Last Updated: May 10, 2022

15 Safest Places in Mexico

Mexico is the most visited Latin American country and the seventh most visited country on Earth. Americans lead the way with 40 million visitors in 2019 according to the US National Travel and Tourism Office. No surprise there since it sits on the southern border and is reachable by land.

What is surprising is that Mexico has a sinister reputation in the travel world as an unsafe place to visit. Stories of organized crime and drug cartels in the media and the movies scare some travelers away. But in reality, Mexico has some very safe places to visit, even for female solo travelers if you stay in a resort where safety is a top priority.

So if sunny Caribbean beaches, exploring ancient ruins, fantastic ethnic cuisine, and a fun-filled nightlife sound tantalizing, put away your worries and plan a trip to Mexico. To get you started, here are the 15 safest places to visit in Mexico.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City draws the most visitors of any other place in the country, and with good reason. The food and cultural experiences are amazing, and about an hour outside the city, you’ll find the world-famous Teotihuacan Ruins, a Mexico UNESCO Heritage Site.

The crime rate was reduced drastically in Mexico between 2009 and 2011, and visitors say they feel safe, especially in the city center. Like other large cities, some neighborhoods are safer than others. Tourists should choose accommodations in the Roma, Condesa, or Centro districts and stay away from Merced and Tepito, especially at night. As a general rule, avoid any far southern or far northern neighborhoods after dark.

The popular La Merced Market is a great place to shop and soak up the culture, but you should go in the daytime and leave your valuables locked in your accommodations.

San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is one of the safest places in Mexico, and a popular destination for British, Canadian, and American ex-pats. Though the crime rate is relatively low, keep an eye on your belongings when using public transport.

With its beautiful Spanish colonial architecture and robust arts scene, San Miguel de Allende has become popular in recent years with American retirees, and the city has gained the reputation of a safe place to live and retire.

A population of over 8,000 American, British, and Canadian ex-pats means English is widely-spoken here making it a good destination for beginner travelers or those who don’t speak Spanish. It’s the perfect place to experience Mexican culture in the hidden backstreets and alleyways.

Playa del Carmen

A popular coastal city in Mexico, Playa del Carmen is within close proximity to the Mayan ruins and amazing cenotes. It’s near the ancient ruins of Tulum and the ferry to Cozumel making it an excellent Mexican destination.

The wide, sandy beaches are spectacular here, and it’s a relativity safe place for solo travelers and families. Although there are incidences of drug-related incidences in the state of Quintana Roo, tourists have encountered minimal violence in Playa del Carmen.

What used to be a small fishing village has grown exponentially over the years. With that said, it’s advisable to take the normal safety precautions in Playa del Carmen. Don’t go out alone at night, keep an eye on your drinks, and don’t buy any recreational drugs.

Tulum

Tulum

Tulum also lies within the state of Quintana Roo on the azure Caribbean Sea. A rival of Cancun, the bohemian paradise is one of Mexico’s safest beaches and the home of Yucatan pueblo magico (magic town). The all-inclusive resorts are particularly safe with plenty of security guards and cameras. Your worries will melt away among the white-sand beaches and swaying palms.

An influx of tourists has meant lots of growth for Tulum in recent decades because it has lots to offer. It’s near the Mayan ruins, but the spectacular beach is the main draw. Downtown Tulum may not look like what you’ve seen on Instagram, but the vibe is relaxed, friendly, and non-threatening. It comes alive in the evenings with street food vendors and colorful bars with live music.

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta ranks among the safest resort destinations in Mexico. In fact, the crime rate is lower here than in many major US cities. The city has mostly remained uninvolved in cartel activities. Crimes are limited to petty ones such as pickpocketing and purse-snatching. It’s family-friendly and one of the country’s top gay-friendly destinations.

Few worries about crime leave you free to enjoy a host of amazing adventures in Puerto Vallarta including snorkeling and world-class adventures. The Malecon Boardwalk is popular with tourists and locals alike with lively bars and clubs and open-air performances at the Los Arcos amphitheater and spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean. There’s a heavy presence of local vendors, but they are polite and don’t pressure you to buy anything.

San Jose del Cabo

Located about 20 miles northeast of Cabo San Lucas, this charming Mexican town is a great way to escape the party-filled streets. Plaza Mijares is the town square and a great place to begin exploring San Jose del Cabo. You’ll find the mission church and town hall here along with shops and restaurants with authentic Mexican food at affordable prices.

Playa Santa Maria and Playa Palmilla are excellent beaches for relaxing, and avid golfers should check out the golf courses.

San Jose del Cabo is relatively safe at night. Just don’t consume too much alcohol and never accept drinks from a stranger. Take a taxi back to your accommodations rather than walking.

Oaxaca City

Oaxaca City

If you’re a fan of Mexican cuisine, don’t miss a visit to Oaxaca city. Known as the Foodie Capital of Mexico, it’s famous for some lesser-known dishes such as memelas, moles (pronounced moe-lays), oaxaqueños (Oaxacan tamales), quesillo ( queso Oaxaca cheese.)

Listed as one of the safest cities in Mexico, Oaxaca City is known for scenic mountains, colonial architecture, and mezcal production. It also has the best Day of the Dead celebration in the country.

Be sure to visit the historic downtown district, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Check out the Oaxaca Botanical Garden, the Oaxaca Cathedral in the main square, and the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman.

While out at night in the city, stay in well-lit areas, watch your belongings, and don’t drink too much mezcal. This powerful distilled spirit is made from the agave plant and is similar to tequila.

Merida

Merida is widely recognized as one of the safest cities in Mexico and all of Latin America. The peaceful city has remained free from drug wars and crime. Visitors say their biggest safety concern is the busy traffic. The city does have an occasional problem with pickpocketers, so take precautions.

The Yucatan capital is popular for its pristine colonial architecture and its proximity to some fascinating archeological sites. The stunning city a few hours from Cancun is the epitome of 5-star resorts, boutique hotels, upscale restaurants, and pricey boutique stores that sell luxury items like silk beach caftans.

Merida has even received accolades for its safety status. In 2019, it was declared the second-safest city on the American continents by CEOWorld Magazine. In 2021, it was voted number three on the Best Smallest Cities in the World list by the same magazine.

Puerto Escondito

Located on Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the state of Oaxaca, Puerto Escondito is a former small fishing village turned popular beach destination. It’s also a top destination for surfers and famous for the “Mexican Pipeline,” a surf break that brings surfers from around the world.

In addition to beautiful tropical beaches, Puerto Escondido has a wealth of cultural and natural attractions. Take in the bioluminescence at Manialtepec Lagoon to participate in the baby turtle release program. You’ll also enjoy authentic Oaxaca cuisine at the local restaurants.

Puerto Escondido is considered a safe destination for solo travelers, but stay off the streets late at night. Other than that, your biggest safety concerns are swimming alone and staying off of beaches with red flags where the currents are strong and dangerous.

Loreto

Loreto, Mexico

Loreto is a top destination on the Pacific coast in Baja California Sur state. Located on the Sea of Cortez, it has the distinction of one of Mexico’s pueblos magicos for its historical significance. Tourists love to visit in winter when you can see the blue whales that migrate to Loreto Bay.

Loreto is one of the safest beach towns in Mexico. A large community of ex-pats and locals strive to keep it clean and safe. It’s one of the safest cities for solo travelers. Feel free to stroll around town alone and soak in the colonial feel, hike to La Giganta, and visit historical sites such as the Museo de las Misiones de Baja California (Museum of Baja California Missions) and the San Javier Mission.

Guadalajara

Mexico’s second-largest city, Guadalajara has a smaller feel when compared to Mexico City with quaint neighborhoods and a colonial historic center. The locals are especially warm and welcoming, and the city is safe for female solo travelers.

Guadalajara is a very walkable city, and you can safely do so alone to explore the Centro Historico where you’ll find the Guadalajara Cathedral and Hospicio Cabanas. The main sights are a short walk away from the Plaza Guadalajara (Main Plaza). Shop for artisan products at the San Juan de Dios market and visit the lovely suburb of Tlaquepaque.

Valladolid

Valladolid is a small, charming colonial city in the Yucatan state on the Yucatan Peninsula. It’s located about two hours by car or bus from Merida. The Yucatan state is regarded as the safest state in Mexico, and solo travelers should feel comfortable here. Just take the same precautions you would when traveling anywhere.

Feel free to walk around the city and admire the colonial-style buildings and charming haciendas, dine in the open-air restaurants, and inside the funky little cafes. You’ll find some great buys in the boutique shops.

Valladolid is also one of the safest places to drive in Mexico, so rent a car and go exploring. Some of the things to check out nearby include Chichen Itza, an archeological site about 30 minutes away, and the Casa de los Venados, a private home featuring the country’s largest collection of Mexican folk art. It showcases paintings, handcrafted pottery, colorful textiles, and artistic pieces of furniture.

Puebla

Puebla

Although it’s one of Mexico’s biggest cities — the fifth-largest population-wise, Puebla is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. The capital of Puebla state, it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site and features some striking colonial architecture.

Puebla is a two-hour drive from Mexico City and is a day trip worth taking for its unique atmosphere. Begin your exploration of this picturesque colonial town in the Zocalo (Main Square) where you’ll see the Puebla Cathedral, the Iglesia Santa Domingo, and other beautiful churches. In fact, the city is known for its large number of churches.

Second, only to the impressive architecture is the food. The local Poblano cuisine is famous all over Mexico. Dishes to try include mole poblano and cemitas (giant sandwiches.)

Sayulita

Surfers and nature lovers flock to Sayulita for relaxed laid back vacations. It’s a small town located in Nayarit state on the Pacific Coast. What used to be a sleepy fishing village is now home to a younger population of surfers, bohemians, and artists. The people are friendly and speak English well. It’s also one of the safest places to live in Mexico.

Stray dogs that wander the streets are probably the biggest thing to fear in Sayulita. Don’t approach them as they may bite you.

Huatulco

Huatulco is a family-friendly beach destination located on the southern coast of Mexico in the state of Oaxaca. One of Mexico’s best beach cities, it features nine bays and 36 beaches. Rich in heritage, around half of its residents still speak indigenous languages.

Huatulco is a safe place to visit and a safe place to live and has one of Mexico’s largest ex-pat communities. If fact, it’s safer than many US cities. Just be aware that there has been some organized crime in the area between Huatulco and Oaxaca City.

About the Author Roger Timbrook

Roger is a little obsessed with travel. He has been to over 40 countries, broken 3 suitcases and owned over 10 backpacks in 12 months. What he doesn't know about travel, ain't worth knowing!

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