The 8 Most Dangerous Places To Avoid In Mexico

Mexico is a country where danger and beauty coexist. On the one hand, some cities are perfectly safe and offer breathtaking scenery. On the other hand, some places are affected by crime, poverty, and violence.

But if you’re afraid to go to Mexico, don’t cancel your plans yet. Instead, keep reading to discover the risks the most dangerous cities and places in Mexico pose.

This article will also look at the safety situation in Mexico to see if it’s getting better or just getting worse.

Let’s get started (:

Is Mexico Dangerous to Visit?

Do you want the truth?

No, Mexico is not considered a dangerous place to visit but it’s best for tourists to take precautions and research the area they plan to visit in advance to ensure a pleasant and secure stay in Mexico.

Because of safety concerns, some areas of Mexico currently have increased travel advisories. I urge all visitors to Mexico to put their personal safety first, maintain awareness of current public health issues, and take all appropriate measures to protect themselves.

Most dangerous places to avoid in Mexico

Why is Mexico dangerous?

First, it’s important to note that when I use the word “dangerous” in this article, I’m talking about people, not things like rabid animals or environmental risks.

Putting aside the usual stereotypes about Mexicans, the drug trade is often why some parts of Mexico are so dangerous. Many cartels work in Mexico but focus on specific areas (usually where most drugs are made or used). There may also be cultural factors at play, such as a general lack of friendliness toward tourists or acceptance of people of different ethnic backgrounds.

Things are slowly but surely getting better as a whole. Mexico has always been popular with tourists, so the government ensures everyone’s safety is as good as possible. Drug cartels in Mexico don’t want to hurt tourists, especially Americans, because it hurts their business.

With all this talk about bad places in Mexico, it would be wrong not to talk about some of the safe places in Mexico because there are many worth discussing.

Even though some parts of Mexico have a terrible reputation for being unsafe for foreign tourists because of several things, many beautiful and safe places in Mexico make it one of the most visited countries in the world. These include Yucatan, Mérida, Puerto Escondido, Oaxaca, etc. Also, if you are from the U.S., Europe, or Canada, you are usually very safe in Mexico if you don’t do anything illegal and take safety measures.

The 8 Most Dangerous Places To Avoid In Mexico (Revealed)

dangerous cities to avoid in Mexico

Certain areas in Mexico pose significant safety risks and are strongly advised to be avoided. Contrary to popular belief, most Mexican cities are safe. While it is true that specific problems may arise, they are relatively rare and limited to particular areas in Mexico.

Keeping this in mind, here are some of Mexico’s most dangerous cities to avoid supposedly:

1. Tijuana

Tijuana (or TJ) may not be at the top of your list of places to visit because it has a bad reputation for violent crime and drug gangs at war with each other. In recent years, though, it’s had a makeover with a growing food and art scene. So, as a tourist, you should only get into a bit of trouble here if you want to join a gang.

Over the past ten years, there have been a lot of shocking news stories about violent crimes in Tijuana. As a result, many travelers think the city is too dangerous to visit.

The media loves to exaggerate and make a big deal out of all this because it makes for exciting news. They make it sound like Tijuana is a war zone that is still going on.

There are, of course, risks to going to Tijuana. The risks are manageable, though, if you take a few simple steps. Crime, including classic travel scams like being overcharged, is the most significant risk for travelers in Tijuana.

In reality, these crimes happen, but they almost always involve organized criminals or drug cartel members dealing drugs or trafficking. No one is out to get tourists. Most of these killings happen in poor and working-class areas outside the city center, not in tourist areas.

Tijuana isn’t the safest city, so it’s always a good idea to stay alert and learn how to stay out of trouble. Also, you can do some important things to lower your chances of getting into trouble in Tijuana. You can travel in a group, only stay in well-known parts of the city, choose hotels with good reputations, and avoid going out at night.

The Verdict

You don’t have to dismiss this vibrant city because of what others have said. Tijuana is not entirely risk-free, but you can minimize those dangers by staying in designated tourist areas.

2. Acapulco

Acapulco is one of the best places to visit in Mexico because of its sandy beaches and lively nightlife. This beautiful bay has much to offer, from water sports to vibrant nightlife and great food. Acapulco still has problems, though.

Acapulco used to be one of the most popular places for Hollywood stars to go, but now it’s not as popular as it used to be. This is mainly because the city has a terrible name for violence and crime. People started hearing stories about dead bodies washing up on the shore and body parts found in the streets, which scared tourists away.

There was a time when Acapulco was one of the most dangerous places in Mexico, and no one wanted to go there. Criminal gangs from the area took over the city and turned it into what was almost a warzone.

This is no longer the case, though. Even though you shouldn’t go anywhere near the slums outside of Acapulco, the tourist areas are now entirely safe thanks to the work of government agencies.

The Verdict

Determining the safety of Acapulco can be challenging. However, if you plan to visit this city, I strongly recommend exercising caution and remaining vigilant about your surroundings.

3. Coatzacoalcos

Coatzacoalcos, in the northern part of the Mexican state of Veracruz, is one of the major port cities. The city has beautiful beaches and miles of coastline, but visitors should know it is not a safe destination. Not only would visitors feel threatened, but so would locals.

While the murder rate is low compared to other cities, there has been an increase in other violent crimes, drug dealing, and muggings. If at all possible, you should stay away from the downtown and historic districts.

This prompted the federal government to deploy troops and police officers to the region a few years ago. Even though safety has improved, you should avoid the area entirely or visit at risk.

The Verdict

Even though the city’s beaches are beautiful and the shoreline goes on for miles, Coatzacoalcos may not be the safest place to visit.

4. Sinaloa State

Beautiful beaches and a thriving cultural scene have made Sinaloa a tourist hotspot. However, the history of drug cartels in the area has also earned it a reputation for bloodshed. Therefore, it is essential to learn about the current safety conditions in Sinaloa before making travel plans. Even though there have been ongoing criminal acts, many tourists have visited the area and had trouble-free vacations.

Some parts of Sinaloa have a reputation for having more crime than others. Travelers should make every effort to avoid these areas. For instance, drug cartel violence has been a problem in Culiacán. Although it is possible to travel to Culiacán without incident, most travelers should avoid the area unless they have a good reason to be there.

While drug cartel violence has been an issue in Sinaloa in the past, it’s important to remember that the perpetrators often aim for members of other cartels or rival gangs rather than random bystanders or tourists. If you don’t partake in illegal activities or hang out with violent types, you won’t have to worry too much about being a victim of violence.

However, being cautious and aware of your surroundings in Sinaloa is still essential. Stay alert and aware constantly; for instance, avoid exploring unfamiliar areas, especially at night.

It’s also important to note that many areas of Sinaloa have made great strides in recent years toward reducing cartel violence. For instance, new security policies and substantial investments in law enforcement have contributed to a general decline in crime rates across the state.

The Verdict

There is no need for safety concerns when visiting Sinaloa. However, staying alert and taking reasonable precautions when exploring this stunning state of Mexico is essential.

Mexico dangerous cities

5. Cancun

Cancun is a lively city on the Yucatán Peninsula by the Caribbean Sea. It is known for its beautiful sandy beaches with playful waves, great resorts where you can swim and fish, and fascinating cultural landmarks. Yet, despite the fun parties, catchy music, and hypnotic dancing, many tourists planning a trip to this place worry about their safety.

Cancun has some crime, just like any other place with many tourists. Most tourists who go to Cancun, though, are acceptable.

Cancun’s crime rate is the same as that of many big U.S. cities. Most crimes are related to drug trafficking, turf wars, and gang violence. Tourists are rarely the target; you shouldn’t have to worry if you stay out of trouble. Compared to other cities in Mexico, Cancun’s crime rate is still pretty low, so you shouldn’t worry too much about crime while you’re there.

The Mexican government has sent more police officers and security systems around Cancun International Airport to stop minor crimes that mostly target tourists.

The Verdict

All things considered, Cancun is a safe place to visit as long as you follow some basic safety rules.

6. Chihuahua

Chihuahua, the largest state in Mexico, may have a smaller tourist industry, but it is still worth visiting.

Are you aware that Chihuahua is home to the most extensive canyon system in the world? In addition, there are numerous other natural attractions. But what about the security issues in Chihuahua? This destination is not typically recommended for those unfamiliar with Mexico or lacking travel experience.

Renowned for its Baroque Cathedral and rich history of significant Mexican events, this city is the most strongly advised against travel destination in all of Mexico. Based on my research, Chihuahua State has a high crime rate, particularly regarding pickpocketing.

The city is currently under a significant security alert, which has led to its inclusion on the list of places to avoid in Mexico. Although certain areas near the border and some parts of the state have previously witnessed violence, Chihuahua City currently provides numerous safe places and activities for visitors. This is mainly due to the government’s implementation of adequate security measures.

The Verdict

Chihuahua is an excellent place to explore if you know what to do, take the proper safety measures, and stay aware of your surroundings.

7. Mazatlán

Mazatlán stands out among Mexico’s colonial towns as it is located directly on the coast. The city boasts miles of stunning beaches, a vibrant cultural scene that thrives throughout the year, delectable fresh seafood, and a welcoming community of locals and expats.

Many people express concerns about visiting Mazatlán due to its location in the Mexican state of Sinaloa. Although the sandy beaches may appear enticing, the city can be alarming. Crime exists in every corner of the world, even in the most serene and peaceful places. Yes, there is some crime in Mazatlán, but most of it consists of petty crimes.

In recent years, the Mexican government has significantly enhanced security measures in Mazatlán. As a result, the city now experiences regular and frequent patrols to ensure the safety of its residents and visitors.

When traveling to any destination in Mazatlán, it is essential to remember that perfect safety cannot be guaranteed, especially during late hours. However, staying within the boundaries of tourist zones when exploring alone at night is advisable.

The Verdict

Even though it’s not entirely risk-free there, you shouldn’t have any problems in Mazatlán if you take appropriate safety measures.

8. Mexico City

Truth be told, in terms of population, Mexico City easily takes the cake. Depending on what you read, it’s either a safe place to go or a place you should avoid. There’s a lot to unpack here because the city is more complicated.

It depends on what part of the city you’re talking about because every big city has terrible areas. Even though violent crime happens in Mexico City, it’s important to remember that it can occur in any large city.

If you stay in the “good” and touristy parts of Mexico City, like Roma, the Historical Center, and Polanco, you’ll feel like you’re in a friendly, safe place. Even though you should take the usual precautions for big cities in these nice areas, they are still as safe as any other big city in Europe or North America.

Most dangerous and illegal things in Mexico City happen in a few neighborhoods. If you stay away from all these places, you won’t encounter any problems on your trip.

The Verdict

Many people worry about how dangerous Mexico City is. But if you research and come prepared, it’s easy to visit safely.

What Is The Most Dangerous City In Mexico?

Because of its high murder rate and drug-related violence, Tijuana is the most dangerous city in Mexico. It is also a major center for human trafficking and organized crime because it is close to the U.S. border and the main entry point for drugs from South America.

Final Thoughts

In general, I am not suggesting that you should avoid visiting Mexico. No, not at all. This remarkable country has a rich history, unspoiled jungles, and unparalleled beaches. However, exercising caution and making appropriate plans is crucial, which is where this list of the most dangerous places in Mexico can assist.

Although the crime rate in Mexico is increasing, specific locations remain relatively safe for tourists. If you’re looking for more safe alternatives to enjoy your vacation, check out my article on the safest cities in Mexico.