25 Safest Cities in Mexico to Visit & Safest Beaches in Mexico

May 13, 2021 | 8 comments

Looking for the safest places in Mexico to travel? 

Mexico is a big country, with an even bigger reputation. While many mislabel the entire country as unsafe, you’re about to discover why that’s simply untrue, as well as the 25 safest cities in Mexico — including the #1 safest city in Mexico — which happens to be where I live!

Hi, I’m Shelley, and I’ve been living and doing solo travel in Mexico since 2018. I have personally been to half the states in this country, most as a solo female traveler, and know first-hand just how misjudged Mexico is.

However, I know I’m just one person, so in an effort to add as many voices as possible to the “Is Mexico safe for travel?” conversation as possible, I asked some fellow travel bloggers to chime in.

In this article, you’ll discover the Top 25 safest cities in Mexico, recommended by people who have actually visited them. You’ll also get a Mexico travel tip about each city, so you can visit Mexico like a pro! 

Ready to discover the safest places to travel in Mexico? Let’s get to it — but first, we’ll go ahead and address the elephant in the room 🐘 which is of course, Is it safe to travel to Mexico?

Pin this article for later

woman laying on a hammock on a beach in one of the safest cities in mexico, holbox island
safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

Is Mexico Safe to Travel?

This is a complex question, and the answer is really yes and no. Yes, it is safe for nearly all travelers; no, it’s not always safe if you don’t make personal safety your top priority. In truth, there’s no guarantee of safety anywhere on Earth, but read this quote from Carlos Barron, a 25-year FBI veteran, for some perspective: 

“Millions of Americans go to Mexico on vacation every year, so if we play the numbers game, the number of incidents is very small…” —Carlos Barron (via Forbes)

The key phrase here is “the numbers game.” There’s no denying bad things happen in Mexico; however, they are isolated incidents. Though bad things happen every minute in the U.S., they are written off isolated incidents, rather than labeling the entire country as unsafe, as is done with Mexico 🤷‍♀️

Mexico is the 7th most visited country in the world

Contrary to often-sensationalized media reports, Mexico gets a bad wrap; though it’s not totally undeserved, as there are unsafe parts of Mexico. However, American and international travelers still flock to Mexico year after year — So if it were that unsafe, Wouldn’t people stop going?

According to the U.S. National Travel and Tourism Office, Mexico was the top travel destination for Americans in 2019, with nearly 40 million visits 😳 Also in 2019, World Tourism Organization stats show Mexico as the most visited country in Latin America, and the seventh most visited country in the world.

With such a sinister reputation, and so many people convinced all of Mexico is unsafe for travel, it seems people would want to avoid Mexico at all costs; though just the opposite is true.

safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

The most dangerous cities in Mexico to avoid

The (sad) reality is this: There are two Mexicos. One Mexico is a welcoming country with friendly people, world-class beaches, tacos so good you’ll cry, rich history, swimmable cenotes, amazing festivals like Day of the Dead — and the other Mexico is quite frankly, unsafe.

However, just as you’d avoid the unsafe areas in your own city, state or country, so too should you avoid them in Mexico. As tourism is the #1 driving force in Mexico’s economy, the top Mexico travel destinations are safe for visitors.

When I’m asked if Mexico is a safe place to go travel on vacation, my response is yes.” —Carlos Barron, 25-year FBI veteran (via Forbes)

For a guide on which places to avoid in Mexico and the most dangerous cities in Mexico, consult the U.S. State Department site. This guide offers up-to-date information, Mexico travel warnings and advisories.

However, keep in mind that they evaluate state by state, not city by city, which would make more sense for travelers. For example, Sinaloa is considered one of the least safe states in Mexico, though the city of Mazatlan in Sinaloa, is one of the most-visited and best beach destinations in Mexico.

Colorful colonial buildings
Merida
Puerto Vallarta
large pink gothic style church in san miguel de allende mexico in front of a well manicured park/garden with trees cut into topiary style circles and colorful buildings in colonial architecture styles surrounding the town square
San Miguel de Allende
safest cities in mexico to visit

25 Safest Cities in Mexico for Travelers

Hopefully you now see that Mexico is actually quite safe for travelers overall. If you stay alert, follow your intuition, make your own safety a priority and research your travel location, you, and the 40+ million of other Americans who visit Mexico, are actually statistically quite safe when visiting Mexico.

Mexico Map of the safest cities in Mexico

Now, let’s get to the fun stuff! The Mexico Map below will show you where all the safest cities to visit in Mexico are located. Each city marked on it is featured in this article, and comes highly recommended by past visitors who have taken the time to vouch for the safety of that travel destination.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

Safest Beaches in Mexico

1. Tulum

Contributed by Paul Healy of Anywhere We Roam, who visited Tulum in January 2018. Follow along with his travels on Instagram.

With swaying palm trees leaning over white-sand beaches and azure seas lapping the shore, Tulum is a bohemian beach paradise. Located on the Caribbean Sea in Quintana Roo state, Tulum is one of the safest beach destinations in Mexico, and a must visit Yucatan pueblo magico (magic town).

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 The Ultimate Tulum Travel Planning Guide for First Time Visitors

In the last decade, Tulum has become one of the most popular cities in Mexico — and that’s because it has a lot to offer its visitors. There’s everything from oceanfront Tulum beach houses to eco chic Tulum glamping, and restaurant options ranging from Thai to Turkish to tacos!

Tulum is also considered among the best party cities in Mexico, so the bars are just as impressive as the restaurants. During the day, even the Tulum beach clubs have a lively atmosphere, with endless cocktails, top quality service, and amazing esthetic designs.

ahu tulum & raw love cafe tulum sculpture called ven a la luz, located on tulum beach | safest cities in mexico to visit

If lazing on the beach gets too hedonistic for you, visit the Tulum Ruins, one of the most spectacular Mayan Ruins in Mexico. As the last Mayan city to be built, it’s an unmissable experience in Mexico, and will give you a chance to get a glimpse into authentic Mayan culture.

While the beach is the main draw, Tulum visitors will also want to check out Tulum Town AKA Downtown Tulum. Though it’s not the Tulum you’ve seen on Instagram or YouTube, downtown comes alive in the evenings with street food taco shops and awesome bars with live music, like Batey Bar.

While Tulum has certainly grown with an influx of tourists eager to enjoy the beautiful beaches, this has also made it one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. There’s a relaxed, non-threatening vibe and a friendly, busy atmosphere at night, so you never feel alone or secluded.

✈️ Tulum, Mexico Travel Tip from Paul: Try the cocktails at Playa El Paraiso Beach Club at the El Paraiso Hotel Tulum, where you’ll also find the sideways palm tree, a Tulum landmark.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

2. Puerto Vallarta

Contributed by Karee of Our Woven Journey, who visited Puerto Vallarta in February 2021. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

On our recent visit to Mexico, we spent four nights in a Puerto Vallarta all inclusive resort. From the time we got off the plane until we went home, we always felt safe and in no danger at all, as world-famous Puerto Vallarta is among the most safe beaches in Mexico, and best Mexican resort towns.

We spent a good deal of time walking on the best beaches in Puerto Vallarta, like Playa los Muertos, and the famous Malecon (Boardwalk), where we met quite a few locals. Although we were approached by vendors wanting to sell things, we never experienced unusual pressure or hostility.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏖 20 Amazing Things to Do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

sail shaped boat dock on playa los muertos in puerto vallarta, one of the safest cities in mexico to visit
One of the top resort cities in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is also the among the top gay friendly cities in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta is famous for its beautiful, sandy beaches, and of course, most of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta involve the beach, the Pacific Ocean, or Banderas Bay.

Some of the popular Puerto Vallarta activities include parasailing, jet skiing, horseback riding on the beach and snorkeling around Los Arcos. If you’re interested in getting a massage on the beach, you can find them near some of the bigger resorts, and a one hour massage is very inexpensive.

Puerto Vallarta is also known for it’s amazing food and there are plenty of terrific restaurants for diners of all budgets. For the best tacos in Puerto Vallarta, head to Pancho’s Takos, and for a fancier meal try Cafe des Artistes, widely considered the best restaurant in Puerto Vallarta.

✈️ Puerto Vallarta, Mexico Travel Tip from Karee: You can save about half the cost of a taxi or shuttle by using Uber to pick you up on the main street just outside of the airport.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

3. La Paz

Contributed by Natalie Lloyd of Blissmersion, who visited La Paz in April 2021. Follow along with her travels on Facebook.

La Paz, Mexico, is a fun little city located in the beautiful state of Baja California Sur on the west coast of the country. In general, the entire Baja Peninsula is among the safest parts of Mexico; La Paz included.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 30 Best Mexican Beach Towns You Need to Visit Right Now

While the city itself is fairly flat, it’s surrounded by the Sierra de la Laguna mountain range. Located on the Gulf of California, La Paz is one of the best coastal cities in Mexico, with stunning views from both the beaches and the parts in the mountains at a higher elevation.

Hands down, the best thing to do is to check out one of the fantastic beaches near La Paz. Balandra Beach is the most popular by far, and in fact, is known as one of the best beaches in Mexico — as you can see in the photo below ⤵

the beautiful blue water and mountains along Blandera Beach in La Paz, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns | safest cities in mexico to visit
Baja California is one of the safest areas in Mexico, and for some of the best beaches in Baja California, head to La Paz.

However, Tecolote Beach, located only a few miles down the road, does give Playa Balandra a run for its money. Though you could spend all your time exploring the gorgeous beaches, other awesome things to do in La Paz, Mexico, include whale watching tours and checking out the Malecon (Boardwalk).

As one of the safest places in Mexico to vacation, La Paz has a fairly low crime rate and the town and beaches are regularly patrolled by police. Visitors generally only have to worry about petty theft, which is common in any tourist city.

The thing that makes La Paz special compared to other Mexico beaches in Baja, like Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo, is that it has retained an authentic Mexican cultural feel. As it’s not overrun with tourists, I fell in love with the vibe in La Paz and I recommend visiting it.

✈️ La Paz, Mexico Travel Tip from Natalie: Getting around La Paz is easiest if you rent a car. The touristy part is walkable, but the best La Paz beaches are about 30-45 minutes away by car.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

4. Sayulita

Contributed by Sarah of Live Dream Discover, who has visited Sayulita several times. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

The small beach town of Sayulita is located in Nayarit state on Mexico’s Pacific Coast, just one hour north of Puerto Vallarta. Over the years, Sayulita transitioned from a sleepy fishing village to a small town beloved by artists, yogis, hippies and surfers.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Mexico Hidden Gems: The 10 You Need to Know About

Today, the Sayulita pueblo magico (magic town) thrives as a trendy hotspot where tourists, surfers and expats all get to enjoy one of the most beautiful Mexican beach towns. For those lucky enough to call Sayulita home, it is considered one of the safest places in Mexico to live. 

The overall vibe is young and laid-back, and the town is colorful and welcoming with it’s festive papel picado flags hanging from one side of the street to the other. Sayulita’s quaint streets are full of bars, restaurants, boutique shops and outdoor mercados (markets), creating a fun atmosphere.

Needless to say, the best things to do in Sayulita involve being on the beach or in the ocean. For surfing in Sayulita, there are waves in all sizes, perfect for those of all levels. If you’ve never surfed before, there are plenty of surf lessons in Sayulita, most located on the town’s main beach, Playa Sayulita.

Sayulita is also a great choice for spiritual travelers, nature lovers and adventure seekers alike. Beachfront yoga sessions, jungle hikes, horseback rides and zip lines are just a few of the options for those who want to experience more than the epic surf.

As the town has grown in popularity, so has the selection of food, drink and accommodations. Of course there’s plenty of great Mexican and seafood restaurants, but you can also find vegan restaurants and burger joints. For where to stay in Sayulita, there’s everything from boutique resorts to hostels.

✈️ Sayulita, Mexico Travel Tip from Sarah: Sayulita has become very popular so it’s best to book accommodations in advance, especially between the busy season months of December to April.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

5. Cancun

Contributed by Kenny of Knycx Journeying, who visited Cancun in December 2016. Follow along with his travels on Instagram.

Cancun is among the best vacation cities in Mexico for good reason. As one of the Top 3 major cities of Mexico for travelers, there’s no shortage of amazing things to see in Cancun, as well as some of the safest all inclusive resorts in Mexico, both of which keep visitors returning year after year.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 25 Best Places in the Yucatan Peninsula: Ruins, Beaches, Cenotes

The Cancun Hotel Zone, or Zona Hotelera, is a long strip of land along the Caribbean Sea. It is extremely easy to navigate, as there’s basically just one main road that runs from north to south. Here in this main tourist zone, you’ll find the pristine white-sand Cancun beaches the area is known for. 

The Hotel Zone in Cancun is only about 15 minutes from Cancun international Airport, there’s even an inexpensive bus that offers 24-hour service between the airport and the Hotel Zone. In general, it’s very safe to get around the city by public transportation or taxi.

As you might have guessed, the best things to do in Cancun involve the beach. From water sports, diving, snorkeling, relaxing, sunbathing, and even dining and nightlife, it all happens on Cancun beach — and sometimes under its waters, as with the Cancun Underwater Museum (MUSA)!

However, there’s other Cancun sites besides the beach, like the Museo Maya de Cancun (Cancun Mayan Museum) and a small Mayan archeological site, El Rey, right in the city. To see some larger Mayan ruins near Cancun, rent a car or join a group tour to visit Chichen Itza and the Tulum Ruins.

As one of the top Mexico travel destinations and best beach towns in Mexico, Cancun has welcomed visitors for decades. It has a well-developed travel infrastructure and a wide range of restaurants, bars, nightclubs, shops, attractions and resorts that suit visitors of all budgets and travel styles.

✈️ Cancun, Mexico Travel Tip from Kenny: The best time to visit Cancun is during the dry season from December to April, when there’s also cooler temperatures and minimal humidity.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

6. Huatulco

Contributed by Eden of Rock a Little Travel, who visited Huatulco in November 2018. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Bahías de Huatulco, which means Bays of Huatulco, is located in the state of Oaxaca on the southern coast of Mexico. Usually just called Huatulco, the town is known as one of the best beach cities in Mexico, with its nine bays and more than 30 beaches to explore.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido & Huatulco: 5 Transportation Options

The best things to do in Huatulco involve being in and around the water. Popular activities at the beaches include swimming, snorkeling and diving, as well as just laying around and watching the area’s epic sunsets.

Those looking for a little adventure can book a rafting trip on the Copalita River. Huatulco National Park is also a popular place to visit. The park is located just a few minutes west of La Crucecita, the main town of Huatulco, and is the perfect place for hiking, nature walks, and to rent a bike or ATV.

tropical bay beach in Huatulco, one of the safest cities in mexico to visit
This laid back beach town is among the safest cities in Mexico to live, with one of the largest and best expat communities in Mexico.

With its small town feel, travelers will find Huatulco to be a very safe and welcoming place to visit. There are a lot of nice Huatulco hotels and resorts that aren’t very expensive, and you can fly directly into the city at Bahías de Huatulco International Airport (code: HUX).

It has a large expat population from the U.S. and Canada, and many who come to Huatulco for the winter to escape the cold. As it’s very safe with great infrastructure and gorgeous beaches, many consider Huatulco one of the best cities in Mexico to live. 

To me, Huatulco was a peaceful beach town, frequented by families on vacation from other parts of Mexico and international tourists alike. As with most places, practice the usual travel safety precautions and you’ll have a great time in Huatulco.

✈️ Huatulco, Mexico travel tip from Eden: Make sure to dine in La Crucecita, where you’ll find the best restaurants in Huatulco.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

7. Mazatlan

Contributed by Daniel James of Layer Culture, who visited Mazatlan in 2017. Follow along with his travels on Instagram.

When looking for the safest tourist destinations in Mexico, Mazatlan may not appear at the top of your list — but you have nothing to fear. Located on the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula, there are amazing Mazatlan beaches and exciting water activities waiting for you. 

RELATED ARTICLE 🏖 30 Best Mexican Beach Towns You Need to Visit Right Now

Despite the reputation of the state of Sinaloa, where Mazatlan is located, you’ll encounter a safe haven in this city. If in doubt, you can always stay within the Golden Zone (main tourist zone), which is home to some of the best hotels in Mazatlan, as well as great restaurants with live entertainment.

When you arrive in the coastal city of Mazatlan, you’ll meet friendly locals and street vendors who defy the typical Mexican stereotypes. Mazatlan is unique as far as Mexico beach cities go because you can still experience Mexican culture and Mexico’s uniqueness, whereas some beaches just feel touristy.

Although it is somewhat off the beaten path for Mexico travel, there are many amazing things to do in Mazatlan. Acclimate to the city as you start off by exploring Plaza Machado to soak in the historic colonial architecture and beautiful city views; Plaza Machado is located not far from the Golden Zone.

During the evening, head to the Malecon (Boardwalk) that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and take in the sunset. Thrill-seekers will enjoy everything from zip lining in Mazatlan to doing an ATV tour in the Sierra Madre mountains, and even snorkeling on Deer Island.

Though many might shy away from it because it is in Sinaloa state, Mazatlan is one of the safest cities in Mexico to visit, with beautiful beaches and a unique feel.

✈️ Mazatlan, Mexico travel tip from Daniel: Visit places outside the Golden Zone; try taking a tour or some activity that offers a deeper cultural experience.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

8. Cozumel

Contributed by Corritta of It’s a Family Thing, who visited Cozumel in March 2021. Follow along with her family travels on Instagram.

I think of Cozumel as the Oahu of the Caribbean, as it’s one of the best islands and safest places to go in Mexico. It has a mellow, tropical vibe, the water is always warm, and everyone is so friendly. Although it’s only a short ferry ride away from Playa Del Carmen, it feels like a world away.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏖 Traveling to Playa del Carmen: The Ultimate First-Timer’s Guide

One of the best things to do in Cozumel is snorkel. Cozumel has some of the best snorkeling spots in the Caribbean, as it’s part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second biggest reef in the world, after the Great Barrier Reef.

You can stop at any beach club and snorkel for free, which isn’t usually the case in many popular tourist destinations. My favorite spot is the Money Bar, it’s beginner-friendly and you don’t have to go far into the Caribbean Sea to see the colorful fish and coral.

colofrul beachside signs and huts with thatched palapa roofs on the beach in Cozumel, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns

While visiting Cozumel, make sure to stop at some of the eco parks. Punta Sur, located on the southern part of the island, is a favorite thanks to its lagoons, wildflowers, white sandy beaches, and an enormous lighthouse. There’s also the San Gervasio Mayan Ruins site to explore.

Cozumel is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico. Everyone is inviting, which is important for us, since we travel with a toddler. Since family is so important in the Mexican culture, people are always willing to lend a helping hand.

While at the park, I dropped $200 pesos while running after our two-year-old and someone stopped me to let me know I dropped the money. They could have easily picked it up and went about their day, but they didn’t. If that doesn’t scream “safest place to visit in Mexico,” I don’t know what does!

✈️ Cozumel, Mexico Travel Tip from Corritta: Stop by the Lobster Shack and have a lobster bowl. It is one of the best restaurants in Cozumel, with the freshest food you’ll find on the island.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

9. Ensenada

Contributed by Lavinia of Continent Hop who visited Ensenada in 2015. Follow her on her travels on Instagram.

Ensenada, in the state of Baja California Norte, is well known for its beautiful beaches and as the birthplace of Mexico’s beloved fish tacos. Located less than two hours by car from the U.S. border, many head down to Ensenada from California for a weekend getaway in this Mexico beach town.

RELATED ARTICLE 🚗💨 Renting A Car in Mexico: Everything You Need to Know

Besides Tijuana, it is one of the closest cities in Mexico to get to from the U.S., and one of the safest towns in Mexico, as Ensenada remained immune to cartel and drug activity. Though safe, you’ll want to remain aware of your surroundings and take standard travel precautions.

The landscape in Ensenada is perfect for wineries, and you’ll be spoilt for choice trying the local wines from nearby Valle de Guadalupe, known as the “Napa Valley of Mexico.” Besides wine tasting, one of the best things to do in Ensenada is see La Bufadora, one of only three blowholes in the world.

The seafood here is some of the freshest you’ll ever find, so don’t forget to explore the markets if you’re looking to buy some. Besides Baja fish tacos, also try some smoked clams, and since you’re in Mexico, you can always wash them down with some authentic tequila.

Ensenada is also well known as one of the best places for whale watching in Mexico, a real treat for those who visit during their December to May migration season. There’s beautiful nature to be seen on land as well, with numerous nature walks and hikes throughout Ensenada.

✈️ Ensenada, Mexico travel tip from Lavinia: One of the best times to visit is during Carnival in Ensenada, one of the largest and best festivals in Mexico. It takes place for a week in mid-February with parades, fireworks and parties, similar to Carnival in Brazil and Mardi Gras.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

10. Holbox Island

Contributed by Victoria of Guide Your Travel who visited Holbox in 2018. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Isla Holbox is located a few hours northwest of Cancun, but feels like it’s a world away from all its hustle and bustle. Holbox (pronounced hole-bosh) is a Mexican Caribbean island, and a beautiful place to visit for all types of travelers, especially beach and nature lovers, and those looking for serenity. 

Wondering how to get to Holbox Island? It is only accessible by a ferry boat in Chiquila, Mexico, located two hours west of Cancun. Head here for a complete guide on How to Get to Holbox Island.

The island’s roads are “paved” in beach sand, and the best way to get around is by bike or golf cart, as there’s only a few actual cars on the island. If you’re traveling by rental car, you will have to leave it overnight in one of the paid lots next to the Chiquila ferry dock; lots cost about $5USD per day.

Holbox Island has a small town feel, but also a bit of a lively side at night with a few restaurants and bars that stay open late into the evening. However, this is not the place to come for all night parties and the same nightlife you’d expect in nearby Cancun, Playa del Carmen or Tulum

woman laying in the Caribbean Sea on a hammock in Holbox Island, one of the safest cities in mexico to visit
The Mexican Caribbean island town of Isla Holbox is one of the safest places in Mexico to visit, and one of the most relaxing.

Isla Holbox is among the safest beach cities in Mexico, with a close-knit local community. It is a much less touristy place than islands like Cozumel or Isla Mujeres, and safety is basically never an issue in this sleepy town with virtually nonexistent levels of crime.

The people in Holbox are helpful and friendly, and you’ll always feel welcome here. There is a nightly market in the center of town with lots of delicious local foods to try, so head there to try all the best Mexican food specialities — and be on the lookout restaurants serving the famous Holbox lobster pizza.

Holbox is known for its incredible underwater world, and near-virgin beaches. Among the best things to do in Holbox Island is swim with whale sharks (from June to September), take a boat tour to go snorkeling and see the turtles and manta rays, or just lay in a hammock in the Caribbean Sea.

The laid-back Mexico island is definitely worth a visit, and with its semi-remote, off the beaten path location, it’s not uncommon for Holbox to be labeled as the safest destination in Mexico.

✈️ Isla Holbox, Mexico travel tip from Victoria: Rent a golf cart to get around; it’s definitely worth it.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

11. Puerto Escondido

Contributed by Michele Peterson of A Taste for Travel who has traveled to Puerto Escondido many times since her first trip in 2003. Follow along with her travels on Facebook

Puerto Escondido is a fishing village turned beach destination on the Pacific coast of Mexico. It is south of Acapulco and north of Huatulco in the state of Oaxaca. Thanks to Mexican Pipeline, a famous surf break that draws surfers from around the world, the city is best known as a top Mexico surfing destination.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Oaxaca to Puerto Escondido & Huatulco: 5 Transportation Options

However, with its wealth of culture, natural attractions and tropical beauty, it offers many attractions beyond the beach. Though, you’ll of course want to spend some time on the best beaches in Puerto Escondido — Playa Carrizalillo, Playa Zicatela, Playa Bacocho and Playa Marinero.

Top best things to do in Puerto Escondido, beyond surfing, include seeing the bioluminescence at Manialtepec Lagoon, participating in one of the baby sea turtle release programs, and trying some authentic Oaxacan cuisine at one of the fantastic Puerto Escondido restaurants.

I’ve lived in and traveled to Puerto Escondido solo for more than a decade, and have always felt very safe. In fact, many solo female travelers in Mexico find Puerto Escondido to be quite safe.

While safe, you’ll want to follow common sense travel safety precautions like not swimming alone or on beaches with red flags indicating a strong current, staying off the streets late at night and using eco-friendly insect repellent to avoid bites and potential illness.

✈️ Puerto Escondido, Mexico travel tip from Michele: If you’re looking for a winter beach destination with sunny skies and hot weather you can’t go wrong with Puerto Escondido. It’s consistently 88°F from January to March, with very little rain.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

12. Isla Mujerers

Contributed by Chris Fry of Aquarius Traveller, who visited Isla Mujeres in 2015. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Just minutes from the coast of Cancun, and located in the Caribbean Sea, you have the lovely island of Isla Mujeres. The name Isla Mujeres means “Island of Women,” and it was once a Mayan pilgrimage site where women would go to worship Ixchel, the goddess of the moon, childbirth and fertility.

Nowadays, visitors flock to this Mexican Caribbean island because it’s one of the best beach cities Mexico has to offer. You have everything you’d need or want in Isla Mujeres, as about 12,000 people live there, so there’s plenty of restaurants, bars, services and more.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 25 Best Places in the Yucatan Peninsula: Ruins, Beaches, Cenotes

areial shot of isla mujeres, one of the safest cities in mexico, located in the blue waters of the caribbean sea
Isla Mujeres is not only gorgeous, it’s also one of the safest beach towns in Mexico for vacation.

Whether you’re traveling on a budget or looking for luxury accommodations, there are great Isla Mujeres hotels and resorts, and also hostels and guest houses for budget travel in Mexico.

The island itself is only four miles long and one-half mile wide. You will find the easiest way to get around is by golf cart, scooter or bicycle, though most of the main parts of the island are walkable. Even late at night, activity is thriving, and walking to and from local restaurants and bars is safe and easy.

There are so many great things to do in Isla Mujeres, like snorkeling, fishing, shopping, exploring Mayan temples, or just relaxing at the beaches. From about May to September, you can take a tour to swim with the whale sharks in Isla Mujeres, which can only be done in a few parts of the world.

✈️ Isla Mujeres, Mexico Travel Tip from Chris: Find a central hotel and save on transport by walking everywhere.


SAFEST CITIES IN MEXICO TO VISIT

13. Loreto

Contributed by Isabella of Boundless Roads, who visited Loreto in March 2020. Follow along with her travels on Instagram

Loreto, Mexico, is a pretty town on the west coast of the country in Baja California Sur state. It is located right on the Sea of Cortez, and has been designated as one of Mexico’s 130 or so pueblos magicos (magic towns), for its charm and historical importance.

I traveled to Loreto twice, and the second time I stayed for one full week to enjoy all the things to do in Loreto. The best time of the year to visit Loreto is in winter, because you’ll be able to see the blue whales that migrate to Loreto Bay from about December to March.

blue whale tail coming out of the water and mountains in the background in Loreto, one of the Safest Cities in Mexico
Loreto is among the famous cities of Mexico for whale watching. If you visit in winter, a Loreto, Mexico whale watching tour is a must do! (Photo: Isabella, Boundless Roads)

Among all the Loreto whale watching tours you can take, the blue whale tour was the highlight of my trip. In fact, not only did we see many gigantic whales multiple times, but our boat was surrounded by a pod of about 100 dolphins flipping and jumping all around us. It was a magical experience.

Besides whale watching in Loreto, you can walk around town and enjoy the colonial feel, do a hike to La Giganta, go diving, visit the historic San Javier Mission and the Museo de las Misiones de Baja California (Museum of Baja California Missions), among other Loreto sites.

As Loreto is one of the safest places to live in Mexico, you’ll find a large community of both expats and locals who live in harmony and strive to keep the town clean and safe. When I visited, I felt safe while walking around and traveling on my own, and it’s definitely one of the best cities in Mexico for solo travel.

Loreto, Mexico Travel Tips from Isabella: Watch the sunset from the terrace of Posada de Las Flores, and watch the sunrise on the Loreto Malecon. If you have to pick only one tour, pick the blue whale watching tour (held only in winter).


The safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

14. Akumal

Contributed by Karen of Outdoor Adventure Sampler who visited Akumal in January 2020. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

A must see for many Yucatan Peninsula visitors is the Mexico beach town of Akumal, to swim with the turtles in Akumal Bay. In recent years, Akumal residents have had to limit the number of visitors to protect the rare sea turtles and the marine life of the area, so now you must book a tour to go.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 30 Best Mexican Beach Towns You Need to Visit Right Now

Akumal is located about 30 minutes north of the popular town of Tulum, and about two hours south of Cancun. It is much more up-and-coming than those destinations, and has a charming pueblo (small town) feel.

Besides snorkeling with the turtles in Akumal, the entire area around the beach is a pleasant place to shop, dine and sightsee. It’s easy and safe to ride bicycles or walk the road along the sand to get to different Akumal beaches.

The Akumal hotels and resorts, known as some of the safest all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, are in a gated area patrolled by security. Akumal itself is a small town, and when combined with this added security measure, you’ll enjoy some of the safest beach resorts in Mexico on your Akumal trip.

palm trees and blue water with coral rocks and reefs in it and a few fishing boats on the beach in Akumal, one of the Best Mexican Beach Towns
Located on the Caribbean Sea, Akumal is among the safest beaches in Mexico to visit.

One of the best things to do in Akumal is visit nearby Yal Ku Lagoon. This is a protected lagoon where freshwater meets the saltwater of Caribbean Sea, and the snorkeling is incredible. The well managed area is safe for families and solo travelers.

The actual town of Akumal, located off the beach, is also worth a visit. It is a peaceful place to experience local life in Akumal and get a taste of Mexican culture. In town, don’t miss the outdoor fruit and vegetable market, and head to the taquerías (taco shops) for the best tacos in Akumal.

By knowing a few words of Spanish, you’ll be able to return the kind greetings you experience when visiting the laid back town of Akumal, one of the best cities in Mexico to vacation.

Akumal, Mexico Travel Tip from Karen: Check out the beaches north of the more touristy turtle swimming beaches. There, you’ll find solitude and great snorkeling.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

15. Bacalar Lake

Contributed by Shelley of Travel Mexico Solo who visited Bacalar in 2018 and 2019. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Located in the Bacalar pueblo magico (magic town), in Quintana Roo state, you’ll find the second largest freshwater lake in Mexico — Laguna Bacalar. Now, you may have seen it called by other names, like Laguna Bacalar, Lake Bacalar and Bacalar Lagoon, but they all refer to the same place.

RELATED ARTICLE 🏝 Bacalar Lagoon Mexico: How to Plan the Ultimate Trip

This gorgeous lake and Mexico hidden gem is located in the Yucatan Peninsula about three hours south of Tulum and five hours south of Cancun. In recent years, Bacalar has been gaining in popularity thanks to Instagram, YouTube and social media, with influencers flocking to swim in its bright blue waters.

Nicknamed the Maldives of Mexico on social media, the Mayans native to this part of Mexico refer to Bacalar as the Lagoon of Seven Colors. They say you can see seven shades of blues in the lake. ♻️ Practice responsible tourism in Mexico and only use reef-safe sunscreen to help keep them blue!

Bacalar is certainly among the safe cities in Mexico, but for those who have visited, they will likely tell you it is the safest place in Mexico to visit!

Whatever you call it, the small pueblo of Bacalar and it’s gorgeous Bacalar Lake, will take your breath away. While the lake is the main star in town, Downtown Bacalar is also worth checking out for a bit, as there’s historic forts, once used to fend off pirates, and some great restaurants.

As one of the best small cities in Mexico, you can rest assured you’ll be safe in Bacalar. It has a true small town feel, where everybody knows everybody, and visitors are welcomed.

The locals are incredibly friendly, and since most operate their own small businesses, hospitality is the name of the game. For now, there are no big name corporate hotels or chain restaurants in Bacalar, only small businesses. 🏡 Head here for Bacalar hotel, resort and hostel recommendations!

As it’s a bit remote in one of the southernmost parts of Mexico, and takes a few hours to get to, many don’t make it down to Bacalar. As someone who’s been twice, I can assure you it’s both safe and worth the travel time you sacrifice to get there.

Bacalar, Mexico Travel Tip from Shelley: Spend a few days in Bacalar, and from there, you can easily travel to Belize. Bacalar is just 30-45 minutes from the Belize border and there are inexpensive buses you can take for a land crossing.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

Safest Cities in Mexico

16. Merida

Contributed by Daria of The Discovery Nut, who visited Merida in November 2020. Follow along with her travels on Instagram, and listen to her podcast episode to get more Mexico travel tips.

Merida is considered the safest city in Mexico, and has garnered more and more attention since CEOWorld Magazine declared it the second safest city on the entire Americas Continent in 2019. In 2021, readers of the magazine also voted Merida #3 on their Best Small Cities in the World list.

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ Merida Yucatan Mexico: A Locals’ Guide to Things to Do, Hotels & More

Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida is the capital of Yucatan state, and also considered the Mayan Cultural Capital of Mexico. For years, it flew under the tourist radar, but as more travelers discover Merida, this colorful colonial city is fast becoming a top Mexico travel destination.

Visiting Merida, the safest place in Mexico, is a great way to learn more about Mexico’s rich Mayan history and traditions. Unlike some other places in the Yucatan Peninsula, Merida hasn’t become too touristy and still offers an authentic flair.

As a very photogenic city, spend time just strolling the streets of Merida to get a taste of Mexico while interacting with friendly locals. Shop for souvenirs in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), where you’ll find vendors selling goods made by local artisans such as hammocks, guayabera shirts and straw hats.

🏡 Need a Merida Airbnb? Head to this article about the best Airbnbs in Merida.

After exploring the best things to do in Merida, like Paseo de Montejo and the Merida Cathedral in Plaza Grande, head to the Gran Museo del Mundo Maya (Merida Mayan Museum). This is one of the best museums in Merida, and houses the city’s largest collection of Mayan artifacts.

While in Merida, don’t forget to try some authentic Yucatan cuisine such as sopa de lima (lime soup), cochinita pibil (suckling pig slow cooked underground), papadzules (egg enchiladas in pepita sauce) and marquesitas (crepes with chocolate and cheese). It really is one of the best food cities in Mexico!

✈️ Merida, Mexico Travel Tip from Daria: Don’t try to cram everything in one day when visiting Merida; allow 2-3 days for your trip to see major highlights of this city.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

17. Oaxaca City

Contributed by Poonam of Rex Angel, who visited Oaxaca City in January 2021. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Oaxaca City, the capital of Oaxaca state, is a must-visit in Mexico. The vibrant and bustling city is known for its colonial architecture, lush mountains, mezcal production, and the best Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Traveling to Oaxaca: Here’s Everything You Need to Know

There are many things to do in Oaxaca and sites to see, especially in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Within downtown, check out the Templo de Santo Domingo de Guzman and adjoining Oaxaca Botanical Garden, and Oaxaca Cathedral in the Zocalo (Main Square).

Head just outside of Centro Historico to Monte Alban, another Oaxaca UNESCO World Heritage Site, to see the best ruins in Oaxaca. Hierve El Agua, a petrified waterfall, and the pueblo magico (magic town) of Milta, are also both amazing Oaxaca day trips.

Colorful buildings in downtown Oaxaca City, one of the safest cities in Mexico
Oaxaca is one of the best cities in Mexico to enjoy Mexican cuisine, and considered the Foodie Capital of Mexico. Many also head there each year for to celebrate Day of the Dead in Oaxaca on November 1-2.

One added bonus for visitors is the amazing food in Oaxaca. In fact, this city is considered the Foodie Capital of Mexico with its delicious moles, memelas, tamales oaxaqueños (Oaxacan tamales), quesillo (Oaxaca cheese) and more.

There are numerous markets in Oaxaca to visit, but don’t miss Mercado Benito Juarez and Mercado 20 de Noviembre in downtown. In the main mercado, Central de Abastos, you can try the famous memelas made by Doña Vale — as seen on the Oaxaca episode of the Netflix show, Street Food: Latin America.

In any of the Oaxaca markets, make sure to try a tlayuda (pronounced tuh-lie-you-dah), the quintessential Oaxacan food. It is a huge tortilla, served open-face with beans, cheese and veggies, which many call a Mexican pizza.

Oaxaca City is also one of the important cities in Mexico for mezcal production. If you’re unfamiliar with it, mezcal is a distilled spirit made from the agave plant, the same as tequila. Stock up on Oaxaca mezcal from local distilleries, which allow you to taste their mezcal before buying.

Oaxaca City, Mexico, is perfectly safe, but of course, usual street smarts should be in place. At night, walk in lit areas, don’t drink too much mezcal, always be mindful of your belongings, and use your best judgement — just as you would do when traveling anywhere.

🇲🇽 Oaxaca Tip from Poonam: Wondering how to pronounce Oaxaca? It’s wa-ha-kah!


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

18. Mexico City

Contributed by Claire of This Travel Lover, who spent six months in Mexico City in 2017. Follow along with her travels on Facebook.

When speaking of the world’s major cities, Mexico City has to be included in every conversation. However, for many it wouldn’t be the first place you think of when discussing the safest city in Mexico to travel — which is unfortunate!

For those wondering, Is Mexico City safe to travel?Yes, it is a vibrant, cultural wonderland and there are many amazing things to do in Mexico City. As with any big city, you have to be aware of your surroundings and belongings, but beyond this, even Mexico City solo female travel is quite safe.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 4 Day Mexico City Itinerary: The Ultimate CDMX Travel Guide

colorful trajineras, gondola-style boats, at Xochimilco, mexico city, one of the safest cities in mexico

If it’s culture you’re after, then you could spend weeks just visiting the 150 or so museums in Mexico City. Of the highlights, don’t miss the National Anthropology Museum, which has artifacts from all of the indigenous cultures and civilizations of Mexico, including the magnificent Aztec Sun Stone.

Art lovers will want to check out the Frida Kahlo Museum, located in the vibrant and historic Coyoacan neighborhood, one of the safest areas in Mexico City. It is not far from Reforma, arguably the safest place to stay in Mexico City, with plenty of great Mexico City hotels to choose from.

The Zocalo (Main Square), located in Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), should be your first stop though. There are plenty of amazing things to do in Centro Historico, including a visit to the Templo Mayor, the main Aztec temple in Mexico.

Foodies will love the city too, and the street food here is among the best on Earth. It’s hard to eat a bad meal here, as Mexico City tacos are famous for good reason. There are numerous food tours of different neighborhoods, taco tours, market tours and cooking classes too.

✈️ Mexico City Travel Tips from Claire: Don’t walk around alone at night; take Uber instead. As with all big cities, you’ll want to stick to the safest parts of Mexico City: Roma, Condesa, Reforma, Polanco, Centro Historico, Coyoacan and Chapultepec.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

19. San Miguel de Allende

Contributed by Rose of Where Goes Rose?, who visited San Miguel de Allende in January 2020. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

San Miguel de Allende is a charming city, and UNESCO World Heritage Site, in Guanajuato state. In the last few decades, it has become extremely popular with American retirees, and is known as the safest place to retire in Mexico.

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ 25 Unique Places to Visit in Mexico You Have to See to Believe

Foodies also flock to San Miguel de Allende, and Top Chef even filed there during Season 12 of the hit show. With a large population of expats, and English widely spoken, it’s one of the easiest places in Mexico for beginner travelers since you can get by without speaking Spanish.

However, don’t pass up the chance to immerse yourself in Mexican culture, visiting local markets, shopping for handmade crafts and exploring the colorful back streets and alleyways. Beautiful San Miguel is one of the prettiest cities in Mexico, so make sure your phone/camera is fully charged!

colorful street in San Miguel De Allende, one of the safest cities in mexico
One of the most beautiful cities in Mexico, many visit San Miguel and never leave — ranking it among the best expat cities in Mexico and best best cities in Mexico to retire.

Among the most fun things to do in San Miguel de Allende, take a day trip to the natural hot spring spas just outside the city. These are fantastic places to relax and unwind, and warm up from the colder winter weather. The best hot spring in San Miguel de Allende is La Gruta Spa, just seven miles from downtown.

Foodies visiting San Miguel shouldn’t miss Chocolates y Churros San Agustín, a cafe serving chocolate stuffed churros with drinking chocolate to dip. This San Miguel de Allende restaurant is located right off the Jardín Allende, where you’ll find the gorgeous San Miguel Parroquia (cathedral).

It is easy to get to San Miguel de Allende from Mexico City by rental car or bus, as it’s only about a four hour drive. You can also arrive by bus from other cities in Mexico, or fly into Guanajuato International Airport (code: BJX), located just 1.5 hours from San Miguel de Allende near Guanajuato City.

✈️ San Miguel de Allende, Mexico Travel Tip from Rose: There are lots of hills! Bring comfortable shoes and remember to stay hydrated, as getting around can be a bit of a workout.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

20. San Cristobal de las Casas

Contributed by Lara of The Best Travel Gifts, who visited San Cristobal de las Casa in January 2019. Follow along with her travels on her travels on Facebook.

San Cristobal de las Casas is a beautiful colonial city and pueblo magico (magic town) in Chiapas state. It is located in southeastern Mexico, right next to Oaxaca state — two states known to provide a true cultural experience in one of the safest areas of Mexico.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Mexico Hidden Gems: The 10 You Need to Know About

San Cristobal is filled with history, amazing architecture, culture, and stunning nature. It’s the epicenter of the Zapatista movement and surrounded by indigenous communities, with artisans who regularly travel to San Cristobal to sell their handmade goods at the markets.

🏡 Need a San Cristobal de las Casas Hotel? There are many great and posh boutique hotels in San Cristobal, but you can also find amazing budget-friendly hostels in San Cristobal.

colorful flags and buildings near a stone staircase in san cristobal de las casas, one of the safest cities in mexico
With a growing expat and digital nomad population, San Cristobal is fast becoming one of the best cities to live in Mexico.

In years past, Chiapas may have received a reputation of being an unsafe region in Mexico. However, as is often the case with reputations, they are based on a few events only and do not represent the whole story. For those who have visited, it’s one of the nicest cities in Mexico.

Yes, you may want to avoid traveling in Chiapas at night and follow general travel safety measures, like anywhere else. However, as a solo female traveler, I never once felt unsafe in San Cristobal de las Casas, or anywhere in Chiapas state for that matter. 

Some of the best things to do in San Cristobal include exploring the local markets, joining the free walking tour, and admiring the colonial architecture. There’s some beautiful nature surrounding the city, like Cañyon del Sumidero, and one of the best Mayan ruins in Mexico, Palenque, about four hours away.

The Templo de San Juan in the pueblo of San Juan de Chamula is one of the most fascinating examples of the blending of indigenous religion with Catholicism. Without spoiling too much about this unique place, I’ll simply say it’s a must see San Cristobal experience.

✈️ San Cristobal de las Casas, Mexico Travel Tip from Lara: Pack warm clothes! San Cristobal is located 1.5 miles above sea level in the mountains, so temperatures often drop to about 55°F at night.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

21. Guadalajara

Contributed by Daphna of A Tiny Trip, who lived in Guadalajara from 2010-2014. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Guadalajara, in the state of Jalisco, is Mexico’s second largest city — but you wouldn’t know it by visiting! This city has a much smaller feel compared to Mexico City, with its colonial historic center and quaint neighborhoods.

The locals are some of the kindest people you will meet, and you can pretty much always expect beautiful sunny days in Guadalajara, one of the top cities to visit in Mexico. As the second biggest city in the country, there’s no shortage of things to do in Guadalajara.

You can easily spend a couple of days visiting Guadalajara. Take a day to explore Centro Historico including the famous Guadalajara Cathedral and Hospicio Cabanas. It is a very walkable city, and all the main sights are within a short distance of Plaza Guadalajara (Main Plaza).

After exploring, spend some time shopping for artesanias (artisanal products) in the huge San Juan de Dios market, and check out the picturesque suburb of Tlaquepaque. Wherever you go, you will notice that Guadalajara has a great relaxed pace and feels very safe.

Don’t miss out on the amazing food options, and of course, trying some authentic tequila from the nearby town of Tequila, Mexico. Also among the top cities in Mexico for expats, head to nearby Ajijic pueblo magico (magic town), on the shore of Lake Chapala, the largest lake in Mexico.

✈️ Guadalajara, Mexico Travel Tip from Daphna: Head to Tonala to buy artisanal goods straight from the artisans, for authentic products at great prices.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

22. Valladolid

Contributed by Peta and Jonas of Exit45 Travels, who visited Valladolid in September 2019. Follow along with their travels on Facebook.

The charming Valladolid pueblo magico (magic town), one of the prettiest colonial cities in Mexico, is located in Yucatan state in the Yucatan Peninsula. It is about two hours from Merida, Mexico, by rental car or bus, and makes for one of the best day trips from Merida.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 Valladolid, Mexico Travel Guide: Things to Do, Cenotes, Hotels

When visiting, you’ll notice the charming Old World meets New World feel in Valladolid. As you walk around the city, you’ll fall in love with the colonial style buildings and haciendas that are now home to funky little cafes, open air restaurants, and boutiques shops offering one of a kind pieces.

tall old stone church with colorful flags flying in front of it - day trips from Merida
Valladolid is located in Yucatan state, considered to be the safest state in Mexico.

Downtown Valladolid boasts numerous things to see, whether you’re a lover of art, history or nature. Among the best things to do in Valladolid and nearby, don’t miss:

  • Chichen Itza: One of the Seven Wonders of the World, located about 30 minutes from Valladolid.
  • Valladolid Cenotes: Some of the best cenotes in Yucatan are in or near Valladolid, like Cenote Zaci, just a 10-minute walk from downtown, and Cenote Ik Kil, about 10-minutes by car from Chichen Itza.
  • Calzada de los Frailes: Considered the most beautiful street in Valladolid, the Calle de los Frailes is a great place for photos, shopping and a casual bite to eat.
  • Casa de los Venados: This private home showcases the country’s largest collection of Mexican folk art, including handcrafted pottery, paintings, colorful textiles and even artistic pieces of furniture.

As one of the most safe Mexico destinations, we felt comfortable walking the town at any hour of the day. However, as with anywhere you travel, it is always best to stay aware of your surroundings and take the necessary safety precautions.

✈️ Valladolid, Mexico Travel Tip from Peta and Jonas: Casa de los Venados is an absolute must see if you love art. They offer one tour per day at 10am, it is by donation and the proceeds benefit local charities.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

23. Puebla

Contributed by Claudia of My Adventures Across The World, who visited Puebla in February 2015. Follow along with her travels on Instagram.

Though it’s one of the biggest cities in Mexico — the fifth largest by population, in fact — Puebla City is among the safest vacation spots in Mexico. It is the capital of Puebla state, and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with a lot of history, colorful colonial architecture and amazing cuisine.

RELATED ARTICLE 🚗💨 17 EPIC Day Trips from Mexico City: Tolantongo, Puebla, Taxco & More

Just two hours drive from Mexico City, Puebla has a completely different vibe worth exploring. Though it’s the lesser-visited of the two cities, Puebla is a gorgeous colonial town that you’ll want to make sure to add to your Mexico itinerary, even if only as a day or weekend trip from Mexico City. 

Start your exploration in the beautiful Zocalo (Main Square), where you’ll spot the impressive Puebla Cathedral. Another church to visit is Iglesia Santo Domingo; though there are beautiful churches all over Puebla, and in fact, this city is known for its abundance of churches.

colorful callejon de los sapos in puebla, one of the safest cities in mexico
Stroll down the colorful Callejon de los Sapos in Puebla, considered by some as the safest place to vacation in Mexico.

Beyond sightseeing, one of the best things to do in Puebla is eat — as it’s one of Mexico’s culinary capitals. Puebla’s local Poblano cuisine is revered throughout Mexico, and there are plenty of local specialties to try, like cemitas (giant sandwiches), a must try food in Puebla, Mexico.

Another well known Puebla food is mole poblano, which you’ll find all over town. For a real treat, those visiting in September can try chile en nogada, a stuffed pepper smothered in a thick walnut cream sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds and parsley. It is only made around Mexican Independence Day on Sept. 16.

Cholula, Puebla Magic Town

When in Puebla City, don’t miss seeing the neighboring Cholula pueblo magico (magic town), one of the best cities in Puebla, Mexico. You may have seen images of its iconic Santuario de la Virgen de los Remedios, the yellow Cholula church which hovers over the city.

Colorful Cholula is also home of the largest pyramid on Earth (by volume), the Great Pyramid of Cholula. It is located in the Cholula Archaeological Zone, right in downtown. The pyramid is partially buried underground, but you can walk through its underground passageways.

✈️ Puebla, Mexico Travel Tip from Claudia: If you have a sweet tooth, head to Calle de los Dulces (Sweet Street) and grab a camote, a Mexican dessert made with sweet potatoes.


safest cities in mexico for TOURISTS

24. Monterrey

Contributed by Venaugh of Venaugh Travel Blog, who visited Monterrey in May 2021. Follow along with her travels on Pinterest.

Though Mexico, especially big cities in Mexico that border the U.S., have a reputation for being unsafe, Monterrey proves otherwise. It is located in the northern Mexico state of Nuevo Leon, less than three hours by car from the Texas-Mexico border.

RELATED ARTICLE 🇲🇽 25 Unique Places to Visit in Mexico You Have to See to Believe

Monterrey is one of the largest cities in Mexico, but it is also surrounded by breathtaking mountain ranges and natural parks. Because of this, Monterrey offers a nice blend of big city amenities and tranquil natural areas.

In fact, one of the best things to do in Monterrey is visit Parque Ecologico Chipinque. The stunning viewpoint from this park overlooks the entire city, and if you’re lucky, you’ll even see black bears, coati, and many different bird species while up there.

skyscrapers and tall buildings with mountains in the background in Monterrey, one of the safest cities in mexico
Monterrey is one of the largest cities in Mexico, behind Mexico City and Guadalajara.

There are also beautiful limestone mountains to see in the Parque La Huasteca, which many go to for biking, hiking, and even rappelling. Also in this park, don’t miss the Grutas de Garcia, a cave with unique stalagmite and stalactite rock formations, which you have to access by cable car.

Aside from all the amazing things to see in Monterrey, it is a city where I felt safe enough to be on my phone anywhere when in public and not be worried about my bag all the timqe. Although it is not on the traditional Mexico tourism radar, Monterrey is a wonderful city to visit.

✈️ Monterrey, Mexico Travel Tip from Venaugh: I found that in Monterrey people are not early risers, so plan to visit the most popular sites earlier in the day and they will be practically empty.


safest cities in mexico for tourists

25. Queretaro

Contributed by Isabella of Let’s Travel to Mexico, who visited Queretaro in March 2021. Follow along with her travels on Instagram

Santiago de Queretaro (usually just called Queretaro) is one of my favorite cities in Mexico, brimming with art and history museums, beautiful colonial buildings and an eclectic culinary scene. It is also one of the Mexico UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

RELATED ARTICLE ✈️ SAFE Solo Female Travel in Mexico: 20 Tips & Safe Destinations

As with any big city, there are unsafe areas in Queretaro, for sure. However, if you stick to Centro Historico (Historic Downtown), which is the most charming part of town anyway, and you don’t walk alone at night, Queretaro is one of the safest places to travel in Mexico.

One of the best things to do in Queretaro is join a city tour on a historic bus. On these tours, a knowledgeable guide will tell you all the incredible stories and legends about the city and show you the highlights of Queretaro.

colonial city with manicures trees, stone fountain and spanish style church in queretaro, one of the Safest Cities in Mexico
Santiago de Queretaro is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the prettiest cities in Mexico.

There are also great Queretaro day trips to explore the nearby pueblos magicos (magic towns) of Tequisquiapan and Bernal. Tequisquiapan is one of the cities on the Mexico Wine & Cheese Route, and Bernal is home to the Peña de Bernal, the third largest monolith on Earth.

If you have time, explore the spectacular Sierra Gorda, a region renowned for its incredible biodiversity. There are also the five Franciscan Missions of the Sierra Gorda, one of the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Queretaro state.

For me, Queretaro is one of the safest states in Mexico. The city is the perfect place for anyone to travel, especially solo female travelers who will find it safe to stroll around and explore. With a visit to the nearby pueblos magicos, you certainly won’t be bored in Queretaro.

Isabella’s Queretaro, Mexico Travel Tips: Check out the Mirador del Arco, the best place to see the Queretaro Aqueduct, and the funky La Biznaga Cafe, one of the iconic Queretaro restaurants.


Final Thoughts: Safest cities in Mexico to visit

If you began reading this article wondering What cities are safe in Mexico?, hopefully you now see there are plenty of options, from coast to coast! In fact, even trying to narrow down the safest part of Mexico, or safest city to visit in Mexico, or safest city in Mexico to live in, is impossible — as there are many of each.

Given the negative perception of Mexico as a whole, I wanted to compile this article with the voices of other travelers who have personally been to the cities they wrote about. Hopefully this will help clear up some of what I feel is unwarranted sentiment towards the amazing parts of the country.

Now, there are dangerous parts of Mexico, no doubt about it; but those are small parts of a big country. I hope that hearing stories from actual travelers helps to paint a more real picture because, I have found most people who say Mexico is dangerous — have never even been to Mexico 🤷‍♀️

10 General Travel Safety Tips
  1. Don’t walk home alone at night; take an Uber or taxi.
  2. Always listen to your intuition because your intuition is always right.
  3. If you get a sketchy or uneasy feeling about a person or place, get away from that person or place immediately. If you feel you’re in danger, don’t worry about making a kind, nice, or politically correct exit from a creepy person or bad situation — Just get away ASAP.
  4. Don’t keep your phone, keys, wallet, passport, or anything valuable in your back pocket; it’s the easiest place to pickpocket from.
  5. Learn some basic Spanish. If you can’t learn it, pin and save the infographic below as an image on your phone so you have something to use even if you’re off-WiFi.
  6. Take all of your belongings into the bathroom with you, rather than asking a cafe/bar neighbor to watch your things.
  7. Speaking of bar neighbors, don’t take drinks from strangers and/or leave your drink unattended with one.
  8. Don’t wear flashy clothes, expensive jewelry, designer sunglasses, etc.
  9. Keep some cash in your pocket so you don’t have to pull your whole wallet out every time you need to pay.
  10. This should be a no brainer since you’re traveling during a pandemic, but get Travel Insurance!
List of useful spanish words and phrases
PIN FOR LATER ⤴
Register for the STEP Program

Make sure you enroll in the FREE STEP Program before your trip. The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program, or STEP, allows U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico to document your trip with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

After you’ve registered, the U.S. Embassy or Consulate can contact you in the event of an emergency, including natural disasters, civil unrest, etc. STEP can also put you in touch with your family and friends back home, in the event of an emergency while abroad.

Safest Cities in Mexico: Solo Female Travel

I have been living and traveling solo in Mexico since April 2018. So far, I have been to 14 out of 32 states, and felt safe all along the way. Though I have been safe, safety isn’t a guarantee for anyone, so take a moment to check out Safe Travel in Mexico: 20 Tips for Solo Female Travelers for tips and info.

Since some women may just need a little extra push to feel confident enough to take their first Mexico solo trip, I have another article similar to this one. Head to Mexico Solo Travel: 20 SAFE Destinations for Female Travelers, with Mexico destination recommendations from fellow solo female travelers.

Mexico Travel Insurance

Want an added level of security and peace of mind? Just as you insure your car, home and body, you can also insure your luggage, belongings and health while traveling to Mexico. If Mexico travel safety is on your mind, get your free quote below from World Nomads, one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

FREE Printable Packing List for Mexico

Head to this article all about packing for Mexico, and download your FREE Printable Packing List below. This multi-page Mexico packing checklist covers everything you’ll want to bring to Mexico for both your beach trip and city trip — but more importantly — what not to bring to Mexico on vacation.

🧳 Mexico Travel Tip: Check out this list of Mexico travel safety items to bring with you.


Have questions about any of the safest cities in Mexico?

Have any Mexico travel safety questions? Which city on this list caught your eye? Please join the conversation and comment below!


Enjoy these related Mexico blogs!


Please join me on my Solo Travel & Mexico Travel adventures


¡Hola Chicas!

I’m Shelley, a former Miami travel magazine editor who ditched the office for the world!

I started this Blog and Podcast to help women like you cross Solo travel and Mexico travel off your bucket list… Read more

podcast cover-woman on a colorful colonial street

A solo travel podcast

meets Mexico travel podcast

🎧 Click to Listen Now

         

Affiliate disclosure

This page may contain affiliate links, meaning that when you make a purchase, I may earn a commission. Affiliate links cost you nothing to use, and help keep my content free! It’s a win-win for us both 👯‍♀️ 

I’d L❤️VE to hear from you!

8 Comments

  1. Catherine

    This post on the safest cities in Mexico is giving me major travel cravings. I’ve been to Tulum, Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara but clearly have a lot of exploring in Mexico to do!

    Reply
  2. kmf

    I’ve been to Mexico 27x and I agree it is a very safe place to visit. So many beaches I haven’t yet discovered so am loving this post…more travel inspiration!

    Reply
  3. Megan

    I just love learning about all the different places in Mexico. We go somewhat often, but usually to the touristy towns. I would love to branch out and visit somewhere different, and this is very helpful is deciding where!

    Reply
  4. Josy A

    Great post! It is always fab to see the other side with sooo many of you finding fantastic, safe, fun places to explore in Mexico. I will totally send this to my mum if/when we plan a mexico trip. 😉

    Reply
  5. Travelling Tam

    I have been so desperate to visit Mexico and I will likely be going solo so this is so useful to know places that have been recommended as safe!

    Reply
  6. Krista

    This is such a useful list to have on hand! I haven’t been to Mexico yet so it’s great to know where the safest places to travel to are!

    Reply
  7. Barbara

    This is a great reference list! Having spent a lot of time petsitting in Mexico, I would add one city to the list… Campeche! As measured by crime per capita, it’s one of the safest cities in Mexico. It’s also a UNESCO Heritage city, it’s on the coast, and it has more ancient pyramids reachable in a day trip than any other location in Mexico. It’s quaint and charming and where I found myself spending 1 1/2 months at the beginning of the Great Global Lockdown of 2020. I’m looking forward to returning to have a more “normal” experience!

    Reply
    • Shelley

      hey. Barbara: I totally agree… and visit Campeche often as I live only a few hours away in Merida. I’ll keep your suggestion in mind next time I’m making updates to this article — but yes, Campeche City is absolutely charming!

      Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest