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Safe Places to Travel in Mexico: Your Ultimate Guide

Guide to Safe Places to Travel in Mexico

In 2020 and 2021, just one country—out of 33 total—accounted for more than half of international tourist arrivals in Latin America and the Caribbean: Mexico. It’s easy to see why travelers from all over the world flock there by the millions, whether it’s the 35 World Heritage Sites in Mexico that represent the country’s ancient culture and natural beauty or the 450 beaches that line the Mexican coast. 

However, despite the high tourism rates, misconceptions about travel safety in Mexico leave many uncertain about planning a Mexican vacation. After all, can solo travelers visit Mexico safely? What are the safest tourist destinations in Mexico? In today’s guide to safe places to travel in Mexico, we’ll address common misconceptions about tourist safety and explore how (and where) to travel safely. 

Traveler and Tourist Safety in Mexico

Mexico is the most competitive Latin American travel destination, as per the latest Travel and Tourism Development Index (TTDI), a measure of how local infrastructure, policies, and resources support tourism conditions. However, several areas within Mexico—which spans 31 states and the capital, Mexico City—have townships where violent crime and gang activity pose threats to foreign visitors.

Mexico travel safety is limited in specific central areas of the country, particularly in states like Zacatecas, which has the highest per-capita homicide rates in the country, along with Colima, Zamora, and Ciudad Obregón. Cartel violence in these states has increased in recent years, which has escalated criminal activity in the drug trade and heightened homicide and kidnapping rates.

Despite transgressions in other areas of the country, there are several safe places to travel in Mexico. Collaborations between local businesses, tourism authorities, and law enforcement, especially in the tourist-popular regions, have improved safety measures. Over half of Mexican states recorded enhanced safety and peacefulness in 2023 alone.

Top Safe Places to Travel in Mexico

Whether you’re planning a solo trip, traveling as a family, or taking a romantic honeymoon, there are several safe destinations in Mexico. Generally speaking, these areas are contained to the Yucatán Peninsula (including Tulum, Merida, and Playa del Carmen) on the Southeast end of Mexico, the Pacific Coast along the Western shores, and the Colonial cities scattered throughout the Highlands. 

Consider this list of six safe places to travel in Mexico when planning your upcoming itinerary. 

A view of Tulum's historic ruins, highlighting one safe place to travel in Mexico.

1. Tulum

Tulum is located on the Yucatán Peninsula, within the Quintana Roo state, and along the Caribbean coast. Its seaside location grants visitors white-sand beaches and bohemian treetop hotel accommodations, with several family-friendly and adults-only resorts. Heavily regarded as a safe Mexico destination, Tulum offers historical richness with Mayan ruins, archaeological sites, and even undersea caverns. 

A sunny day in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, highlighting the rocky shoreline, vibrant blue waters, and a bustling waterfront with palm trees and modern buildings.

2. Puerto Vallarta

What are the safest beaches in Mexico? Head to Puerto Vallarta to find out! Located along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, Puerto Vallarta has become a haven for solo travelers and remote workers and one of the safest places to travel in Mexico for LGBTQ+ tourists. Playa de Oro, located in the area’s tourism-friendly North Hotel Zone, has a Blue Flag international certification for safety and quality. 

A colorful street in Mérida, one of the most secure vacation spots in Mexico.

3. Merida

Merida is located opposite Tulum on the Western side of the Yucatán Peninsula. While Yucatán is already considered safe, its capital, Merida, is one of Mexico’s most secure vacation spots. This city is known for its colonial architecture, like the Cathedral of San Ildefonso, and its close proximity to the ancient Mayan city of Uxmal. In 2022, it was ranked as one of the best cities to live in the world.

The beautiful architecture of San Miguel de Allende, renowned for its safety and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, makes it a popular travel destination in Mexico.

4. San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende is a colonial-era city in Mexico’s Central Highlands. While it is far more inland than others on this guide, it’s regarded as one of the safest places to travel in Mexico due to its status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. San Miguel de Allende is popular among tourists and offers authentic cobblestone roads, Baroque Spanish architecture, and a thriving arts scene with frequent street festivals. 

The colorful streets of Guanajuato, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, make it a picturesque and safe destination for tourists in Mexico.

5. Guanajuato

Also nestled in Mexico’s Central Highlands is Guanajuato, the state where San Miguel de Allende resides and where the city of Guanajuato gets its name. Another UNESCO World Heritage Site, this colorful and picturesque destination is listed among safe Mexican cities due to its welcoming atmosphere for tourists, who love to explore the historic underground tunnels and take part in the annual Cervantino Festival. 

The vibrant beachfront at Playa del Carmen, with its iconic sculpture and palm trees, makes it a safe and picturesque destination in Mexico.

6. Playa del Carmen

Travelers will find Playa del Carmen north of Tulum, situated along the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula. Playa del Carmen is famous for being one of the safest places in Mexico, with a dedicated tourist police force that monitors visitor safety. Travelers looking to bask in the sun prefer Playa del Carmen for its lively coral reef, while foodies love the dining and nightlife along Quinta Avenida.

Safety Tips for Mexico Travel 

Even with an understanding of safe cities to visit, you might ask yourself, “What precautions should I take while traveling in Mexico?” or, “What should I know about health safety in Mexico?” Safe travel in Mexico relies on remaining alert and aware of your surroundings. Practical safety tips include using ATMs in secure locations and never carrying large amounts of cash. 

Choose transportation wisely, especially if traveling alone. Ride with reputable taxi companies or ride-sharing apps like Uber. Opt to stay in accommodations with solid security reviews and consult your specific embassy for country-specific guidance. Like any international destination, consider bringing antidiarrheal medication if you have adverse reactions to the local cuisine.

What to Do in an Emergency in Mexico

One of the best safety tips for Mexico travel is to be prepared for an emergency. It’s vital to memorize local emergency numbers, like 911, also used in Mexico to contact first responders. Remain updated with travel advisories from your country of origin and learn how to contact your local embassy or consulate, which can usually be reached by phone or in person.

To truly prepare for safe travel in Mexico, purchase a travel insurance policy with medical coverage before you depart. This will help ensure you receive the proper care in the event of a medical emergency and, if necessary, cover the cost of medical evacuation. Specific travel insurance for Mexico, like Aegis policies, also offers 24/7 emergency assistance services. 

Travel Safely in Mexico with Aegis Travel Insurance

Mexico’s travel safety remains a hot topic despite the myriad of safe places to travel. So, is travel insurance necessary for Mexico? The answer is yes, absolutely. While several Mexican cities offer tourists a safe and welcoming environment, accidents and emergencies can happen anywhere in the world—even in the tourist-approved Yucatán Peninsula. Travel insurance for Mexico can help.

Explore the VIP Plan from Aegis today to protect yourself and your peace of mind.

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