Debunking safety myths: Is Mexico City safe to visit alone?

Is Mexico City safe? It does get really bad press but as one of my favorite cities in the world, I will give you a peek at what it’s like to travel CDMX alone.

📧 Hi Trisha! Thank you for all your solo travel content. Each time I read it, it gives me more courage to travel the world alone like you. I just want you to know that! Here I am again with another question regarding one of the cities you’ve lived in: is Mexico City safe? I heard so many great things about it but I am afraid I will do the wrong thing so your help is very much appreciated! Thank you so much and I hope to meet you in Mexico City!

Audrey Blaisdell, United States
is mexico city safe

Hola, Audrey!

“Is Mexico City safe” is one of the BIGGEST questions I get in this blog and yet it is a valid one. There are so many layers of safety and Mexico, in general, gets a bad press in this department.

Through my personal solo travel journeys all over the world, I have learned that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer to this question, especially in a city notoriously known for being unsafe like Mexico City.

Safety, for me, is subjective and personal but in this article, I will share with you all my experiences about safety in Mexico City (plus expert tips), hoping that you’ll learn something from them and apply it in your travel style.

Good luck and I hope you push through your trip to Mexico City – you won’t regret it!

Xx,
Trisha

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Is Mexico City safe?

Safety perceptions are often subjective and can vary from person to person. What may be considered unsafe in one context might be perceived differently in another.

What safety means to you does not necessarily reflect how I look at safety. With this, I will give you a few points below on why the question “Is Mexico City safe” always pops out:

Crime rates in Mexico City

Mexico City has been known to experience varying levels of crime, including petty theft, mugging, and even more severe violent crimes. The U.S. Department of State has periodically issued travel advisories for Mexico, warning travelers of crime risks.

Media coverage of high-profile criminal activities, such as drug-related violence, adds to the perception that the city is unsafe.

💡 While it’s true that certain areas in Mexico City have higher crime rates, it’s also essential to note that the city is quite large, and many neighborhoods are generally safe, especially in well-policed, touristic zones. This is not unique to Mexico City – this also happens in Europe so take the usual precautions.

Police corruption

There have been reports and perceptions of corruption within the Mexican police force. Bribes and unethical practices can lead tourists to feel unprotected, further exacerbating safety concerns.

Discussion: While corruption can be a problem, it’s not universally experienced by all visitors or even locals. Many travelers go through their entire stay without encountering any issues with the police.

Traffic and road safety

Mexico City is known for its busy streets and sometimes chaotic traffic. The rules of the road are not always strictly followed, which can lead to accidents or a sense of unease for travelers unfamiliar with the local driving style.

mexico city solo travel

Discussion: Road safety can indeed be an issue, but there are alternatives like using reliable public transportation or trusted taxi services to get around the city. Bottom line, do not expect Mexico City to have the same traffic rules as what you are used to. Adapt and explore your options.

Health concerns

Water quality and air pollution are often cited by travelers as concerns when visiting Mexico City. The city’s high altitude can also affect those with respiratory issues.

Discussion: Water quality is a genuine concern, and travelers are often advised to drink bottled water. As for air pollution, conditions have improved over the years due to various environmental initiatives.

Bottom line: Is Mexico City safe?

Mexico City does have safety issues that travelers should be aware of, majority of the travelers have a pleasant and incident-free experience.

Always remember that situation on the ground is different so take it from someone who is currently in Mexico City or has a knowledge of the city.

Anxious about Mexico City solo travel? Join my trip!

I organize yearly trips to Mexico City so if my answers to your questions about “Is Mexico City safe?!” are still not enough, come join my trips and I’ll show you CDMX!

I always say that taking advice from locals is the best way to be but note that safety for a Mexican citizen and a foreign citizen is WAY DIFFERENT.

Mexicans are not treated differently in their country so of course, they will always tell you that Mexico City is safe. They are familiar with their own country and may not live the ways and means of a foreigner living in Mexico City.

Ask digital nomads in Mexico City, join Facebook groups, or consult with people you know who have been. Do not just take it from anyone.

More Mexico Solo Travel Experiences:

🚶‍♀️ Is Mexico City safe at night?

By yourself? NO. If you are with someone, sure, no problem. Although I’ve tried to walk by myself at night in Roma and Condesa areas – nothing happened to me.

mexico city solo travel

As I said, my Mexico City solo travel golden rule: do not walk by yourself at night. Always take the Uber. Uber is so cheap in Mexico it won’t really affect your travel budget.

That’s it. Don’t risk it. Although I never had any bad experiences in traveling Mexico City alone, I just made it a rule for myself and you should too.

🇲🇽 Need help in planning your trip to Mexico City? Get on a 1-1 call with me and I’ll help you plan your itinerary, recommend affordable accommodations, and book cool things to do! [Book a call with Trisha]

🪭 Why I feel safe in Mexico City

I already have friends in Mexico City

As we both know, having friends in a city you want to travel to is different versus knowing no one. This is why the question “Is Mexico city safe” always pops out.

I am sure you are also asking this question because you don’t personally know anyone in Mexico City, or you only heard opinion from people who’ve been (who are not even related to you).

is mexico city safe

As I lived in Mexico City, I already built a community here which makes me super confident in navigating the terrain, including those areas where people tell me not to go.

Of course, I am not dumb and just go to those places by myself. I always make sure that I go with my chilango friends. Their local perspectives (and company) always make me feel at ease.

I speak Spanish

I realized how speaking a language can greatly affect our safety, and much more, our travel experiences. Sure, they know I am a foreigner but I have never been treated one because of my Spanish language skills.

Once I started speaking Spanish, people’s behavior suddenly changed and I was automatically treated like a local! Of course, my language skills are from years of experience traveling Latin America.

is mexico city safe

I do not expect you to wake up on the day of your trip to Mexico City and magically be fluent in Spanish. I do hope you put in the effort though because you will really have a different experience!

My friend Chelsea is an American who is super fluent in Spanish. She’s lived in Mexico and Guatemala and you can probably learn Spanish from her easier!

🤟🏽 Check out Chelseas’s Spanish learning programs and make sure to tell her to offer you a program that is focused on traveling. Don’t overwhelm yourself with a new language and focus on what you only need.

I don’t look like a foreigner

Unfortunately, our world works in a way where our looks matter on how we are treated or not. Many travelers ask: Is Mexico City safe for white people?

Mexico, in general, is not a racist country, but a classist one, specifically in cities like Mexico City and Monterrey. Meaning, white is often attributed to having money and being rich.

For example, if I enter a bar (I am Asian and sort of Latina skin), many people will just think I am Mexican and will not pay attention to me unless I am carrying a YSL handbag or wearing a Louboutin pair of heels.

is mexico city safe

I know this because I have done experiments in Mexico City and Monterrey. I entered the same restaurant for 2 consecutive weeks with different outfits and each time, I was treated differently.

I do not mind being mistaken for being poor or from a third-world country as I am used to this in Mexico City.

I also stopped being annoyed when they change their behavior based on my verification badge on Instagram (read: verified means she’s famous and rich!)

On the other hand, not looking like a foreigner has many benefits. I don’t draw too much attention and nobody really thinks I’m a foreigner (unless they hear my English). I certainly want to keep it this way.

I travel to Mexico City very often

I am sure you have traveled to one city very often where you have doubts about safety in the beginning. Our minds and beliefs need a little getting used to before becoming extremely comfortable in a destination.

is mexico city safe

Exposure leads us to more knowledge and comfort so the more I exposed myself to Mexico City, the more I stopped asking the question “Is Mexico City safe?”

Now I find it ridiculous when someone is asking this question but I make sure that I do not compare my travel experiences in Mexico City to first-timers. That’s simply not right as each of us are unique and different.

Nothing bad happened to me in Mexico City

Of the many times I’ve visited Mexico City in the last 5 years (probably 7 times a year), not a single bad thing happened to me. That also includes the 6 months I lived there.

is mexico city safe

But again, this is me. I cannot guarantee that the same experience will happen to you. Just keep in mind that the majority of travelers who visited Mexico City had a great experience. That, I can assure.

👍 Safest neighborhoods in Mexico City

If you are staying in neighborhoods like Roma, Polanco, and Condesa, you don’t really need to take public transportation and Uber will work well.

If you are worried about transportation safety in Mexico City, stick to these safest neighborhoods. Also opt for a stay in a hostel so that you will feel more confident by having other foreign solo travelers around.

mexico city solo travel

Coyoacan and Juarez, though not very popular neighborhoods are safe to stay in, too. The downtown historic center is also a safe area and this is where all the landmarks and sights are.

I know some of you are not very comfortable with sharing bed dorms (I graduated from that, too!) but hostels also have private rooms for $75 USD per night.

Below are some helpful links to accommodations in Mexico City in the safest areas:

🙅🏽 Areas to avoid in Mexico City

I assume that you will only travel to Mexico City for a few days so you won’t really cover all the areas within a week, not even a month!

couchsurfing safety tips
Super BFFs: We first met in Medellin, then Rio de Janeiro, and then Mexico City! Couchsurfing gave me long-time friends!

Below are some of the areas I do not recommend if you are traveling to Mexico City alone:

  • Tepito: Known for its large informal market, Tepito has a reputation for high crime rates, including theft and drug-related crime.
  • Iztapalapa: This is one of the most populous boroughs in Mexico City and is known for having higher crime rates. While there are cultural events and markets in this area, it is generally recommended that tourists avoid it, especially at night.
  • Colonia Doctores: This neighborhood has some important attractions like the Arena Mexico, but it is also known for crime rates higher than some other parts of the city.
  • Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl: Located on the outskirts of Mexico City, this area is known for its higher crime rates and is generally not a tourist destination.
  • Pantitlán: Known for its busy transit hub, this area can be dangerous, particularly late at night.
  • Mercado Merced: While the market itself is a bustling hub of activity and can be visited during the daytime with due caution, the surrounding areas can be particularly unsafe, especially after dark.
  • La Lagunilla: Similar to Tepito, this area is known for its markets but has a reputation for theft and pickpocketing.
  • Gustavo A. Madero: This borough, particularly around the areas near Indios Verdes, is not considered tourist-friendly and has higher rates of crime.
  • Metro System (late at night): While the Metro is generally safe to use during the day, especially during peak hours, it can be riskier late at night, especially for tourists unfamiliar with the city.

FYI, I have been to all these areas but with a Mexican. I also speak Spanish and I know how to move well around areas like this. It will be different for you and me because I have lived in Mexico for 5 years now.

Navigating these areas takes time and experience so if you are not 100% confident, avoid wandering in these areas.

✨ Safety tips and advice for Mexico City solo travel

Uber is cheap (and safe) in Mexico City

Remember the Mexico City solo travel golden rule: do not walk alone by yourself at night. During the day, it’s totally fine, I assure you. But in the evenings or when it’s dark, always take an Uber ride.

mexico city solo travel

Uber is really cheap in Mexico City. Most rides will only cost you less than $5 USD. When I went from Condesa to Coyoacan, it only cost me $7 USD considering this is not too close to each other.

For short rides within the Condesa, Roma, and Polanco area, you will only pay $2 USD for an Uber ride.

Mexico City’s train is old and not well-maintained

I’m sure that if you are traveling solo, you want to get to know the public transportation of a certain city, especially in Mexico City. I don’t mean to scare you but personally, I never take the train in CDMX.

In May 2021, the train in Mexico City crashed because it is super old and this public transport is not being maintained by the Mexican government.

I’m sure train crashes don’t happen often but still, I will never (again) take this mode of transport when I am in Mexico City.

Earthquakes in Mexico City

In 2017, Mexico was hit by an earthquake and killed thousands of people. It was so strong that the whole region felt it. This is not the first time it happened in Mexico. Earthquakes are very common here.

I am not saying there will be an earthquake when you travel to Mexico City solo but bear in mind that you should know these are natural disasters we do not have control of.

You better know how to respond and not panic. All buildings in Mexico City have safety instructions so make sure to know the exit routes (or what to do) in cases like this.

Don’t show off your gadgets

As a travel blogger and content creator, I always bring cameras and equipment with me. Although there are many artists walking around the city with their tripods and cameras, don’t show off your gadgets when you are by yourself.

mexico city solo travel

It’s best to always bring a backpack to keep all your valuables. Everyone in Mexico has smartphones so I guess if you are going out at night, just take pictures with your phone!

I use the Mosiso gear bag because it’s waterproof. It’s always raining in Mexico City so better take care of your gadgets!

You don’t really get a lot of attention for being white (or black, or any color, really)

Mexico City is very diverse you will not get a lot of attention for being white (or black). I think it’s very important to discuss this because, in some places in Mexico, people make a big deal about your skin color.

is mexico city safe

Not racial discrimination but you know, just being looked at all the time. I get that a lot for being Asian but in Mexico City, nobody takes a second look!

You will get looks for being a foreigner of course but most of that attention is only because you are attractive or exotic. Take it as a compliment!

Booking your accommodation: how to know if it’s the best location

If you are doing a solo trip to Mexico, I highly encourage you to stay in Roma and Condesa areas where it is busier and has more chances for meeting people.

But how do you know you’re booking the right Mexico City accommodation? Honestly, booking platforms don’t really tell you ‘Roma’ or ‘Condesa’ unless you read through the description of the hostel.

I assure you that Metro Boutique Hostal is a good hostel in Roma and also a great reference point for other hostels you might be interested in.

mexico city solo travel

Before booking, go to Google maps and put Metro Boutique Hostal as a starting point to the accommodation you are trying to book.

If it’s a 15-20 minutes walk, then that’s fine – you are within the Roma neighborhood. But if it’s more than that, then you should consider looking for more options.

Street names are also good references. Queretaro, Cordoba, and Guanajuato are great streets in the Roma neighborhood.

These streets are very upbeat and have all the greatest coffee shops, bars, and restaurants in the city. You can use them on Google maps to know the distance of the hostel you are trying to book.

Ladies, you don’t have to be mindful about proper clothing in Mexico City

If you’re an avid reader of this blog, you will know how I express a lot about not wearing bras – I have not worn one since I was 14. It’s a pretty normalized subject for me.

I have to discuss clothing for women in many of my solo travel guides because not all destinations receive things like this the same way.

is mexico city safe

The people of Mexico City are super hipster and fashionable – nobody cares what you’re wearing! You will wear a lot of clothing here (layers) because of the cold weather.

It is very hot in the summer but the evenings can get chilly. Either way, you need to travel to Mexico City with an emergency jacket even during the summer.

Wear what you want! What you’ll love about Mexico City is how artistically expressive everyone is. So far, in the whole country, I was never harassed or attacked because of what I wear. That’s how it should be!

Consider your source

I understand that you will listen to people who are close to you. I mean, why are you even considering my opinions if you don’t me personally? Or any other blogs for that matter.

When we break news to our family and friends that we are going to travel to Mexico City solo, images of terror and crime are what they have for this city.

is mexico city safe

They will tell you what they’ve seen on the news and all that shebang. This can make you discouraged on embarking on your Mexico City solo travel.

It is very valid to consider their opinions but I want you to only listen to people who have experience in traveling Mexico City alone.

It does not have to be a blogger. It can be friends of yours, Facebook groups, forums, info, etc. Make sure the person you are getting your information from has enough experience in Mexico City.

Join my group trip to Mexico City!

Group tours not only enable you to meet people but also encourage and test your social skills. I realized that you can join a group tour all the time but if you are not social enough, then it does not work.

mexico city tour

When you join group tours, you will also get a lot of tips and ideas from travelers about the destination you are visiting. Aside from the Internet, getting first-hand information from other travelers is one of the best ways to discover a place.

I have group tours in Mexico City for solo travelers every year – just get in touch and I will send you information! Each of my group tour is limited to 12 participants only so you’ll have an intimate trip with me!

Get travel insurance

DO NOT travel to Mexico City solo without travel insurance. If you can’t afford insurance, it absolutely means you can’t afford to travel as well.

My favorite travel insurance is SafetyWing (for digital nomad and long-term travel) and Ekta Travel for comprehensive medical insurance starting at $0.99 USD!

Get in touch with me and I’ll introduce you to cool people!

I have so many friends in Mexico City and they’re super cool! Whenever you feel alone and you want an arranged meet-up, get in touch with me and I will connect you to some good people!

⁉️ FAQ: Safety in Mexico City

ABSOLUTELY! Traveling to Mexico City is safe as long as you know the areas to avoid and activities to do. The only thing you have to consider when it comes to safety in Mexico City ‘right now’ are earthquakes. Mexico City is prone to earthquakes (mostly in September) and unfortunately, we really can’t predict when it will come.

Solo female travel safety in Mexico City is personal and subjective. What may be safe for me is not necessarily safe for you so read through my narrative and personal experiences for you to have a comparison. Only you know what’s best for yourself so always go that route.

Yes! Going to downtown Mexico City is safe. In fact, this is where all the activities and things to do in Mexico City take place so whether you are going there alone or signing up for a tour, you will go downtown no matter what. You may be more comfortable going with a tour guide but I assure you that walking here by yourself is safe. Just watch out for petty theft and keep your belongings secure!

YES! Mexico City is a walking city and you can go anywhere on foot, especially in areas like Roma, Condesa, and Historic Downtown. Like in many other big cities in the world, petty theft is common in Mexico City so make sure you have an anti-theft bag and don’t show off your jewelry or gadgets while walking. And don’t J-walk! Always use designated pedestrian lanes.

The safest neighborhoods in Mexico City are Roma, Condesa, and Polanco. Though more expensive than other areas, these neighborhoods are used to tourism and it’s always lively and upbeat.

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4 Comments

  1. I really like your tips on the best neighborhoods to stay in and to take an Uber at night. It’s insider info like that that is really helpful.

  2. Despite all these issues, I still want to visit Mexico City one day. Not gonna lie, the earthquakes terrify me. I also have your skin tone too so I’d probably blend in as well (like I did in Playa del Carmen). Thanks for sharing, this is such a detailed post!

  3. Thank you so much for this well-rounded look at safety in Mexico. We are planning to visit next year, so the tips on areas to stay are noted!

  4. I feel like people often shy away from places like Mexico City when NYC is likely on equal footing. With any major city, comes issues. I do like how you outlined best neighborhoods and such as that would definitely be something I would never have known without reading. Thanks for sharing!

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