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Is Mexico City Safe to Visit?

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Updated: May 11, 2024

You must have heard that Mexico City is a wonderful tourist attraction with a rich cultural heritage, historic sites, and vibrant neighborhoods. 

This is actually the largest city of North America in terms of population, beating even major cities of United States like New York City and Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, large cities have a bad reputation for attracting a lot of crime, so a lot of travelers worry about how safe it is in Mexico City.

While we understand your concern, the truth is that this diverse metropolis has many neighborhoods that are safe and welcoming for tourists.

There are also areas with higher crime rates, but we will focus on the safer locations and provide you with tips about how to stay safe while visiting the city.


How Safe is Mexico City?

Mexico City, like any big city, has varying safety levels across its neighborhoods. 

While it's generally safe for tourists in well-travelled areas like Polanco, Condesa, Zona Rosa and Centro Historico, petty crimes like petty theft and pickpocketing can occur in these places as well.

There have been occasional instances of civil unrest in the past, but security measures have been heightened to mitigate such risks.

As the city is situated in an area of high seismic activity, there is also a possibility of earthquake in the Mexico City.

Other natural disasters which threatened Mexico City in the past include flooding and volcanic eruptions.

Although that might give you reason to avoid visiting, the truth is that most of the modern buildings in the area have been constructed to prevent major damage and injury during such events.

The city also has a visible police presence in tourist hubs, contributing to a sense of safety and ensuring the worst elements of crime avoid those areas.

Mexico City is also considered good for solo female travelers and solo travelers as long as you exercise caution and stick to the areas considered safer for tourists.

There are separate seating areas for women in buses and metro as well, which further strengthens the sense of security and makes it easy to get around affordably without fear.


Which Areas of Mexico City Are Safe?

Mexico City has neighborhoods that are generally considered safe for residents and visitors alike. 

These areas tend to have a lower crime rate and are popular among both locals and tourists due to their vibrant atmosphere, cultural attractions, diverse nightlife and security measures. 

When deciding what neighbourhoods to visit during your trip, we recommend starting with these.

Polanco

Located in the heart of Mexico City, Polanco is an upscale neighbourhood known for its safety, luxury boutiques, fine dining, and cultural attractions. 

It's known for its beautiful tree-lined streets, luxury boutiques, and art galleries.

It also has upscale and elegant nightlife scene, with high-end bars, lounges, and restaurants.

It's a favourite among both residents and tourists, offering a well-patrolled environment and beautiful tree-lined streets.

Condesa

La Condesa is a trendy neighborhood with a Bohemian atmosphere, characterized by its Art Deco buildings, leafy parks, and vibrant arts scene. 

It's a popular choice for young professionals, artists, and food enthusiasts. 

Condesa offers a variety of cafes, restaurants, and boutique shops.

Its historic architecture, combined with modern amenities, makes it a popular choice for those looking for a safe and stylish environment.

Roma

Adjacent to Condesa, Roma is known for its eclectic atmosphere, where you'll find a mix of contemporary art, historic architecture, and diverse culinary options. 

It's a walkable neighbourhood with an active street life, making it a cultural hotspot in Mexico City.

Roma is a popular destination for food enthusiasts, offering a wide array of international and Mexican cuisine.

Its pedestrian-friendly streets and active street life contribute to its reputation as a safe and desirable area.

Coyoacán

Coyoacán is a historic and artistic neighborhood, home to iconic attractions such as the Frida Kahlo Museum and the Coyoacán Market.

It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is a generally safe and peaceful neighborhood.

The main square, Jardín Hidalgo, is a hub of activity, surrounded by cafes, restaurants, and the historic Church of San Juan Bautista.

Its cobbled streets, colonial architecture, and tranquil ambiance make it a top destination for visitors interested in Mexican culture.

San Ángel

San Ángel is a safe colonial neighborhood featuring cobbled streets, historic architecture, and artisan markets. 

It's famous for the Bazar del Sábado (Saturday Bazaar), a renowned art and crafts market that showcases local artwork and crafts.

The neighborhood also hosts the Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo Studio Museum, providing insight into the artistic legacies of these iconic Mexican painters.

It's a tranquil destination where tourists can experience Mexican culture and enjoy a secure environment.

While all these areas are as considered safest neighborhoods overall, with so much activity from the local bars, restaurants, shops, and hotels, visitors should exercise the safety precautions and watch out for scam artists or pickpockets in this area.

Our best advice is to ignore or say, “no, thank you,” to anyone who tries to stop you or steps in your path, and keep moving. 


Is Mexico City Safe at Night?

Like anywhere, nighttime is more dangerous than daytime in Mexico City.

As with many major cities around the world, the capital of Mexico can be safe in some areas at night and less safe in others. 

The safety of this city after dark depends on various factors, including the neighborhood you are in, your personal behaviour, and the precautions you take. 

Here are some tips to help you stay safe in Mexico City at night:

  • Stay in Safe Neighborhoods. Choose accommodations in well-regarded and safe neighborhoods, such as Polanco, Condesa, Roma, and Coyoacán, which are known for being relatively safe at night.
  • Use Reputable Transportation. Use registered taxis, rideshare services like Uber, or secure transportation options, especially if you are traveling alone at night. Avoid hailing random taxis or using public transportation at night.
  • Be Cautious with Valuables. Keep your belongings secure and avoid displaying valuable items like jewellery, electronics, and large amounts of cash.
  • Travel in Groups. If possible, travel with a group of people, as there's safety in numbers, particularly in less familiar areas.
  • Know Your Route. Plan your route in advance and be aware of your surroundings. Familiarize yourself with the neighbourhood and the location of your destination.
  • Avoid Risky Areas. Stay away from areas that are known for higher crime rates like Tepito, Ciudad Neza and Iztapalapa. Be cautious when exploring unfamiliar neighbourhoods after dark.
  • Memorize the emergency numbers. 911 for police, fire, and medical emergencies.
  • Walk on well-lit, main streets. Avoid shortcuts through dark alleys. Keep a map or navigation app on your phone to avoid getting lost.
  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times. Keep headphones at a low volume or use only one earbud to remain alert.
  • Carry only what you need for the evening. Leave unnecessary items in your hotel safe.

Besides all these measures, if something feels unsafe or uncomfortable, trust your instincts and remove yourself from the situation. Do not wait for something bad to happen.


Are the Trains and Buses Safe to Ride?

It’s easy to take public transportation in Mexico City!

Mexico City's has a well-developed metro, bus, and public bicycle (known as Ecobici), taxis, which offers comprehensive coverage across the city.

Metro and buses are an affordable, faster way to see more of the city, and we highly recommend riding them with safety in mind.

The best way to get around the city and its popular tourist destinations is by using rechargeable travel card known as Integrated Mobility Card.

You can use this card to pay for multiple types of transportation: Metro, Metrobús, and Ecobici.

However, the problem with both metro and buses is that they can become very crowded, especially during rush hours.

This is the time when many thieves focus on train stations and buses and it is also when most pickpocketing incidences can happen.

The best way to prevent yourself from such incidences is to keep a watch on your belongings and your surroundings. 

Keep your wallet or mobile phone safe and don't leave them in your pocket where they can be easily snatched. 

Also, avoid using public transportation in night especially when you are solo or travelling in small groups. 

If you take care of these tips, public transportation will make your Mexico City trip much easier and fun.


Tips to Stay Safe While Visiting Mexico City

  • Research Neighbourhoods. Research the safety of different neighbourhoods and choose accommodations in safer areas like Polanco, Condesa, Roma, or Coyoacán.
  • Travel with others when you can. Walking with a friend or group is always a good idea. If you are traveling solo, consider exploring Mexico City on a group tour. Always follow travel advisories.
  • Use Reputable Transportation. Opt for registered taxis, rideshare services, or reputable transportation options (like Uber, Didi, Cabify). Avoid hailing random taxis on the street.
  • Keep your bags and valuables secure. This means bags zipped, snapped, and across your shoulder. Avoid putting your wallet in any pocket where it can be seen and stolen.
  • Learn Basic Spanish. Knowing some basic Spanish phrases can be helpful for communication and navigating the city.
  • Avoid bad neighbourhoods. Like every city, CDMX has both good and bad neighborhoods. Its better to stick to main tourist areas and keep yourself away from some potentially dangerous neighbourhoods like Iztapalapa, Gustavo A. Madero, Tepito, Doctores and Xochimilco. These neighborhoods are known for high crime rates and are unfamous for violent crimes and robbery.
  • Avoid Provocation. Stay away from those who try to become over friendly or provoke you. Always use common sense if you find yourself in any adverse situation.
  • Avoid Public Demonstrations. Be aware of any planned protests or demonstrations and avoid getting caught up in them. These events can sometimes lead to civil unrest.
  • Check Government Travel Advisories. Consult your country's government travel advisory for Mexico City to stay informed about specific safety concerns or recommendations.

Besides these, one should also avoid drinking tap water and prefer drinking bottled water. Though tap water supply is purified, you may encounter tummy problems as you are not used to it. 

Apart from these tips, you also need to avoid scamsters who can dupe you by these common scams. 

  • Taxi Scams. Some taxi drivers may try to overcharge tourists, especially at airports or bus terminals. To avoid this, it's best to use registered taxis or reputable rideshare services like Uber.
  • ATM Scams. Be cautious when using ATMs, especially in secluded or poorly lit areas, as card skimming devices and fraudulent card readers can be a risk. Use ATMs in well-lit and secure locations, such as bank branches.
  • Street Vendor Scams. While most street vendors are honest, some might try to overcharge tourists for goods or services. Always agree on prices before making a purchase and be prepared to haggle when appropriate.
  • Fake Police Officers. Be cautious if someone claiming to be a police officer stops you on the street, particularly if they ask for money or try to confiscate your belongings. Ask to see their identification and consider contacting the local police if you suspect anything is amiss.
  • Mustard Scam. Some scammers work in pairs or groups to create distractions, such as spilling mustard or something on you or asking for directions, while an accomplice tries to pickpocket you. Be cautious of anyone trying to divert your attention in crowded places.
  • Counterfeit Bills. Always double-check the change you receive, as counterfeit currency can be an issue in some areas. Familiarize yourself with Mexican currency to spot any irregularities.
  • Petition Scams. Some people may ask for donations or signatures for a cause, charity, or petition and may use this as an opportunity to steal from you. Exercise caution and donate through official channels if you wish to support a cause.

Besides all these, a very uncommon taxi scam happens when a fake taxi driver takes a passenger and won't let them go until they take out money from an ATM or give up their money and valuable items. It doesn't happen often, but it's called "express kidnapping."

Remember, if you stay alert and mindful of potential danger, you are unlikely to run into any problems while visiting Mexico City.


About The Author

Stephen Pickhardt

Stephen is the CEO of Free Tours by Foot and has overseen the transformation of a local walking tour company into a global tour community and traveler’s advice platform. He has personally led thousands of group tours in the US and Europe, and is an expert in trip planning and sightseeing, with a focus on budget travelers. Stephen has been published and featured in dozens of publications including The Wall Street Journal, BBC, Yahoo, Washington.org, and more.
Updated: May 11th, 2024
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