Mexico has two reputations that take things to the extreme. While resorts tend to be tropical paradises, other parts of the country are considered so dangerous that they’ve spread across the news and social media with warnings to never travel to them.
So if you want to plan a vacation to the country, should you be afraid to travel to Mexico? Unfortunately, the answer isn’t cut and dry. No matter where you’re headed in Mexico, you should be acutely aware of the dangers that may impact your trip and ultimate destination.
But if you’re afraid to travel to Mexico, don’t cancel your plans just yet. Instead, keep reading to learn about the top ten most dangerous cities in Mexico and what kind of threats they pose.
Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico
You might think you already know which cities you need to avoid in Mexico, but times are changing. In fact, The UK-based Daily Mail reports that the US State Department has issued the highest level of caution for vacationers to avoid more and more areas in the country.
The cases of cartel activities in once-safe resorts are on the rise. Crimes against travelers include kidnapping and other violations that put anyone unaware of the dangers surrounding them at grave risk.
So keep in mind these top ten most dangerous cities in Mexico to when making plans:
While you may dream of lounging along the Pacific shore, traveling to this city might not be the place to fulfill that fantasy. According to an article in USA Today, the nightlife in the city isn’t safe. In fact, the majority of violence and crimes in Mazatlan tend to happen during the darkest hours.
Drug cartels seem to have a significant hold on the city which can impact innocent bystanders anytime. So if you travel to Mazatlan, you’ll want to research ways to be aware of your surroundings and other methods to stay safe during your visit.
9. Los Cabos
This resort city, also known as Cabo San Lucas, sits on the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula. The views are legendary, and they draw tons of tourists. But it has also become a popular spot for crime against those very same visitors. So if you’re a tourist visiting Los Cabos, you may have entered into the most dangerous situation of your life.
Cartel violence should be enough reason for anyone to stay out of this city. But to add to that, the city is nestled against Texas, making it an active area for drug and human trafficking crimes.
The San Antonio-Express News reported that even the city’s mayor has encouraged citizens to avoid traveling to Tamaulipas, even though it has some of the most beautiful beaches in the state. When an area’s leader actively advises citizens to avoid incredible natural sights that typically help the tourism economy, you know it has to be pretty dangerous.
This is one of the more recognizable locations to vacation in Mexico, but it’s becoming more and more dangerous. The city’s location is likely why the violence has been escalating in recent years. In addition, the state is located right on the border of the US, making it a draw for those involved in the drug trade and even more horrific crimes.
While Tijuana is still a popular place to visit, the rising crime has been infiltrating resorts and targeting visitors. As a result, it’s often unsafe for the people who live and work there, along with the tourists.
Cancun is likely to come to mind as an attractive location when planning a vacation in Mexico. The resort parts of the city have been safe to visit in the past, but as with many Mexican cities as of late, it is becoming increasingly dangerous in all areas. The drug cartels have been targeting the resorts and tourists, increasing the cases of violent crime and other offenses.
5. Chihuahua City
A big draw for people considering visiting Chihuahua City is that it’s close to Copper Canyon. Yet it’s important to note that cartel violence is part of the area’s everyday life.
You don’t have to be a Mexican citizen or involved in drug trafficking to be caught up in the crime here. Unfortunately, kidnappings happen, and it’s always possible to be an innocent bystander who becomes collateral damage during violent events.
4. Mexico City
When you want to enjoy the best of Mexican culture, you won’t find anywhere as diverse as the capital of Mexico. Unfortunately, quite a bit of crime focuses on the city’s visitors. Robbery and assault account for much of the violence, making it a brutal and frightening place to spend a vacation.
When someone mentions Culiacan, it likely brings to mind the many drug cartels that operate in and out of the city. Violence tends to be between cartels and the police for the most part, but citizens and visitors have been caught in the crossfire. Without a solid reason beyond tourism to visit the city, selecting a safer location for your vacation may be for the best.
When the Mexico Daily News reports that the people who live in Coatzacoalcos don’t feel safe, it’s got to be pretty dangerous. This place is a large port city in the state of Veracruz with some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Yet if the locals don’t feel secure in their homes, it definitely isn’t safe for visitors.
Organized crime runs rampant in this port city. So much so that a few years ago, the federal government sent reinforcements to the area from the army, navy, and federal police. Even though security has increased in the area, it’s still a place you want to avoid in Mexico.
1. Ciudad Victoria
While this city may surprise some as being the most dangerous city in Mexico, those who live there know it’s earned its place on this list. This city is located in the state of Tamaulipas on the Gulf of Mexico.
This city is saturated with violent crimes from both drug trafficking and rival cartel shootouts. The city also has a severe violence problem within its prison systems. With this state bordering the US, it’s a prime location for illegal activity and violence to thrive.
Should I Still Travel to Mexico?
Always check the State Department’s Travel Advisory for more information to plan a safe trip. It’s updated frequently and tends to be a reliable resource for enjoying a trip to Mexico as safely as possible.
If you plan on traveling anywhere in Mexico or any other unsafe location, you can sign up to be on the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program. This is a way to be able to locate someone in the event something should happen.
While at your resort or hotel, don’t leave anything out in the open that has any value. Be aware of your surroundings when going out, and don’t use unmarked taxis for transportation. Don’t accept drinks or any other gifts from strangers, and don’t let anyone you don’t know be too close to you.
For those who want to do everything that they can to be safe in Mexico, take a look at Luxury Under Budget and their tips on how to be safe. While some may seem like common sense, you might find some valuable information you haven’t considered yet.
While the crime rate in Mexico seems to be on the rise, some locations are still relatively safe for tourists to visit. So do your research, learn how to stay safe, and then enjoy your stay in one of the most beautiful countries in the world.
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Written by Lily Wordsmith
Read more posts by Lily Wordsmith