It is sometimes said that it is dangerous to travel to Mexico. If you don’t get killed, you’re bound to get robbed or recruited into the drug mafia. Drug lords roam the streets with pockets full of cocaine and guns. That’s how many people who only know Mexico through hearsay absorb information from the media like a sponge. LCNOutdoors This article will explain whether Mexico is dangerous or not, is it like a scene from a movie?
Is Mexico as dangerous as it is commonly believed to be? What areas and regions are best avoided? Should I be afraid of fraud and theft? What insects can ruin a vacation?
Let’s see if the devil is really as scary as he is painted? Is it really dangerous in Mexico? Is it worth refusing to go to this country guided by the instinct of self-preservation? I will be guided only by my personal experience gained during the four months of travel within the United Mexican States.
For the most part, I found the following safety issues in Mexico to be of interest: where it is best not to walk, when it is best not to walk, whether the roads are dangerous, how much money to bring, and how to protect them from prying eyes, more hands-on, whether you will die immediately if you eat something on the street, whether scorpions and snakes will bite, and whether the various scammers who make money off tourists will fall for them at every turn. Let’s look at all of these points in order and determine the level of safety for Mexican tourists and whether there is a reason for concern.
Do I Need a Visa to Go to Mexico?
You can enter Mexico with a Mexican visa, a valid US visa, or an electronic permit. In the notes, I describe all three options and share my personal experience in obtaining a Mexican visa and a U.S. visa.
You are an American and for information on specific travel destinations to Mexico, see the state summaries and advisory levels below. Some areas of Mexico have an increased risk of crime and kidnapping.
The official explanation is as follows.
Dangerous Areas – Is It Dangerous in Mexico?
I’m sure you’ve heard that there are areas in Mexico where it’s best to stay out of the way, even in the throes of death. Complete arbitrariness reigns, impunity reigns, alcohol flows like water, and drugs are usually everywhere and always in the bag. Yes, there are similar areas, such as Tijuana, which borders the U.S. But tell me, what is an average tourist doing there? The exception may be those who wish to cross the land border between Mexico and the United States. Otherwise, Tijuana is too far from the major cities and states visited by tourists to cause any concern at all.
Those cities that have long been chosen by tourists are perfectly safe and subject to standard norms of accuracy and care. After all, you must admit that in New York they can also rob and stone heads at the door.
Somehow, I stumbled upon a story from a guy (sorry, I didn’t save the link) who told how he and his friend were robbed in broad daylight in a Lyon suburb. They went with a friend to shoot an interview somewhere in the cactus thicket, where they met a friend with a machete who threatened them with the use of his simple tools if they didn’t give them money, a phone, and an expensive camera. They gave it away like they were cute. What’s the moral of this story? The guy himself knew that he was going to a ghetto with a bad reputation. That didn’t stop him, and he himself paid the price for his carelessness. By the way, I noticed that Lyon is also not the most visited town by tourists.
I’d say that if you’re going to Mexico for a few weeks, it’s unlikely that your itinerary will have an unpopular, or even more dangerous, town. But in any case, no one cancels observing caution but you are going to a foreign country.
The team and I traveled from Guanajuato in the north to Yucatán in the south, and none of the cities we visited were dangerous to us.
Probably, almost every city has areas that are more dangerous than the city center. These are either just suburban areas or slums where the poorest people live. Why are there dangers here? Yes, because someone might like your camera or phone, or your wallet will stick out of your pocket too much. This person, meaning you are in his territory or elsewhere, can come up and pick up what he likes. This is all very possible, but I’m not sure how realistic this is in a tourist town in Mexico. Mate and I walked through the slums along the outskirts and we saw nothing but curious looks or smiles. Although, sometimes one wishes to keep the camera in the backpack.
Mexican cities also have areas with auto repair stores, and walking in these areas is not always comfortable, the line is specific. We live in one such area in Mexico City. Nothing, for a month and a half, nothing happened to us. Now ask yourself the question, how much do you plan to walk in these areas? I don’t think so. So why be afraid?
Walking in the Moonlight – Is It Dangerous in Mexico?
Is it dangerous to walk at night? In the areas mentioned above, I think so. In downtown, where there are a lot of tourists like you, absolutely nothing. The streets are well lit and you may not enter dark, suspicious alleys. I wouldn’t say pickpockets and other scammers, I wouldn’t be surprised if they are everywhere. Put your purse away (preferably in a zippered pocket), don’t hold your cameras in your hands, hang them around your neck and you’ll be happy. By the way, a friend made a special strap for his camera with a wire sewn into it after a trip to Vietnam. Now this strap, even with all the wishes, no one will cut it off.
By the way, there are many beggars in almost all the towns that are not noticed by tourists, but they are not noticeable and not aggressive.
In many cities in Mexico, there are so many police officers on the streets that any fear will disappear on its own. Well, what kind of fool would risk pulling your wallet out of your pocket when an uncle cop with a pistol or machine gun is standing nearby?
At first, I didn’t even like myself. “Is it really that bad, with so much crime and cops on every corner?” I thought when we first arrived in Mexico City. As it turned out, it wasn’t like that at all, it was just accepted. Yes, there was extra work – one useful thing.
The police in Mexico are smiling and helpful, and if you are lost or have any questions you can come up and ask, these are not our gloomy law enforcement officers.
Road Traffic Safety
People often ask this question, how safe are the roads. Well, that is, whether they can stop the bus in the middle of the road and rob anyone who is riding the bus on their own official business or worse. My friends, I think the air conditioning on Mexican buses is more dangerous than bandits. You can and should ride without any fear or trepidation. We mainly use the ADO (Autobuses de Oriente) and OCC (Orange Coast College) first-class buses which operate on quality toll roads. There was no mention of any bandits.
The second-class buses operate on free roads. We also use them. The difference is that there are more bumps and the buses are scarier (but cheaper). Continuing them doesn’t cause any concern either. Overall, Mexico does not seem to be a country where you should be afraid of everything in a panic. It’s quiet, friendly, and calm. They say that’s where the real danger is, so it’s in Guatemala or Honduras.
It may be worth paying attention to who, and so are the cab drivers. These comrades are the same in all countries. Although, we haven’t had any problems in Mexico. No one has ever tried to name a price different from the one previously agreed upon (as we did in Syria), transport it to the wrong place, or do something else obnoxious.
How Much Money Should You Carry in Your Wallet when You Travel
Money is a separate and always interesting issue. How to store it, not get it stolen, not get scammed, carry it with you or withdraw it on the spot? The question of how much is more than enough. What dangers might be hidden here?
I don’t know how much money to take to Mexico or how to keep it. We don’t carry large sums of money with us. What are we supposed to do? We take a little bit at a time from ATMs and we don’t worry about losing all our savings if it gets stolen. Mexico has a large number of ATMs in any city, and the fee for withdrawing cash is only a few cents or so. The rate depends on the bank card you use. We have a Bank of America card. Everything was fine.
If you bring a lot of money, don’t put it in one pocket, but spread it out in several places. Don’t pull out a full wallet in front of everyone. Know less and sleep better. Don’t want to draw extra attention to yourself-behave in moderation.
Did they get ripped off in Mexico? No. Now I’m not talking about tourist tents, all of which have become five times more expensive, but ordinary everyday moments. In stores, markets, and cafes, your “Comida bullfight” will cost the same as the locals. You will buy fruits and vegetables at the same low price as those sold to Mexicans. Perhaps the situation will be different in Super Tour Cancun, which we have not yet arrived.
The only time we had to deal with a frank divorce. It was in Puerto Escondido. They actively offer boat rides for tourists to see turtles and dolphins. The bottom line is that when we got on this boat we were told the cost of the excursion and when we got off the boat another cost. As you know, you must pay at the exit. It’s like the camels in Egypt: it costs $5 to climb on, but $50 to get help to get off.
Oh yeah, and the money in Mexico is in Mexican pesos (MXN). There are new and old designs. Fakes are rare, so don’t panic, these are not fakes.
Local Cuisine in Mexico
I’m not going to write about the civilized cafes and restaurants, they’re all great and there’s absolutely nothing to be afraid of. You can go without hesitation, order delicious Mexican food and enjoy it.
Here, I will answer the question “Is it dangerous to eat street food in Mexico?” This question. If you want to eat something that is made on the street and you don’t see anything criminal (like we do), there is absolutely no danger. Eat for your health! If you’re petulant by nature, think you’re sure to get poisoned, or that the cook’s hands are dirty, or similar, don’t eat it. As you know, self-hypnosis is a terrible thing. Be sure to indulge! (Just kidding)) But why laugh at yourself.
What is Mexican street food? There are all kinds of tacos, quesadillas, corn, sandwiches, chips, etc. Is it tasty? Yes, especially when you’re running around hungry and the only thought in your head is, “I wish I had something to eat. I’m afraid that’s not the case. For example, my friend and I, try not to get carried away by this stuff. Not because it’s the lowest kind of food, but because it’s still better to eat something normal than to snack on the road.
Note, by the way, that we do eat both tacos and corn, and have never had any unpleasant consequences. If you are afraid of problems, I recommend getting a typhoid vaccination before you travel. We did before we went.
Again, many people are interested in whether Mexican food is really spicy. I answer: no. It’s a myth! Most dishes are not spicy at all. You can make your own spicy flavors by adding a sauce – Salsa Sauce – which is always on the table (or even more than one).
However, it is completely wrong to say that all dishes are not spicy. There are plenty of peppery soups and entrees, and even desserts (such as ice cream). If you object to spice, ask if it’s spicy before you order. Just ask, “Picante?” and they hear “Si” in response, meaning spicy, and they hear “But”, no. You can ask the waiter to make a “non-spicy” dish and they will make the same dish for you but without the spicy effect.
Our Little Brothers (Insects, Animals)
Mexico is a distant and mysterious country. And that means that the most mysterious dangers may be waiting here. For example, it’s funny how insects in Mexico can ruin a vacation, right? Or, maybe not at all.
Flying away, we thought the most that could bother us in the hotel room were mosquitoes. They even carry insect repellent with them and, as it turns out, it wasn’t for nothing. In some places, they were very useful: in San Miguel, in Guanajuato, in Oaxaca.
If we had only stayed in hotels, then the mosquitoes, I think, would have limited everything. But on our trip to Mexico, when we had the opportunity (to choose), we preferred to rent a room through the Airbnb website. If anyone has any questions about finding accommodations, I recommend reading the article How to Find Accommodations While Traveling.
So, through this site, we have rented private apartments and houses many times. Guess who we met there? With Scorpion. That’s it, I think, half of the readers immediately changed their minds about going to Mexico, as the owner of the house where we had an unpleasant meeting with this arthropod told us that there are many of them during the dry season and they are not dangerous, ie non-poisonous. It turns out that poisonous scorpions still need to look for.
People of Mexico
People are one of the main components of a country. It’s up to them whether the country likes it or not. Just as mate and I don’t like the Vietnamese, the impression of the country as a whole remains vague.
What kind of people are there in Mexico? Most of them are very friendly, smiling, sociable and responsive. Should we expect some sort of subterfuge from them? Probably not, although, as they say, the family has its black sheep. So far, we have only positive impressions.
Now we are in San Cristobal and there are a lot of Indians here. These guys are not very friendly. Remember, they don’t like to be photographed. They used to believe that when you take a picture, you steal their soul. Who knows, maybe there are still people who think that. They can be very aggressive in their reactions. Be careful and ask permission.
Do they approach women? I don’t know, because I travel with my teammates, so we walk together almost all the time. But they can look at girls from head to toe and many will do so and not embarrass their suitors or husbands. They can smack their lips or whistle behind them, but they don’t try to touch them with their hands. In any case, I have not encountered this.
Remember, if you are going to walk around Mexico in shorts or a miniskirt, you will not get any attention (men will stare, women will not think anything of it-everything is business as usual).
What is the dress code like in Mexico? There are no strict rules or restrictions, for example in Muslim countries. Even in church, you can walk down the street (no long skirts, no scarves, no clasped hands). It turns out that the question of dress is a matter of personal self-consciousness and comfort. For example, in principle, it is not appropriate for me to walk around the city in shorts, while in a hot beach town it is quite appropriate.
For safety reasons, and so as not to attract unwanted attention, I don’t recommend walking late at night in revealing clothing in sparsely populated areas. You would never know.
Otherwise, I don’t think you will have any problems with Mexicans, especially if you learn Spanish and they will welcome you with open arms.
Should I Go to Mexico or Not?
Of course yes! You can see for yourself that it’s not as scary as it seems. Possible dangers in waiting are just as possible as in your home country. Magnificent nature, historical monuments, beautiful cities, kind people, delicious food, interesting holidays – all this is waiting for you in Mexico!
Dear readers, enjoy your trip to Mexico!