It's fun to tell your friends that you're going to Mexico City just to watch how they respond. There's so much stigma attached to the place that if you have decided on visiting Mexico City, chances are you will find at least 10 people on the same trying to detract you from making the trip.
Is it really a bad idea to visit Mexico City on vacation? The answer is a resounding no. When the facts are separated from fiction, Mexico City is much safer than many cities in North America. In fact while cities like Detroit and New Orleans feature high up in the top 50 dangerous cities of the world, Mexico City doesn’t even make it to the list.
There's just a whole lot of misinformation floating around taking a vacation in Mexico City. Let's take a closer look at some of these myths and the facts that prove them wrong.
The Food Won't Stay In
If you rarely eat outside your home or rarely experiment with different foods, you will always be at a high risk of getting your stomach upset regardless of where you go. This is not necessarily because the food is prepared in unhygienic conditions or because you've been duped by somebody. It's just because your body is suspicious when you try something new and takes a precautionary measure or you just aren’t used to some of the ingredients they use there.
In Mexico City, you will find an extensive range of the most delectable food ranging from the humble street taco to premium menu options identical to any of New York's finest restaurants. There's so much you need to try out while you're here. Just take it real slow and let your body tune in to the richness, spice and heat that are the classic traits of Mexican food.
You Can't Escape the Crime Wave
Let's not beat around the bush. Mexico is not entirely safe and there are specific areas you definitely need to avoid visiting at any point in time due to the increased operations of drug cartels and street gangs. There is a lot of violence and extortion in some areas of Mexico and the American government has put out advisories against visiting these places; however, Mexico City is not one of them.
Millions of Americans visit Mexico every year and there have been virtually no attacks on the tourists visiting Mexico City. Though it is true that tourists used to be targeted for kidnapping, this is no longer something that happens since kidnappers realize the tremendous risk associated with such an operation as the government has stepped up its efforts in preventing such crimes. You may have something to worry about if cities like Acapulco, Obregon, or Cuiacan are on your itinerary, but Mexico City does not feature here.
There Are Government Warnings against Visiting Mexico City
The US State Department has issued formal warnings for U.S. citizens from visiting certain areas in Mexico owing to high risk to safety and security caused by groups of organized crime that run rampant throughout the country; however, Mexico City does not feature here either and there are no specific government advisories for the capital.
According to the Department of State, exactly a hundred U.S. citizens were victims of homicide in Mexico in 2014 alone. There have also been reports of kidnapping of around 140 American citizens; however, these crimes were all centered around specific areas in Mexico. Most of the violence around drugs is observed in the border areas and low traffic routes. There is a comparatively much lower level of crime in mainstream tourist cities and resorts. What this means is that although there is nothing extra risky about visiting Mexico, there are areas where you need to be cautious about how you move in and out and how much time you spend there.
The Safe Zones
Places like Acapulco, Ixtapa, and Zihuatanejo are generally safe places to visit in Mexico; however, you need to keep in mind to enter Acapulco via the airport or a cruise ship instead of driving in. If you are planning to visit Cabo San Lucas or San Jose del Cabo in the state of Baja California Sur, you need to know that there has been a recent rise in the crime rates in La Paz, the state capital. As a consequence, the state department has issued advisories to exercise caution when you visit La Paz.
Other safe cities to visit include Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, and Riviera Nayarit. It would be in your best interests to avoid cities bordering Michoacan or Zacateca. These are states adjacent to the state of Jalisco where Puerto Vallarta and Guadalajara are situated. Basically all cities in Quintana Roo are deemed to be safe. The Riviera Maya which is one of the most popular tourist hotspots in Mexico also has the safe tag.
Apart from the above mentioned cities, there are plenty of popular tourist hotspots that are considered to be safe for visiting. Just as you would visit any place abroad, it is always safe to keep a low profile, pay attention to your valuables, and stick in groups. Keeping all this in perspective, Mexico can be a fun place to visit at any point of the year.