Tacos, guacamole, tequila? I bet you have already guessed the country. Mexican cuisine has become one of the most iconic and easily recognizable in the world. But it is not just food that makes Mexico a favorite for travelers, it’s also its very rich heritage which has left us with incredible sites such as Chichen Itza, one of the ‘New Seven Wonders of the World’, and with 50 sites inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage list across the country.
And all of this is guarded by friendly locals, a welcoming culture, and a thriving tourism infrastructure, all of which contribute to making it one of the most popular travel destinations for North Americans. However, those who have not visited yet, are often put off by valid safety concerns, especially when it comes to women traveling solo who prefer destinations that are safer.
In this list, you will find some of the safest places to visit in Mexico, so you can get started in this wonderful country.
Table of contents: ()
Currently known as the safest city in Mexico, Merida was named by Lonely Planet as one of the top 10 cities to travel to in 2022. Merida is the cultural center of the Yucatan Peninsula and a beautiful city that combines colonial heritage, exquisite cuisine and a lively atmosphere.
The best way to explore it is on foot through its narrow streets, admiring the architecture that dates back to the Spanish colonial period, and enjoying delicious food in every corner. Take a stroll through the main avenue Paseo Montejo to find beautiful buildings and charming cafes. Head to the city center and sit on the famous ‘Kissing chairs’ and learn a little bit more about the city’s history.
To really experience its colonial vibes, stay in a renovated Hacienda, which are gorgeous ancient houses with gardens and pools. The safest neighborhoods to stay in are the historic center and Paseo de Montejo.
For high-end Mexican art, visit Calle 60 and find some of the top artisan shops with quality textiles, pottery, glasswork, woodwork, and more. These shops sell products made by artisan collectives and family-run businesses.
Besides wandering within the city, Merida is a good base for day trips, such as visiting the yellow city of Izamal or Valladolid. Or you can visit local Maya sites on the Ruta Puuc. Another highlight of the region are the ‘cenotes’, underground caves famous for their natural beauty and pristine waters.
Plan a road trip to visit some of the cenotes of the region and admire their natural beauty. The most famous cenotes are Ik-Kil and Cuzamá, but you can opt for an off-the-beaten-path cenote in the Homun area.
Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular coastal destinations in Mexico. Located in the state of Jalisco, in the heart of the Pacific Ocean, this city is the perfect escape. It combines charming streets, breathtaking sunsets, exclusive stylish hotels, and all-inclusive resorts.
Puerto Vallarta has plenty of things to do beyond the beach, including a walk along the Malecón, snorkeling, diving, shopping, fine dining and nightlife.
Don’t miss the chance to go on a day trip to the ‘beach of love’ in the Marietas island, a unique beach formation inside a cavern, which can’t be seen from outside. To explore the island, you will need to book a tour in advance and reach the spot by boat. The expert guides will help you enter the island, the only way to do this is swimming through a shallow cave carefully minding your head.
Check out sustainable beaches like Playa Palmares and Sayulita, tropical gems such as Jardín Botánico de Vallarta and picturesque towns like Yelapa, where you can get a better glimpse of the local life in a fishing village.
The safest places to stay are downtown, Marina Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta, the new touristic district packed with modern stylish hotels.
Campeche City is located in the state of Campeche, which is one of the safest states in the country and was classified by the US Travel Advisory as a safe state to travel to and a low-risk area regarding safety issues like crime. Campeche is home to many expats from the US and other parts of the world, which find this city attractive due to its calm lifestyle, safe environment, and friendly locals.
Campeche is a walled city full of pastel-colored buildings, cobblestone streets, preserved mansions built by Spanish families, and colonial forts. This enchanting coastal city is one of the most important ports in the country and earned the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site list in 1999.
The walls that surround the old city were built by the Spanish during the 18th and 19th centuries to protect the city against attacks from the sea, mainly from pirates and buccaneers.
One of the main cultural attractions in the city is the Museo Arqueológico de Campeche (Archaeological Museum of Campeche), which faces the Gulf of Mexico. In the museum, you will encounter outstanding pieces from Mayan sites like Calakmul and Edzná, as well as precious jewelry, masks, and vases that depict the ancient Mayan lifestyle.
Another great museum is the Museo de la Arquitectura Maya (Mayan Architecture museum), which houses world-class pieces that showcase the architectural styles of the state.
To relax and have a glimpse of local life, don’t miss the Plaza Principal (Main Plaza), with a beautiful kiosk where you can sit and enjoy an ice cream while watching the locals chat. Head out to the waterfront ‘Malecon’, a perfect street to stroll, ride a bike or walk to enjoy amazing views of the city.
Campeche City is also a great base for awesome day trips such as the Calakmul archaeological site, the Edzná Mayan ruins, the Uxmal ruins, or go off the beaten path to find wonderful cenotes.
A great place to stay is in the historic centro, which is generally protected by police and it’s not that crowded because many locals live in other neighborhoods.
Located in the Baja Peninsula, La Paz is a calm seaside city packed with natural treasures. The city is surrounded by one of the most diverse seas on Earth, the Sea of Cortez, and is home to more than 5,000 species. Some areas of the Sea of Cortez, also known as the Gulf of California, are part of the UNESCO World Heritage list.
Going to the beach is one of the best things you can do in La Paz. Don’t miss Playa Balandra, one of the most beautiful beaches in the country and the world.
Another hidden gem not many tourists know about is the Espiritu Santo island, where you can snorkel or kayak with breathtaking views and crystalline waters.
Take a stroll in the city’s waterfront called El Malecón, where you can admire out of this world sunsets and watch the city come to life when local families and young people fill the street, restaurants, and bars.
The safest place to stay is along the Malecón or in touristic complexes such as Puerta Cortés.
Oaxaca is such a beautiful city. It offers exquisite gastronomy, colorful streets, indigenous culture and heritage, and an interesting history. No wonder it earned its place on the UNESCO World Heritage list.
This city is one of the safest places in Mexico. It has very low crime and is an ideal place to indulge in the local culture and cuisine.
Oaxaca’s architectural style is colonial and is represented in its stunning churches, monuments and plazas.
The best way to explore the city is to wander through the streets, visit artisan shops, eat in markets and drink the typical liquor from the region: mezcal (distilled beverage made from Maguey).
In recent years, lots of digital nomads and expats have moved to Oaxaca to enjoy a serene but vibrant lifestyle. The city has acquired a boho chic vibe with many hip cafes and bars to enjoy a drink and meet people.
The top spots to visit are Templo de Santo Domingo, Zócalo, Museo de las Culturas de Oaxaca, and great day trip options are the architectural complex of Monte Alban, a natural wonder called Hierve el Agua, and the small town of Mitla.
Don’t miss out on Oaxaca’s best food which is served on the street and in markets. The top markets to savor local dishes and find typical Mexican artisan souvenirs are Benito Juarez market and 20 de Noviembre market. To go from one market to the other just cross the street, both markets are facing each other.
The greatest place to stay is in the city’s center; besides being very safe, it has a walkable distance to the main attractions.
San Cristóbal de las Casas
San Cristóbal de las Casas is one of the top destinations in Mexico. It is a gorgeous colonial city filled with cobblestone streets, old houses, artisan markets, delicious food, and a lively ambiance,
Located in the state of Chiapas, near the border with Guatemala, this is a city with deep roots in indeginous tribes and it is common to hear people speaking Tzotzil and Tzeltal. Wander throughout the city to find a combination of ancient traditions and modern cultural hubs.
A top attraction in the city is Na Bolom, a research center and museum which was home to Swiss anthropologist and photographer Gertrude Duby-Blom and her Danish archaeologist husband Frans Blom. Take a tour of the house to gain some insight into life in Chiapas 50 years ago, through photographs, archaeological and anthropological relics, and books.
Visit the Cathedral in the main plaza, Templo de Santo Domingo church, the Textile museum and the Cocoa museum to learn about the ancient origins of cacao in the Mesoamerica region.
You can do some day trips from the city to beautiful sites such as Chiapa de Corzo and the Sumidero Canyon.
The safest area to stay in is in the heart of the city: the historic center. It’s the best place to explore the city, walking its picturesque streets and experiencing the local culture.
San Miguel de Allende
San Miguel de Allende is one of the most beautiful Mexican towns. It is the perfect destination for a romantic and artistic getaway.
Known for its aesthetic and colorful streets, art galleries, high-end accommodation, cultural events, and quality Mexican artifacts, look no further.
The city was classified as a World Heritage site in 2008 and has many attractions for travelers who wish to experience Mexican culture at its best and for expats, the majority of which are American, who live and work there full time or for a part of the year.
Make sure to visit the main square called El Jardín, as well as the impressive pink church Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Take a break in the pretty park of Benito Juárez and climb up to the Mirador for the best views of the city and its surroundings.
The best time to visit the city is on September 16th, which is Mexico’s Independence day and the city goes wild with festivities, parties, live mariachi music, and fireworks. Book your accommodation and make restaurant reservations with time because this is a crowded weekend in San Miguel. If you don’t want crowds, May and October are good months to visit.
The safest areas to stay are in are the city center, Los Frailes, and the elegant area of Guadiana.
Puebla is a beautiful and well-preserved colonial city in Mexico.
Located 129 km from Mexico City, this is more of a hidden gem that you will rarely see packed with tourists. This makes it a quieter and safe place to vacation in Mexico, nonetheless a stunning city with lots of cultural, architectural, and gastronomic heritage.
Puebla is the ideal destination for foodies since many traditional Mexican dishes were created in the city. Try Mole Poblano, Chile en Nogada and Chalupas.
For architecture and history lovers, there are plenty of attractions including more than 1,000 colonial-era buildings and 70 churches just within the historic center. Make sure to visit the fascinating Museo Internacional del Barroco (Baroque Museum) designed by Japanese architect Toyo Itō, the city’s cathedral, the central plaza called Zócalo, and the Paseo Bravo park.
The safest areas to stay in Puebla are the Angelopolis, which is the newest and more modern neighborhood, the historic center, and San Andres Cholula, a small town just a 20 min drive from the center, which has a lively nightlife atmosphere.