Travel Safety: How Dangerous is Mexico City?

Mexico City is a beautiful place in the center of the country and is also an important gateway for many business transactions throughout the Americas. Like any major city, Mexico City is crowded and faces many problems including crime, poor infrastructure and grueling traffic.


Despite many unfavorable reports in the news, the city is host to many travelers from all over the world who are able to visit without incident and experience the different attractions it has to offer. However, it is not unwise to be prepared for some of the scams and annoyances one might experience and be prepared should they be encountered. For more details on how to be prepared, see below.

Cash:

As much as possible, avoid carrying excessive cash on you. Flashing currency at stores, restaurants or in a cab makes you a target for someone to pick-pocket you and take all your money. Instead, rely as much as you can on credit and debit cards that can be replaced should you need it. If you can, leave your passport and extra cash locked away in a safe at the hotel.

Taxis:

Always find a taxi cab from a reputable source. Your hotel should be able to help with this by indicating what a safe cab company is and its number. Never hail a cab on the street or you may risk the driver not taking you to your destination or at best charging you more than is fair.  At worst they might take you into a seedy part of town where your life might be endangered.

Sight-Seeing:

Mexico City and its surroundings hold a vast array of sights that make the trip worthwhile. Even though exploring by yourself may sound enticing, it is best to get to know the area first. Research before you leave your home and get recommendations from friends and family that may have visited Mexico recently. Your hotel is also a great resource in recommending suitable travel companies to help plan your sight-seeing. By going by yourself you risk entering bad areas in the city and endangering yourself.

What Not to Wear:

Try your best to blend in with the locals and not call attention to yourself. Leaving your hotel with a map and looking lost will certainly invite crooks to follow you and either sell you fake services (being your guide for the day for example) or simply follow you until they can reach into your purse and take your belongings. Don’t put yourself in that position and avoiding the ultimate tourist look- flip-flops, shorts and camera around the neck.

The news can make one weary of visiting Mexico City, but in reality it is a wonderful place to get to know. In the same way you would do in any major city, you need to be aware of your surroundings and street savvy. Your main goal is to stay within safer areas and deal only with legitimate businesses. Mexico City is not the best place to venture off into the unknown without a guide, as there could be many dangers involved in taking a wrong turn. However, a bit of common sense and preparation will make your trip unforgettable!

January 8, 2014