Families looking for Mexican places to visit beyond the popular tourist destinations want to know that the places they visit are safe for them and their 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.
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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While it’s true that Mexico is not necessarily the safest country in the world, it's also not the most dangerous either. According to World Bank data, Mexico has the 14th highest 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.
Now, before you start worrying about how dangerous Mexico is, know that despite the reported numbers, there are plenty of safe places in Mexico to travel. Geographically, Mexico encompasses over 760,000 square miles, and the most dangerous parts of Mexico make up only 22% of the country. But the safest places in Mexico are distributed throughout the country.
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.
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.
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.
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.
For this post, we’ve relied 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.
This list can help you narrow down your choice of safest places to vacation with family, and also identify places to avoid 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.
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.
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.
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.
While safety shouldn’t be the primary factor for choosing your Mexico family vacation destination, it can be a helpful element. Besides showcasing the top safest places in Mexico for travelers in each region of the country, we also wanted to narrow down the list to the top 10 safest cities in Mexico overall.
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:
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Read on to find out more about these safest Mexico destinations, as well as other safe areas in Mexico worth visiting.
For ease of reading, we’ve organized this list of safe places in Mexico by region. So you can scroll down to your favorite region to learn about the best safe places Mexico destinations you should visit with your family.
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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.
While there is high crime in Tulum, and relatively high crime in 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.
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.
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).
This walking tour of Mérida is a great way to get to know the city through its food:
Mérida by the numbers:
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.
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:
Campeche by the numbers:
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.
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 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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
Guanajuato by the numbers:
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.
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.
For food lovers, this walking tour offered by Taste of San Miguel is a must to experience all the flavors of Mexico:
San Miguel de Allende by the numbers:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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:
Puerto Vallarta by the numbers:
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.
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:
Oaxaca by the numbers:
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.
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.
In the northern Mexican state of Coahuila, the city of Saltillo is another 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
La Paz by the numbers:
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.
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:
Cabo San Lucas by the numbers:
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.
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.
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.
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, as is the Malecón, the kilometers long boardwalk. Excursions to the islands around Veracruz is also a popular activity.
Veracruz by the numbers:
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.
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:
Villahermosa by the numbers:
Budgeting for a trip to Mexico? Here are our top Mexico travel budget tips.
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.
Need some ideas for a 10 day Mexico itinerary? Check out our suggestions.