Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now? Everything You Need to Know

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now? Mexico has long been one of my favorite places to travel (and there’s still so much more there I want to see!), but recent news reports had me worried. I wanted to research for myself whether or not it’s safe to travel to Mexico right now; here’s what I uncovered.

Is it Safe to Travel to Mexico Right Now?

mexican flag

Yes. Most states in Mexico have the same US Travel Advisory Level as the UK, France, and the rest of Europe--Level Two. The State Department advises increased caution but allows its employees to travel freely. There are, however, some places you should not visit in Mexico.

I’m sharing more details on travel warnings and advisories to help you decide for yourself.

Understanding Travel Warnings

travel warning sign

Image by bpcraddock from Pixabay

The United States Department of State monitors things like crime and natural disasters and issues safety levels. There are four levels of warning:

  • One: exercise normal precautions
  • Two: exercise increased caution
  • Three: reconsider travel
  • Four: do not travel

Travelers aren’t bound by these levels (except in some rare cases), but these levels do tell you some important information.

First, they indicate the relative safety of the country you’re seeking to visit. An increase in gang activity or political unrest, for example, could cause the State Department to bump up a country’s safety level.

Be Careful in Any Major City

You need to keep in mind, however, that just like some parts of your home city probably aren’t safe to visit after dark, so some parts of other countries are completely safe to visit, even while certain parts should be avoided.

It’s also important to understand that just because there’s an increase in violent activities in the country--homicides, for example--doesn’t mean that travelers and tourists will be impacted. Tourist areas in Mexico, for example, contribute heavily to the country’s GDP, and Mexico has invested in heavily in additional security measures to protect visitors in these popular tourist destinations.  

Europe is on Level Two, Also

And again, keep in mind that most European countries have been issued a Level Two safety warning. This safety warning doesn’t advise against visiting these countries, it just advises using caution, especially if you’re not familiar with the area and don’t speak the language.

That said, not all states in Mexico are safe to travel to. Here’s a list of the different states in Mexico (along with popular travel destinations) and their travel advisories:

Level Two States in Mexico (Exercise Increased Caution)

  • Aguascalientes
  • Baja California (Ensenada, Rosarito, Tijuana)
  • Baja California Sur (Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, La Paz)
  • Campeche
  • Chiapas (Palenque, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Tuxtla Gutierrez)
  • Guanajuato
  • Hidalgo
  • Mexico City
  • Oaxaca (Oaxaca City, Monte Alban, Puerto Escondido, Huatulco)
  • Puebla
  • Queretaro
  • Quintana Roo (Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum, Riviera Maya)
  • Tabasco
  • Tlaxcala
  • Veracruz
  • Yucatan (Chichen Itza, Merida, Uxmal, Valladolid)

Level Three States in Mexico (Reconsider Travel)

  • Chihuahua
  • Coahuila
  • Durango
  • Campeche
  • Estado de Mexico
  • Jalisco (not including Guadalajara Metro area, Riviera Nayarit, Puerto Vallarta, Chapala, and Ajijic)  
  • Morelos
  • Nayarit (not including Riviera Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta, Bahia de Banderas, and Santa Maria del Oro)
  • Nuevo Leon
  • San Luis Potosi
  • Sonora
  • Zapotecas

Level Four States in Mexico (Do Not Travel)

  • Colima
  • Guerrero
  • Michoacan
  • Sinaloa
  • Tamaulipas

You can go here to check the US Department of State’s latest travel advisory warnings for Mexico

As you can see, most of Mexico’s most popular destinations are completely safe and open to tourists, including Cabo San Lucas, Tulum, Cancun, and Mexico City. At this point in the conversation, however, I need to point out that travel to any city, no matter how safe, doesn’t mean you should put your guard down.

As the State Department’s travel advisory suggests, you should travel with increased caution. You don’t have to avoid most places in Mexico, but you do need to use extreme caution in many situations. Here’s how to be aware of your surroundings and avoid potentially dangerous situations.

Travel Dangers to Be Aware of in Mexico

If you’re wondering is it safe to travel to Mexico right now, you need to understand that being in a place you’re unfamiliar with (especially if you don’t speak the language) places you in a vulnerable situation. There are also, however, challenges that are unique to Mexico. Here are some of them:

1. The Police and Legal Systems Work Differently in Mexico Than They Do in the United States

2. It’s Not Always Safe to Drive Yourself

3. Watch Out for the Water (and Ice)

 Tips for Staying Safe While You Travel in Mexico

Is it safe to travel to Mexico right now? Yes, but it’s still important to practice safe travel and tourist practices. Nobody can guarantee your safety anywhere you go, but these practices from the State Department can go a long way in helping you make sure you have a fantastic vacation that you get to return home from!

  • Toll roads in Mexico are typically safer--but even then, you should never drive alone or at night. Also, stick to major cities and roadways.
  • Local bars, clubs, and casinos can be hotspots for illegal activity, so stick to the main ones and be careful when you’re there (and never accept a drink from somebody you don’t know).
  • Avoid any displays of wealth, such as expensive jewelry or watches.
  • If you’re visiting a bank or using an ATM, be extra cautious.
  • For emergency alerts, you can enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) and follow it on Facebook and Twitter.

Here are some additional tips for staying safe while you’re traveling:

  • Make sure somebody at home has a copy of your itinerary and your passport
  • Use reputable hotels and travel agents, and rely on their expertise and advise. These people have a vested interest in making sure you have a safe, enjoyable vacation, and can keep you apprised of places and areas to avoid.
  • Memorize important phone numbers in case you lose your cell phone and need to contact somebody.
  • Be careful when you drink; we all want to enjoy our vacation but do so responsibly. If you are going to get drunk, make sure somebody in your party is staying sober.

The Bottom Line

The bottom line if you’re wondering is it safe to travel to Mexico right now is that, given the right precautions and staying to the Level Two areas, Mexico is an amazing place to visit. That’s great news because Mexico is one of the best places in the world to visit. Happy travels!

Featured Image: Image by Kurious from Pixabay

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