Safest Destinations to Travel to in Mexico

Safest Destinations to Travel to in Mexico

Warm weather, picturesque beaches and multiple UNESCO World Heritage sites make Mexico one of the top travel destinations in the world. It's also the ideal place to take your family during Spring Break. You can snorkel, sunbathe, explore Maya pyramids or get up close and personal with a pod of dolphins. Before you build your itinerary, learn more about the five safest destinations to travel to in Mexico.

  1. Calakmul
  2. Cancún
  3. Mérida
  4. San Francisco de Campeche
  5. Valladolid
  6. FAQ

1. Calakmul

Located in Campeche state, Calakmul is home to tropical forests and Maya ruins, making it the ideal place for a family adventure.

Safety landscape

Law enforcement agencies have implemented several initiatives to prevent crime and track down offenders, such as installing security cameras in public places and hiring additional officers.

According to reports from the Government of Mexico, property crimes are much more common in Calakmul and other parts of Campeche than violent crimes. Property damage made up 16.7% of all complaints submitted in August 2023. Theft accounted for another 9.52% of complaints.

Criteria for safe destinations

We used local crime data, along with the travel advisory level for Campeche, to assess safety in Calakmul. Campeche has the lowest advisory level issued by the U.S. Department of State, indicating that travelers don't need to take any special safety precautions.

Safety tips for travelers

If you decide to add Calakmul to your itinerary, follow these travel tips to enhance your family's safety:

  • Stay at reputable hotels.

  • Store valuables in your hotel safe instead of leaving them scattered around the room.

  • Check to see if there are any safety alerts in effect during your trip.

  • Use licensed operators for all transportation and activities.

Cultural highlights and activities

If your family loves spending time in nature or checking out historical sites, Calakmul is one of the best vacation spots in Mexico. While you're there, climb the Maya pyramid to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding jungle. The Museo de Naturaleza y Arqueologia de Calakmul (Calakmul Natural History and Archeological Museum) is also worth a visit.

2. Cancún

Thousands of college students flock to Cancún each year, so many people don't know that the city is actually one of Mexico's most family-friendly destinations. Whether you're traveling with a toddler or looking for activities to enjoy with your teenagers, Cancún has a little something for everyone.

Safety landscape

Government officials and law enforcement agencies have been working to make Cancún a safer place for residents and visitors alike. In 2023, the city started installing smart monitor points (SMPs) to deter criminals. Each SMP provides 360-degree views of the surrounding area, making it easier for police officers to stop crimes while they're in progress or collect evidence after a crime has already occurred.

Cancún is part of Quintana Roo state, which had a total of 4,292 criminal complaints in August 2023. The most common complaint was theft, which accounted for 26.7% of all reports. Property damage accounted for nearly 11% of the crimes that occurred during the same month. 

Criteria for safe destinations

We used the following data to assess the safety of Cancún:

  • Crime rate: Cancún isn't without crime, but many of the offenses reported in August 2023 were property crimes instead of violent crimes. Additionally, data published by the Government of Mexico indicates that the number of theft reports declined by 14.2% between August 2022 and August 2023.

  • Number of all-inclusive resorts: Crime can happen anywhere, but all-inclusive resorts typically implement extra security measures to keep their guests safe. Cancún has a high number of all-inclusive resorts.

  • Travel advisory level: Quintana Roo has a travel advisory level of 2, which indicates that travelers should exercise increased caution. Although this advisory level is higher than the one for Calakmul, the U.S. State Department hasn't advised Americans to reconsider traveling to Cancún or avoid the city entirely.

Safety tips for travelers

You can't always prevent crime, but you can reduce the risk of being targeted by following these tips during your visit to Cancún:

  • Use the ATMs at malls and banks. Don't withdraw cash from roadside ATMs, as criminals can easily pull over and try to steal your money or bank card.

  • Store extra cash and important documents in your hotel safe.

  • Avoid deserted areas of the city, especially when it's dark out.

  • Stick to the hotel zone or Isla Mujeres if you want to go out at night.

Cultural highlights and activities

If you're in the mood to relax, head to Playa Delfines, one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico. Turquoise waters, delectable Mexican food and the El Mirador lookout await you. Increase your chances of seeing a dolphin by visiting early in the morning.

Next, visit the El Rey Archaeological Zone, an important Maya trade route. The zone has multiple structures, some with original murals, giving the whole family a chance to learn more about the history of the Maya civilization.

Don't leave Cancún without going to Isla Mujeres to swim with the dolphins. Several companies offer dolphin encounters, giving you the opportunity to pet, kiss, hug or even get pushed around by one of the intelligent creatures.

3. Mérida

Located in Yucatán state, Mérida is one of the best places to visit if you're interested in arts and culture. It's also one of the safest destinations to travel to in Mexico.

Safety landscape

Officials in Mérida have partnered with officials from the United States to reduce violent crime associated with the drug trade. As part of the initiative, Mérida participates in the Southern Border Telecommunications Program, which aims to address smuggling and other offenses perpetrated by transnational criminal organizations. Mérida has also modernized its infrastructure, making it easier for police officers to address crime.

According to crime data published by the Mexican government, property crimes account for most of the criminal offenses reported in Mérida and other parts of Yucatán state. Theft and damage to property made up nearly 25% of the complaints submitted in August 2023. 

Criteria for safe destinations

We included Mérida on this list because Yucatán state has the lowest travel advisory level issued by the U.S. State Department, indicating that American tourists should exercise normal precautions, just as they would when traveling within the United States.

Additionally, government agencies and law enforcement officials have made great strides in reducing crime rates within Mérida. For example, the number of damage to property offenses declined by more than 48% between August 2022 and 2023. The homicide rate increased by 15.4% during the same period.

Safety tips for travelers

While you're in Mérida, follow these tips to protect your family from criminal activity:

  • Stick to crowded areas whenever possible.

  • Check your map before you leave your hotel. If you look like you know where you're going, criminals are less likely to target you.

  • Keep valuables in your hotel safe.

  • Avoid taking large amounts of cash outside your hotel. Take only what you need, plus a little extra in case of emergencies.

  • Don't use unlicensed operators for transportation.

Cultural highlights and activities

Mérida is home to the Catedral de Mérida, Plaza Grande, the Mayan World Museum of Mérida and other interesting buildings, making it the ideal destination for architecture enthusiasts. You can also visit the Mayapán Archaeological Zone, which used to be the head of the Mayan League. The site has more than 4,000 structures, including a large temple and multiple residential districts.

4. San Francisco de Campeche

Move over, Golden Gate Bridge. Mexico's version of San Francisco has Mayan ruins, historic forts and beautiful beaches.

Safety landscape

As part of Campeche state, San Francisco de Campeche is one of the safest destinations to travel to in Mexico. Locals have a strong sense of community, so they often band together to guard against criminal activity. Government officials and police officers have also implemented several initiatives to keep tourists safe. For example, law enforcement agencies rely on surveillance cameras and other types of technology to deter criminals and investigate criminal offenses.

Criteria for safe destinations

We included San Francisco de Campeche on this list for the following reasons:

  • Campeche has the lowest travel advisory issued by the Department of State, indicating that it's relatively safe.

  • Law enforcement officials have made great strides in improving public safety. Between August 2022 and August 2023, the number of property damage complaints decreased by nearly 42%. The number of theft complaints also declined by 20%.

Safety tips for travelers

To make your trip to San Francisco de Campeche more enjoyable, follow these travel tips:

  • Don't flash your valuables while traveling through the city. If you have expensive jewelry, leave it at the hotel. Better yet, leave it at home.

  • Research the city ahead of time to find the most reputable hotels and tour operators.

  • Use licensed transportation providers.

  • Avoid isolated areas, especially when leaving your hotel at night.

Cultural highlights and activities

Don't miss Fort San Miguel, part of the Campeche Archaeological Museum. It's home to jade necklaces, masks, tripods and other artifacts from the Maya civilization. When you visit, you can even see a store of gunpowder and some of the structures used to defend the fort against enemies. San Francisco de Campeche is also the perfect home base for anyone who wants to visit Calakmul, the site of a Maya pyramid.

5. Valladolid

Valladolid is one of the best places to visit if you want to see Spanish colonial architecture. It's also a great starting point for a vacation through Yucatán state.

Safety landscape

Local officials have partnered with military agencies to make the streets of Valladolid even safer. When you visit, you may see uniformed officers patrolling several areas of the city, deterring criminals and making it easier for tourists to enjoy the wonders of Valladolid.

In August 2023, theft accounted for just over 13% of the offenses committed in Valladolid and other parts of Yucatán state. Property damage and fraud made up nearly 14% of all criminal complaints.

Criteria for safe destinations

We used the U.S. State Department Travel advisory and statistics from the Government of Mexico to determine if Valladolid is safe for tourists. As part of Yucatán state, Valladolid has the lowest travel advisory level, indicating that tourists don't need to go beyond their normal precautions when visiting. Additionally, police have done an admirable job reducing crime rates within the state. For example, the number of property damage complaints decreased by more than 40% between August 2022 and August 2023.

Safety tips for travelers

Keep yourself safe by following these tips:

  • Avoid wearing expensive watches, bracelets and other items while you're out and about.

  • Use ATMs inside well-lit buildings. Avoid using roadside ATMs, as it's easy for criminals to see that you're withdrawing money.

  • Stay with at least one family member each time you leave the hotel.

  • Use licensed operators for your transportation needs.

Cultural highlights and activities

Valladolid is one of the best places to try traditional Maya cuisine or see people doing traditional dances. While you're in town, you should also visit Cenote Zacil-Ha, a natural crystal pool that gives you a comfortable place to relax after a long day of sightseeing. If you're willing to venture outside Valladolid, check out Independence Plaza, one of the best examples of a colonial fort.

Explore Mexico With Confidence

Safety is one of the most important considerations when planning a vacation. Although you can't eliminate crime entirely, you can protect yourself by choosing safe destinations. These five cities have plenty to see and do, all without exposing your family to high rates of crime.


Are all-inclusive resorts safe in Mexico?

Generally, Mexico's all-inclusive resorts are safe for visitors and staff. Resort owners want their guests to have positive experiences, so they typically have cameras and other security measures in place to deter criminals.

Is Cabo safer than Cancún?

Both cities have the same travel advisory level, so they're on par in terms of safety for tourists.

Where not to travel to in Mexico right now?

The U.S. Department of State has issued "do not travel" warnings for six states in Mexico: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas. You should avoid these states due to high levels of crime.

Is it safe to go to Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is part of Jalisco state, which has high levels of crime. The U.S. Department of State advises Americans to reconsider traveling to the area, which means Puerto Vallarta isn't one of the safest destinations to travel to in Mexico.


Disclaimer: It is important to note that Destination articles are for editorial purposes only and are not intended to replace the advice of a qualified professional. Specifics of travel coverage for your destination will depend on the plan selected, the date of purchase, and the state of residency. Customers are advised to carefully review the terms and conditions of their policy. Contact AXA Travel Insurance if you have any questions. AXA Assistance USA, Inc.© 2023 All Rights Reserved. 

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