Is Mexico Safe To Visit?

Is Mexico Safe To Visit?

By |2016-07-21T23:46:40-04:00April 4th, 2013|Mexico|52 Comments

Is Mexico Safe to Visit

“Is Mexico safe to visit?” is a question that not only am I asked quite often but a question that I see popping up all across the internet as well. And due to the fact that, just about ten days ago, I finished leading my two-week Wander Across Mexico tour, a tour that involved me taking a group of ten fellow travelers around this very country, I figured this would be a good time to bring the topic up on my blog.

During those two weeks that we were in Mexico, our group visited approximately ten different destinations located in four different states. We slept in six different towns and cities and we covered a distance of around 2000 kilometers (1200 miles) from the starting point, Playa del Carmen, to the ending point, Oaxaca. Basically, we traveled across the entire southern part of Mexico.

And while I could write an entire post telling you that Mexico is much safer than you imagine, assuming you don’t wander around the far northern areas where the overwhelming majority of the drug violence occurs, I decided that I would ask the travelers who participated in my tour to share their thoughts instead.

Asking the Group – Is Mexico Safe to Visit?

Keep in mind that even though everyone was on a ‘tour’, there was plenty of free time mixed in to the itinerary and this group would often wander around in smaller groups or simply on their own, without me around at all, in just about every place that we visited. They went out during the mornings, afternoons and yes, even late at night, throughout the tour.

Now you might have also noticed from my previous posts about this Mexico trip that the majority of the group were females. As a result, I figured that their input would be especially valuable considering how many people, both males and females, feel that traveling to a country such as Mexico would be quite dangerous.

Hanging Out in Mexico - Is Mexico Safe to Visit?

So, I made the following request, via email, to everyone on the tour a few days after it came to an end: “I was wondering if you could provide a few lines just about Mexico in general and whether or not you felt unsafe at any time in that country.”

And this is what they had to say…

Maybe it was the smiling children, or the Mayan woman who invited us into her home for lunch, or the friendly greetings of “Hola, como estas, buenos dias” everywhere I went…..but “dangerous Mexico” is not a concept that I encountered, especially in the region we traveled. Don’t believe everything you hear….get out there and decide for yourself!

I’ve already been asked several times since my return if anything dangerous had happened. It just goes to show the level of propaganda people take so seriously is hugely misleading. I’d be MORE than HAPPY to SPREAD THE WORD THAT MEXICO IS SAFE!! Obviously you didn’t take us to the parts we shouldn’t go to where it is known for being dodgy, but you can generally cover a broad part of the country, visiting city after city without having to worry about anything. Not once did I feel threatened. Mexico was incredibly friendly and laid back, I never sensed any danger even when it was a few of us walking back home from a late night out. Anastasia and I went for a walk in Playa, it was after 9 (which isn’t that late) but we walked to parts where it was deserted and not once did I feel like someone was going to jump out of nowhere and attack us. I saw regular people out with their families and friends, people with their partners or on their own having a good time without hurting anyone. You can walk the streets of Mexico, smile at someone and get a genuine smile back without having to worry you may have rubbed someone the wrong way.

During the time I was in Mexico, I think I told at least 5 people I was with that I felt safer walking around the streets there than I do back home (Northern California). There was not a single point during the tour that I felt unsafe.

As for personal safety, I felt safer in Mexico at night than I do in Denver. People are friendly, respectful and polite. At no time on this trip did I feel threatened or unsafe. It has to be mentioned that I did not wander into the deep neighborhoods of the outskirts looking for drugs or weapons. 😉 And regardless of where you are traveling one should be aware, cautious, prepared and use some common sense! The areas of Mexico that we traveled to are not a threat to anyone’s life or health.

Cafe in Izamal - Is Mexico Safe to Visit?

Mexico has a reputation for being dangerous and unsafe, but after spending about 3 weeks there in a few different places I feel this is quite undeserved. At no point during my travels did I ever feel unsafe. To the contrary, I was surprised at how safe it was and how relaxed the atmosphere felt.

Ken & Heather
During our entire trip in Mexico we did not feel concerned about our safety. We did note the policia made their presence clearly known. We live in Los Angeles, so we are used to being fairly vigilant and guarded against the deluge of clinically insane people wandering the streets here. While visiting various towns on the tour, we noted a strong sense of community. Families were out enjoying themselves even late at night, and many families had hand crafted gifts for sale. When we could not locate a restaurant or lavanderia, getting help with directions was fairly easy. Of course, the directions were not always accurate, but locals seemed happy to offer assistance any way they could.

As far as safety in Mexico, I can only repeat what I have told a few friends and that is that I felt safer in Mexico than I do walking around in many parts of Minneapolis. The people were so warm and friendly, and everyone was so helpful. I think the kindness shown to us by so many Mexicans we encountered set an example that all the rest of us could follow.

I have really enjoyed my time, 20 days so far, in Mexico. I must stress that never have I felt unsafe during my stay. To be honest, I felt safer walking down the main streets here than I have some places at home in New Zealand. As a blonde-haired, blue-eyed female, the only extra attention I ever had was somebody taking a second look at me out of curiosity. I never got hassled, even when walking alone. From Oaxaca to Playa del Carmen, I might have stuck out like a sore thumb sometimes but the way I was treated was with respect and warmth, just as they do with any other person. The people here are really relaxed and so is their way of life. I love it, and I wish I had given myself more time here.

There you have it, all of their responses, copied and pasted straight out of their emails. And I must say that I fully agree with everything they said.

If you’ve been to Mexico, did you feel safe? If you haven’t been, do you think it’s a dangerous place to visit? Any questions?

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  1. […] number of positive accounts from people who have lived in, or travelled through Mexico. Here’s one. And another. And one […]

  2. wayne p November 7, 2013 at 10:12 am - Reply

    Hi sophia, i just read your comments. i started out thinking about teaching when i was about your age. then i got involved in some business ventures, and also traveling, like you want to, and other jobs. anyhow, almost 40 years later, when i wanted to cut my work hours down a bit, i was offered a job teaching at a local community college. it was hard work but a lot of fun, and very rewarding. the point is, there are lots of things to look forward to in life, and the experiences that you have all can be incorporated into the teaching experience. the best teachers are the ones who have actually done something in their life, and can teach from practical knowledge of their subject matter. i wish you so much luck, you sound so sincere. Hope this all works out for you. wayne p

  3. Sofía November 6, 2013 at 10:34 am - Reply

    Hi everyone! I´m a 17 year old mexican girl and I want to say that what you´ve said about how safe is Mexico has surprised me. I live in Monterey, Nuevo León, México (North-East city) and I cannot even go out to the park near my house. My family is very insecure about the safety in here. I hate it, but that´s how life is in here. There is many drug abuse, violence and corruption, as you said. In the other hand, I haven´t gone to the south, except to Cancun, but I was in the hotel the whole time. Anyway, I´ve been dreaming about traveling through the world since I was about 12 years old. Someday I will, but for now I have to raise money and learn everything I can. I have no idea what I want to do in my life except travelling, dancing:p and having a family. My academic life right now is very complicated. I am studying to be a teacher, but I don´t like it… Long story; so, I´ll present the admission exam to study administration, but I´m not sure about that either:( Anyway, I hope you read this and give me some advice. Also, hope I get to meet you somewhere in the future! 🙂

  4. Sean Kelly August 27, 2013 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    I recently got back from my first trip to Mexico (Aug 2013). I spent a week in Playa Del Carmen with my wife and 4 teenage children. We also traveled by taxi to Tulum and Akumal and by ADO bus to Xel-Ha. I must admit that I was worried about safety before we went to Mexico. Those fears turned out to be completely unfounded and, as others have said, we felt safer in Mexico than we do in many parts of the US. We found Mexico to be a beautiful, colorful country full of wonderful, friendly people. We happily wandered around Playa even late at night and felt perfectly safe. My wife and I have already decided that we want to retire there. In fact, my wife wants to move there now! We can’t wait to go back and explore more of this fascinating country.

  5. Leroy August 3, 2013 at 11:12 am - Reply

    Hi Earl

    Its not blown out of proportion the violence in Mexico is covered up…… Approx. 125000 people have fell victim to violence in Mexico in the past 7 yeas. Not to mention 30000 -70000 plus missing and morgues full and 30000 unidentified dead
    I have toured mexico by land for years and seen the change in the climate/crime there. There really is not enough coverage by the media. And we are not talking San Miguel de Allende. , Puerta Vallarta, or any other tourist cities. Acapulco has had approx. 700 taxi drivers killed in 3 years. U.S. marine currently missing in Mexico. Read about Carl Wiegands story or Don Plemmons (native American) missing in Mexico. Popular tourism focuses more on air travel than travel through San Fernando Tamps. Home of the San Fernando Massacre. The atmosphere up there is not margaritas and music like Oaxaca or downtown Puebla. 198 clandestine graves found this year in Mexico with 466 cadavers found. The souper/El Pozolero dissolved 300 humans in acid in Mexico. What a nice place to take a vacation. Inform yourself and others.

    Only in Mexico …. I traveled it many times all the way to Nicaragua and El Salvador since the 1980’s during the war and Mexico is more violent than what I saw in El Salvador. And El Salvador got more media coverage. I became a victim of violence in Mexico two years ago just north of Mexico City . Just want other people to be informed.
    Peace and thanks for your articles.

    “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.”
    ― Martin Luther King Jr.

  6. Evie June 25, 2013 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    I have to appreciate this blog post. Mexico tends to get a bad rap, and that’s a shame. I’ve been in Mexico for about a year and I’ve never felt unsafe. I’ve traveled a lot while I’ve been here (Mexico City, Oaxaca, Veracruz, Playa del Carmen & Tulum, Palenque, Chichen Itza, even down to Guatemala) and nothing bad has happened. I’m a tall, blonde, American girl, so I stand out, but I’ve never been hassled on the streets or even treated with any rudeness. The people of Mexico, just like the people in pretty much any other country, will treat you with the same level of respect you show to them. Just don’t go following strangers down dark alleys (which you shouldn’t do in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Chicago, or the backwoods of Alabama either) and you’ll be just fine.

  7. […] of friendly people, with excellent food and intriguing culture everywhere you turn (it’s also much safer than most people think) and you can experience it all quite well even as a budget […]

  8. Suzanne Parrish June 17, 2013 at 12:57 pm - Reply

    Hi Jim, Hi Earl,

    I’m thinking of moving to Mexico, perhaps Baja (or at least live there for a while). I’d appreciate any advice. I’d like to live near the ocean, and not be near diesel fumes, as I’m chemically sensitive. I’m concerned about fragrances, mostly. They’re hard to escape. Also, I’m living on disability, about $800 a month.


    • Wandering Earl June 19, 2013 at 2:16 am - Reply

      Hey Suzanne – I don’t really know much about Baja as I haven’t spent much time there before. But on the west coast of Mexico, you could look at Sayulita or San Pancho, both great places.

  9. Derrell June 4, 2013 at 2:29 am - Reply

    I’m so happy to find this post. I don’t want to sound like a conspiracy theorist, but I really wonder how the violence in Mexico gets so much hype. It seems our (U.S.) government and/or media is intent on keeping all the tourist dollars here.

    I have driven a great deal in Sonora, and traveled by bus all the way from Mexico City to Acapulco to Huatulco to Oaxaca. I have driven across the Yucatan from Tulum to Chichen Itza. I’ve taken my kids on the public buses and on the subway in Mexico City. All I have ever encountered is friendly, humble people, incredible sites, and exquisite food. The biggest danger I ever encountered was indigestion from too many tacos (they were too good to stop).

    For those who are hesitant to travel-just do it. Don’t judge this amazing country by what you hear on the U.S. media sources, and don’t judge it by the border towns. If you look at things from a Mexican perspective, things become clear. How many Americans are victims every year in Mexico versus how many Mexicans are victims in the United States? If your first impression of the United States was one of our seedy border towns, how would you feel about the country as a whole? Avoiding Mexico because of an incident in one particular area would be akin to avoiding Mystic Connecticut because of a murder that happened in Los Angeles. It’s just silly. When drug runners get killed in Mexico, don’t assume that all of a sudden the whole country is scary. It isn’t. It’s beautiful. Take a chance and it will likely change your outlook forever. And that’s a good thing.

  10. Mariana May 21, 2013 at 11:46 am - Reply

    Hi Earl!
    My 12 yld daughter is touring Chiapas this summer with her class :O
    23 kids, 6 adults, 5 days…I would really appreciate your comments 😀

    • Wandering Earl May 21, 2013 at 1:29 pm - Reply

      Hey Mariana – Not much to say really. It’s an absolutely beautiful part of the country with so much to see and do and I’m sure they’re going to have an incredible time, just as we did on the tour I lead through Chiapas back in March!

  11. Tahlei April 15, 2013 at 8:37 am - Reply

    I’m going to Mexico later this year as a solo female and I can’t wait! People are always commenting on how dangerous it is but they are invariable people who have never been and just react to media hype. I had the same reactions before I went to Colombia a few years ago. My mum was freaking out! But Colombia was a fantastic country to travel around and the people are some of the friendliest I have ever met.

    Thanks Earl for all the Mexico info – your site is a major source of my research now. I’m especially looking forward to all the food!

    • Wandering Earl April 17, 2013 at 1:28 am - Reply

      Hey Tahlei – Just go and enjoy all that Mexico has to offer! I have no doubt you’ll reach the same conclusions there that you reached in Colombia.

  12. Wayne April 10, 2013 at 1:26 pm - Reply

    Hi Earl, several years ago my cousin moved to Puerto Vallarta. She lives in a gated community near town, but goes “past the gates” every day to shop and eat. She visits the USA about 2-3 times a year. She recently told me she is more afraid walking the streets of Philadelphia, in our old neighborhood, than she ever feels in Mexico. As for us, in our travels, we have never been approached in a threatening way, for money, like we have been in Philadelphia and New Jersey. Pacific Avenue in Wildwood, NJ, at night is more dangerous than Mexico.

  13. Sam April 8, 2013 at 7:34 pm - Reply

    Wonderful! Nothing like first hand traveller experience to combat all the fear mongering we’re subjected to in the media about so many places. We can’t wait to visit Mexico!

  14. Flashpackatforty April 8, 2013 at 2:04 am - Reply

    So many places around the world get this dangerous label, from news items or over official Foreign Office assessments. It really is unfair, the pockets of violence that exist in these (in fact all ) countries are allowed to mar the beauty and friendliness which lies within. Ignore virtually all your home government advice and go find out for yourself.

  15. Valeria April 8, 2013 at 1:24 am - Reply


    I am actually from Mexico and I live in the north eastern part where, while I cannot deny that there have been some problems with overall security because of the infamous drug wars (which were at its worst a couple years ago and, at least in my city we don’t hear about it as much anymore), it is actually not as bad as so many people seem to think.

    Of course, if you go into the rough parts of town or befriend people that are actually in the wrong kind of business, well then it is pretty much your own fault if you get in trouble… but I think that goes for any big city anywhere in the world.

    I am very glad that so many of you guys are realizing that my country is not in fact a giant war zone and that you do not have to be afraid to come to visit the many wonderful things that can be found in it.

    • Wandering Earl April 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm - Reply

      Hola Valeria – Thank you for sharing your input as that is always valuable to hear what a local thinks about the situation too. And I am certainly not surprised by what you said and completely agree that taking basic precautions, the same ones you would take anywhere, is the key to staying safe.

  16. Karlos April 7, 2013 at 4:47 pm - Reply

    I’ve been in Guadalajara for over a year now and have never felt concerned for my safety. As they say, take normal precautions. If you leave a purse or bag in the front seat of a car it may get stolen. Similarly it’s probably not a good idea to walk around late at night where there are few people. I follow the same rules where I”m from in the US.

  17. Arjen - On My Way To Freedomland April 7, 2013 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    Only one thing…do not mess with the taxi drivers ;)!

  18. Barbara April 7, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    I really like the way you asked the girls to share their thoughts and that’s what you used to inform your readers. Although we’ve never stayed in Mexico for an extended period of time, I would like to vacation there and be able to explore and enjoy the country. Your post puts my mind at ease. Thanks for sharing this very helpful information.

  19. Just One Boomer (Suzanne) April 6, 2013 at 2:31 pm - Reply

    We traveled independently in the Bajio ( San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato and Queretero) and Mexico City last year. I’ll echo what everyone else said. Apparently, upper class Mexicans are more of a kidnapping target than Gringos. But, in our experience, people were kind and friendly. We used intercity buses for travel.

  20. OCDemon April 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm - Reply

    Anybody else notice it’s the ladies that do the most adventurous travel? They seem to show up in the places everyone else says are far too scary to visit, and oftentimes solo. Seems that way, anyway. And I always point out to any paranoid American I meet that if they want their kids to be safe, they’d have moved to Belgium or whatever ages ago.

  21. Eva and Flo April 6, 2013 at 9:22 am - Reply

    Thank you so much for this great article! We have been thinking about going to Mexico for a while, but always didn’t feel comfortable enough to go.
    But now our doubts are blown away!

  22. Paul April 6, 2013 at 7:10 am - Reply

    Eliminating perceptions such as this (foreign countries being so incredibly dangerous and awful) is a great reason to NEVER watch the news…ever.

    On a slightly related subject: Earl, have you ever hitchhiked in Mexico, or anywhere in Central/South America. I’m planning a trip down there beginning in December/January, and am curious how legitimate/safe it may be.


    • Wandering Earl April 9, 2013 at 9:13 pm - Reply

      Hey Paul – I haven’t hitched in Mexico, only a very small amount in Central America, mostly in Nicaragua. I didn’t have any problems but I’m not sure if it is something I would do on a regular basis down there, especially given how inexpensive the intercity buses and shared vans can be.

  23. ces April 5, 2013 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    I think every country has that particular place or area in which too dangerous for tourists to go to even in broad daylight. We just have to be wise and avoid those places rather than judge the whole country based on that area alone. I haven’t been to Mexico and this post gave me an idea how it feels to be there. This will surely be a factor in helping me decide whether to visit the country sometime.

  24. John D. April 5, 2013 at 5:06 pm - Reply

    I have been to Mexico several times with no problems. I have avoided the northern border towns the past few years as they seem to be having problems, but have to agree with the people who commented on the press sensationalizing the news. I feel just as safe in Mexico as I do in the U. S. in fact I agree with Fumi who said he gets mad when people blanket a whole country with violence happening in one region.The bottom line is that Mexico is a great place to visit.

  25. Rebecca April 5, 2013 at 10:50 am - Reply

    I live in Manchester, England, which has the charming nickname “Gun-chester” (rather extreme). It’s the same kind of situation as Mexico, you get the odd news report of someone getting shot here, and everyone thinks it’s a place where rapists and murderers roam.

    Interesting to read this, I knew all of Mexico wasn’t as terrible as Ciudad Juarez, but I didn’t realise it was this safe!

  26. Paul Farrugia (globalhelpswap) April 5, 2013 at 2:03 am - Reply

    We have just come back from Myanmar / Burma and many people were asking us the same question. It’s unfortunate that there are outbreaks of violence with different ethnic groups but as travellers we never felt threatened, on the contrary I think Burma is one of the safest places I have ever visited.

    If the foreign press reported on all the violent incidences that occurred in the UK (my home country), the US or Australia as much as the western press do on so called “trouble spots” then people would rightly think that these countries were dangerous too.

    Stick to reading happy news sites instead! 🙂

    • Ryan @Treksplorer April 6, 2013 at 1:16 pm - Reply

      Excellent point, Paul. The Western media tends to exaggerate the negative news in so many places, leading people to believe that they should stay away. When my wife and I decided to visit Israel, our family and friends thought we were insane. But truthfully, I’ve rarely felt safer while travelling. On the whole, you are probably far more likely to encounter trouble in a large US city than in most of these “bad” places. Keeping your head on your shoulders and exercising common sense while abroad is a far better plan than simply avoiding every country that has problems in isolated areas.

  27. Paul April 4, 2013 at 5:54 pm - Reply

    I’m not sure why people want to be scared about foreign places. The media is constantly hyping up stories of violence overseas, and people in their home nations lap it up and make determinations on entire countries based on this.

    Of course there are dangerous parts of various countries all over the world. It’s not difficult to do some research and figure out what is what.

    The world would be a much better place is reporting was about being honest and factual rather than sensational, in order to gain more of an audience and more advertising revenue.

    I’m thankful that the Internet has democratized the dissemination of information, and that there are bloggers out there like yourself with no ulterior motive in their words, with a genuine desire to let people know what things are really like, from their experiences.

  28. Madeleine April 4, 2013 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    Totally agree with you about this issue. I lived in Oaxaca for six months and never felt unsafe. The only caveat that I would offer on the subject is that for women the cultural norms in terms of flirting, dating, men/women relations can be hard to get used to. I don’t think I went a single day in Oaxaca without having a catcall or two thrown my way. I was asked out on the street quite a few times and twice had men follow me keeping up conversation for extended periods of time. It can seem a bit like a violation of personal space and an annoyance but I never felt threatened by any of these men. Although I did know some other girls who reacted really strongly and felt very threatened by this type of behavior. Including one girl who thought she was being kidnapped when a young man started strolling arm in arm with her… So in terms of actual safety, yes I think Mexico is very safe, but just prepare yourself for cultural differences.

    • Wandering Earl April 9, 2013 at 9:05 pm - Reply

      Hey Madelaine – That just goes to show how everyone has different experiences as several of the females on my tour commented how surprised they were that they never received such treatment from men at all. I guess it’s the kind of thing that can happen anywhere.

  29. Fumi April 4, 2013 at 4:29 pm - Reply

    I’m an American and have lived in Mexico City for nearly 11 years and am in Cancun presently. I’ve had this conversation with several of my Mexican friends who get really mad when people blanket a whole country with violence happening in one region. As one friend said, “With Newtown, Aurora, Colombine, VTech, Washington DC, 9/11 and so on, I don’t see anyone saying the US is an unsafe country!”

  30. Dave Gauthier April 4, 2013 at 2:53 pm - Reply

    I have lived in Mexico for the past three years and because of a previous related carrier I keep track of all the negative publicity printed in Canadian newspapers. The vast majority of the articles published are for the sensational effect which sells newspapers and are rarely accurate. Reporters do not check their facts and often rely on mommy and daddy in Canada’s view of events. Even if the Canadian government knows for a fact that the individual concerned is involved in illegal activity they cannot comment on the situation and therefore the perceived truth becomes what the family says and how often does a family admit that their child is in the wrong. Don’t get me wrong, there are innocent people that run into problems but fare fewer than you are led to believe.

    If travelers stay away from the dangerous areas which are identified by consular websites, and act in a responsible manner, there are very few problems. The most important tip for travelers in any country is to have a sixth sense as to where you can and cannot go. You can walk down a street in Chicago and realize that you should not be there, the same goes for any city in the world. Also remember that high tourist traffic areas in any country attract an undesirable element looking to take advantage of naive or overly intoxicated visitors, Mexico is no different.

    Stay in the known safe spots in Mexico and enjoy the warmth and diversity of the Mexican people.

  31. Jason Mize April 4, 2013 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    We recently packed everything we own in our car and drove nearly 2,000 miles through Mexico on our move to Playa del Carmen and never felt a bit threatened. I cannot think of a bigger bulls eye than a couple of Americans driving a packed SUV with a couple of bikes hanging off the back stopping to ask for directions and yet we had no issues. We received a few curious glances and were asked by the Policia for a paperwork a few times but the only times we felt unsafe were traffic related (the rules are a bit different here).

    In our time in Playa we have had nothing but positive experiences, the people are warm, friendly and helpful. It might be true that there’s places in Mexico that are unsafe for Americans but it’s also true that there are plenty of places in America that are unsafe for Americans. But for some reason no one ever asks me, “Do you feel safe in America?”

    We live in a local neighborhood with very few foreigners but our neighbors are far from threatening, if anything, they seem amused to have a couple of gringos living in their midst. If you travel to Mexico and are not involved in nefarious dealings than you should have no problems, Mexico has it’s share of problems but I can’t name a country that doesn’t.

  32. Aaron April 4, 2013 at 1:40 pm - Reply

    Mexico is like most other places. There are good parts and bad parts, but really, even in the bad parts, the odds are in your favor. It’s really unlikely that anyone is going to hurt you anywhere you go in Mexico.

    Southern Mexico (Riviera Maya and Chiapas) is very safe and a real blast to be in. The border towns that I’ve been to (Matamoros, Nuevo Progreso, and Juarez), are a bit…rougher. But even there, you’re probably going to be fine if you have a good head on your shoulders.

    Really – the scariest part of Mexico, for me at least, is the driving! That will give you some goosebumps…

  33. Pauline April 4, 2013 at 12:29 pm - Reply

    Thank you for writing that! I’ve never been, but I really want to visit Mexico. It’s close (relatively speaking) and so affordable!

    I think it’s silly for people to completely avoid a country just because the mass media deem it to be “dangerous”. That said, it’s important to still exercise good judgment and common sense everywhere you go, even in countries that are deemed to be “safe”. I mean, I left South East Asia unscathed, but I got robbed in Milan. What gives, right?

  34. Kathrin April 4, 2013 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    I would really love to be part of your tour to India. I’m a female and I LOVE to travel!!.I hear India is a great place to travel but for women it can be a bit trying at times and there are dangers. Here is there article that got me thinking “why risk it” my own safety. Perhaps I should listen to what Michelle said in your post “Don’t believe everything you hear….get out there and decide for yourself!”

  35. Shane April 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Great news! I need to let my parents read this post because they are stressing. I am currently planning to travel overland from Philadelphia, PA to somewhere in South America. Maybe all the way down to Cape Horn, time will tell. No set plans, ample research, and I’m just going for it. I’m definitely by passing right through the north of Mexico without stopping because like you said that is where the majority of the drug violence has been occurring. I’m stoked!

  36. Sarah Somewhere April 4, 2013 at 11:52 am - Reply

    Its sad that the drug related violence of a couple of Northern border towns (thanks to the drug use of the US and beyond, mind you!) tarnishes people’s perceptions of the entire country. I live in Mexico and it is my favourite country in the world, since it is so incredibly diverse in its cultural, natural and historic treasures. I feel safer here than I do in Australia, the US and the UK, that’s for sure!

  37. Jim-Diamonjim50 April 4, 2013 at 11:35 am - Reply

    He Earl, thanks for your posts as to whether Mexico is safe? I feel that I am always defending Mexico due to the drug problems in the Northern States and close to the border towns. I have been to Playa 3 different times and I have always felt safe, and the people have always been friendly and helpful. I believe that if you are looking for the bad, then you will find it. I just do not venture into areas I am not familiar with. I am planning on retiring in Playa before the end of this year and I would not have considered it if I have ever felt threatened. Thanks for the blogs. I look forward to them and maybe I will meet up with you in Playa during one of your travels.


  38. Tedd April 4, 2013 at 11:29 am - Reply

    I think for the vast majority of visitors in the vast majority of the country the vast majority of the time, Mexico will be entirely safe.

    But it would be entirely unwise to travel to Mexico without giving serious thought to safety. Tens of thousands of people are thought to have been killed in drug-related violence, and while the violence is concentrated in some areas, there have been people killed throughout the country.

    My wife was born in Mexico and spent the first part of her life there. We are planning on going back to visit someday soon. But we also don’t plan to widely broadcast our trip on Facebook, etc. because there has been some violence and kidnappings near her town (not nearly as many as other areas, but it is far from the border and major drug routes), and coming from America, being relatively wealthy (or at least her family thinks we are), and relatively well-educated could make us more of a target than the average visitor.

    It’s a shame, but safety should be a concern. It shouldn’t be one that keeps people from visiting Mexico, just one that people think about before they plan a trip.

    • Wandering Earl April 4, 2013 at 11:59 am - Reply

      Hey Tedd – I think you’ll find once you get there that you don’t actually need to worry nearly as much as you think. While there have been a lot of drug-related killings, that’s what they are, drug-related killings. Very few foreigners who have no connection to the drug trade are ever targeted, even in the parts of the country where the drug violence is located.

  39. Ryan from Jets Like Taxis April 4, 2013 at 11:29 am - Reply

    It is sad that so many people think the entire country is a war zone and that you’ll automatically die if you go. I agree that its blown out of proportion in the media regarding the majority of the country, and I support the opinions here 100%.

    However, I also think it’s important to highlight what Anastasia said about being diligent. Use common sense, have your wits about you, etc. It’s not a candyland, just as most other countries are not entirely safe – whether an American city or a European one or one anywhere else.

    Would that stop me from going? No way.

  40. Dixie Dixon April 4, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    We just returned home for a visit after spending 360 days in Mexico: Guadalajara, Chapala, Ajijic, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Tuxtla, San Cristóbal de las Casas, Palenque, Ocosingo, Playa del Carmen, and others. Never felt unsafe. One night when we lived in San Cristóbal for 6 months, I was out with friends seeing a movie at a little coffee bar. My house was about 20 minutes’ walk across town – at 1:00 in the morning! – and I never felt actually unsafe. I did feel a little unsafe, just because that’s how I’m programmed in the US, but nobody I encountered was the least bit threatening. Love Mexico and I’m ready to go back anytime!

  41. Earl from iPadNomads April 4, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

    Great post Earl and very useful for many who haven’t traveled much. In my experience, you could write the same post about so many different countries as there are many of them around the world that people ask the same question to. We have visited Mexico numerous times, though mostly for resorts, but I spent a couple of weeks backpacking through Mexico 10 years ago as my first solo trip and had a great time.
    On our recent trip, we spent 2 weeks driving through the countryside of South Africa in a camper van and also spent a week in a hotel just a few blocks from Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt.
    The basic fact is that every country in the world, in our own, has some unsafe areas in it. Some countries have more than others but we only here about those things because the media likes to share those things. In most cases, there are more good parts to every country than there are bad and as travelers, whether we’re in a developing country or a developed country, we have to always be cautious and aware of our surroundings and be safe. Overall, I’d say, unless there’s a major war or something going on in an area, every country is safe to visit.

  42. Kate Convissor April 4, 2013 at 11:03 am - Reply

    While I haven’t traveled as widely in Mexico as Tristan, I have visited several different areas at various times, including a 3-month stint in Baja. And even though our trailer was broken into in Baja, I completely agree that Mexico is, overall, a friendly, interesting, diverse, colorful place to visit. I love the food, the culture, the incredible variety of artisanal items, and the beauty of the countryside. I’m planning a long trip through Mexico in the autumn, and I can’t wait to get back. As several members of your group mentioned, Mexico often feels safer than the US. In my opinion, only the border towns are sketchy, and I plan to move through those quickly.

  43. Tristan April 4, 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

    Totally agree. I’ve been in Mexico for 7 months now (Mexico City, San Miguel de Allende, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Cozumel, among other places) and have always felt completely safe.

    I saw in the news a couple weeks ago that Mexico had dropped out of the top 10 most traveled-to countries, and it made me sad. This is a wonderful country with amazing things to see and do, and the people are fantastic. I love it.

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