Mexico slipped in the rankings of the 2017 List of 10 Most Dangerous Countries for Women Travelers to #6, not because it’s gotten safer but because other countries have gotten so much worse. Mexico continues to be a problem due to its high levels of crime best described by the travel warnings below. Briefly, sexual assault, carjacking, highway robbery, gun battles between drug lords, air pollution, and Zika virus are rampant in many parts of the country.
Rating: Really Dangerous
US Travel warning about Mexico (12/8/16) – Warning against travelling to many states in Mexico due to organized crime activity (including Chihuahua (includes Copper Canyon), Guerraro (which includes Acapulco!), Jalisco (includes Puerto Vallarta) ). Concerns include: sexual assault, kidnapping (of which they note 3 kinds! Traditional express (just for a short while during which victim gets money from ATMs), virtual (victim forced to provide contact numbers so that friends and relatives pay ransom), carjacking (via roadblocks, running cars off the highway at high speed, etc), highway robbery. US embassy employees are forbidden to travel intercity after dark in certain areas of Mexico. If you do want to go to Mexico, the states of Vera Cruz, Yucatan, and Quintana Roo do not have a travel advisory and includes Cancun, Cozumel, Tulum, Riviera Maya, Playa del Carmen and other favorites.
That said, the Brits note there was a shooting in Cancun on January 17, 2017 and one in Playa del Carmen on January 16, 2017. They note there have been protests in January due to an increase in petrol prices.
Kiwis say: There is high risk in the states of Guerrero (except for the cities of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco and the toll road to Taxco), Michoacán (except for the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas) and Tamaulipas due to the high levels of violent crime in these regions. We advise against all tourist and other non-essential travel to these regions.
Canadians say: Avoid all non-essential travel to Northern or Western States and use a high degree of caution elsewhere in Mexico due to high levels of criminal activities, demonstrations, protests, and occasional illegal roadblocks, as well as Zika virus.
Aussies say: Exercise a high degree of caution throughout Mexico and reconsider your need to travel to Michoacán (except for the Monarch Butterfly Reserves and the cities of Moreno and Lazaro Cardenos), Guerrero, Tamaulipas the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains and a lot of other areas.
Yes, we realize that millions of tourists go to Mexico without mishap and many areas are safe and it’s only fair to consider volume of tourists relative to the crime rate. However, by one of our favorite indicators, which we fondly call the Dead American Index, Mexico continues to reign supreme as the best place for Americans to die abroad. The US State Dept, which keeps track of how many Americans die in each country and even counting the volume of tourists who like to go to Mexico, the sheer volume of page after page of deaths is spectacular. Most are by homicide, some are drug-related, and there are a fair amount of drownings and car accidents. A casual check comparing Mexico to other countries indicates that Mexico is still way ahead of other popular tourist destinations. Really, go to our references to see for yourself.
Homicide, according to the US State Dept., includes carjacking, highway robbery, gun battles between drug lords and other hazards for both tourists and natives. In a side note, air pollution is so problematic that it rises to the level of dangerous in some places in Mexico; primarily Mexico City, where despite a plan to improve air quality in 2017, it has the worst air quality in the western hemisphere. This is despite no drive days and other measures.
If you want to go to Mexico or must go: Mexico is quite large and there are definitely safe areas. Riviera Maya with its beautiful beaches is typically warm and humid. March through May typically is its hottest and most humid period. Palenque is known for its ruins, arts, and crafts. Note that the hottest weather is April through June, and it often rains June through September. Generally, bring light clothing with natural fibers and a raincoat if you travel in the rainier season. The following are also good places to visit: City of Oaxaca (great art), City of Puebla (forts, history), Valle de Bravo (beautiful lakeside community), Santiago de Queretaro (historic, world heritage site), and Tulum (Mayan ruins, snorkeling, beautiful beaches).
Conclusion: Perhaps you are thinking it would be better to go where a woman can travel freely and safely, if so, please refer to our 10 Safest Countries for Women Travelers, Best Countries in Africa, Best Places in Oceania, and Best Countries in South America.
Cover Photo: Huffington Post
Description: The Jan. 2 Assassination of Gisela Mota