Is It Safe to Travel in Mexico?

Due to the recent warning regard travel in Mexico, many people are wondering if it’s safe to take trips past our southern border in 2019. Despite the easy access, unbeatable coastal vistas, mysterious and intriguing ancient ruins, and quaint colonial towns – Mexico has earned a sour reputation as a country rife with crime and cartels.

What Is a Level Two Security Alert?

On November 15, 2018, a Level 2 Security Alert (defined as the recommendation to travel with caution due to increased crime) was issued for Mexico, resulting in worry and hesitation for countless travelers who are considering going south.

Mexico’s Quintana Roo state (popular tourist destinations including Cancun, Tulum, Cozumel, Riviera Maya, and Playa del Carmen) are on the forefront of peoples’ mind when questioning the safety of travel in Mexico. Also, the State Department has expressed that the majority of criminal activity in these regions is likely a result of turf battles between opposing criminal organizations.

To help keep everything in context, know that the following countries also have a Level 2 Security Alert:

  • United Kingdom
  • Belgium
  • Anguilla
  • Dominican Republic
  • Brazil
  • Italy
  • Belize
  • The United Kingdom

Frightening Statistics on Violence In Mexico

The fear is not totally unwarranted; Mexico is experiencing their highest numbers of homicides in decades, but also declared 2018 their most violent year on the record – all pointing to a disturbing surge in cartel activity.

This announcement encouraged the U.S. State Department to place five Mexican states on a Level 4 Security Alert (defined as do not travel) – the most severe alert that exists. This can be confusing to many, as Mexico is frequently cited as one of the top ten worldwide destinations for travel.

All in all, these news stories about staggering levels of homicide and cartel activity can be misleading.  Certainly, while they are particular regions where cartels remain highly active, much of Mexico is a safe country.

Also, the rule of thumb is that if you’re not doing anything illegal, you won’t have anything to worry about.

Mexican Security Warnings by Region

Level Two (travel with caution):

  • Mexico City
  • Oaxaca
  • Baja California Sur
  • Quintana Roo

Level Three (reconsider travel):

  • Nayarit
  • Jalisco

Level Four (do not travel):

  • Guerrero

In conclusion, the overall answer to whether or not it’s safe to travel in Mexico is “yes.” However, we strongly encourage you to do thorough research on the particular area that you plan to visit and make wise decisions accordingly.



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