Mexico Family Travel

15 Safest Cities in Mexico To Travel: Safe Places in Mexico For Travel

15 Safest Cities in Mexico To Travel: Safe Places in Mexico For Travel

June 22, 2023

As a family looking for Mexican places to visit beyond the popular tourist destinations, you want to know that the places you visit are safe for you and you family. While anecdotal advice can be helpful to determine safe places in Mexico for travel, a more useful tactic is to identify the safest cities in Mexico based on data.

That's why you need this list of the 15 safest cities in Mexico for travel! We reviewed data from Mexican crime reports and survey data from Numbeo to select the top safe areas in Mexico for families to visit. These cities offer history, nature, and exciting attractions. And best of all, they’re safe for families to travel to!

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Walking through San Jose del Cabo, one of the safest cities in Mexico

Table of Contents

Is Mexico safe? The top 10 safest cities in Mexico for travelers to visit

While Mexico is not necessarily the safest country in the world, it's also not the most dangerous either. Before you start worrying about how dangerous Mexico is, know that there are plenty of safe places in Mexico to travel. In fact, the most dangerous parts of Mexico make up only 22% of the country. The majority of the country is safe!

Even though safety shouldn’t be the primary factor for choosing your Mexico family vacation destination, it can be a helpful element. To start off this list of safest places in Mexico, we wanted to highlight the top 10 safest cities in Mexico overall.

Dancers performing in San Miguel de Allende, one of the safest cities in Mexico

To determine the top 10 safest cities in Mexico for travelers, we chose cities that had a Numbeo crime index score of less than 40. Then we filtered those safe places in Mexico down to ten cities that had the lowest reported crime rates.

Here are the top 10 safest Mexican destinations for travel:

  1. Merida, Yucatan
  2. Saltillo, Coahuila
  3. Campeche, Campeche
  4. Torreon, Coahuila
  5. Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes
  6. San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas
  7. La Paz, Baja Sur California
  8. Los Cabos, Baja Sur California
  9. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  10. Querétaro, Querétaro

These cities are perfect starting off points for a Mexican vacation. You can use these Mexico guidebooks to prepare you for your trip to these safe cities.

Want to learn about Mexican culture? Read these books about Mexico with your kids.

Safest places in Mexico by region

To learn more about these safe cities in Mexico, we've collected information about the top things to do in these cities. Besides the ten safest Mexico destinations we've listed above, we're also highlighting five other safe areas in Mexico worth visiting. 

Flower and plant vendor in Merida, one of the safest cities in Mexico

For ease of reading, we’ve organized this list of safe places in Mexico into the following regions:

Scroll down to your favorite region to learn about the best safe places Mexico destinations you should visit with your family.

Safest cities in Mexico in the Yucatán Peninsula

In general, the Yucatán Peninsula is one of the safest places in Mexico to visit. The area’s tropical climate and proximity to beaches is a big draw for travelers. And the rich Mayan culture of the area allows visitors to experience things like magnificent archaeological sites, delicious cuisine, and memorable cacao and temazcal ceremonies.

Chichen Itza in Yucatan Peninsula, near some of the safest cities in Mexico

While there is crime in Tulum, and in other tourist areas like Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres, there are many safe places in Mexico in this region as well. The safest cities in Mexico in this region include Merida and Campeche. Other safe places include Valladolid, Yucatán; Cozumel, Quintana Roo; and Chetumal, Quintana Roo.

1. Mérida, Yucatán

By far, the city of Mérida, located in Yucatán state, tops the list of being one of the safest places to live in Mexico, as well as to travel. Mérida was built on an ancient Mayan city called T'hó. Later during Spanish colonization and beyond, Mérida became known for its production of henequen, an agave fiber used for making rope. 

A cathedral in Merida, one of the top safe places in Mexico

Today, Mérida is a popular spot for Mexican and international tourism due to its historic colonial buildings, its vibrant Mayan culture, and close proximity to archaeological and natural sites. Its low crime rate also makes it a great destination for the safest Mexico vacations.

Points of interest in Mérida include the Gran Museo del Mundo Mayo (Yucatan’s Mayan museum) and the Catedral de San Ildefonso, or Mérida Cathedral (one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas).

Take this walking tour of Mérida to get to know the city through its food: 

Merida Street Food Walking Tour

Mérida by the numbers:

2. Campeche, Campeche

The coastal city of Campeche, officially known as San Francisco de Campeche, is a historic city located in the state of Campeche. Founded in 1540 by the Spanish on the site of an indigenous village called Ah Kim Pech, Campeche served as one of the main ports for the Spanish in the Yucatan Peninsula. Campeche is a UNESCO World Heritage site due to its well preserved historic architecture.

A street in Campeche, one of the safest cities in Mexico, photo credit: Enrique Amaya

If you visit Campeche, be sure to spend time walking through the downtown historic neighborhoods. Being one of the safe places in Mexico for travelers, this city is very walkable. The San Francisco de Campeche Cathedral is a popular point of interest. Campeche is also home to the oldest Carnival celebration.

Take this guided tour of Campeche to learn about the history of the city:

Daylight Tour to the City of Campeche with Guide

Campeche by the numbers:

Safest cities in Mexico in Central Mexico

Central Mexico is known for its mountainous and somewhat desert climate. But it’s also filled with colorful historic towns and wonderful natural landscapes that are some of the safest places in Mexico to visit.

Walking through the streets of Guanajuato, enjoying the safe places in Mexico

Although there are some dangerous places in Mexico in this region due to cartel activity, especially in Guanajuato state, there are also many safe places in Mexico in this area. Guanajuato City and San Miguel de Allende are generally safe cities to visit. Additionally, Aguascalientes City in Aguascalientes state and Querétaro City in Querétaro state are also safe areas in Mexico for travelers.

Within Mexico State, the cities of Cuauhtémoc (actually a borough of Mexico City), Toluca, and Valle de Bravo are one of the safest areas in Mexico. Other cities that are some of the safest places to go in Mexico are Puebla City in the state of Puebla, as well as San Juan del Rio and Tequisquiapan in Querétaro state. 

3. Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes

Literally translating to “hot waters”, the city of Aguascalientes, in the state of Aguascalientes, is host to Mexico’s largest festival, San Marcos Fair, held every year in April. The city’s historic Centro is home to a handful of museums and gardens. And it's a great option for safe places in Mexico to travel.

Cathedral in Aguascalientes, one of the safest cities in Mexico ©robertogalan1983/123RF.COM

Highlights of Aguascalientes include Templo de San Antonio, Jardín de San Marcos, and Parque Tres Centurias. Additionally, the National Museum of Death offers a unique glimpse into Mexico’s Day of the Dead traditions.

Aguascalientes by the numbers:

4. Querétaro, Querétaro

The city of Querétaro in Querétaro state, and known officially as Santiago de Querétaro, has been settled by people groups since 200 AD. During the pre-colonial era, the area was settled by the Otomi people. Later, under Spanish rule, the city became a training site for missionaries.

A colorful building wall in Queretaro, one of the safest cities in Mexico photo credit: Justine Camacho

Today, Querétaro is a bustling city of industry and culture, in addition to being one of the safe places in Mexico to visit in Central Mexico. One of the highlights of Querétaro is the Festival of Santiago de Querétaro, which takes place during Holy Week. The city is also designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the preservation of Otomi and Spanish city design.

Querétaro by the numbers:

5. Guanajuato, Guanajuato

The city of Guanajuato in Guanajuato state is an underrated gem! From outdoor activities to cultural treasures, there are so many things to do in Guanajuato. The city of Guanajuato is a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Its mining history, architecture, and the role the city played in the Mexican revolution make Guanajuato an important city for Mexico.

Walking through the streets of Guanajuato, one of the historic safe places in Mexico

When visiting Guanajuato, be sure to visit the Centro, where the beautiful Teatro Juarez is located. Another popular place to visit is the Callejon de Beso, a narrow, yet beautiful alleyway. In fact, Guanajuato’s many alleys and walkways make it a gorgeous city to walk through!

For a different side of Guanajuato, take this fun horseback riding tour through the mountains of Guanajuato, offered by Turismo Alternativo En Guanajuato:

Mexican Equestrian Experience

Guanajuato by the numbers:

6. San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

With fantastic food, historic architecture, and beautiful landscapes, the city of San Miguel de Allende, in the state of Guanajuato, is a popular favorite among travelers. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, San Miguel de Allende appeals to travelers because of its picturesque historic buildings and walkable streets. Many people who live in San Miguel de Allende consider it to be one of the most beautiful safe places in Mexico to visit.

Yellow and red building with brown door in San Miguel de Allende for a family trip Mexico
A street in San Miguel de Allende, one of the beautiful safe places in Mexico

Points of interest in San Miguel de Allende include the Spanish colonial churches such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. The Mercado de Artesanía, San Miguel de Allende's artisan market, is also fun to visit. Families also won’t want to miss spending an afternoon playing at the Parque Benito Juárez.

If you're a food lover, take this walking tour offered by Taste of San Miguel to experience all the flavors of Mexico:

Tacos and Tequila Food Walking Tour in San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende by the numbers:

Safest cities in Mexico in the Pacific Coast states

The Pacific Coast states are known for their tropical climates. Along the coast of these states, families can find plenty of beach destinations for the safest vacations in Mexico. But inland cities are also worth visiting.

Enjoying Monte Alban near the city of Oaxaca, one of the safe places in Mexico

Amazing cities in this region that are among the safest places to visit in Mexico include Puerto Vallarta in Jalisco state, Oaxaca City in Oaxaca state, and San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas state. Other safe places in Mexico to consider visiting include the city of Tequila in Jalisco, and the cities of Palenque, Tuxtla-Guitierrez, and Tapachula in the state of Chiapas. Additionally, the city of Santa Maria Huatulco, a beach town located near the small town of Puerto Escondido in Oaxaca state is a beautiful and safe beach destination.

7. San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

Located in the state of Chiapas, the city of San Cristobal de las Casas, known as Jovel in the Tzotzil Mayan language, offers travelers a glimpse into indigenous Mayan culture. Nestled among mountains, and approximately an hour and a half to two hours away from Ángel Albino Corzo International Airport, San Cristobal de las Casas is full of colorful streets and a laid-back mountain town vibe.

A cathedral in San Cristobal de las Casas, one of the safe places in Mexico

Not to be missed are the markets and museums, as well as the Mirador de la Escuela Solmaya, which offers a breathtaking view of the city. Also visit the Andador de Guadalupe, a pedestrian street full of restaurants and shops. San Cristobal de las Casas is easily one of the most walkable safe places in Mexico to visit.

San Cristobal de las Casas by the numbers:

8. Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco

Puerto Vallarta, located in the state of Jalisco, is a vibrant city full of history and beauty. From boat excursions to beach exploration, cooking classes to snorkeling adventures, there really is something for everyone when you’re planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta.

The beach in Puerto Vallarta, one of the safe places in Mexico

For families, some of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta include taking dolphin and whale watching excursions and riding the Marigalante Pirate Ship. But you also don’t want to miss out on walking along the Malecon and sampling food from the local restaurants. Also, plan excursions to nearby cities of Sayulitas, Bucerias, and Yelapa (all of which area also safe places in Mexico to visit) to gain more experiences of the area.

For a unique nature experience in Puerto Vallarta, take this tour from Eco Tours Vallarta to experience swimming with wild dolphins:

Half day - Wild dolphins encounter & snorkeling at Los Arcos

Puerto Vallarta by the numbers:

9. Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca

For families who love food, the city of Oaxaca in Oaxaca state, is the place to be! Oaxacan cuisine is known for its mole, a slow-cooked sauce made with roasted peppers and spices. But there are also other popular dishes like tlayudas, chapulines (roasted grasshoppers), tamales, and cheese.

Papercut decorations in Oaxaca, one of the safe places in Mexico

Oaxaca is a beautiful spot for safe places in Mexico to visit. If you’re visiting Oaxaca City, be sure to visit the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca and the many museums of the city. Additionally, take some excursions to archaeological sites such as Monte Alban and Mitla, as well as the artisan villages surrounding Oaxaca City. Many of these villages around Oaxaca are also safe places in Mexico.

Get to know the many markets of Oaxaca with this walking tour:

Earth, Corn & Fire: Tasting the Roots of Oaxacan Cuisine

Oaxaca by the numbers:

Safest cities in Mexico in the Northern Mexican states

The states of Northern Mexico are generally known for their desert climates and natural landscapes. But there are also some beautiful coastlines in the north too. While some states along the United States-Mexico border have particularly high crime rates, there are still some safe places in Mexico within this region.

Walking along a boardwalk in La Paz, one of the safe places in Mexico

Some of the safest places in Mexico to visit in this region are in the state of Baja California Sur, with cities like La Paz, Cabo San Lucas, and Loreto. Cities like Saltillo, Torreón, and Piedras Negras in Coahuila state, and Mazatlán and El Fuerte in Sinaloa state are also safe areas in Mexico to visit. The city of Hermosillo in Sonora is fairly safe to visit, although the overall crime rate in that state is relatively high.

10. Saltillo, Coahuila

In the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the city of Saltillo is a good option for safe places in Mexico. The city offers visitors a glimpse into the Mexican manufacturing industry. Not usually considered a tourist city, Saltillo is a hub for automotive manufacturing.

Dinosaur monument in Saltillo, one of the safest cities in Mexico ©mark52/123RF.COM

But the city of Saltillo is also steeped in history, as it’s one of the oldest cities in Northern Mexico. It also boasts over 20 museums! Not to be missed is the Museo del Sarape, which showcases the traditional serape, a men’s garment from the area. The Desert Museum also has an extensive collection of fossils and plants from Mexico.

Saltillo by the numbers:

11. Torreón, Coahuila

Another historical city in Northern Mexico is Torreón, located in the state of Coahuila. Archaeological findings show this area of Mexico has been settled since 10,000 BC. But more recently, Torreón played an important role in the Mexican Revolution.

Cristo de las Noas statue in Torreon, one of the safest cities in Mexico ByJvelez 24, CC BY-SA 2.5

Sites to see in Torreón include the Cristo de las Noas, the third largest Christ statue in Latin America. Also take a visit to Museo Aroceno, which holds pre-Hispanic art and exhibits about Mexican history. It's certainly one of the more off-the-beaten-path safe places in Mexico.

Torreón by the numbers:

12. La Paz, Baja Sur California

The city of La Paz, within the state of Baja Sur California, is a prime spot for outdoor enthusiasts and seafood lovers. Located along the Gulf of California in the southern half of the Baja Peninsula, La Paz exudes the laid back vibe of California living with a Mexican flair. And being one of the safe places in Mexico, La Paz offers visitors plenty of activities to partake in.

The view from Isla Espiritu Santo near one of the safe places in Mexico, La Paz

One of the popular activities for families is to see whale sharks in La Paz. These giant fish migrate to the area between the months of October to March. Other popular La Paz activities include whale watching and snorkeling near Isla Espíritu Santo. For a relaxing evening, head to the Malecón, where you’ll find ample restaurants serving locally caught seafood.

Experience marine life around La Paz with this snorkeling tour:

Snorkeling Adventure at Espiritu Santo Island National Park

La Paz by the numbers:

13. Cabo San Lucas, Baja Sur California

Located in the southern tip of Baja Sur California, and about an hour away from La Paz, the city of Cabo San Lucas offers families the perfect combination of Mexico family travel: beaches, snorkeling, and nature! This city, along with the city of San Jose del Cabo, makes up the municipality of Los Cabos and is a popular tourist destination among the safe places in Mexico. 

Los Arcos near one of the safe places in Mexico, Cabo San Lucas

Cabo San Lucas is a great jumping off point for excursions to see marine life and whales. Don’t miss an opportunity to see sea lions at El Arco de Cabo San Lucas. Additionally, sailing cruises, fishing excursions, and outdoor activities are popular things to do. 

Enjoy a variety of sea activities with this tour departing from Cabo San Lucas:

Los Cabos Sea Adventure: Snorkeling, Kayaking and Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Cabo San Lucas by the numbers:

Safest cities in Mexico in the Gulf Coast states

Mexico’s Gulf Coast has some of the country’s oldest Spanish settlements and plenty of safe places in Mexico to visit. The area is also home to several indigenous archaeological sites, including El Tajin in the state of Veracruz. 

Pyramid at El Tajin in Veracruz state, near some of the safest cities in Mexico, photo credit, Leonid Andronov

Cities like Veracruz in the state of Veracruz and Villahermosa in the state of Tabasco offer visitors a glimpse into the country’s Spanish colonial history. They are also two of the safest places in Mexico to visit in this region. Other safe cities in Mexico to visit include Coatzacoalcos, Xalapa, and Tlacotalpan. All of these cities can be found in Veracruz state.

14. Veracruz, Veracruz

The historic city of Veracruz in the state of Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest port city. Known officially as Heroica Veracruz, this city is not often visited by tourists. However, it’s a city teeming with culture, drawing from its indigenous, Spanish, and Afro-Cuban communities, and it's a great spot for safe places in Mexico to travel.

Colorful houses at Bario de la Huaca in Veracruz, one of the safest cities in Mexico ©auroraangeles/123RF.COM

Points of interest for families include the Veracruz Aquarium and the City Museum. The vibrant main plaza, known as the Zocalo, is also worth visiting. Another well-known spot to visit is the Malecón, the kilometers long boardwalk. Excursions to the islands around Veracruz is also a popular activity.

Veracruz by the numbers:

15. Villahermosa, Tabasco

Within the state of Tabasco, the city of Villahermosa was established during Spanish colonization as a fort to protect the coast against pirates. Today, the city is one of the safest cities in Mexico and is thriving with industry, primarily in oil and gas operations, as well as retail. It's one of the economically booming safe places in Mexico.

Lagoon of Illusions in Villahermosa, one of the safest cities in Mexico, photo credit: Alexander Jose Sanchez Rodriguez

But Villahermosa also has a lot of draw for travelers too. Parque Tomas Garrido Canabal is a popular park, with a beautiful lagoon. And La Venta Museum-Park is a small zoo that also has some artifacts from the ancient Olmec on display. Villahermosa also has a children’s museum called Papagayo Children’s Museum that families can visit.

Learn about Mexican history with this Villahermosa tour:

Half-Day Villahermosa Tour with La Venta Museum

Villahermosa by the numbers:

Budgeting for a trip to Mexico? Here are our top Mexico travel budget tips.

Mexico travel safety tips

No matter where you travel to Mexico, there are plenty of ways to make your trip to Mexico safe. Some useful travel tips for staying safe in Mexico include avoiding staying out too late and flashing expensive things. Also, just like in any major city, use common sense when walking around. Avoid doing activities that may put you in dangerous situations, and learn a few basic Spanish phrases for travel to help you get around.

Enjoying beach life in La Paz, one of the laid back safe places in Mexico

If you’re also asking yourself, “is Mexico safe for kids?” the answer is yes. You’ll find that many places in Mexico are very accommodating for children due to their family-oriented culture. You will, however, need to make sure that kids stay safe while walking on streets, as sidewalks can be quite narrow. And building codes in Mexico are not the same as other countries, so be mindful of that. 

Using data to choose safe places in Mexico to travel

When it comes to choosing the safest cities in Mexico to travel, most travelers rely on anecdotal stories from friends and family members who have previously traveled to Mexico. Alternatively, travelers rely on news stories to determine safe places in Mexico to travel to, and what parts of Mexico to avoid.

A cathedral in Oaxaca State, one of the safe places in Mexico

While anecdotal evidence is fine, a better basis for your travel decisions is data. Fortunately, there are several data sources you can use to find the safe areas in Mexico to visit. 

According to the World Bank, Mexico does have a high rate of homicides per 100,000 people among all the countries in the world. Most of these homicides are due to cartel activity, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.

For this post, we relied mainly on two quantitative data sources to compile this list of the top safest places in Mexico to travel. Our hope is that this will allow you to make more informed decisions about your Mexico travel plans. 

The list we shared in this post can help you narrow down your choice of safest places to vacation with family, and also identify places to avoid in Mexico.

Data sources for safe places in Mexico

One good source for determining the safest places in Mexico is Numbeo. This website publishes crime and safety indexes for many cities around Mexico.

Boats along the coast of Puerto Vallarta, with some beautiful safe places in Mexico

It’s important to note, though, that the data for Numbeo comes from survey questions asked to members of the site. So while the survey questions are extensive, the responses are subjective.

Another source of data for determining safe areas in Mexico is Crimen En Mexico. This website uses data from monthly crime reports published by the Mexican government and turns them into maps to show users what are the safest cities in Mexico and what are the least safe cities.

For travelers, Crimen En Mexico displays a map that shows crime in 50 tourist destinations around Mexico. This is helpful in visualizing the safe places in Mexico to potentially visit.

How we chose the best safe places in Mexico

In writing this post, we wanted to showcase the areas in Mexico that are safe for travelers to visit. Through research, we came up with this safest cities Mexico list featuring the top 15 safest places in Mexico. 

Street art in La Paz, one of the safest places in Mexico

For this post, we looked at the data provided in Numbeo and the 50 tourist cities list on Crimen En Mexico to identify safe places in Mexico for tourists. We chose cities with populations over 100,000 that had a handful of tourist draws and family-friendly activities. We also wanted to offer options for safe areas in Mexico across all the different regions.

The Crimen En Mexico data is based on municipalities, so when determining the safe areas of Mexico to recommend, we picked the largest city in those municipalities. We also cross referenced this list of cities with the Numbeo data to understand what travelers and residents thought about the safety of a destination.

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    Making family vacation memories in these safe places in Mexico

    Like any place in the world, Mexico has its share of crime. But don’t let this deter you from coming to visit this beautiful and culturally rich country, and experience the many safe places in Mexico for travelers. 

    For families planning to visit Mexico, this safe city Mexico list is a great tool for determining where to take your kids. Knowing where the safest places in Mexico are to visit with kids can help bring peace of mind to your family vacation, and allow you to focus your attention on the things that matter most: having fun!

    So get ready to make those Mexico family vacation memories! Go visit one of these 15 safest cities in Mexico.

    This post was originally published on May 23, 2022.

    15 Safe Places in Mexico For Your Next Vacation: Top Safest Cities In Mexico To Travel | Mexico Family Travel | Pinterest image of a colorful Spanish colonial street in Campeche, Mexico with text overlay

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