The 15 Safest Cities In Mexico For Tourists

Mexico is a captivating country that has long been renowned for its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes. As one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, Mexico offers a diverse range of experiences, from exploring ancient ruins to relaxing on pristine beaches.

However, given the negative perception surrounding the safety of certain areas in Mexico, it is crucial to provide a comprehensive understanding of the current situation.

In this article, we’ll shed light on some of the safest cities in Mexico based on statistics and facts for an unbiased perspective.

Here is the list of the safest cities and places to visit in Mexico:

  1. Merida
  2. Puerto Vallarta
  3. San Miguel de Allende
  4. Cancun
  5. Mexico City
  6. Huatulco
  7. Playa Del Carmen
  8. Tulum
  9. Cozumel Island
  10. Cabo San Lucas
  11. La Paz
  12. Valladolid
  13. Sayulita
  14. Puebla
  15. Oaxaca

Sound good? Let’s dive in and discuss each one of them in detail.

1. Merida – One Of The Safest Cities in Mexico

Merida - safest city in Mexico

Merida boasts the title of being one of the safest cities in Mexico that you can visit. In fact, it holds the impressive distinction of being the second safest city in all of North America, just behind Quebec, Canada. That’s right, Merida outranks even the renowned cities of the United States in terms of safety.

This is not simply anecdotal evidence; it is also supported by statistics. The city manages to rank from ‘Low’ to ‘Very Low’ on every single crime metric recorded. The state of Yucatan is listed under the United States Government’s Level 1 Travel Advisory, meaning it is as safe as can be.

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The reasons behind Merida’s safety achievement vary, but several theories have been proposed. One contributing factor is the active presence of police patrols in neighborhoods, ensuring proactive security measures.

Truth be told, the police force is paid better in Mérida than elsewhere in Mexico. This implies they are less likely to engage in corrupt actions. They also have a well-respected leader who is widely regarded as one of Mexico’s best.

Mérida also boasts an extensive surveillance camera network, with cameras strategically placed at nearly every street intersection. The funding for expanding the city’s camera system comes from a homeowner tax implemented in late 2019.

Must-do activities when you visit Merida:

  • Swim in the cenotes: Explore the unique underwater sinkholes that are scattered around Merida and take a refreshing swim in the crystal-clear waters.
  • Explore the historical center: Visit Plaza Grande, the Cathedral of San Ildefonso, and the Government Palace.
  • Discover Mayan heritage: Take day trips to Uxmal or Chichen Itza ruins.
  • Enjoy the vibrant art scene: Stroll Paseo de Montejo, and visit art galleries and museums.

2. Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta - safest cities in Mexico

Nestled between the rugged Sierra Madre Mountains and the sparkling turquoise waters of the Bay of Banderas, this charming destination offers a harmonious blend of picturesque landscapes, vibrant culture, captivating history, and a lot of sea!

Puerto Vallarta is widely recognized as a safe place to travel in Mexico. This destination consistently receives recognition as one of the friendliest cities globally, according to Travel + Leisure magazine. Moreover, the town has never been subjected to any travel restrictions imposed by countries such as the US.

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In recent years, the local authorities have made considerable efforts to enhance security in Puerto Vallarta. These actions encompassed bolstering the number of police officers, implementing surveillance cameras, and launching community programs. Consequently, Puerto Vallarta continues to be recognized as one of Mexico’s safest locations.

Must-do activities when you visit in Puerto Vallarta

  • Visit the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a symbol of Puerto Vallarta’s charm and heritage.
  • Explore the historic Old Town, known as Zona Romantica, with its charming cobblestone streets and charming architecture.
  • Visit the iconic Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a symbol of Puerto Vallarta’s charm and heritage.
  • Unwind and relax on the beautiful sandy beaches, such as Playa Los Muertos, Yelapa, and Majahuitas.
  • Explore the vibrant Malecón boardwalk lined with shops, restaurants, and local vendors.

3. San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende- safest cities in Mexico

San Miguel de Allende, situated in the state of Guanajuato, Mexico, is a highly sought-after tourist spot. Renowned for its colonial architecture, picturesque landscapes, and welcoming locals, the city captures the hearts of visitors. There is a low crime rate here and you should take precautions as you would in any large city.

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The city has a substantial expat community, comprising approximately 10% of its 175,000 residents. Many expats have relocated from the United States and Canada, drawn by the city’s pleasant climate and welcoming environment.

The expat population plays a significant role in maintaining the city’s safety. Their investments and support of local businesses and the real estate market motivate the Mexican government to prioritize the safety and security of the area.

Furthermore, due to the city’s multicultural environment and the presence of people from diverse backgrounds, you don’t have to be concerned about standing out.

As our tour guide who is an ex-pat from NYC and has lived in the city for the past 11 years mentioned, “The presence of expats and families with young children moving to San Miguel de Allende is a testament to its safety. Families wouldn’t uproot their children and send them to school here if they didn’t think it was safe.”

Must-do activities when you visit San Miguel de Allende:

  • Explore the historic city center, including the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel and the charming cobblestone streets.
  • Visit the Mercado de Artesanías to experience the local handicrafts and artwork.
  • Take a leisurely stroll along Callejón del Beso, famous for its romantic legend and picturesque balconies.

4. Cancun

Cancun - safest cities in Mexico

Cancun, often considered the heart of the Mexican Caribbean, is a popular destination for visitors to the Yucatan Peninsula. Its stunning beaches, fantastic weather, and crystal-clear waters attract thousands of tourists annually.

Because the city generates so much revenue for Mexico from the tourist sector, they have a strong stake in its safety and security.

These include increased police presence, surveillance cameras, and gated entrances in tourist areas like the Hotel Zone. Cancun International Airport has also seen improved security with additional police forces and protection systems to prevent petty crimes targeting travelers.

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Efforts have been made to combat corruption in law enforcement, resulting in the removal of police officers and top-level personnel involved in misconduct.

Collaboration between local companies, tourism workers, and authorities has further contributed to a safer environment. Additional security measures are also in place, including tourist police, state police, National Guard, and naval patrols along the beaches.

Must-do activities when you visit Cancun:

  • Visit the ancient ruins of Chichen Itza, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
  • Explore the underwater world by snorkeling or diving in the famous Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA) or the nearby Great Mayan Reef.
  • Take a day trip to Isla Mujeres, a beautiful island with stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life.
  • Experience the adrenaline rush by zip-lining through the lush treetops in the Mayan jungle.
  • Enjoy the vibrant nightlife in the Hotel Zone, which offers a variety of clubs, bars, and live music venues for all tastes.

5. Mexico City

Mexico City - safest cities in Mexico

Mexico City is an absolute must-mention when discussing the most prominent cities around the globe. However, when it comes to identifying the safest city to visit in Mexico, it tends to slip under the radar—a fact that is, without a doubt, unfortunate.

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Mexico City has made significant strides in recent years. While it may have had a reputation for being unsafe in the past, local leaders have prioritized security and crime prevention. The police and security officers visible especially in tourist areas have made the city a much safer environment for visitors.

In fact, statistics show that Mexico City has lower homicide rates than several major cities in the United States, such as Miami, Boston, Chicago, and Washington D.C.

According to a CNN report, ‘’it’s important not to judge all of Mexico based on certain regions’’. Most of the violent incidents in Mexico occur far away from the capital, and visitors to Mexico City primarily encounter petty crimes.

The U.S. travel advisory for Mexico City advises travelers to exercise increased caution, which is just a Level 2 travel advisory, indicating that it is generally safe to visit.

Must-do activities when you visit Mexico City:

  • Visit the historic center and explore popular landmarks such as the Zocalo, Metropolitan Cathedral, and National Palace.
  • Explore the ancient ruins of Teotihuacan, including the Pyramid of the Sun and the Pyramid of the Moon.
  • Wander through the Frida Kahlo Museum (Casa Azul) in the neighborhood of Coyoacan.
  • Take a boat ride through the enchanting canals of Xochimilco and enjoy the vibrant atmosphere.

6. Huatulco

Huatulco - safest cities in Mexico

Huatulco, located along Mexico’s Pacific Coast, is often regarded as one of the safest cities in the country. The town boasts beautiful beaches and a low crime rate, making it an attractive destination for both tourists and immigrants.

The residents of Huatulco are renowned for their warm and hospitable nature. This stands true even for the taxi drivers who are reputed for treating tourists fairly, thereby enhancing the overall sense of security within the locality. The law enforcement officials in Huatulco are dedicated to combatting crime and have earned a reputation for their prompt and efficient response to any disturbances.

In contrast to certain other regions in Mexico, Huatulco does not grapple with extensive cartel or gang issues. Instances of petty theft are infrequent, and violent crime is exceedingly rare. The town’s low population density and small close-knit community contribute to upholding a safe environment throughout the year, including the peak tourist season.

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A local shared his view about this permanence of safety. He explained what you just read above. He actually laughed when we asked about the safety in Huatulco. He said “Crime? Oh, We have a close-knit community, and people genuinely care about one another here. We may not have a large police force, but they are dedicated to ensuring our safety.”

He continued, “Our town thrives on tourism, and we strive to maintain its reputation as one of the safest places in Mexico.”

So maybe there is some truth in this story? Whatever the reason for Huatulco being Mexico’s Safest City, it’s a super charming place I cannot wait to visit again.

Must-do activities when you visit Huatulco:

  • Explore the stunning Huatulco National Park and its nine beautiful bays
  • Discover pristine beaches like La Entrega and Cacaluta
  • Take a boat tour to visit the enchanting waterfalls of Copalita
  • Snorkel or dive in the vibrant coral reefs of Huatulco
  • Enjoy a scenic hike to the viewpoint of Monte Alban to admire the ancient ruins and breathtaking views.

7. Playa Del Carmen

Playa Del Carmen - safest cities in Mexico

Playa del Carmen in Quintana Roo, Mexico, has become a sought-after destination on the Riveria Maya. Originally a small fishing village, it has now become a trendy hotspot for beach vacations. Its stunning ocean, pristine beaches, and relaxed vibe offer a refreshing retreat.

But, just how safe is Playa del Carmen for tourists? Let’s break it down

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Despite a slight increase in violence for a long time, Playa del Carmen now stands as one of Mexico’s safest cities for tourists. The city has proactively bolstered its security measures, augmenting the police force from 538 to 961 officers. This comprehensive approach ensures heightened surveillance, effective crime prevention, and swift response times.

A testament to its dedication to visitor welfare is the Tourist Assistance and Protection Center (CAPTA). As the state’s first organization of its kind, CAPTA aims to provide unwavering support to travelers, ensuring their safety and promptly addressing any issues that may arise.

Must-do activities when you visit Playa del Carmen:

  • Visit 5th Avenue for shopping and dining
  • Snorkel or dive in the Cozumel reefs
  • Explore the cenotes for a unique swim
  • Discover the Mayan ruins of Tulum
  • Relax on the beautiful beaches of Playa del Carmen

8. Tulum

Tulum - safest cities in Mexico

Tulum, situated on the breathtaking Maya Riviera, is a remarkable destination. This charming coastal town is renowned for its well-preserved Mayan ruins, lush jungles, and captivating historical sites. Tulum also boasts a vibrant nightlife and pristine beaches to unwind and bask in the sun.

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According to the Security Advisory Council, Tulum is considered “moderately safe.” Similarly, the US State Department travel advisory for Quintana Roo, including Tulum, is set at Level 2, which means travelers should “exercise increased caution.”

Keep in mind that other popular tourist destinations like Italy, France, and Spain also have similar Level 2 advisories without raising safety concerns among most travelers.

Early this year the city launched new measures to reduce crime and keep tourists safe. This included projects like installing more cameras and putting panic buttons at bus stops.

Tulum is experiencing a boost in its hotel occupancy rates, currently operating at approximately 80% capacity in most regions. This noteworthy statistic reflects the unwavering interest of tourists, who remain undeterred by the previously reported surge in crime rates.

Must-do activities when you visit Tulum:

  • Explore the nearby Coba ruins and climb the ancient pyramid for a stunning view of the surrounding area.
  • Take a boat tour to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve and observe its diverse wildlife.
  • Snorkel or dive in the Great Mayan Reef, the second-largest coral reef system in the world.
  • Visit the Tulum Art Club to admire contemporary artwork inspired by the region.

9. Cozumel Island

Cozumel Island - Safest Cities in Mexico

Cozumel Island, located off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, is a stunning Caribbean destination renowned for its white sandy beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant coral reefs. As the largest inhabited island in Mexico, Cozumel offers a rich blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.

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Cozumel is widely recognized as a secure destination for both tourists and inhabitants. The island boasts an impressively low crime rate, surpassing many cities in Latin America and North America. Authorities maintain a strong police presence, while locals and tourists alike actively watch out for one another.

The island’s geographical isolation from the rest of Mexico makes it even safer. Moreover, being a popular port for cruise ships, the cruise port undergoes rigorous security measures to guarantee the well-being of passengers as they come and go.

Must-do activities when you visit Cozumel:

  • Explore the Chankanaab National Park, known for its vibrant marine life and stunning coral reefs
  • Take a boat tour to visit the famous Palancar and Columbia reefs, ideal for snorkeling and diving.
  • Visit Tulum, an ancient Mayan archaeological site.
  • Ride an ATV or jeep through the scenic Punta Sur Eco Beach Park, known for its beaches, lighthouse, and beautiful landscapes.

10. Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas - Safest Cities in Mexico

Cabo San Lucas, situated in Baja California Sur, is an attractive destination renowned for its picturesque beaches, top-notch golf courses, and abundant outdoor activities. With a well-developed tourist infrastructure and minimal crime rates, the area draws numerous visitors and expats seeking both relaxation and adventure.

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Given that Cabo San Lucas is a renowned resort destination, it prioritizes the well-being of its visitors by implementing robust safety measures. Numerous resorts and businesses in the area employ dedicated security personnel, bolstering the overall safety of the city. Consistently positive feedback from exit surveys further affirms that many tourists claim to feel safe during their stay in Cabo San Lucas.

In a recent interview, the Deputy Attorney who has authority over Los Cabos discussed the safety situation in this renowned tourist area. According to him and figures from Mexico’s data gathering institution, INEGI, “Cabo is the fourth safest city in the country.” The list includes 75 distinct Mexican cities.

As a result, the Cabo region is effectively the fourth safest metropolitan area in Mexico. It also ranks first among all popular tourist locations on the list. The survey included questions like, “Have you been witness to a violent crime in the last months?”

Must-do activities when you visit Cabo San Lucas:

  • Take a boat tour to Land’s End – explore the nearby Lovers Beach and Divorce Beach
  • Explore the Los Cabos Marina – a bustling hub with shops, restaurants, and a variety of water activities available.
  • Explore El Arco de Cabo San Lucas: Visit the iconic rock formation known as “The Arch.”
  • Take a sunset sail: Enjoy a romantic cruise with stunning sunset views.
  • Visit the Beach: Relax on the sand, swim, and enjoy water sports at Medano Beach.

11. La Paz

La Paz - Safest Cities in Mexico

La Paz is the capital city of the state of Baja California Sur and is located on the eastern coast of the Baja California Peninsula. It’s known for its stunning beaches, vibrant marine life, and laid-back atmosphere.

La Paz is known as a quiet and peaceful fishing town that is deemed safe for both travelers and locals.

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The local authorities are committed to enhancing the overall safety of the community and ensuring it remains so. The La Paz police maintain constant vigilance, closely monitoring the activities of beach vendors and providing regular patrols throughout the city’s streets and local establishments.

Their active presence significantly contributes to maintaining low crime rates in the city. In general visitors will only need to be mindful of petty theft and scams carried out by street-side vendors, as these are quite common occurrences.

Must-do activities when you visit La Paz:

  • Explore Espiritu Santo Island’s pristine beaches and vibrant marine life.
  • Take a scenic drive along the Baja Peninsula’s stunning coastline.
  • Visit the iconic La Paz Malecon and enjoy breathtaking sunset views.
  • Snorkel or dive with friendly whale sharks in the Sea of Cortez.
  • Discover the historic charm of La Paz Cathedral and surrounding vibrant city squares.

12. Valladolid

Valladolid - Safest Cities in Mexico

Valladolid possesses an immense appeal that sets it apart from other destinations. Although it is gradually attracting more attention from travelers, Valladolid remains relatively undiscovered.

As a result, this city allows visitors to fully immerse themselves in genuine Mayan culture and history, an experience that is not easily attainable in popular beach towns such as Cancun and Tulum.

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This charming magical town is not only one of the most secure cities in the country but it is also located in the safest state of Mexico. You will notice that the locals are incredibly friendly, even by Mexican standards!

There is no reason to be concerned about crime, violence, or other potential threats. You may spot the National Guard stationed in the major plaza or while driving around town. While their presence may seem unexpected to outsiders, these guards are there to provide you with peace of mind.

This is one of those areas where you can go for an evening stroll or run out to the convenience shop without feeling the need to constantly peek over your shoulder. So you can rest confident that visiting Valladolid, Mexico is completely risk-free.

Must-do activities when you visit Valladolid:

  • Swim in a Cenote: Take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear cenotes.
  • Visit Choco-Story: Explore the chocolate museum and taste different varieties.
  • Explore Mayan Beekeeping: Learn about sustainable beekeeping practices and taste local honey.
  • Admire San Servacio Church: Marvel at the beautiful Spanish colonial architecture.
  • Indulge in Mercado Municipal: Enjoy the flavors of Valladolid at the bustling market.

13. Sayulita

Sayulita - Safest Cities in Mexico

Sayulita, a charming town in Nayarit on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, is known for its vibrant surfing community and relaxed atmosphere. Located at the southern tip of the state, this colorful beach destination attracts both experienced and novice surfers.

The crime index here is at a low level. To give you a more well-rounded understanding of safety in Sayulita, I’ll share fact-backed data.

With natural disasters aside, did you know that Sayulita was one of the safest places to travel in Mexico with (on average) only 379 incidents in a year? To put that into perspective, the national average is 1,601 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants. Sayulita is small of course but when comparing to the national scale you can immediately see the reassuring number gap.

According to the US Travel Advisory, Sayulita has been classified as a secure destination for travelers. The official advice is “maintain normal precautions when visiting Sayulita”. Plus there are no travel limitations imposed by the US government on trips to Sayulita.

The UK government travel advisory also acknowledges Sayulita as a safe travel destination. This recognition should provide assurance regarding the city’s safety.

Must-do activities when you visit Sayulita:

  • Surf at the Sayulita Beach
  • Explore the colorful Sayulita Mercado
  • Hike through the lush Sayulita Jungle
  • Take a boat tour to the Marietas Islands
  • Enjoy refreshing drinks and live music at Sayulita’s beachfront bars

14. Puebla

Puebla - Safest Cities in Mexico

Puebla, known as the “City of Angels,” is a captivating destination in Mexico. Located just a few hours away from Mexico City, Puebla offers a rich cultural heritage, stunning colonial architecture, and mouth-watering cuisine. With its charming streets, vibrant markets, and impressive historical sites, Puebla attracts thousands of tourists each year.

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While the crime numbers in Puebla may appear high, according to the latest data from Mexico’s National Public Security System, most of these crimes are petty thefts and non-violent incidents that rarely occur in touristy areas.

Moreover, Puebla has received recognition from renowned publications worldwide. National Geographic Magazine included Puebla in their prestigious list of the top 10 cities in the world worth visiting.

Similarly, Lonely Planet readers voted Puebla as one of the top 10 cities to visit, and The New York Times ranked it at #13 on their list of recommended cities to explore. All of these sources cannot be wrong in recommending a risky city to visit.

The city’s dedication to tourism safety, the presence of security personnel, and its commitment to sustainable tourism all contribute to creating a secure environment for visitors.

Must-do activities when you visit Puebla:

  • Explore the historic city center and visit the stunning Puebla Cathedral, a UNESCO World Heritage site known for its beautiful architecture.
  • Visit the Amparo Museum to delve into Mexico’s rich history and art.
  • Take a guided tour of the Great Pyramid of Cholula, the largest pyramid in the world.
  • Sample the famous mole poblano, a traditional Mexican dish, at one of Puebla’s renowned restaurants.
  • Discover the colorful traditions and vibrant street art of Puebla at the Alley of the Frogs.

15. Oaxaca

Oaxaca - Safest Cities in Mexico

Oaxaca, the capital city of the state with the same name, possesses the charm and tranquility of a traditional Mexican town. It distinguishes itself by maintaining a lower crime rate compared to neighboring cities, making it a safer choice for tourists in Mexico.

Recent statistics from Mexico’s Secretariat of Security and Civilian Protection confirm Oaxaca’s favorable standing in terms of crime rates nationwide.

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This positive safety record can be attributed to various factors. Oaxaca’s location in the southern part of Mexico, slightly off the beaten path, contributes to its lower population density and reduced likelihood of overcrowding—factors often associated with tourist-targeted crime in more popular destinations.

In fact, a significant majority (80%) of both locals and past visitors report feeling safe walking in Oaxaca at night, reflecting the sense of security prevalent in the city. Furthermore, it is worth noting that the US State Department has not imposed any travel restrictions on Oaxaca City, which serves as a testament to its overall safety.

Must-do activities when you visit Oaxaca:

  • Explore the vibrant markets, such as Mercado 20 de Noviembre
  • Take a tour of the beautiful Santo Domingo de Guzmán church
  • Discover the traditional art of alebrijes at the Museo de Arte Popular de Oaxaca
  • Sample the delicious local cuisine, including tlayudas and mole


Final Thoughts

All in all, knowing the safest and the dangerous cities in Mexico is crucial for anyone planning to visit or live in the country. The top cities mentioned in this article have been recognized for their low crime rates and robust security measures.

However, it is important to conduct personal research and gather additional information before finalizing travel plans. By taking the time to understand the safety conditions of each city, you can make informed decisions and prioritize their well-being during their time in Mexico.