rates in Mexico City can be quite high, particularly in specific areas and at certain times of the day. One of the most frequent issues tourists face are petty theft, pickpocketing, mugging, and fraud.

There are also instances of more severe crimes like kidnapping, or extortion, but these typically involve drug trafficking and organized crime and rarely impact tourists.

Here are some tips you should follow:

Do your research before you go:

  • Learn more about Mexico’s culture, customs, laws, and the particular areas and attractions you plan to explore.
  • Make sure to stay updated on travel advisories and warnings provided by your government and other trustworthy sources, and adhere to their suggestions.
  • It’s a good idea to plan your itinerary and budget and book your accommodation and transportation ahead of time.

Be aware of your surroundings:

  • It’s best to steer clear of risky areas, especially after dark, and stay on the main streets and popular tourist spots.
  • Make sure to store your valuables and documents securely and avoid showing them off in public.

Be respectful and friendly:

  • Be mindful of the local culture, religion, and etiquette, and make sure to dress and act accordingly.
  • Get familiar with some simple Spanish expressions and practice using them to interact with the people in the area.
  • Remember to maintain a friendly and respectful attitude, and steer clear of disagreements and conflicts.
people eating out in one of the best neighborhoods in mexico city
Despite the fact I didn’t feel unsafe in Mexico City, I know some other travelers have faced issues, so it’s better to stay alert and follow your common sense.

Traffic and Transportation

Mexico City’s traffic system is often chaotic and congested, leading to frequent accidents and delays. The public transportation network is quite extensive and affordable, but it tends to get overcrowded and is not well-maintained.

Other good options are Taxis and ride-sharing services, which are convenient and affordable but can also be susceptible to scams and robberies.

The best option is renting a car and driving yourself or renting a bike, but keep in mind that can be quite difficult and risky due to the subpar road conditions and aggressive drivers.

Here are some tips on how to use public transportation safely in Mexico City:

Buy your tickets or cards in advance, and keep them handy

You have the option to purchase either single tickets or rechargeable cards at the stations or kiosks, which can be used to access various modes of transportation.

Make sure to keep your tickets or cards in a safe spot and avoid misplacing or sharing them. You might have to display them to security guards or inspectors, or when leaving the stations.

Know your routes and schedules

It’s a good idea to plan your trips and make sure to review the maps and timetables of the public transportation system.

Make sure you have the names and numbers of the lines and stations you need to take, along with the direction and destination you’re heading towards.

Try to avoid traveling during peak hours, especially in the morning and evening, as public transportation tends to get very crowded and slow. It’s best to avoid traveling during late night or early morning hours when public transportation may be less available and secure.

Be careful and vigilant

Make sure to keep your belongings and documents safe at all times, and avoid leaving them unattended or in plain view. Watch out for pickpockets, thieves, and scammers who might try to distract you, bump into you, or offer you help or services.

Avoid taking things from people you don’t know and refrain from displaying your belongings in public. Stay alert and keep an eye out, avoid distractions like using your phone or headphones, and make sure not to doze off.

woman standing next to a street food stand in mexico city
Food in Mexico is out of this world, and it’s super vegan-friendly, make sure to go out of your comfort zone and taste it, but make sure it’s clean and well taken care of.

Health and environmental issues

Air quality in Mexico City is not great because of the pollution and smog levels. These issues may cause respiratory problems, headaches, and eye irritation, particularly for individuals with allergies or asthma.

Also, Mexico City is situated at a high altitude. Living in a city at a high altitude may lead to altitude sickness, particularly for those unaccustomed to it.

Not only that, food and water safety standards are not very high, so it’s common to experience stomach issues, diarrhea, and dehydration, especially if you’re not used to the local food.

Here are some tips on how to deal with the air pollution and altitude sickness in Mexico City:

  • Check the air quality index and the weather forecast before you go. Avoid traveling when the air quality is poor or the weather is unfavorable.
  • Take precautions and measures to protect your health. Wear a mask when the air quality is poor, use eye drops to soothe your eyes, and drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and flush out the toxins.
  • Acclimatize and adapt to the altitude. Give yourself time to adjust to the altitude, and do not rush or overexert yourself. Breathe deeply and slowly, and use oxygen if needed.
  • Choose your food and water sources carefully. Eat only at reputable and clean places, drink only bottled, boiled, or filtered water, and avoid tap water or ice.

FAQ

What are the emergency numbers in Mexico City?

The emergency number in Mexico City is 911, which is the universal emergency number that can link you to the police, fire department, ambulance, or civil protection.

Feel free to dial this number in case of any urgent or life-threatening situations. Just share your name, location, and issue, and make sure to follow the operator’s guidance.

Also, you can call the 078. This is the tourist assistance number, which can provide you with information, guidance, and support.

You can use this number for any non-urgent or non-life-threatening situation, like questions, recommendations, or assistance.

Is Mexico City airport safe?

Yes, Mexico City airport is safe and feels safe, just make sure to take some basic precautions. The security at Mexico City Airport is top-notch, including metal detectors, baggage scanners, and police patrols.

At the airport, you’ll find a medical center, a fire station, and an emergency plan in place for any incidents.

Kid standing in front of a huge mexico city sign at the airport
The Mexico City airport is one of the safest places in the city, I even spent 24 hours in there but still, you should use your common sense and stay alert.

Is Mexico City safe for Americans?

Yes, Mexico City is safe for Americans, most tourists have a trouble-free and enjoyable experience, as long as they stick to tourist areas and follow some basic safety tips.

Like any big city, Mexico City has its share of crime, violence, and natural disasters.

First of all, you should check the latest travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State, which provides useful information on the security situation, travel restrictions, and state-specific recommendations for Mexico.

Also, make sure you should also register with the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

Is Uber in Mexico City safe?

Yes, Uber is usually considered safe but keep in mind that the answer is not so simple. Uber has some perks compared to regular taxis, such as fixed prices, cashless transactions, and driver evaluations.

You can also keep tabs on your journey and let your friends know where you are. Also, Uber states that their drivers go through background checks, and their vehicles are insured.

However, you may also come across protests and violence from taxi drivers who view Uber as unjust competition. At times, Uber drivers have faced attacks or robberies from individuals pretending to be passengers or fellow drivers.

So, if you choose to use Uber in Mexico City, it’s a good idea to be cautious and use common sense. Make sure to verify the driver’s name, photo, and license plate before entering the vehicle. It’s best to steer clear of using Uber at night or in unfamiliar areas. Remember to always adhere to the local health and safety guidelines for COVID-19.

Is Mexico City safe for solo female travelers?

Yes, it’s safe but you’ll need some common sense and precaution to fully enjoy the many wonders of this amazing destination.

The first thing you should do is research the areas you want to visit and avoid the ones that are known to be dangerous or have high crime rates.

Disclosure: This blog post may contain affiliate links, which means that I may receive a commission for any purchases made through the links. Your trust is important to us, and we ensure that all products or services we recommend meet or exceed our editorial standards.

Last Updated on February 28, 2024

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.