Is Mexico City Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Mexico City is safe overall since the government has increased police presence in the majority of neighborhoods in recent years.

However, you should always exercise caution. To make sure you have a safe trip, there are a few things you should be aware of when visiting Mexico City. Read on to learn about those. 

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February 19, 2024 – Mexico City’s murder rate has allegedly dropped by half in 2023

According to official data, the general public’s sense of insecurity has improved and the rates of “high-impact” crimes, such as murder, kidnapping, and robbery, have decreased overall since 2019.

Most startlingly of all, killings in the nation’s capital seem to have decreased by half.

The murder rate in Mexico City has decreased to 8 per 100,000, which is comparable to US cities like Los Angeles and Phoenix. The country’s murder rate in 2022 was 25.2 per 100,000 people, with more than 30,000 murders for the fifth year in a row.

Hundreds of remote workers from the U.S. and Europe are moving to Mexico City for a less expensive cost of living.

Official Travel Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory for Mexico City

According to the U.S. State Department, travelers should exercise increased caution due to crime.

There is violent and nonviolent crime all over Mexico City. Use additional caution when far away from popular tourist neighborhoods where police are more often on duty. Keep in mind that petty criminal activity is common in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

Canada Travel Advisory

The Canadian government advises its citizens to take the following precautions when traveling to Mexico -in general-. 

  • Maintain constant vigilance.
  • Stick to tourist areas.
  • Exercise extreme caution on major highways.
  • Refrain from traveling during the night.
  • Stay updated with local media reports.

Additionally, they claim that protests and roadblocks are frequent throughout the nation, saying that they occur frequently in:

  • Mexico City, including to and from the airport
  • The states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca

They also caution that these occurrences might not end immediately, which could result in shortages of fresh food, medicine, and fuel.

Areas to avoid in Mexico City

In Mexico City, areas like Tepito, Neza, Ecatepec, Doctores, and Iztapalapa are unsafe.

Doctors is safer now but you still need to exercise increased caution when visiting. 

If you fly into Mexico, you will arrive in Neza because it is the neighborhood where Benito Juarez International Airport is located. So, be careful. 

Finally, even locals consider Tepito to be extremely dangerous. So, avoid this area as much as you can. 

Common Scams

Even though it’s highly unlikely that anything bad will occur, be aware of these scams if you’re considering a trip to Mexico City.

Watered-down drinks: At times, bartenders may pour watered-down alcohol from pre-mixed bottles or intentionally skimp on the alcohol content. To avoid falling victim to this scam, only patronize reputable drinking establishments.

Counterfeit currency: Keep a close eye on vendors or cashiers in Mexico City to prevent being shortchanged or having your bills switched without your knowledge. Minimize this risk by paying with exact change whenever possible and remaining vigilant.

Express kidnappings: Express kidnappings are among the most frightening scams in Mexico City. In these incidents, a fraudulent taxi driver may abduct you and force you to withdraw money from various ATMs. Although extremely rare nowadays, it’s essential to remain vigilant and exercise caution.

Expensive and/or fake souvenirs: One of the most common scams in Mexico City involves the sale of overpriced or counterfeit souvenirs passed off as genuine or more valuable. Exercise caution, especially when purchasing jewelry or silver items, and be wary of claims that something is an “authentic relic.”

Virtual kidnapping: Ironically, if you have a decent command of Spanish, you might become a target for this scam. Occasionally, strangers on the street may ask you to complete a form or survey, which requires providing a contact number. Later, you may receive a call from someone falsely claiming to have abducted one of your friends or family members, demanding ransom money for their release. If this occurs, remain calm and simply hang up.

Fraudulent ATMs: Beware of street-facing ATMs not affiliated with banks, as they may swallow or clone your card. Mitigate this risk by using only ATMs located inside banks and never leaving your credit or debit cards unattended.

Safety tips for Mexico City

  • Familiarize yourself with emergency contact numbers: Maintain a list of essential numbers on both your phone and a separate piece of paper. In Mexico City, dial 911 for the police, and access ambulances and fire services at 066 or 080. Additionally, carry the contact information for your home country’s embassy and any personal emergency contacts.
  • Blend in: Avoid standing out by dressing appropriately for Mexico City. Refrain from wearing shorts, sandals, and tank tops when the local attire typically consists of jeans and sweaters. Dressing appropriately ensures you blend in seamlessly with the urban environment.
  • If faced with robbery, refrain from resistance: Prioritize your safety over material possessions. Allow the perpetrator to take what they desire, as belongings such as purses, phones, and money can be replaced.
  • Keep copies of travel documents accessible: Carry photocopies of your travel documents to present if requested. Inform any individuals requiring documentation that the originals are secured at your hotel.
  • Utilize secure transportation options at night: Particularly when traveling solo, opt for authorized taxi ranks or utilize ride-sharing services like Uber instead of flagging down cabs on the street. Ensure your taxi driver utilizes the meter to guarantee accurate fare calculation during the journey.
  • Acquire basic Spanish language skills: Given the lower prevalence of fluent English speakers in urban areas compared to beach locales, learning essential Spanish phrases will aid in navigating your surroundings.
  • Exercise caution with cash handling: Carry only the necessary amount for the day, preferably divided between two different locations for added security. When withdrawing money, exercise vigilance.
  • Be mindful of local cuisine: To avoid illness, patronize food stalls recommended by locals, ensuring both reliability and affordability. Additionally, opt for bottled water over tap water while in Mexico City.
  • Conceal valuable possessions: Refrain from displaying conspicuous items like flashy jewelry or designer watches. Carry your camera in a bag rather than around your neck, and secure wallets and purses in less accessible pockets.