Exploring Mexico City in 2024: Is It Safe for Tourists to Visit?

People standing in front of the Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City.

    Is Mexico City safe in 2024? Absolutely, when armed with the right information. Our concise guide offers the necessary knowledge for a safe and enjoyable visit—no fluff, just facts.

    Key Takeaways

    • Mexico City’s safety has improved, yet certain areas still require caution, with violent crimes leading some residents to feel insecure; petty theft is the principal issue for tourists.

    • Travelers in Mexico City should adjust safety practices based on daytime exploration and nighttime caution, with a focus on avoiding high-crime areas and using reputable transportation like Uber and authorized taxis.

    • For a worry-free experience, prioritize securing comprehensive travel insurance that covers unexpected events such as illness, theft, and natural disasters.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store

    What are Dangerous Areas

    The Mexico City skyline at night.

    The Mexico City safety landscape has evolved since the 1990s. The Mexican government’s focus on increasing National Guard presence and targeting high-impact crimes has contributed to reshaping the narrative around safety in the capital.

    However, it’s worth noting that over 60% of Mexico City residents felt insecure in 2023, prompting them to alter their behavior due to violent crimes. Yet, when compared to certain areas in major cities like San Francisco and Chicago, Mexico City’s safety surpasses, with petty theft being the most common issue for tourists.

    So, how can a traveler safely traverse this bustling city? Let’s examine the actual crime situation in Mexico City before you visit Mexico City.

    See also our Blog Post on the Top 10 Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico.

    The Reality of Crime in Mexico City

    An illustration showing a crime scene in Mexico City.

    Staying informed about the crime situation, including violent crime, is vital when exploring Mexico City. Approximately 27% of homes in Mexico City have had at least one victim of crime, affecting an estimated 22.1 million individuals in the first half of 2023. Crime rates can fluctuate, with neighborhoods like Venustiano Carranza experiencing a total of 709 homicides in 2022.

    However, it’s not all gloomy. When Mexico City compared to select U.S. cities in 2021, its murder rate was notably lower, with 10.9 homicides per 100,000 people, versus rates as high as 14.6 in Dallas and 22.1 in Minneapolis. The Mexican government is also taking proactive steps to enhance public security and prevent crime, including expanding the National Guard.

    But, where is extra caution warranted? Here’s a review of areas in Mexico City requiring added vigilance.

    Areas to Be Mindful Of

    Mexico City, like any other major city, has areas with higher crime rates. Some neighborhoods with different crime reputations include:

    • Tepito, notorious for its high robbery rates and as the hub of Mexico City’s informal 'black market'

    • Doctores, an area with a mix of residential and commercial zones, known for its vibrant street art but also for pockets of higher crime rates

    • Iztapalapa, the most populous borough, facing challenges with gang activity and occasional violent crimes

    • Colonia del Valle, an affluent neighborhood that has seen an uptick in high-risk kidnappings

    • Tlalpan, home to large forested areas, but also some zones with elevated crime statistics

    • Xochimilco, famous for its canals and colorful boats, yet some isolated areas are best avoided after dark

    • Tlatelolco, known for its historical significance and the Plaza de las Tres Culturas, but also for having areas of concern regarding safety

    • Ciudad Neza, or Nezahualcóyotl, a large and densely populated suburb with varying crime levels, often higher than the city average

    Doctores is generally safe during the day, it becomes more dangerous at night. So, if you’re exploring the Centro Histórico after dark, it’s safer to use Uber. Also, be cautious in areas known for high-risk kidnappings like Colonia del Valle and places with elevated crime rates like Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl.

    What Travelers Say

    "Mexico City's Centro Histórico is a hub of vibrant markets and cultural events, making it a unique and safe exploration spot for visitors."

    Safe Neighborhoods for Tourists

    Mexico City, akin to other large urban centers, has neighborhoods that are particularly welcoming to tourists. These areas are known for their lower crime rates and tourist-friendly atmosphere. Some of the neighborhoods that are celebrated for their safety and charm include:

    • Polanco: A posh and upscale district, Polanco is known for its luxury shopping, high-end restaurants, and cultural attractions like the Museo Soumaya and Museo Jumex.

    • Roma Norte: Boasting a bohemian vibe, Roma Norte is filled with trendy cafes, art galleries, and boutique shops, making it a favorite for those seeking a hip atmosphere.

    • Condesa: Similar to Roma Norte, Condesa offers a relaxed environment with beautiful parks, dog-friendly spaces, and a variety of eateries and bars, perfect for a leisurely stay.

    • Coyoacán: A historic neighborhood, Coyoacán is famous for its colonial architecture, tranquil plazas, and the Frida Kahlo Museum, offering a charming and quieter retreat.

    • Zona Rosa: Known for its vibrant nightlife, Zona Rosa is also a hub for the LGBTQ+ community, filled with bars, nightclubs, and shops in a safe and inclusive area.

    • Reforma: Along the grand Paseo de la Reforma avenue, this area features iconic landmarks, such as the Angel of Independence, and is close to the business district, suitable for both leisure and business travelers.

    As a general rule, remain vigilant and exercise caution in non-tourist areas known for higher crime rates. So, how should safety practices be adjusted? Let’s discuss the different safety measures for day and night.

    What Travelers Say

    "When going out in Mexico City, choose safe, lively areas like upscale Polanco or bohemian Coyoacán."

    Day vs. Night: Adjusting Your Safety Practices

    An illustration comparing Mexico City during the day versus at night.

    Whether you’re exploring Mexico City’s ancient ruins or indulging in tantalizing Mexican food, adjusting your safety practices based on the time of day can significantly enhance your security. During the day, Mexico City is generally safe if you exercise caution. It’s advisable to stay in well-lit, populated areas and minimize displays of wealth.

    At night, the city’s safety dynamics change. It’s advised to avoid walking alone and instead travel by taxi or with a group after dark for safety. Areas such as Tepito, La Lagunilla, Mercado Merced, Doctores, Ciudad Neza, and Iztapalapa, become particularly dangerous at night and should be avoided.

    Using public transport during the daytime and opting for private transport at night is recommended for safety in Mexico City.

    Top 12 Safety Tips

    For a secure visit to Mexico City, it's crucial to be proactive about your safety. Here are some essential tips to help you stay safe:

    • Personal Belonging Safety: Always be vigilant with your personal items, particularly on public transportation and in crowded places. Use anti-theft accessories like money belts for your cash and cards.

    • Public Transportation Use: Mexico City's public transport is generally safe; however, during peak times, the risk of pickpocketing increases. Opt for authorized taxis or rideshare apps like Uber for added security.

    • Staying Digitally Connected: Ensure you have reliable internet access for navigation and emergencies. An eSIM card keeps you connected without physical SIM exchanges.

    • Nighttime Travel: Extra caution is needed when traveling at night. Use trusted services with GPS tracking, such as official taxis or Uber.

    • Language Barrier: A basic understanding of Spanish can facilitate your travel and may help deter potential criminals.

    • Financial Safety: Use ATMs during daylight in secure locations, and keep a separate emergency cash stash apart from your main wallet.

    • In Case of Emergency: Stay calm and non-resistant if faced with a robbery, as your safety is more important than your belongings.

    • Preparedness for Natural Disasters: Mexico City is prone to earthquakes, so having an earthquake alert app on your smartphone is advisable for early warnings.

    • Identification: Carry a photocopy of your ID to prevent complications if stopped by authorities.

    • Choosing Accommodations: Research and select accommodations in neighborhoods known for safety, such as Polanco and Condesa.

    • Avoid Attracting Unwanted Attention: Present yourself modestly, refrain from displaying wealth, and keep high-end electronics out of sight.

    • Awareness of Scams: Familiarize yourself with common local scams to avoid being swindled and enjoy a hassle-free experience in Mexico City.

    What Travelers Say

    Skip the shorts in Mexico City! Locals usually don't wear them. Shorts make you stand out as a tourist and draw potentially unwanted attention.

    Guidance for Solo Travelers

    A solo female traveler in Mexico City

    Traveling solo can be an exciting adventure, but it comes with its own set of safety concerns. Solo travelers should:

    • Stay vigilant

    • Stay in recommended safe neighborhoods like Polanco, Roma Norte, and Condesa

    • Use suggested means of transportation such as Ubers for safe navigation around Mexico City.

    Maintaining privacy about your travel plans, not sharing that you’re traveling alone on social media in real-time, and regularly checking in with trusted loved ones can enhance your safety while traveling solo. But what about solo female travelers? Let’s explore some important considerations for solo female travel in Mexico City.

    What Travelers Say

    Ciudad Universitaria's UNESCO modernist architecture and safety make it a hidden gem in Mexico City for solo travelers.

    Solo Female Traveler Considerations

    For solo female travelers, taking precautions in Mexico City is paramount for a safe and enjoyable experience. Here are some tailored tips to help you navigate the city with confidence:

    • Public Transportation: Utilize the 'female-only' carriages on the Metro and buses, which are designed for your safety. At night, avoid walking alone and opt for trusted services like Uber.

    • Stay Vigilant: Keep your belongings secure and invest in anti-theft accessories. Use hotel safes for storing valuables and only carry what you need for the day.

    • Health and Confidence: Maintain your health to stay alert. Act with confidence and trust your instincts to deter potential threats.

    • Emergency Preparedness: Familiarize yourself with local emergency numbers and consider carrying a whistle or personal alarm.

    • **Area Awareness: Some areas, like Iztapalapa, have higher incidences of violence against women. Stay informed about the neighborhoods you plan to visit and exercise additional caution.

    By following these guidelines, you can enhance your personal safety and focus on enjoying the vibrant culture and attractions of Mexico City.

    What Travelers Say

    There are designated women and children areas in public transportation in Mexico City. Services like ATENEA buses are exclusively for women.

    See also our Blog Post on the Top 10 Safest Cities in Mexico.

    Enjoying Mexico City's Street Food Safely

    Tacos with lime and a beverage in Mexico City.

    One of the greatest joys of visiting Mexico City is indulging in its street food. Yet, some precautions must be followed to safely relish this amazing food. Always eat hot fresh food from busy places, as high turnover means less chance of food spoilage.

    Avoid eating anything raw from street vendors, like raw salsas, salads, and cilantro, unless it’s from a place with access to running water. Also, refrain from seafood or fish from street stalls to minimize the risk of foodborne illness.

    So, how to locate safe street food options and maintain hydration amidst the city’s altitude? Let’s explore.

    Finding Safe Street Food Options

    Finding safe street food options in Mexico City is easier than you might think. Ensure the food handlers use proper hygiene, especially that different persons handle money and food to prevent contamination. Seek out vendors where a large container of hand sanitizer is available for customer use, signaling attention to cleanliness.

    Opt for street food stalls with high customer turnover, as indicated by long lines, which often means the food is both safe and tasty. Also, choose vendors who prepare and serve food on the spot, to ensure meals are served at the correct temperatures for safety.

    Hydration and Altitude Awareness

    Staying hydrated in Mexico City is crucial. The city’s altitude at 2.4 kilometers above sea level can cause altitude sickness, presenting flu-like symptoms for those not acclimated. Carrying a refillable water bottle with a filter can aid in accessing safe water and avoiding dehydration.

    Drinking tap water in Mexico City can carry a risk of illness due to potential contamination. It is not considered safe for consumption. Locals and travelers should:

    • Use filtered or bottled water for consumption

    • Aguas frescas from restaurants using purified water are safe to consume

    • Taking probiotics or intestinal support pills can help prevent stomach issues.

    Dealing with Medical Emergencies

    An illustration picturing medical staff of a hospital in Mexico City.

    Mexico City is renowned for its high-quality medical care, with facilities well-equipped to handle a wide range of medical issues. Both public and private hospitals are available to assist patients, with many doctors being bilingual and having received international training. Notable hospitals such as Hospital Médica Sur and Centro Médico ABC are recognized for their state-of-the-art services and exceptional patient care.

    For medical emergencies, travelers can dial the universal emergency number for Mexico City, which is 911, to receive prompt assistance.

    What Travelers Say

    In Mexico, pharmacies often have on-site doctors for quick assistance. For serious medical needs, private hospitals provide higher-quality care.

    The Real Risk of Natural Disasters

    A photo of the Popocatépetl volcano spewing ash behind Mexico City.jpg

    Mexico City is located in an active seismic zone, which makes it vulnerable to earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The city has developed systems to mitigate these risks.

    Mexico City is equipped with a Seismic Alert System (SAS) and a comprehensive set of almost 14,000 loudspeakers delivering distinctive siren sounds recognized by residents. The SAS system can give a warning at least 50 seconds before an earthquake’s shaking starts in the city.

    Additionally, the city has protocols in place for volcanic activity, including the monitoring of the Popocatépetl volcano. The SkyAlert mobile app can provide up to 120 seconds of heads-up for seismic events and alerts about volcanic activity, depending on the location’s distance from the epicenter or volcano.

    In the event of an earthquake, travelers should:

    • Seek immediate cover during an earthquake by dropping to the ground, taking refuge under sturdy furniture, and holding on until the tremors cease.

    • Stay clear of potential hazards — both indoors and outdoors — such as windows, streetlights, and tall structures that may collapse.

    • After the shaking subsides, cautiously evacuate using stairs instead of elevators, and be alert for aftershocks.

    In the event of volcanic eruption and ash fallout, travelers should:

    • Use a mask or a damp cloth to prevent inhalation of volcanic ash, following guidance from local authorities.

    • Stay indoors with windows and doors closed to minimize exposure to volcanic ash.

    • Follow the lead of locals and authorities to designated safety zones, which may include shelters specifically equipped for volcanic emergencies.

    Avoid the Most Common Scams

    A taxi driver in Mexico City scamming tourists.

    Scams are a common occurrence in many tourist destinations, and Mexico City is no exception. To avoid falling victim to these scams, be aware of the following:

    • Taxi Scams: Beware of taxi drivers who might overcharge or engage in 'express kidnappings' for extortion. Use reputable ride-hailing services like Uber for secure and transparent fares.

    • Souvenir Scams: Be cautious when purchasing souvenirs in markets. Research beforehand to ensure the authenticity of items like jewelry and avoid overpriced imitations.

    • ATM Frauds: Watch out for ATM scams that can skim your card information. Use ATMs located within banks or supervised areas to reduce fraud risk.

    • Other Scams: Stay alert to distraction tactics such as the 'mustard scam', where a substance is squirted onto you and thieves attempt to steal your belongings while pretending to help clean up. Carry travel-safe bags or money belts and only

    Maximizing Your Pesos

    A pile of Mexican pesos, bills and coins.

    Ensuring your financial security is crucial while exploring Mexico City. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

    • Card usage for payments in Mexico City is increasing, but cross-border transactions may face authorization issues with many domestic Mexican cards.

    • Visa, Mastercard, and American Express are widely accepted.

    • Digital wallets like Apple Pay are becoming more popular, signaling a shift towards cashless transactions.

    Travelers should carry a few hundred pesos on hand for small expenses and tipping, adhering to the customary practice of tipping service staff 10-15% in various situations.

    Here are some tips to save money on foreign transactions:

    • Check with your bank on their policies regarding foreign transaction fees.

    • Look for credit cards that offer no foreign transaction fees or ATM fee reimbursement.

    • Select your home bank’s exchange rates at ATMs to save money.

    What Travelers Say

    In Mexico, when using your credit card, ensure it remains in sight during transactions. Be vigilant, cover your PIN, and monitor your statements.

    Uber, Taxi or Public Transportation

    A red Mexico City Metrobus.

    Mexico City offers a variety of public transportation options, catering to the needs of both locals and tourists. Understanding these options can greatly enhance your travel experience in the city. Here's a breakdown of what you need to know:

    Is Uber Available in Mexico City?

    Yes, Uber is available in Mexico City and is a popular choice among travelers due to its convenience and safety features. The app allows you to track your ride, provides driver information, and the fare is set before you begin your journey, which can help avoid overcharging.

    Uber versus Taxi

    When comparing Uber with traditional taxis, there are a few factors to consider. Uber offers cashless transactions, fixed rates, and the ability to track your ride via the app. Taxis, on the other hand, can be hailed on the street and may offer a more "local" experience, but it's recommended to use authorized taxi services to ensure safety and avoid scams.

    What Travelers Say

    Avoid taxis in Mexico City! They're often unsafe. Stick to Uber, Didi, or other rideshare apps for a safe and fair-priced travel experience.

    Public Transport Options

    Mexico City's public transportation network is extensive and includes Metro (subway), Metrobús (bus rapid transit), light rail, and buses. It is one of the most cost-effective ways to move around the city. However, it's essential to be mindful of peak hours when these services can become crowded, increasing the risk of pickpocketing.

    During the day, public transport is a practical choice, but at night, prioritize private transport for safety. Avoid the Metro and buses after dark due to increased petty crime risks. Use reputable taxis or ride-sharing apps like Uber, which provide added safety with GPS tracking and driver information.

    Transportation from Mexico City Airport

    Taxi's lining up at the airport in Mexico City.

    Upon arrival at Mexico City International Airport (Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez), you have several transportation options:

    • Authorized airport taxis can be booked at the designated counters inside the airport. They are safe and operate at fixed rates based on the zone of your destination.

    • Metrobús Line 4 provides a direct connection from the airport to the city center, which is an economical choice.

    • Uber and other ride-sharing services are also available and can be accessed using the airport's free Wi-Fi.

    By familiarizing yourself with these transportation options, you can navigate Mexico City with ease and confidence, making the most of your visit.

    Cultural Insights for a Respectful Visit

    A man in Mexico City wearing a traditional Mexican attire.

    Understanding and respecting local customs enhances your travel experience. In Mexico City:

    • Lunch is the main meal of the day, often enjoyed in the afternoon

    • Dinner is a smaller and less formal meal

    • Meals are often long social gatherings

    • It’s expected that guests will take their time to socialize instead of rushing through the meal

    Foreigners are less likely to experience discrimination in Mexico City, as it is a generally open-minded metropolis that embraces diversity. Visitors are advised to respect the city’s diversity and avoid any behavior that might perpetuate stereotypes or discrimination.

    Simple phrases like ‘Con permiso’ when you need to interrupt or pass through a conversation or group, and saying ‘Salud’ when someone sneezes, are indicative of good manners.

    What Travelers Say

    Public smoking and drinking are strictly forbidden in Mexico City! Safe yourself some money and avoid hefty fines.

    The Importance of Travel Insurance

    An illustration showing a happy traveler with travel insurance.

    Travel insurance is a vital component of planning a worry-free trip to Mexico City. A comprehensive travel insurance policy typically covers:

    • Unforeseen illnesses or injuries

    • Expenses related to hospital stays, doctor visits, and prescription drugs

    • Emergency services such as medical evacuation due to local unrest or natural disasters

    • Support in case of lost checked luggage

    A robust travel insurance plan helps travelers manage risks associated with:

    • Theft or loss of personal belongings

    • Medical crises

    • Extended stays due to unexpected events

    • Other unforeseen travel interruptions

    This provision offers travelers peace of mind, allowing them to enjoy their journey without the added stress of potential mishaps. It's recommended to get a personalized quote to ensure that the coverage meets the individual needs and circumstances of one's travel plans.

    What Travelers Say

    When traveling to Mexico, it's important to have travel insurance that covers medical expenses. Check if your policy also includes medical evacuation.


    In conclusion, while Mexico City comes with its unique set of safety challenges, it remains a relatively safe city when compared to some major U.S. cities. By staying informed about the city’s safety landscape, being mindful of certain areas, adjusting safety practices based on the time of day, and following essential safety tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Mexico City.

    So, why wait? Pack your bags, grab your mask, and get ready to explore the vibrant streets, historical landmarks, and tantalizing food of Mexico City. With a bit of caution, some common sense, and a lot of curiosity, your Mexican adventure awaits!

    Frequently Asked Questions

    An illustration showing people checking out the FAQ section.

    Is Mexico City safe for tourists?

    Yes, Mexico City is generally safe for tourists, but it's important to stay aware of your surroundings and be cautious of petty crime and pickpocketing, especially in tourist areas.

    Is Mexico City safe for Americans?

    Mexico City has increased security patrols in recent years, making it generally safe for Americans. However, exercise caution, especially outside of tourist areas where crime rates may be higher.

    Is Mexico City safe for female tourists?

    Mexico City offers much for female tourists, from cultural sites to vibrant markets. To ensure safety, stick to busy, well-lit areas, use trusted transport, and remain vigilant. Access to women-only public transport carriages and other safety initiatives help provide a secure environment.

    Is it safe to go to Mexico right now?

    Overall, yes, but safety varies by region. For detailed insights, see our "Is Mexico Safe in 2024?" article.

    Is Mexico City safer than Los Angeles?

    Living in Los Angeles is safer and more secure compared to Mexico City. However, Mexico City offers unbeatable, professional, efficient, and helpful services and treatments, especially in the city.

    Is Mexico City expensive for tourists?

    No, Mexico City is considered to be relatively affordable for tourists, especially when compared to major European and US cities.

    Is Uber safe in Mexico City?

    Yes, Uber is considered a safe and reliable transportation option in Mexico City. Drivers are registered with the app, which tracks all rides, providing an added layer of security for passengers.

    Are cabs safe in Mexico City?

    While cabs can be safe, it's recommended to use authorized taxi services or a reputable app-based service like Uber to ensure the ride is secure and the driver is accountable.

    Is Mexico City safe from Cartel?

    Mexico City is not a major hub of cartel activity, and while no large city is completely free from crime, the presence of cartels is not typically a concern for tourists in the capital.

    Is Mexico City safe at night?

    Certain areas of Mexico City can be unsafe at night. It's best to stay in well-lit, populated areas, use trusted transportation options, and avoid known high-crime neighborhoods after dark.

    Is the water in Mexico city safe to drink?

    Tap water in Mexico City is not recommended for drinking. It's advised to drink bottled or filtered water to avoid potential stomach issues.

    Where is the safest place to stay in Mexico City?

    Neighborhoods like Polanco, Roma Norte, and Condesa are known for being safer and are popular among tourists for their accommodations and amenities.

    What areas should you avoid in Mexico City?

    Areas to exercise caution in or avoid include Tepito, Doctores, Iztapalapa, Colonia del Valle, Tlalpan, Xochimilco, Tlatelolco, and Ciudad Neza, especially at night.

A profile picture of Ana-Marija Autischer
by Ana-Marija Autischer
The visionary Founder & CEO of Vigilios, where her extensive research into travel safety over the past two years has positioned her at the forefront of the industry. With a keen eye for innovation, she translates complex safety concepts into practical advice for travelers worldwide.

Download the App

Map, Insights & Support - Vigilios is your Personal Safety Companion

A phone displaying the Vigilios app and it's safety features.
App Store QR LinkApp Store
Google Play QR Link
Coming soon to Android
Google Play