Is Mexico City Safe? Here is Your 2024 Mexico City Safety Guide

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I have the feeling that we all want to make Mexico our next travel destination. Am I alone? But before booking or planning anything, there is a questions that always arise: is Mexico City safe to visit now?

Night view from the Palacio de Bellas Artes, Palace of Fine Arts. One of the main attractions in Mexico City.
Is Mexico City safe for travel? We think it is!

The question about how safe Mexico City is usually comes from first-time travelers or people who haven’t been here for a while. And I understand why they have some safety concerns. 

After all, the country has a bit of a reputation, so is Mexico’s largest city a safe destination? Or is Mexico City dangerous for tourists?

As it turns out, the city might be pretty safe — as long as you are prepared for extra travel planning.

Mexico City, aka CDMX, has gorgeous sights and attractions to enjoy, and you probably already know that.

So read on to see how you can visit Mexico City safely and have the trip of a lifetime. We divided this Mexico City safety guide into a few topics:

  • How safe is Mexico City for visitors,
  •  The safest areas to stay in Mexico City,
  • The best hotels in Mexico City for all budgets,
  • Common crimes in Mexico City,
  •  Practical Mexico City safety tips.

How safe is Mexico City for tourists?

Is it safe to visit Mexico City? The city itself is relatively safe, as long as you keep your wits about you and follow some basic precautions that I’m gonna share with you.

The primary reason for this fear stems from the drug cartels and gang-related violence that Mexico is often associated with. Being against the southern border of the US, it’s a hotspot for powerful criminal groups smuggling cocaine and heroin in North America. 

I understand why there are questions like ‘Is Mexico City safe for tourists’ or ‘Is Mexico City safe Reddit’ pooping on Google so frequently. But be sure that the picture painted about how dangerous is Mexico City, is not the reality travelers will face here. 

With this said, it’s unlikely tourists would get mixed up in these dealings. The really dangerous stuff doesn’t usually take place in Mexico City but rather in the outlying regions of the country.

Mexico City’s crime rate is relatively low, even compared to some US states. According to the Numbeo website Mexico City’s safety rating is 32.31.

Of course, there are some shady areas you’d rather avoid if you want to keep your holiday in Mexico City crime-free, but I’ll steer you away from them by telling you the safest neighborhoods in CDMX.

There’s still the potential for petty crimes and travel scams in these areas, but the odds are much lower, and a savvy traveler like you will be all clued up on them by the end of this article.

And if you are planning to travel around the country after visiting Mexico City, you must read this guide: 14 safest cities in Mexico to visit.

Skyline in Mexico City view from the Chapultepec Castle. This photo is used to illustrate an article with the title: Is Mexico City safe?
You must know where to go and where to stay in Mexico City, then you will be just fine.

The 5 safest neighborhoods in Mexico City

These areas tend to be more touristy, thanks to their high safety ratings. You’ll also find plenty of things to do in these neighborhoods.

1. Reforma

Reforma is up there in terms of safety and is home to many of the most luxurious hotels in CDMX. You’ll find attractions like the Paseo de la Reforma Avenue here, as well as many cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants.

Museums abound in this district, so make sure you stop by the National Museum of Anthropology and the Museum of Modern Art.

If you feel up to a more energetic experience, try a bike tour of Reforma with a savvy guide itching to share fun facts and urban legends with you.

The south side of the district, Zona Rosa, is possibly the most LGBTQIA+ friendly place in the city, and as such, it’s vibrant, and the nightlife is pumping.

Stay away from hotels on the south side, if an early night is what you crave!

People crossing the street on Plaza de la Constitución or Zocalo in Mexico City on Saturday in front of Catedral Metropolitana.
Mexico City Historical Center will amaze you.

2. Mexico City Centro Histórico

One of the most popular places for tourists, the historical center has more than 1,550 buildings of significant importance, most built between the 16th and 20th centuries. It’s a must-visit, you’re gonna love it!

There are so many attractions to choose from, such as Zocalo and Palacio de Bellas Artes, that tourists seldom wander outside of this district.

The public transport is top notch too, making it even more desirable to tourists and safe to get around.

A quick travel tip. Did you know you can visit Mexico City attractions using the Hop-On Hop-Off Bus City Tour that stops along 3 different circuits? Get your Mexico City Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Ticket here and get around the city safely.

As it’s a hot spot for tourists and scammers, you must be aware of your surroundings when exploring the area.

Some travelers prefer to join a tour to feel safer walking in Mexico City’s historic center. If that’s your case, here are 3 great tours we suggest to you:

3. Roma

This is one of Mexico City’s safe neighborhoods; statistically, the safest. With Art Deco architecture, trendy coffee shops, and hip cafés everywhere, it’s no wonder hipsters and artists flock to this district.

It’s unofficially called “Hipster Central” and offers a most magnificent food hall called Mercado Roma selling everything from churros to craft beer.

Don’t let yourself dare to imagine it’s your basic street food truck station, though. It’s a total gastronomic experience serving up gourmet grub in a lavishly decorated space with vendors who are passionate about their wares.

4. Condesa

Is Mexico City safe for Americans? Expats seem to think so, choosing this solidly safe area to call home. Right next door to Roma, Condesa is best known for its out-of-this-world restaurants, delicious food and vintage shops.

It has a chilled vibe and peaceful, tree-lined streets — some even compare it to West Village in NYC. It’s a beautiful place to go for a stroll, grab a delicious bite to eat, and feel safe while doing so.

Man walking two dogs in the Polanco neighborhood, one of the safest areas in Mexico City.
Polanco is one of the safest areas in Mexico City.

5. Polanco

Polanco has boutique stores and a lavish lifestyle, with designer-everything everywhere. It’s no wonder it’s in the top three safest neighborhoods in Mexico City. It’s also the closest neighborhood to Chapultepec Park, which is twice the size of Central Park in New York.

The park is home to several museums, even though it’s an attraction in its own right, and is free for everyone to enter.

Going on a Guided Bike Tour of Chapultepec Park is definitely one of the cool things to do in Mexico City, you will feel safe in CDMX while meeting other travelers. 

Best hotels in Mexico City for a safe stay

Here is a quick round-up of the best places to stay in Mexico’s capital city, from luxury hotels to budget accommodations that will give you a good night of sleep, and the peace of mind of staying in a safe place.

Luxury hotels in Mexico City

(click on the hotel name to book your stay)

 Mid-range hotels in Mexico City

(click on the hotel name to see the rooms)

Budget accommodation in Mexico City 

(click on the hotel name to see the rates)

Mexican people walking on the streets. Mexico City is safe, but you must to be aware of travel scams and petty crime.
Here are a few scams that can happen during your trip to Mexico.

Common crimes in Mexico City

The most common types of crime in Mexico City are robbery, vehicle theft, and homicide. It does sound a little scary, but don’t convince yourself Mexico City is dangerous just yet — most major cities have these problems, after all.

In CDMX, these crimes are usually relegated to specific neighborhoods, like Tepito (known for robbery) or Iztapalapa (where Mexico City violence against women is at its worst).

Simply stick to the safer neighborhoods in Mexico City, and it’s unlikely you’ll run into any of these sorts of violent crimes.

You may be subject to a scam or two, like in any other major city centers busy with tourists.

Here are 3 of the most common travel scams in Mexico City:

Taxi Scams

The most common ones are taxi scams, which include the driver jacking up the price when they realize you’re a tourist.

Although it’s now quite rare, there is the express kidnapping scam when a taxi driver will hold you, hostage, until you withdraw a large amount of money from an ATM to give them.

A way to avoid these scams is to ask your hotel to call a  taxi for you or order an Uber.

You might ask: is Uber safe in Mexico City? The answer is yes! When using the application, you have the vehicle details, driver identification, and GPS tracking. It’s way safer than just hailing a random taxi on the streets.

Transportation from/to the Mexico City Airport can be also a nightmare with taxi scams. Keep in mind that you can use public transportation or if you want a stress-free arrival and departure, book a trustworthy airport private transfer in advance

The Mustard Scam

The mustard scam is also common and involves a person spilling something like mustard on you and then helping to clean it off. All the while, their accomplice pinches your cell phone and wallet while you’re distracted.

The Fake ATM Scam 

There’s also a fake ATM scam where you might just stumble upon a random ATM on the street that won’t give you money but instead duplicate or steal your debit or credit card.

If you know about these common scams before you go to Mexico, though, it gives you the upper hand in seeing through them and staying safe.

There’s a large police presence in the city because of the crime rates, though, so you can always approach an officer if you feel unsure or unsafe.

I always say that I prefer to be aware of my surroundings and avoid dangerous situations, especially in a different country. So now that you know the most common scams, let’s jump to travel tips that can make your time in Mexico City safe and enjoyable. 

Pilgrims celebrate the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe with a mass ceremony in her honor in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Busy places like this are an opportunity for pickpocketing in other dangers in CDMX.
Busy streets of Mexico City!

Mexico City safety — Best safety tips for tourists

Although it is safer in some neighborhoods in Mexico City, you still need to practice caution and keep vigilant.

Here are a couple of tips for safety in Mexico City to help you become less of a target and more of a savvy traveler.

1. Try to blend in

When trying to avoid ​​Mexico City’s crime, the best thing you can do is to not look or act like a tourist.

That means not wearing the souvenir T-shirts you just bought (save them for home), walking around with that uber-expensive DSLR camera hanging from your neck, or showing off expensive jewelry.

I’m not saying don’t take your camera with you — just keep it in your bag where it can’t be seen.

Even if you dress right, wandering around as though you’re lost also makes you a target because nothing screams “tourist” as much as not knowing where you are.

Check out Google Maps before heading out from your hotel, or use your phone app to guide you. If you walk with purpose, you’re less likely to stand out and be noticed by the wrong people.

2. Don’t walk around with a full wallet

It seems like common sense to not carry too much money with you, but believe me, there are still people who travel with their wallets full of cash.

Most places in downtown Mexico will take credit or debit cards, so there’s no need to carry huge wads of cash with you. Keep some on you to spend at markets, but don’t take it all out at once and flash it when you try to pay — you never know who’s watching.

Another good option is to have a money belt decayed under your shirt. Here are some good money belts you can for your Mexico City trip.

3. Be aware of pickpockets

Crowded places like bustling streets, tourist-dense zones around attractions, the city center, the subway, or the Metrobús system are prime areas for pickpockets to lurk.

It’s too easy to get jostled up against strangers that melt back into the crowd, and pickpockets take full advantage of this.

Preferably carry your valuables like your cell phone and wallet in a fully closed bag and difficult to get into without you noticing.

For extra protection, make sure you hold your bag close to your chest when the crowds get close, as this makes it that much harder for them to get to your bag.

4. Use ATM’s in banks

To avoid getting suckered by the ATM scam, stick to ATMs that are inside a bank so that you know they’re real. Don’t take a chance with a random one on the street.

5. Take Sitio Taxis

“Sitio taxis” are what safe, easily traceable taxis are called in CDMX. You can also use Uber if you want; just avoid any random fake taxis stopping in the street — better safe than sorry, am I right?

And if you are traveling to other cities, or doing day trips from Mexico City, try to book your tickets from well-known companies or trustworthy websites. We usually buy our bus and ferry tickets from Bookaway or 12Go.

6. Know the emergency numbers

It’s always handy to know the local police’s number when you’re venturing into a city with a reputation. Dial 911 for the police, and 066 for an ambulance.

It’s also a good idea to know the phone number and address of your country’s embassy or an office with consular services. In case of major events like terrorist attacks or natural disasters, you can ask for consular assistance.

It depends from person to person, but I also like to keep my digital documents saved on my phone and also on a cloud, just in case I lose them.

7. Fake alcohol

Some clubs will sell you fake tequila with an unknown alcohol percentage, which can be dangerous. Check if you’re getting 100% agave tequila before partying the night away.

Another important travel advisory: never leave your drink unattended. This is advice not only for your personal safety in Mexico City but, anywhere in the world, we saw many cases of drinking spiking in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

8. Don’t drink tap water

This is more of a health tip. Tourists should stick to bottled water — no one wants to have to worry about unpleasant bathroom runs on their Mexican holiday.

9. Get Travel Insurance

Even with the best precautions, anything can happen. Get travel insurance and rest easy with peace of mind.

There are many insurances in the market offering medical services and travel coverage, our picks are HeyMondo and SafetyWing. We used both and always had a good experience. Click on the insurance names to get a quote.

10. Be extra careful at night

It is easier to wander into a bad neighborhood, and the robbers are primed to take advantage of the clubbers.

The city is still famous for its nightlife, so don’t hesitate to go out and enjoy it — just don’t get too drunk, as a lot of bad things can happen when you are under the influence of alcohol.

Parties are also connected with Illegal drugs. Be aware of the level of risk you want to face and avoid situations that can put you in danger or are against Mexican Government laws. When you decide to go home, order an Uber rather than walk.

Is it safe to travel to Mexico City? Here are our final thoughts

Mexico City is a beautiful place to visit, and you shouldn’t let some of the dodgier neighborhoods and cartel crimes deter you from your vacation.

Just be safety-savvy and follow our guidelines, and you should leave Mexico City the same way you found it (plus a bunch of souvenirs you just couldn’t resist and unforgettable memories).

And if you face any danger in Mexico City reach out to the Mexican authorities and police for help.

Traveling around Mexico after visiting CDMX?

You can always add Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Tulum, Isla Mujeres (all in Quintana Roo state), or Puerto Vallarta to your travel plans.

They are popular destinations for travelers and with a bit of safety precautions you can enjoy them and have tons of fun.

Want to know more about travel safety?

Here are a few articles you should read before your next Mexican holiday.

Love this Mexico City Safety Guide? Pin it for later!

All you need to know about Mexico City Safety is here! We answer all the questions: - Is Mexico City safe for travelers? - What are the dangers in Mexico City?- Which are the safest neighborhoods in Mexico City?- Scams in Mexico City you need to be aware ofPlus, tips on where to stay, tours, and how to enjoy the incredible CDMX safely.

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