One country - four perspectives: Mexico

    A matter of perspective: Travel advice for Mexico from four different governments

    You’re planning a trip and wondering how safe the location is that you have in mind? An obvious port of call may be government travel advice.

    What is government travel advice?

    Government travel advice refers to the recommendations provided by a government to its citizens regarding travel to specific destinations. Its purpose is assist travelers in making informed decisions about their safety and security when visiting other countries or regions.

    Government travel advice typically covers various aspects related to travel, including political stability, security threats, health risks, natural disasters, entry requirements, local laws and customs.

    That being said, not every country necessarily has the same view of your chosen destination and therefore travel advice can vary between countries. Today, we would like to take a closer look at travel advice from four different governments, namely the US, the UK, Germany, and Austria. Let's take a look how these countries assess Mexico from a safety perspective.

Download Vigilios

Your Pocket-Sized Travel Safety Guide

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

    Travel advice for Mexico

    Mexico is without doubt a vibrant and culturally rich country. However, it has faced ongoing concerns regarding safety and crime. From localized drug violence to street crime in certain areas, Mexico's safety landscape warrants a thoughtful approach for those planning to visit the country.

    Let's dive deeper into the recommendations provided by different governments.

    Travel advice about Mexico from the US

    The US government's travel advice for Mexico provides a significantly more detailed and comprehensive assessment compared to the British, German, and Austrian counterparts.

    The country summary on the US government's website sets a somber tone, stating that violent crimes such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery are widespread and common in Mexico. This blunt statement does not instill a sense of confidence for potential travelers.

    The overview covers a wide range of dangers, including pickpocketing, kidnapping, and homicide. It even provides guidance on how to respond in an active shooter scenario, advising travelers to flee in the opposite direction if possible or take cover behind a hard barrier.

    The US government's website also highlights the existence of fake checkpoints in certain parts of Mexico, emphasizing the recommendation to pay any toll demanded, regardless of its legality, to avoid potential violence.

    Furthermore, US citizens are warned that engaging in demonstrations or activities deemed political by Mexican authorities is considered illegal, which could lead to detention or deportation.

    A significant portion of the travel advice focuses on the regulation of the tourism industry, distinguishing between metropolitan areas and the countryside. This portrayal may further contribute to a rather bleak perception of safety in rural regions.

    The US further warns entirely against traveling to the following areas:

    • Colima

    • Guerrero

    • Michoacan

    • Sinaloa

    • Tamaulipas

    • Zacatecas

    In general, the US mentions only two states where you are able to exercise normal caution, namely Campeche and Yucatan, while everywhere else heightened caution is suggested.

    Travel Advice from the United Kingdom

    Let's take a closer look at the United Kingdom's travel advice concerning Mexico. The UK advises against all non-essential travel to several Mexican provinces due to safety concerns. Their list of restricted areas largely aligns with the United States' recommendations, except for the addition of Chihuahua. Furthermore, the UK provides specific information about cities and roads within other states that are best to be avoided, showing a keen understanding of localized risks.

    The UK travel advice addresses security risks faced by foreigners in Mexico. They highlight street crime and serious violent crimes such as robbery, assault, and vehicle hijacking as potential dangers. Moreover, the UK emphasizes the prevalence and increasing drug-related crime, cautioning against any involvement with drugs. Notably, recent clashes between criminal gangs in popular tourist destinations like Cancun are mentioned, warning that tourists could be inadvertently harmed. This particular crime increase is not addressed in the US travel advice.

    In terms of safety and security, the UK travel advice emphasizes the rise in drug-related violence and Mexico's severe penalties, up to 25 years, for drug-related offenses. This information is not explicitly mentioned in the US guidance. Additionally, the UK provides a timely insight into the issue of taxi drivers blocking roads and targeting Ubers in Cancun's hotel zone, protesting against Uber's presence. This demonstrates the UK's up-to-date awareness compared to the US's more general overview.

    Transport safety is a significant concern in Mexico, according to the UK travel advice. Travelers are advised to avoid isolated roads and opt for toll roads whenever possible to minimize risks. Precautions such as keeping car doors locked and windows closed, especially at traffic lights, are recommended to mitigate the risk of carjackings and robberies. Furthermore, the UK advises caution against theft on public transport, suggesting the use of first-class buses on toll roads and avoidance of unlicensed taxi drivers. Women are specifically warned about the risk of harassment and sexual assault on public transport. These detailed recommendations are not provided in the US travel advice.

    Safety Precautions for Traveling to Mexico

    • Avoid wearing expensive jewelry or watches.

    • Carry limited amounts of cash.

    • Keep a close eye on your luggage at all times.

    • Withdraw or exchange money only in daylight and within shops or malls.

    • Be cautious of individuals posing as police officers who may issue arbitrary fines.

    Austria's recommendations when traveling to Mexico

    When it comes to travel advice for Mexico, the Austrian government provides a shorter and less detailed overview. It primarily focuses on listing high-risk states and areas in Mexico, including locations like Nuevo León and San Luis Potosí, which are not mentioned by the UK or the US. This concise approach may lack specific insights about the dangers in different regions, but it highlights notable areas of concern.

    The Austrian travel advice highlights the importance of staying within tourist zones or accommodations during acute violent incidents in dangerous regions. Even in tourism and business centers, the Austrian government warns against venturing into remote and deserted areas such as suburban zones, isolated beaches, and early morning beach walks. This precautionary measure is not mentioned in the US or UK travel advice, presenting a slightly alarming perspective on safety in Mexico.

    Safety Suggestions

    • Cooperate with criminals in case of theft or 'express kidnapping'. Stay low-key with jewelry and be cautious of individuals posing as police officers

    • Consider using the "Mi policia" app specifically designed for Mexico City, allowing for easy communication with the nearest police through an emergency button.

    • Register your travel with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs online or through an app, especially for holiday trips and short-term stays

    And what is Germany's recommendation?

    Germany's travel advice system categorizes areas into three levels: "strongly advise not to travel there," "advise not to travel there," and "travel there with particular caution." The Germans consider Chiapas to be more dangerous compared to other countries. While Austria advises against non-essential travel to Guanajuato, Germany simply advises not to travel there. In contrast, the US suggests reconsidering travel to Guanajuato. Similarly, Austria advises against non-essential travel to Michoacán, the UK does so with a few exceptions, and the US lists it as "do not travel," while Germany places it in their mid-tier advisory of not traveling there. These variations show that there is no complete consensus on the perceived danger levels of certain areas in Mexico.

    Germany recommends having a viable security plan when traveling to regions and cities with serious travel advisories. They emphasize extra caution during intercity trips and advise against driving at night. Germany particularly mentions border regions and suggests limiting stays to the necessary minimum for entry and exit, a detail not mentioned by any other country. They also caution against participating in demonstrations and large gatherings, urging travelers to follow instructions from local security forces. However, they do not explicitly mention that foreigners participating in demonstrations can face legal consequences.


    Use toll highways (cuota) and prefer daytime travel. Limit stops to a minimum and choose busy rest areas and gas stations. Stay vigilant for any signs of being followed or observed and drive to the nearest police station or safe location if necessary.


    Exercise caution when traveling alone, especially at night and in deserted areas.

    What's the reality now?

    In conclusion, while each country's travel advice covers different aspects, the overall impression of Mexico portrayed by governments can be off-putting, suggesting a pervasive atmosphere of violence and danger. However, it is important to note that these assessments may also have a political dimension and a politically motivated tone. The governments' primary concern is to ensure the safety and well-being of their citizens, which can influence the emphasis and level of detail in their travel advisories.

    To balance the perspective, it is crucial to consider other sources of information, such as firsthand experiences of tourists who have visited Mexico. These personal accounts often present a more nuanced view of the country, highlighting the vibrant culture, natural beauty, and warm hospitality that Mexico has to offer alongside the challenges it faces.

    Additionally, it is worth mentioning that technological advancements have provided travelers with access to alternative resources for assessing safety. For instance, the Vigilios app offers country profiles that include helpful and reliable information on the level of safety at your destination, as well as practical safety tips to ensure you can enjoy your trip without encountering any safety issues.


    Utilizing digital technologies based on objective data and user insights can provide a more comprehensive understanding of the local environment and assist in making informed travel decisions.

    By considering a variety of perspectives, including government advisories, personal experiences, and utilizing reliable travel resources, travelers can better navigate their journey to Mexico while maintaining awareness of potential risks and ensuring a safe and enjoyable trip.

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