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Is Zihuatanejo in Mexico Safe?

Zihuatanejo is generally safe for tourists, though petty crime like pickpocketing is common in tourist areas. Violent crime rates are relatively low, but exercise caution at night. Tropical diseases like dengue fever and Zika are present, so take precautions against mosquitoes. Natural disasters like hurricanes can strike during rainy season. Respecting local customs and dressing modestly at religious sites is advised.

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Safety & Security

Zihuatanejo is generally considered a safe travel destination in Mexico, but it's still important to exercise caution and be aware of potential risks.

  • Petty Crime: While violent crime rates are relatively low, petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur, especially in crowded areas. Remain vigilant and keep valuables secured.

  • Scams: Be wary of common tourist scams, such as overcharging for services or goods, fake tour guides, and taxi scams. Only use official taxis and negotiate prices beforehand.

  • Civil Unrest: Occasional protests or demonstrations can occur, though they are typically peaceful. Avoid areas where large crowds have gathered.

  • Disputes: Disputes between tourists and locals, while rare, can sometimes escalate. Respect local customs and laws to avoid conflicts.

  • Nightlife Safety: Exercise caution when visiting bars or nightclubs, especially late at night. Avoid isolated areas and don't accept drinks from strangers.

  • Beach Safety: Rip currents and strong waves can be dangerous for swimmers. Heed all posted warnings and swim only in designated areas with lifeguards present.

To enhance safety, register with your embassy or consulate, purchase travel insurance, and familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and services. Exercising common sense and being aware of your surroundings can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip.

Health & Medical

Travelers to Zihuatanejo should be aware of potential health risks and take necessary precautions. Here are some key points:

  • Vaccinations: Ensure routine vaccinations are up-to-date, including those for hepatitis A, typhoid, and influenza. Some travelers may also need vaccinations for hepatitis B, rabies, and malaria, depending on their specific itinerary and activities.

  • Insect-Borne Diseases: Zihuatanejo has a risk of diseases like Zika, dengue, and chikungunya, which are transmitted by mosquitoes. Use insect repellent, wear long sleeves and pants, and consider staying in air-conditioned or well-screened accommodations.

  • Water and Food Safety: Drink only bottled or purified water and avoid ice cubes made from tap water. Eat well-cooked foods from reputable establishments to reduce the risk of traveler's diarrhea and other foodborne illnesses.

  • Sun Exposure: Protect yourself from the strong tropical sun by using sunscreen, wearing a hat, and seeking shade during peak hours.

  • Medical Facilities: While Zihuatanejo has some private clinics and hospitals, their quality and availability of services may vary. Travelers with serious medical conditions should consider obtaining comprehensive travel health insurance.

  • Air Pollution: Zihuatanejo's air quality can be poor at times due to vehicle emissions and other factors. Those with respiratory conditions should take necessary precautions.

Staying informed, practicing good hygiene, and taking preventive measures can help minimize health risks and ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Zihuatanejo.

Natural Disasters

Zihuatanejo is located in a region of Mexico that is prone to certain natural disasters, which travelers should be aware of. The most significant risks include:

  • Hurricanes and Tropical Storms: The hurricane season in the Pacific Ocean runs from May to November, with peak activity between August and October. Zihuatanejo's coastal location makes it vulnerable to these storms, which can bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and potential flooding.

  • Earthquakes: Mexico lies along major tectonic fault lines, making earthquakes a possibility. While Zihuatanejo is not located in a high-risk seismic zone, tremors can still occur and cause damage.

  • Landslides: Heavy rainfall during the rainy season (June to October) can trigger landslides, particularly in mountainous areas near Zihuatanejo. These can disrupt transportation and pose a risk to travelers in affected areas.

  • Tsunamis: Although rare, tsunamis generated by distant earthquakes in the Pacific Ocean could potentially affect coastal areas like Zihuatanejo. Travelers should follow local authorities' instructions in the event of a tsunami warning.

It's advisable for travelers to monitor weather forecasts, heed any warnings or evacuation orders from local authorities, and familiarize themselves with emergency procedures in their accommodation. Purchasing travel insurance that covers natural disasters is also recommended.


Transportation in Zihuatanejo is generally safe and reliable for travelers. The city has a well-established public transportation system, including taxis and local buses that connect different areas of the city and nearby towns. However, it's advisable to exercise caution when using public transportation, especially at night or in isolated areas.

  • Taxis: Taxis are a convenient option for getting around Zihuatanejo. It's recommended to use authorized taxi services or hail cabs from designated taxi stands to avoid potential scams or safety issues.

  • Local Buses: The local bus system, known as "Urbanos," is an affordable way to navigate the city. However, buses can be crowded during peak hours, so remain vigilant and keep an eye on your belongings.

  • Rental Cars: Renting a car can provide more flexibility for exploring the surrounding areas. However, exercise caution when driving, as road conditions may vary, and traffic rules are not always strictly followed.

  • Road Safety: While the main roads in Zihuatanejo are generally well-maintained, be cautious of pedestrians, cyclists, and other vehicles, especially in residential areas or near beaches.

  • Travel at Night: It's advisable to avoid walking alone at night in isolated areas and to use authorized transportation services when possible.

Cultural Norms

Zihuatanejo is a vibrant coastal town in Mexico that offers visitors a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in the local culture. Here are some essential tips for respecting the culture and customs:

  • Dress Code: While beachwear is acceptable on the beach, it's important to dress modestly when exploring the town, especially in churches and other religious sites. Avoid revealing clothing and cover up when necessary.

  • Festivals and Celebrations: Zihuatanejo hosts several colorful festivals and celebrations throughout the year, such as the Day of the Dead and Easter Week. Respectfully observe and participate in these events, as they are an integral part of the local culture.

  • Language: While many locals in tourist areas speak English, learning a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in showing respect and appreciation for the local culture.

  • Haggling: In markets and with street vendors, haggling is a common practice. However, it's important to do so politely and respectfully, without being overly aggressive or insulting.

  • Tipping: Tipping is customary in Mexico for good service, especially in restaurants and for tour guides. A 10-15% tip is generally appreciated.

  • Respecting Traditions: Zihuatanejo has a rich cultural heritage, and it's essential to respect local traditions and customs. Avoid disrespectful behavior or actions that could be seen as offensive to the local community.

Emergency Services

Zihuatanejo offers decent emergency services for travelers, though the quality and availability can vary. The city has a few private hospitals and clinics that cater to tourists and provide English-speaking staff. However, for serious emergencies, patients may need to be transported to larger cities like Acapulco or Mexico City for advanced medical care.

  • Private Hospitals and Clinics are the best options for quality care, but can be expensive without travel insurance. Some recommended facilities include Hospital Campestre and Clinica Zihuatanejo.

  • Public Hospitals are more affordable but may have longer wait times and limited resources. The main public hospital is Hospital General de Zihuatanejo.

  • Ambulance Services are available but can be slow to respond, especially in remote areas. Having contact information for a private ambulance service is advisable.

  • Tourist Police patrol popular areas and beaches, offering assistance and responding to emergencies involving tourists. However, their resources are limited.

Overall, while emergency services exist, travelers should exercise caution, purchase comprehensive travel insurance, and research the best medical facilities in advance for peace of mind.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Is Zihuatanejo safe for tourists?

Zihuatanejo is generally considered safe for tourists. However, it's advisable to exercise caution, avoid isolated areas, and follow common safety precautions. Petty crimes like pickpocketing and bag snatching can occur, so remain vigilant in crowded areas.

Is Zihuatanejo safe for solo female travelers?

Solo female travelers should exercise caution in Zihuatanejo. While the city is relatively safe, it's recommended to avoid walking alone at night, dress conservatively, and be aware of your surroundings. Staying in well-lit areas and using licensed taxis can help ensure a safer experience.

Is Zihuatanejo safe for families?

Zihuatanejo is a family-friendly destination with beautiful beaches and a relaxed atmosphere. However, families with small children should take precautions against strong currents and riptides at some beaches. Childcare services and kid-friendly activities are available at many resorts.

Is Zihuatanejo LGBTQ+ friendly?

While same-sex relationships are legal in Mexico, LGBTQ+ travelers should exercise discretion in public, as societal attitudes can vary. Same-sex marriage is recognized in some states, but not all. Overall, Zihuatanejo is generally welcoming to the LGBTQ+ community.

Do you need a visa to go to Zihuatanejo?

Citizens of the United States, Canada, and most European countries do not need a visa for tourist stays of up to 180 days in Mexico. However, a valid passport is required for entry and exit. It's recommended to check specific visa requirements based on your nationality.

Can you drink tap water in Zihuatanejo?

It's not recommended to drink tap water in Zihuatanejo. Stick to bottled or purified water, even for brushing teeth. Avoid ice cubes made from tap water and be cautious with fresh produce washed in tap water.

What is the currency in Zihuatanejo?

The Mexican Peso (MXN) is the official currency in Zihuatanejo. While some establishments may accept US dollars, it's advisable to carry pesos for better exchange rates. Major credit cards are widely accepted in hotels, restaurants, and shops.

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