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The Fine Arts Palace aka Palacio de Bellas Artes in Mexico City, Mexico
Logan | Adobe Stock

The 8 Safest Places in Mexico for Travelers

“Is my destination safe?” It’s a question many American travelers have asked themselves as they pour over the State Department’s travel advisories and color-coded maps.

Mexico is a vast country, with heaps of beautiful and interesting places to see, and some 28 million Americans safely travel there each year. To help you plan your own trip, I’ve gathered some of the safest places to visit in Mexico, complete with information on why you should go and where to stay.

The Safest Places in Mexico

Keep in mind that incidents can happen even in the safest places in Mexico, and destinations that don’t appear on this list could still be great spots for a vacation. No matter where you go while traveling abroad, you’ll want to follow common-sense rules such as drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your valuables at home.

Mexico City

Palace of Fine Arts in Mexico City at dusk
Richie Chan | Adobe Stock

Despite a longstanding reputation as a dangerous city to visit, Mexico City only has an advisory to exercise increased caution, and for good reason; the downtown core in particular is considered quite safe, and the city has numerous attractions for visitors—including street art, colorful markets, and more than 150 museums.

Where to Stay: The small, beautifully decorated Nima Local House Hotel is one of the best luxury hotel options in the city. For a more affordable option, consider the Chillout Flat Bed & Breakfast, which earns plaudits for friendly service and homemade granola.

Tulum

Mayan ruins on the coast of Tulum, Mexcio
GISTEL | Adobe Stock

As Playa del Carmen has been the site of some troubling violence in the past, the coastal town of Tulum to the south may be a safer alternative. It is also less touristy than other resort towns on the Yucatan Peninsula, offering well-preserved ruins of the former Mayan city walls and other historic structures right in town. The State Department has explicitly stated there are no restrictions on travel to Tulum or to Chichen Itza, the magnificent archaeological site just an hour up the road.

Where to Stay: Guests appreciate the clean, comfortable rooms and fast Wi-Fi at the centrally located Posada Luna del Sur.

Huatulco

Beach in Huatulco, Mexico
galina_savina | Adobe Stock

A beach town located in Oaxaca to the southwest of Puerto Escondido, Huatulco offers tons of water activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving, some nearby surf spots, and tours of coffee farms to boot. Huatulco is considered one of the safest places in Mexico.

Where to Stay: For an indulgent resort experience you can’t do much better than Secrets Huatulco Resort & Spa, where amenities include multiple swimming pools and tennis courts, yoga classes, watersports, and nine restaurants.

Merida and Valladolid

Street in Merida, Mexico at dusk
SCStock | Adobe Stock

Gerardo Tanaka Pacheco, Senior Account Executive for MSL Group, the public relations firm for VisitMexico.com, recommends these two towns as great alternatives to other nearby tourist hot spots. “A lot of people go to Playa del Carmen and Tulum, but on the Yucatan Peninsula there are these two beautiful colonial cities that are so welcoming, colorful, and full of traditions that travelers won’t regret visiting them,” he says.

Merida is a walking-friendly town that is connected to Chichen Itza by a toll road, which is considered the safest way to travel in Mexico if you are driving. The Mayan influence remains strong here, and the area has its own style of cuisine that diverges considerably from what you will find in other parts of Mexico.

Midway between Merida and Cancun is Valladolid, a colorful and friendly city that’s within easy driving distance of several beautiful cenotes.

Where to Stay: In Merida, consider snagging a poolside room at the Luz En Yucatan. In Valladolid, you can’t go wrong at the centrally located Hotel Posada San Juan.

Bacalar

Aerial view of Bacalar Lagoon in Bacalar, Mexico
JoseLuis | Adobe Stock

Pacheco says that Bacalar, also on the Yucatan Peninsula, is “an amazing place, kind of unknown and definitely uncrowded. This is one of my favorite secrets spots in Mexico; the lagoon there is unbelievable.”

Called the Lake of Seven Colors, the lagoon stretches for 42 kilometers and is fed by underground rivers. Like Todos Santos mentioned below, Bacalar holds the official designation as a “Pueblo Magico,” or Magical Town, due in large part to the lagoon. In addition to being one of the safest places in Mexico, Bacalar is also very affordable.

Where to Stay: At the Bacalar Lagoon Resort, you can get a view of the lake right from your cabana.

Campeche

Campeche, Mexico at dusk
ecstk22 | Adobe Stock

Another UNESCO World Heritage Site located on the western coast of the Yucatan Peninsula, Campeche is a walled Spanish colonial city that has been superbly restored. The walled center is somewhat of a museum piece, but the life of the town surrounding it might even be the main attraction. There are also significant Mayan ruins in the state of Campeche, of which the city is the capital; these aren’t as well known as the famous ruins to the east, and as such they’re less crowded.

Where to Stay: Try for a balcony room or suite at the modestly priced Hotel Socaire.

Queretaro

Peña de Bernal, Queretaro, Mexico
luismrivas | Adobe Stock

Queretaro’s streets are a wondrous mix of old and very old, as grid-like Spanish streets connect to the pre-Hispanic winding lanes from the time of the Otomi. From rock climbing and art galleries to architecture sightseeing, there is a ton to do in this central Mexican city.

Where to Stay: La Casa del Atrio, across from the Museo de Arte, is both popular and affordable.

Todos Santos

Colorful banners over a street in Todos Santos, Mexico
Danita Delimont | Adobe Stock

This surf town in Baja California Sur features world-class waves and lots of natural beauty—and it’s just far enough north of touristy Cabo San Lucas to offer respite from the crowds. Todos Santos is slowly becoming more popular, but its stone streets and uncrowded beaches have earned it the official Pueblo Magico designation.

Where to Stay: La Poza Boutique Hotel & Spa has a fantastic oceanfront location at very reasonable rates.

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