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20 Safest Cities in Mexico 2024

Wondering where is safe to visit in Mexico? Here’s a compilation of the safest cities in Mexico based on latest statistics and personal experience.

Mexico is one of the most visited countries in the world – receiving over 47 million visitors in 2023 alone – for good reason. It’s one of the most diverse countries in the world, jam-packed with untouched rainforests, imposing mountains, and elevated highlands, fringed by miles upon miles of beaches. Its cities range from power-packed metropolises to colonial cities and charming Pueblos Mágicos (magic towns).

In recent years, Mexico has become such an extremely popular destination for digital nomads to work and long-term expats (like us!) to settle in. It’s easy to see why: with an incredibly diverse cuisine, welcoming people, world-class sights, and affordable living costs, Mexico is such a fun, easy and comfortable place to live in.

Just like any destination, it is still important to do your research and keep yourself updated with the latest happenings. While some parts of Mexico can be unsafe, there are plenty of safe cities to visit in Mexico. As with anyone you go, check the Mexico customs and immigration regulations to make sure you’re not bringing anything against the law. To help you plan your trip or move to Mexico, I put together this list of safest cities in Mexico based on research and statistics.

safest cities in mexico - safe cities in mexico - safest cities mexico

How I Chose the Safest Cities in Mexico

I looked into official sources, including Mexico’s government reports from the Secretariado Ejecutivo del Sistema Nacional de Seguridad Pública. Their September 2023 statistics show states like Yucatán, Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo as some of the safest places to travel in Mexico. 

I also curated this list of the safest cities in Mexico based on statistics from Numbeo, whose data comes from surveys conducted among members of the site. While the survey questions are extensive, the responses may not be as accurate.

Another source of data I used 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.

mexico safe cities - monterrey

Safest Cities in Mexico Map 

For a quick look at where the safest cities in Mexico are, I’ve pinned them to this map. feel free to save them to your Google Maps.

How to use this map: Click on the top left of the map to display the list of locations, then click on the locations to display further information. To open a larger version in a new tab, click on the top right corner of the map. You can also click on the star to save to your Google Maps.

Safest Cities in Mexico: By Region

According to our research, Yucatan is the safest states in Mexico (at level 1), with the lowest crime rates in Mexico. Located in the well-known Yucatan Peninsula, this state is home to a number of stunning tourist attractions, including the world-famous archaeological site of Chichen Itza, Valladolid, the city of Merida and the pueblo mágico of Izamal.

Another state with level 1 crime level is Baja California Sur, where wild beaches and remote deserts draw travelers seeking tranquility and wildlife experiences. Its famous beach towns like La Paz, Los Cabos and Ensenada are some of the safest places in Mexico to visit. 

A hot tourist favorite, Quintana Roo, remains one of the safest states as well – with Isla Holbox and Cozumel wooing travelers with their laidback island vibes and peaceful settings; although crime rates are increasing in Tulum and Playa del Carmen.

safest cities mexico - baja california

Safest Cities in Mexico: Yucatan 

1. Mérida: Safest City in Mexico

The colonial jewel of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mérida, has been consistently ranked the safest city in Mexico. In fact, CEOWorld Magazine declared it the second safest city on the entire Americas Continent. It has the lowest crime rate in Mexico, with a very low risk of theft, attacks and violence. It is safe to walk around at night, even for solo female travelers.

Steep in history and rich in heritage, Merida is home to the region’s best museums, restaurants, and bustling markets. 60% of its population is Mayan, while the rest come from other parts of Mexico and the world – and it shows from the unique flavors of Yucatecan food.

An appealing mix of small-town feel and international vibes, Merida is a tourist town that actually feels surprisingly genuine. Every day of the week, the city runs free events for the public – from dance performances to live concerts. Merida has long been the go-to place for travelers seeking to explore beyond the resorts of Cancun and Tulum.

Read my recommended things to do in Mérida.

Mérida by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 21.84/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 74.95/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 91.5/100
safest cities mexico - merida

2. Valladolid

Calm and unpretentious Valladolid is one of the safest cities in Mexico for many reasons. It has an extremely low crime rate (2.27/100), and cases of attacks, violent crimes and corruption are next to none. It’s very safe to walk around alone and even at night. Despite being the closest town to Chichen Itza, Valladolid is surprisingly quiet and laid back, with a quaint, small-town feel. Many visitors pass through Valladolid on their way to see the archaeological sites nearby, but few actually stay and get to know the town.

Listed as one of Mexico’s Pueblo Mágicos (magic towns), Valladolid is lined with cobblestoned streets, pastel-colored houses and old colonial buildings converted into art galleries or indie boutiques. It also has a large Mayan population — you’ll see plenty of locals walking around in traditional dress and lots of restaurants serving typical Mayan dishes.

One of the best things to do in Valladolid is to wander around town aimlessly. It’s such a pleasure strolling along the streets, admiring the pastel-colored houses and wondering what surprise is in store around each corner. The most photogenic street in Valladolid is the Calzada de los Frailes, which has been tastefully restored with indie boutiques, museums, and small cafes. 

See also  How to Get from Mexico City to San Miguel de Allende

Valladolid by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 2.27/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 91.71/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 100/100

Safest Cities in Mexico: Quintana Roo

3. Tulum

An up-and-coming beach destination along Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Tulum is generally safe for visitors these days, even though crime rates have been increasing in recent years. Some cartel-related crimes have occurred, including the October 2021 incident where two tourists got caught in a crossfire between two cartel groups. You’ll need to be careful of where you go in Tulum.

In the last 15 years, Tulum has transformed into a trendy destination, with upscale beach clubs, art galleries, and eco-friendly boutique hotels outnumbering traditional taco stands. Despite its growth, Tulum retains its lush jungle surroundings, unlike neighboring Playa del Carmen and Cancun. There’s no shortage of things to do in Tulum: from exploring its numerous cenotes to the famous Tulum ruins and the hidden world of Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve.

Read my comprehensive Tulum travel guide.

Tulum by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 42.5/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 63.38/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 87.5/100
safest cities mexico - tulum

4. Playa del Carmen

At just one hour away from Cancun, Playa del Carmen has flourished from a tiny fishing village into the fastest-growing city in Mexico. The beach town has become hugely popular with digital nomads, thanks to its walkable downtown, easily-accessible beaches, reefs, ruins, and jungles. These days the multicultural beach town is brimming with international restaurants, high-quality cafes, yoga studios, and trendy apartments.

We live in Playa del Carmen for many reasons — besides the big expat community and great amenities/infrastructure, it is one of the safest cities in Mexico with relatively low crime levels and incidents of attacks or violent crime. Sadly corruption is a daily occurrence here. 

Like Tulum, drug-related crime in Playa del Carmen has risen in recent years and there have been more reports of shootings here. A shooting happened in January 2022 at Xcaret Ecopark, which left two Canadians dead over a debt. As with most violence in Mexico, it mostly has direct ties to the cartels.

Read my recommended things of do in Playa del Carmen.

Playa del Carmen by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 53.47/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 52.75/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 80.71/100
safest cities mexico - playa del carmen

5. Holbox

Situated unassumingly off the northeast coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula, Isla Holbox is one of the best-kept secrets of the Yucatan Peninsula. The dreamy island is gloriously car-free and largely undeveloped, and it has extremely low crime rates and feels very safe. Even though it’s just 2-hours from Cancun, it feels like a different world.

Just a decade ago, the sleepy fishing village began drawing in tourists. But locals have since fought to stave off mega-resorts. There are no cars, no chain restaurants, and no high-rises (buildings are not permitted to top 40 feet). Electricity reached the island in 1987, and even now, WiFi signals can be spotty.

Fast forward to today, the white-sand beaches of Isla Holbox see only a fraction of the six million visitors that flock to nearby Cancún each year. Even downtown Holbox has retained charming island vibes, with a small population and very low crime rates. Everyone knows each other, so if anyone commits a crime, he/she gets evicted immediately. It’s absolutely safe to walk around at night.

Read my guide to Isla Holbox.

safest cities mexico - holbox

6. Cozumel

Located off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Cozumel is the biggest island in the Mexican Caribbean. Cozumel Island is just 12 miles (20km) off Playa del Carmen, where we currently live. One of the safest places to visit in Mexico, Cozumel has so much to explore: from ancient Mayan ruins to national parks and mangrove swamps.

In contrast to commercialized coastal cities like Cancun and Tulum, Cozumel Island is wild and relatively unspoiled. Most of the island is covered by lush tropical forests, nature reserves and empty beaches. Yes, it is a popular cruise destination – but time your visit to avoid the cruise ship and you’ll have the island to yourself. 

Cozumel is well known as one of the world’s best places to go scuba diving. The island is fringed by the Mesoamerican Reef, which is the second-largest barrier reef in the world (after the Great Barrier Reef in Australia). It extends over 600 miles from the north of Yucatan to the Bay of islands in Honduras.

Read my guide to Cozumel Island.

Cozumel by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 33.33/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 65.46/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 88.71/100
safest cities mexico - cozumel

Safest Cities in Mexico: Baja California

7. Los Cabos

Hugely popular with upscale holidaymakers, Los Cabos is a safe and exciting beach destination poised in the southernmost tip of the Baja California Peninsula. Even Hollywood celebrities like Jennifer Aniston and George Clooney flock here for their vacation. If they choose to vacation in Los Cabos, you can rest assured it’s one of the safest cities in Mexico. 

Los Cabos has a high safety index of 55.57, with low risks of you being attacked, mugged or robbed here. The reported crime level is much lower than in Tulum or Playa del Carmen. It also has an excellent score in health, entertainment, social life, water activities, beaches, and nightlife. There’s no shortage of outdoorsy things to do in Los Cabos: from whale watching to hiking in its mountains and sailing along the arches.

Los Cabos by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 46.51/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 55.57/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 73.89/100
safest cities mexico - los cabos

8. La Paz

With its large swathes of pristine empty beaches and laid-back vibes, the quiet town of La Paz is a fantastic base for those seeking to explore the marine life of the Sea of Cortez. With a higher safety index than Los Cabos, this quiet town is your safest option in Baja California, making it a great base for those who want to steer away from the crowd without jeopardizing your safety.

La Paz is blessed with some of best beaches in Mexico. Balandra Beach is the most popular, known for its calm, blue waters and photogenic appeal. Other popular beaches include Tecolote Beach and Isla Espiritu Santo Island, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

Whale sharks migrate to the area between the months of October to March, and several tour operators offer whale watching excursions. For snorkeling, the nearby Isla Espiritu Santo is a great option, with its crystal-clear waters and diverse marine life.

La Paz by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 32.24/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 67.12/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 88.82/100
safest cities mexico - la paz

9. Ensenada

Located further north in Baja California, Ensenada is one of the closest cities in Mexico to get to from the U.S., and it is considered to be one of the safest towns in Mexico. The amount of violent crimes have lowered by 53% this year thanks to a stronger security force.

See also  Chiapas Road Trip: My 10-Day Chiapas Itinerary

Ensenada has a regular port of call for luxurious cruise ships, which means a constant stream of tourists. There’s a plethora of beaches to explore in Ensenada – Playa Hermosa is the most popular beach, known for its soft sand and clear water. Other popular beaches include Playa Chapultepec, Playa Norte, and Playa Sur. 

Besides the fresh seafood to indulge in here, Ensenada is also known for its fine wine. The nearby Valle de Guadalupe is known as the “Napa Valley of Mexico.” There’s a legion of gorgeous wineries that offer gastronomic meals as well as wine-tasting experiences and tours around their properties. The prices are much more affordable than in neighboring California and the quality are just as good.

Ensenada by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 39.06/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 60.96/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 80.50/100
top safe cities in mexico - ensenada

Safest Cities in Mexico: Chiapas

10. San Cristóbal de las Casas

The crown jewel of Chiapas, San Cristobal de las Casas is a pueblo mágico (magical town) bursting with colors and Indigenous culture. Perched at an elevation of over 7,200 feet (2,200 meters), San Cris – as it’s affectionately known – is lined with cobblestoned streets and terracotta-roofed colonial houses, surrounded by misty mountains and hilltop churches. Indigenous Tzoztil ladies saunter along the sidewalks in their embroidered huilpil, hawking beautiful artisan and textiles.

Under the colorful surface of this pueblos mágico lies a dark history. An armed insurgency by the Zapatistas ( a socialist militant group) in the ’90s that went on until recently, made the Mexican army a fixture in the region. It crippled the development of the state, making it one of the poorest in the country. But thanks to the increased police presence, San Cristóbal has been very safe in recent years with surprisingly low crime rates.

Read my recommended things to do in San Cristóbal de las Casas.

San Cristóbal de las Casas by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 29.55/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 69.62/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 86.37/100
top safest cities in mexico - san cristobal de las casas

Safest Cities in Mexico: Guanajuato

11. San Miguel de Allende

The city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and its historic center is characterized by its cobblestone streets, colonial buildings, and beautiful churches. San Miguel de Allende is also known for its vibrant art scene, its delicious food, and its friendly people.

Even though crime rates have been increasing in the past years due to drug cartels in the region, San Miguel de Allende is still relatively safe to visit. Most of the crime that happen here are targeted by the drug cartels; if you don’t get involved in drugs, you should be safe. 

In 2020, San Miguel became the first non-beach tourist destination in Latin America to receive the World Travel and Tourism Council’s “Safe Travels Stamp.” This means that San Miguel de Allende has achieved a stamp of approval by implementing strict safety measures to protect its visitors and residents.

Read my guide to San Miguel de Allende.

San Miguel de Allende by the number:

  • Reported crime level: 66.45/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 48.42/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 83.19/100
safe cities in mexico - san miguel de allende

Safest Cities in Mexico: Querétaro

12. Querétaro

Located close to Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, Querétaro is a prosperous modern city with a historical city center. In recent years, significant investments have been made to guarantee the safety of the region, which has made Querétaro one of the safest cities in Mexico.

Compared to neighboring Guanajuato, Querétaro has lower crime rates and very little risks of violence, kidnappings and robbery. The city has an efficient and well-equipped police force, as well as a security camera system that helps to prevent crime.

In addition to its safety, Querétaro also offers an excellent quality of life. The city has a thriving economy, diverse cultural and educational offerings, and a friendly and welcoming population.

Querétaro by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 39.02/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 62.74/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 88.10/100
safest cities in mexico for expats - queretaro

Safest Cities in Mexico: Jalisco

13. Puerto Vallarta

On the Pacific coast of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is a hugely popular tourist destination in Mexico, known for its beautiful beaches, stunning scenery, and vibrant culture. The city is also considered to be one of the safest beach towns in Mexico.

First, the city has a strong law enforcement presence. There are police officers on patrol throughout the city, and the city has invested in a number of crime prevention measures, such as surveillance cameras and street lighting. The tourism industry works closely with law enforcement and other agencies to keep Puerto Vallarta safe. I’ve never had a bad experience visiting Puerto Vallarta.

Second, Puerto Vallarta has a strong sense of community. The residents of Puerto Vallarta are proud of their city and are committed to keeping it safe. This sense of community is evident in the many neighborhood watch groups and other crime prevention organizations that operate in the city. Puerto Vallarta may be the friendliest destination in Mexico for the LGBTQ+ community.

Puerto Vallarta by the number:

  • Reported crime level: 38.82/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 64.21/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 88.87/100
safest cities in mexico - puerto vallarta

Safest Cities in Mexico: Nayarit

14. Sayulita

Just an hour north along the coast from Puerto Vallarta is Sayulita, a safe and quaint little beach town that draws surfers from around the world. As a tiny pueblo mágico, Sayulita is the kind of place where everyone knows each other and life is simple.

The town has a low crime rate and a strong sense of community. The residents of Sayulita are committed to keeping it safe and they work together to make this possible. This sense of community is evident in the many neighborhood watch groups and other crime prevention organizations that operate in the town.

With its beautiful beaches, safe environment and laid-back atmosphere, Sayulita is quickly becoming one of the most popular beach towns in Mexico. The town is a popular destination for surfers, yogis, and beach lovers alike. There are also plenty of opportunities for adventure seekers, such as zip-lining, horseback riding, and jungle hiking.

safest cities mexico - sayulita

Safest Cities in Mexico: Oaxaca

15. Huatulco

Along the southern Oaxacan coast of Mexico, Huatulco is one of those simple beach towns that’s super easy to fall in love with. This city has a low crime rate and a friendly and welcoming community. It’s also well-policed and has a substantial tourist population. Perhaps that’s why it’s drawn a big expat community – many Americans and Canadians have chosen to settle down here in the winter as it’s calm, peaceful and safe.

Compared to other beaches on the Oaxacan coast, Huatulco has better tourism infrastructure and more robust security enforcement. For that reason, it has lower crime rates than nearby Puerto Escondido, Zipolite, Mazunte and San Agustinillo. Not only that, the accommodation options and WiFi speeds are also better here than in beach towns further south. 

See also  30 Best Things to Do in Morelia
safest cities mexico - huatulco

16. Oaxaca City

Colorful, spirited and deeply rooted in traditions: Oaxaca City is the Mexico that many dream of. It truly captures the soul of the country like nowhere else, with its flamboyant Day of the Dead celebrations, indigenous culture and historic architecture.  Surrounded by the Sierra Madre mountains of Southern Mexico, Oaxaca is a destination that is both culturally and visually captivating.  

Oaxaca has become increasingly popular over the years, thanks to its vibrant markets and world-class gastronomy, including its famous mole sauces and artisanal mezcal. This city stands out as a safe and hospitable destination for travelers, boasting a low crime rate and a warm and welcoming local populace. 

Oaxaca’s culinary scene lives up to its reputation as the food capital of Mexico, featuring a tantalizing array of traditional and international dishes. Don’t miss out on savoring iconic Oaxacan specialties like delicious mole sauces, crispy tlayudas, and even the adventurous roasted chapulines, making Oaxaca an irresistible destination that combines safety and gastronomic delight.

Read my 10-day Oaxaca road trip itinerary.

Oaxaca City by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 42.31/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 57.86/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 80.77/100
safe cities in mexico - oaxaca

Safest Cities in Mexico: Puebla

17. Puebla City

In recent years, Puebla has earned a reputation as one of Mexico’s safest cities. According to statistics from Numbeo, Puebla has a lower crime rate than most other cities in Mexico (besides Merida). This safety comes from factors like visible police patrols, modern surveillance systems, and a strong commitment to public safety by local authorities.

Located in central Mexico, Puebla is another pueblo mágico chocked full of history, culture, and architectural beauty. One of its main appeal is the Puebla Cathedral, a stunning example of Spanish colonial architecture, adorned with intricate facades and ornate interiors. Nearby, the Zócalo, or main square, is a bustling hub of activity surrounded by colorful colonial buildings.

Puebla is also renowned for its Talavera pottery, which you can admire and purchase in the city’s workshops and stores. For history enthusiasts, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage site of Cholula offers a chance to explore the ancient Great Pyramid, one of the largest pyramids ever constructed.

Puebla City by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 63.95/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 41.31/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 64.14/100
mexico safest cities - puebla

Safest Cities in Mexico: Nuevo Leon

18. Monterrey

Monterrey, a massive metropolis in northern Mexico, was battling drug wars as recently as 2012. However, the city has made significant strides in improving its safety situation in recent years and crime rates have dropped substantially. The efforts to enhance safety and security in Monterrey include increased police presence, improved surveillance systems, and collaborations with local communities. 

I was truly blown away by Monterrey; today it’s a modern metropolis, brimming with world-class museums and glitzy neighborhoods. As a thriving economic powerhouse, Mexico’s third-largest city boasts soaring skyscrapers and colossal malls, but it equally shines with an impressive cultural scene that includes top-notch art centers and entertainment attractions.

But what truly sets Monterrey (which translates to mean ‘The King of Mountains’) apart is its dramatic backdrop — the imposing Sierra Madre Oriental mountains. With jagged peaks and colossal hills, this natural wonderland in northeastern Mexico offers a plethora of outdoor experiences just beyond the city limits.

Read my recommended things to do in Monterrey.

Monterrey by the number:

  • Reported crime level: 48.16/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 51.84/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 79.11/100
safest cities in mexico -  monterrey

Safest Cities in Mexico: Coahuila

19. Saltillo

Located in northern Mexico, Saltillo is the capital city of the Coahuila state, a region that’s rarely visited by foreign visitors. The mid-sized city is a great place to visit for anyone looking for a safe, historical, and culturally rich city. It has a number of innovative security measures in place, including a 24/7 surveillance system and a neighborhood watch program. 

Founded in 1577, Saltillo was once the capital of the Spanish colony of Nueva Vizcaya. Today, its cultural heritage remains, as evident from the treasure trove of historical landmarks that still stand today. Some of the must-see landmarks include the Cathedral of Santiago, the Palacio de Gobierno, and the Museo del Sarape.

The city is also studded with quite a few world-class museums, art galleries, and theaters. Beyond the city zone, Saltillo is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with a number of hiking trails, biking paths, and golf courses.

Saltillo by the number:

  • Reported crime level: 36.63/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 63.49/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 88.95/100
safest cities in mexico -  saltillo

Safest Cities in Mexico: Aguascalientes

20. Aguascalientes

Aguascalientes is the Mexican state with the highest standards in Tri Arco certification, an international recognition that guarantees the professionalization of security forces. The State Police, the C5i, and the Unpol have this certification, granted by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). 

The state is currently working to certify the 11 municipal police forces, as well as to maintain the certification and advance to the next level. With these actions, Aguascalientes is moving steadily towards becoming the number one safest state in Mexico.

This city’s name literally means “hot waters” and it is famous for hosting the biggest festival in Mexico, Feria San Marcos, celebrated every year in April. If you visit this city, you’ll find a historical center full of beautiful gardens like the Jardín de San Marcos, and Parque Tres Centurias, and interesting museums such as the Museo Nacional de la Muerte which display several pieces of art with interpretations of death.

Aguascalientes by the numbers:

  • Reported crime level: 30.24/100
  • Numbeo safety index: 66.05/100
  • Safety of walking alone: 90.98/100
safest cities in mexico - aguascalientes

Visit the Safest Cities in Mexico!

The safest cities in Mexico are some of the most beautiful places in the country. In fact, many of Mexico’s safest cities tend to receive a lot of tourists and they’re well worth a look at you’re thinking of moving here. I hope this list has helped you decide where to visit or move to. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments field below.

For those who are planning to travel more of Mexico, check out other articles I’ve written on Mexico:

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links i.e. if you book a stay through one of my links, I get a small commission at NO EXTRA COST to you. Thank you for your support!

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