Is Mexico Safe for Travelers?

I’ve been dying to write this post for a while now, because its title is a question that’s been posed to me so many times this year: “Is Mexico safe for travelers?

After spending eight months in Mexico an in 12 of its 31 federal states, I’ve had a lot of time to observe and experience the different levels of safety in the sprawling country. I feel really strongly about sharing an honest image of the enormous, breathtaking country to which I’ve dedicated most of 2015, and also about giving people a realistic idea of what their safety concerns should be there.

So, that said, my answer to the question “Is Mexico safe?” isn’t a simple one. It’s either 1) yes, of course; or 2) no, of course not; depending on what “safe” means to you, which “Mexico” we’re talking about, and when.

Mexico travel safety flag nuevo leon

Thinking with thoughts (instead of images)

Just as the media industry has managed to brand ‘Africa’ as one big country of impoverished cannibals warring over territory and tribal feuds, television and pop culture in the West have crafted an image of Latin America as a land of violent drug cartels, exporting lazy emigrants who come to suck off our developed welfare states. Mexico is no exception to this image — in fact, in the United States and much of Europe, it epitomizes it.

If I search “Mexico news” on Google Images, I come up mostly with pictures like the ones below: guns, mobs, and dead bodies.

These images aren’t fabricated — Mexico is and has been suffering from political corruption and clashes between organized criminal groups, and large swaths of the country ought to be declared human rights disasters and even failed states.

But that’s not the whole story. If we search instead “Mexico holiday”, we get images more like these ones, with pristine beaches, nightlife, music, margaritas, and beautiful architecture. It’s the Mexico of Cancun and Chichen Itza and Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara that we often forget is the same country as that other Mexico.

Both of these kinds of images are real, but neither are the real Mexico. One promotes the image capitalized upon by the Western news media, and the other is the image that fills the pockets of travel agencies and real estate firms in the Mayan Riviera.

I spent most of my time in between, in what I would very carefully call ‘the real Mexico’, but I also passed through both of these extremes, one at the beginning of my trip and one at the end.

What makes Mexico dangerous?

Mexico is a different kind of ‘dangerous’ than many other developing countries. In contrast to most of the rest of Latin America, you could make the (complicated, unwieldy) generalization that the cities are safe(r) and the areas between them are where the danger lies. Of course there are cities like Juarez, Ciudad Victoria, Acapulco, and Culiacán that are basically deathtraps for the foreigner who doesn’t know how to navigate them, but these cities are dangerous for the same reason that the rural areas and intercity travel can be so risky.

There are two primary causes of violent crime in Mexico. The first one is the nearly universal source of violence and social strife: income inequality. Mexico’s high per capita income and Human Development Index are misleading, as it has the second-highest GINI coefficient (measure of income inequality) of all OECD countries. The expats and travelers I met in Mexico often commented that “Mexican rich is a special kind of rich” — there’s an enormous upper class that can go toe-to-toe with their superrich neighbors in the US in terms of ridiculous spending and political influence, and only a small middle class buffering it from the even larger 52% of the population that lives in poverty.

Take 1 part haves to 2 parts have-nots. Add obscenely large portion of political corruption. Bring to boil, stirring repeatedly.

mexico travel safety cartels map

This attempt at charting the regions controlled by the major drug cartels in Mexico dates from 2012, making it a bit problematic. In general most of it is still accurate, although the entire Gulf coast has gone back and forth between Zeta and Gulf Cartel control for several years now, and coalitions have formed between the Sinaloas and some of their former competitors. Image from The Economist.

The other problem is a symptom of economic inequality, and that’s drug violence, organized crime, narcotrafficking, or whatever else you want to call it. I explained this phenomenon with more nuance in an earlier post, but the basic formula for Mexico’s most extravagant media-catching violence happens when different rival cartels decide they both want control of a particular city or trafficking route (like a highway, port, or federal state), or when the military and federal police — very frequently unironically referred to by Mexicans as a ‘cartel’ — decide to ‘wage war’ on one of the cartels. The result is normally a several-years spike in civilian casualties followed by relative peace when one cartel has secured the area under its control. Monterrey is probably the best example of this.

The importance of place in Mexico

The local tourism industry in the State of Tamaulipas (bordering part of Texas) isn’t exactly booming. Most of the state is overrun by the Zeta cartel, and three-way shootouts between the Zetas, the Gulf Cartel, and the federal police and military are literally slaughtering cities like Reynosa, Ciudad Victoria, and others.

In contrast, Yucatan State has violent crime rates lower than those in the rural United States and Western Europe. Cancun and the Mayan Riviera are so gentrified and Americanized that it’s hard to associate them with the images of drug violence you saw above.

The truth is, there are two Mexicos, or actually many Mexicos. There’s the Mexico of cities like Monterrey, once the most dangerous city in Mexico and just years later a beacon of safety in an otherwise precarious region. There’s the Mexico of Michoacán and Guerrero, where economic inequality and ethnic tensions have led to extremist uprisings targeting the government. There’s the Mexico of states like Morelos and San Luis Potosí, where keeping a low profile is pretty sure to get you home safe, or the Mexico of Chiapas, where you’re more likely to be struck by lightning than a bullet.

Mexico travel safety homicide map

This graphic is a bit more than a year old, which is significant in Mexican terms. These statistics change faster than anyone can hope to keep with, but this map appears to be surprisingly accurate in September 2015, though I would suspect Quintana Roo should actually be light green and Tamaulipas dark red. Image from Fulano.info.

For the sake of practicality, I want to break down my experience in Mexico into the arbitrary categories of safe, unsafe, and upside-down question mark. For the most part, I’ll only speak of the states I’ve spent time in in Mexico, and these lists mostly follow a geographic order of north to south rather than most to least safe.

The safest parts of Mexico
mexico travel safe palenque

A boy playing in the ruins of Palenque in Chiapas State.

    • Monterrey: The first city of the North of Mexico is now a haven of safety and stability in an otherwise unpredictable region. From 2010-2012 it was one of the most dangerous cities in the world, but today one can explore the city center and barrio antiguo even at night, where you might find a couple hundred people playing music and dancing in the macroplaza.
    • San Luis Potosí: San Luis Potosí is a sort of sleepy Central Mexican city where not much seems to happen. While there are some rougher neighborhoods around town, you can tread the main drags mostly worry-free.
    • Querétaro and Querétaro State: Querétaro is considered by many the safest city in all of Mexico, and there’s really no special trouble to speak of throughout the federal state that shares its name.
    • La Huasteca/Sierra Gorda: This mountainous region straddles the states of San Luis Potosí and Querétaro and is one of the most enchanting and under-visited parts of Mexico. Your biggest fear here should be running out of gas in the long stretches of mountain roads between towns.
    • Hidalgo State: Poor and not as developed, but peaceful. Pachuca is considered a very safe city, and there is plenty of nature to explore.
    • Puebla, Oaxaca, and Chiapas States: These are three of the poorest (and most-backpacked) states in Mexico, but they’re safely removed from most of the drug violence that some of their equally poor neighbors are subject to. This year Oaxaca has been subject to some civil unrest, mostly instigated by the powerful and farcically corrupt Mexican Teachers’ Union, but so far (September 2015) it hasn’t become epidemic like in Guerrero and Michoacan.
    • Quintana Roo State: To be blunt, this whole chunk of the Mayan Riviera is an American colony. The real estate developers and local tourism industry in places like Cancun and Playa del Carmen make sure you don’t have anything worse than pickpockets to worry about here.
mexico travel safe monterrey

The river walk in Monterrey.

mexico travel safe queretaro

A square in Querétaro’s idyllic centro historico.

mexico travel safety franciscan missions wedding

A wedding in one of the sixteenth century Franciscan missions of the Sierra Gorda, in Jalpan de Serra.

mexico travel safe hidalgo

A boy running through Real del Monte, one of the pueblos magicos (‘magical villages’) of Hidalgo State.

mexico travel safety oaxaca

A busy street in one of Oaxaca’s central squares.

Mexico travel safety playa del carmen

The beginning of the public beach in Playa del Carmen.

The less safe parts of Mexico

I explicity avoided all of these except Tamaulipas. My advice here is based on months spent researching organized crime in Mexico, information from travel advisories from various departments of state/ministries of foreign affairs, and most of all dozens of conversations with Mexican citizens, including internally displaced persons.

  • Tamaulipas State: Don’t go here. I can’t say it any more strongly: if there is one part of Mexico to avoid right now, it’s here. I planned my route through Nuevo Laredo very carefully, but I don’t think I would do it again. It is generally considered the most corrupt of the Mexican states and the cartel in power, Los Zetas, is known worldwide for its viciousness and attacks on civilians. These guys make a huge chunk of their income through ransoms and human trafficking, so your Western face just looks like a big dollar sign.
  • Northern border states (Coahuila, Chihuahua, Sonora, Durango, and Sinaloa): The Sinaloa cartel reigns supreme through most of this side of Mexico. They focus almost exclusively on the drug trade and haven’t been known to single out Westerners or tourists, but the general unrest and lack of rule of law in this region makes it risky. If you speak good Spanish, know what cities and especially which highways to avoid, and have a particularly strong reason for visiting this area, it might be worth it. Count me out though.
  • Michoacán and Guerrero States: What Mexicans say about the state of Michoacan and Guerrero seems to vary more than opinions on other parts of the country. Guerrero is where the famous 43 students went missing last year, speaking to the insane levels of corruption in the state government. Michoacán seems to be largely run by the cartel La Familia Michoacana, who have branded themselves as protectors of the (poor/indigenous) people more successfully than any other cartel. At the heart of conflict and insecurity in this region is ethnic and economic strife, which means that, in theory, there is no special danger for foreign travelers. I personally would feel comfortable visiting Morelia, the capital of Michoacán just south of the border with Guanajuato State, but I think not much more.
mexico travel safe tamaulipas

One of my only glimpses of Tamaulipas, the desert along the highway to Monterrey.

The meh, yo no sé parts of Mexico
  • Nuevo León and San Luis Potosí States: I traveled by bus through both of these big northern states, mainly via Highway 57, which (at least at the time) was the least risky of the three major routes south out of Monterrey. The danger here is presented primarily by the many highway checkpoints, which are nominally run by the police, but just as often can be Zetas or other narcos in police uniform. Kidnapping of Westerners does happen in these areas, but almost exclusively on overnight buses, and much more so on Highway 85 to the east.
  • Morelos State: When I traveled to Morelos in May, the US State Department was officially warning to “exercise caution” in the state because of the “unpredictable nature of organized crime violence”. After reading the State Department warning (which includes advice on which particular cities and highways are considered high risk) and talking to a few folks in Mexico City who had recently been to or even lived in the area, my friends and I decided it should be fine for the weekend camping trip we were planning.
  • Jalisco State: Jalisco is exemplary of how quickly security can change in Mexico. When I arrived in January it was one of the safest areas in the country, but in May it was suddenly in the news when a bus was set aflame, killing seven civilians. The US State Department quickly advised caution for “clashes between criminal organizations and government authorities, and related disturbances including barricades of burning vehicles blocking major roads and highways, are ongoing concerns that typically occur without notice”. Suddenly cities like Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta weren’t a vacation paradise anymore. However, by now (September 2015), things seem to be more or less back to normal.
mexico travel safe morelos

In the end we decided to go for it in Morelos. This was our campsite and the site of a fantastic weekend outside Tepoztlán, where our biggest worry was hiking back to the nearest village for more beer.

Mexico City and the State of Mexico

The Federal District, with its 22 million inhabitants that spill over into the surrounding Estado de México, is a category of its own. The sheer size and sprawl of it makes for an equal diversity of safety conditions that can change from neighborhood to neighborhood, although the DF seems to be more stable over time than any of the other states. In general, I’ll always recommend it — in five months nothing bad happened to me, and I never once felt any less safe than I would in a huge city anywhere in the world. Here’s a breakdown of the areas I know well enough to comment on.

mexico travel safe bike

One of the only dangers I faced in the DF was cycling in traffic. This is a ghost bike in memory of a cyclist who was killed at this corner, on the edge of Parque España, just across the street from my local grocery store.

  • Centro Historico: During daylight hours the worst you’ll face is a group of students asking if they can interview you for their English class. At night, it’s the kind of neighborhood where street smarts and walking along well-lit roads is recommended, like in any big city.
  • Roma y Condesa: You may actually die from breathing in the essence of hipster that pollutes the air on every street. If you can stand the tattoos and ridiculous hair you’re fine. I lived in the Roma Norte neighborhood and loved every day of it.
  • Zona Rosa: Zona Rosa is a fairly gentrified business district as well as being home to the gay neighborhood and Koreatown, so it’s quite an odd amalgamation of subcultures. I’ve heard it called dangerous, and I do know someone who was almost mugged there, but personally I feel it’s a bit safer than Centro and the most basic common sense is all you should need to avoid trouble. I spent plenty of time here and never had an issue.
  • Polanco: The rich and the famous live here, and you can’t afford anything unless you are also rich and/or famous. Move along.
  • Del Valle: Upper-middle class residential and office neighborhood. Perfectly safe, but dying of boredom could be a legitimate risk here.
  • Doctores: Doctores gets a bad rap for being one of the most dangerous neighborhoods within the city proper, which it is, but take it with a grain of salt when you hear that it’s “dangerous”. If you go walking alone at night, you might get mugged, but unless you’re an outspoken journalist, don’t work yourself up into a panic. I spent several nights in this neighborhood watching Lucha Libre with small groups and never had an issue.
  • Airport/TAPO: This seems to be a general ‘best practice’ for most cities in the Americas: avoid the neighborhood around the airport or bus station. The eastern edge of Mexico City probably fits in a little better with your image of a big Latin American barrio.
  • Southeast Mexico City Area/Ciudad Nezahualcóyotl: This is in general the most dangerous area of the Federal District and the Greater Mexico City Area. There are rumblings of organized crime, but for the most part it suffers from issues familiar throughout Latin American cities: poverty and run-of-the-mill violent and nonviolent crime.
  • Coyoacán: One of the coolest neighborhoods in the DF. Locals will tell you that the rides there and back (one or two transfers on the metro from the city center) will kill you, but they’re exaggerating.
mexico travel safe paseo reforma zona rosa

The iconic Paseo de la Reforma cutting through Zona Rosa. Protests like the one filling the street here are common in this part of Mexico City, though in my experiences never turned violent.

mexico travel safe centro historico

The Palacio de Bellas Artes in Centro HIstorico.

mexico travel safe roma

La Villa de Madrid in the heart of Colonia Roma, where I lived for five months.

How to not be an idiot in Mexico

I’ve met two commonly recurring archetypal charicatures of travelers while in Mexico; for now I’ll casually name them ‘the American’ and ‘the European’.

The American is terrified of absolutely everything. One American I know (hint, he’s writing this post) nearly shat himself in Querétaro when he heard fireworks one night, because obviously popping noises in Mexico always signal guns and violence and impending doom. The American distrusts every offer of kindness from locals, because that drink has obviously been drugged so that guy can sell you/your organs to the local mob boss. That taco? Don’t eat it. It’s cat. Or maybe human. And it’s a terrorist.

The European is the equally and oppositely useless traveler in Mexico. He comes from a place where wandering around the city alone at 3:30 a.m. while completely obliterated drunk and searching for a döner place that’s still open is not only perfectly safe but routine. People are good and trustworthy, and crimes are scary made-up stories that usually take place in the US or Africa somewhere. He’s quick to tell you how dangerous Paris is though, because that one time three years ago a friend of one of his friends knew a girl who got her purse snatched behind the train station.

Both of these travelers need to pick a different destination. The American is going to completely isolate himself and miss out on one of the most promising countries in the world for travel, and the European is going to get manipulated into being a part of some white collar money laundering scheme (that is, yes, probably related to the drug trade).

If you tend toward the more American end of the spectrum, try to loosen up and reach outside your comfort zone a bit. Acapulco is currently the highest homicide rate in Mexico, with 104 homicides per 100,000 citizens. That translates to a 0.1% chance of being murdered in the most dangerous city in the country.

If you tend toward the European extreme, try to remember that Latin America is not Europe or any of the typical vacation destinations for Europeans. Marrakech and Bali seem exotic and wild, but they’re fairly safe and Westernized as well. Bad shit can happen to you here, so just try not to stumble into a Darwin Award.

mexico safe sierra gorda

Graffiti in a small village in the Sierra Gorda mountains. It reads, “We should be the change we want to see.”

So, is Mexico safe?

Acceptable answers to this question include:

1) Where in Mexico?
2) Last week or today?
3) Are you a journalist?

Remember that one of the main points of this post is that these situations change rapidly. Don’t assume that because Ciudad Juarez was a bloodbath five years ago that it will be next year, and just because Puerto Escondido is now a tourist hotspot doesn’t mean it can’t become the next Acapulco.

I recommend checking the travel advisories from two different embassies: my normal strategy for Mexico is to check the US State Department advisory, which is very thorough (with detailed security analyses of each federal state as well as specific cities and transit routes), but also highly, at times almost comically, alarmist, and compare it to another country’s equivalent. I normally use the Netherlands or Canada, both less prone to freakouts and exaggeration.

When in doubt — but also when not — ask some locals. Reach out to the Couchsurfing community or Facebook groups like Mochileros en Mexico. I’d say upwards of three quarters of the time, you’re gonna be just fine.

The point is to change your Mexican paradigm. Stop thinking of it as a dangerous country run by narcotraffickers and corrupt politicians. It’s a huge country with huge cities and huge stretches of countryside. Some cities are more dangerous than others, some neighborhoods safer than others. Just like anywhere else in the world. So do yourself an intellectual favor and tune out the images of machine guns and beach resorts, and just turn on your eyes and ears.

27 comments

  1. Chelsea · September 6, 2015

    Great post! Super informative. Having only been to the Yucatan and Mexico City it’s great to hear what others think of Mexico. We were always warned not to go since we never do resort travel. Of course we did our own research and are glad of it. Mexico is one of our favorites and we want to discover more. Will def make sure to avoid the areas you talked about not going to and do more research about where is safe.

    Thanks for the info!

    Chelsea

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      The Yucatan is beautiful, but really one of my least favorite parts of Mexico actually, just because there are very few people doing anything BUT resort travel there. The people I met there were sooo different from those I met in Mexico City or San Cristobal for example, and stuff can get a bit pricier out there. Give Oaxaca and Chiapas a try on your next trip if you like outdoors and mountain scenery, or Mexico City if you’re more the big city type :-)

  2. Anne Klien ( MeAnne) · September 6, 2015

    Great post. Mexico is one place never reach to my list but reading this might have change for future plans to visit.

  3. Karla | karlaroundtheworld · September 6, 2015

    Thank you this is very helpful. I have been wanting to go to mexico but people also say that it is dangerous most especially for solo travel. I guess every country is dangerous if you don’t avoid shady areas. Thank you for this.

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      I guess you can tell that I wouldn’t exactly recommend solo travel in the North, but I think the rest of the country is realistically not any more safe or dangerous than most other parts of the world for a resourceful lone traveler ;-) Give it a try, Mexico will amaze you with its diversity and its people!

  4. Dannielle Lily · September 6, 2015

    Thank you for writing this! Mexico is somewhere I’ve always wanted to travel but I’m basically the worst travel blogger ever – terrified of everything! I think perspective is important, and you need to remember you can die anywhere (sorry, very morbid of me). I’ll save this and look back at your list of ‘safe places’ if I ever book that trip!

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      It’s not morbid, it’s true! I always tell my mom when she’s freaking out about me traveling in places like Mexico that I’m a bazillion times more likely to die in a car accident driving to come see her in Florida than I am to get kidnapped or any other crazy stuff like that. Indeed, perspective is important!

  5. Nikita · September 6, 2015

    This is such a useful post! Bookmarking it for when I visit Mexico.

  6. Michelle | Diagnosis:Wanderlust · September 6, 2015

    Great, informative, and detailed about Mexico! Thank you for being blunt and painting a clear picture!

  7. Ynah CA · September 6, 2015

    Interesting post! I have recently seen a documentary about Mexico and you were right about all this. But i guess every country have its own issues about safety in one way or another, we just have to be extra careful and be alert at all time.

  8. Conor (The Continental Drifters) · September 6, 2015

    Oh my, this is the most informative and detailed blog post I’ve read all year. Brilliant insight into the current state of Mexico. I’ve hosted some Mexican couchsurfers this year, and they are dismayed at the direction their country is going.
    But at the same time they cannot recommend it highly enough, so a a trip to Monterrey and further afield may have to be done at some time in the future :)

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      Wow, thanks for the compliments! I did indeed try to make this as detailed as I could without posting a novel, haha, so glad you found it helpful.

      Yeah, I think your CSers sum up the domestic sentiment in Mexico pretty well. I think people are embarassed of how their country is presented in the media but also embarassed of how much of that image is based on a really sad, violent truth. But if you’re going for the first time I’d say skip Monterrey and head further south, to the Mexico City area or the state of Chiapas, they’re much more worth the visit and I think will give you a more accurate of ‘what Mexico is like’ ;-)

  9. Bettina · September 6, 2015

    I laughed about the part where you thought the fireworks were guns popping! My friend and I did the same thing in Bali the first night we were in our accommodation. We were so paranoid! Wonderful post. Very informative and easy to read <3

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      Haha, the terrible thing is the very next night after the fireworks, there was a guy in the hostel (I think he was Canadian) who had the same reaction, and I calmly (read: condescendingly) explained it to him as if I’d not made the same embarassing mistake the day before :-P

  10. Brittany · September 6, 2015

    Thank you for writing such a detailed and comprehensive post! I have written a post on my blog about the safety of Mexico for solo female travelers. I felt completely safe in the Yucatan and Quintana Roo as a solo traveler. I had absolutely no problems. The locals were so warm and friendly and helpful and I have nothing but positive experiences. I loved it so much that I am going back this fall and cannot wait to explore Mexico’s Yucatan more in depth! Thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      I couldn’t find your post when I looked under the Mexico category on your blog! I’d love to read though — care to tweet it to me?

      Enjoy the Yucatan! Tip: if you take the collectivo between Cancun and Tulum and get off at the Sirenis Resort, walk through their property (don’t bring your bags, it’s a solid 20 minute hike) and to the beach, you can find huge stretches of empty beach and even some cenotes!

  11. Anne | Girl Chasing Sunshine · September 6, 2015

    We all have preconceived notions of a certain place but we only need to try to make it there to see the actual scenario. :)

  12. Nikoleta Míchalová · September 6, 2015

    I was thinking about going to Mexicho but now….. I guess I will rethink. Sure nothing MIGHT happen to me, but everythink might at the same time. Dont know whether I am still going…

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      No no, that’s not the idea at all! I guess my point was that really you don’t have to worry too much in most places, just watch out for the really bad areas and keep an eye on the news ;-)

  13. Natasha Amar · September 6, 2015

    This is a well-written and informative post that takes an intelligent stance on the oft-asked ‘Is it safe?’ question. In so many places that are written off as unsafe it’s true that the answer will differ depending on who’s doing the asking and who’s answering, as well as your intention and often your common sense.

  14. Erica · September 6, 2015

    This is very informative post on Mexico. Brilliantly written, this has given me better insights on the country. I’ve always said I would neve travel there alone, and I probably wouldn’t, but it’s nice to read a comprehensive piece about it that covers outside the tourism realm of the nation. Amazing article!

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      Thanks so much! I’d be honored to inspire travelers to visit this wonderful country, I hope you will visit it some time :-)

  15. Fabiola · September 6, 2015

    Thank for this very accurate and informative article about my home country. You are absolutely right about which parts of Mexico to avoid -and believe me, that advice doesn’t apply only to foreigners- and which parts of Mexico are a must-see. I live in the Mexico City metro area and it is exactly as you describe. I have been in supposedly dangerous neighborhoods and nothing has ever happened to me. Thank you for shedding light on this subject. The tourism industry is crucial to Mexico’s economy, and everyone works hard to make sure foreigners can come and have a safe and good time. People, don’t cancel your trip! Give Mexico a chance.

    • Jakob Gibbons · September 6, 2015

      Yes, I echo that last sentiment — don’t cancel your trip! It’s so much more than worth it.

      Thanks for the affirmation of my thoughts here :-) I spent so much of this year researching the issues with the cartels, reading/watching the news, and just talking to locals to try to get a better understanding of what’s going on in the country. And I should have said that this doesn’t just apply to foreigners, as you said — I met very many middle and upper-middle class folks who were able to flee Tamaulipas or Sinaloa or Guerrero and told me stories of what had hapened in their home communities. I can’t help thinking about the poorer families who are stuck in places like Tamaulipas and don’t have the financial resources to escape like others have :-/

      The DF is magical. Such a big weird city. I’ve been out in Doctores at night, even by myself, a few times and never had an issue, but then I’ve actually known people or friends of friends who got jumped and robbed in Condesa o_0 I guess the point is that anything can happen to you absolutely anywhere, so just do your best to be informed and don’t obsess over what might happen. I felt safe enough to walk back to Roma Norte from Centro or from the other side of the neighborhood around Cuauhtémoc in the early hours of the morning, probably at least a dozen times, which were probably not the *best* decisions I could have made, but I had to live a little and experience the city, and since I knew I wasn’t living in Reynosa or somewhere like Caracas, I was comfortable with the risk.

      Ah, Mexico… lo voy a extrañar!

  16. Andreja Jernejčič · September 6, 2015

    Very interesting and in-depth post. Have to save it for the time Im visiting Mexico.

  17. Nic · September 6, 2015

    So many places in the world get marred by stereotypes, ignorant media portrayals and most importantly people’s lack of willingness to see for themselves! The world just outside your doorstep can be just as dangerous but nowhere near as rewarding!

  18. Sonal Kwatra (So Kwa Pala) · September 6, 2015

    Great post! My US visa is valid till 2020, I think I should make another visit and this time visit Mexico too! I would love to spend at least a month in Mexico.