A drug dealer, travelers and locals offer advice on safety in Mexico. From women’s safety to avoiding theft, find out from the people on the streets of Mexico how to stay safe.


Speaking to a drug dealer, a police officer and locals at the market, Patrick Abboud gets tips and advice on staying safe when traveling around Mexico. He also meets travelers who echo the message from many locals that Mexico, including major cities like Mexico City and Oaxaca, are as safe as anywhere else in the world. Common-sense advice includes packing light, keeping belongings close by, using a money belt, avoiding the beach at night and letting your friends know where you are going.

Share your tips below!

Patrick Abboud: Do you think it's safe for tourists to come to Tepito?

Gang Member: No. If they're coming with someone they know, then yes. If not, they'll leave without their camera. Don't come here, saying, "I'm a tourist." With their camera and their sunglasses. I hear people saying, "No! I got robbed right here on the corner." And there they are with their phones. On the actual corner, like this. Looking at your phone there sending Whatsapp messages and the gang watching.

Patrick Abboud: Have you ever felt bad about stealing from tourists? 

Gang Member: No. It's a job. As long as you don't look for trouble the town takes you in. It's a good neighborhood. This town is so beautiful. Yes, it's fierce, but we're not thieves. This is a town of workers, sportsmen, singers, artists.

Patrick Abboud: It's the real Mexico City. You've really got to know where you're going. You've got to kind of like do the research, know where you are and what you're surrounded by. You don't realize that you could be crossing through dangerous neighborhoods. A lot of people think Mexico is a very dangerous place to visit as a traveler. You're a policeman. How true is that?

Policeman: The country of Mexico and its states are very safe. 100%. Unfortunately, sometimes on TV, due to the misinformation that news media gives... It's the same as in different parts of the world. Assaults occur, robberies, but Mexico City, the country of Mexico, the state of Oaxaca, are very safe places to visit. Tourists always receive that kind of security, and even more here in the city of Oaxaca, where we are.

Tourist: I think there is a misconception of Mexico as a dangerous place, but really, I don't feel any different here than I would in London. The idea of Mexico is it doesn't really translate into reality.

Local: We have some bad reputation about it, but I don't think it's more dangerous than other cities.

Tourist 2: It's a little bit similar everywhere. I feel quite safe here in Mexico. People are really nice. I left my bag a few times already and people are just running behind you. Like, "Hey, you forgot something". So, and it's not tourists really like Mexico, the locals. Yeah. Mexico City. Like the police are everywhere and they are warning you for like, be safe. Take your bag in front of you.

Local: As a woman, I don't go by myself to places when it is dark. I am very careful about the way I dress. If I am going to be by myself,

Tourist: When I'm asking for the way for example, I’m asking women, not men, most of the time. Why? Why is that? It feels safer. Sometimes you don't, you never know who is in front of you. So sometimes it feels safer to ask a woman and to have the answers from a woman. And it also gives you tips. Sometimes.

Local: You just have to be careful with where you go, know the route, know the time and not give a lot of information about yourself.

Tourist: When I travel, I try and travel just with one backpack and have it small enough that I don't need to put it on top of the bus. So I never lose control of it. You know, I can always have it at my feet. That's the precaution I take is traveling light, the less stuff you have, the less you have to worry about it. I have a padlock. You can make it stick to something in the bus. So that's my number one. So padlock for your case or something? Yeah. On the bus and your valuables in the money belt, under your clothes. Don't go to the beach at night, it's a hotspot for being mugged.

Local: To keep myself safe when I'm traveling I make sure I have apps like Uber, for example, on my phone or in Mexico, the auto app to have like, to be able to check everything. But also that people know where you are.

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  • Glen said

    I agree with most of what the travelers say.
    Know where you are and travel light but get to know locals. I tend to hang with locals more so than other travelers and you can create lasting friendships. My first time in Mexico, I was able to spend my time with 3 locals at the beach (well past midnight) and they escorted me back to my hostel. They even took me to local bars (the good bars, not the tourist traps) and get to see the real Mexico (well on the Caribbean side).

  • Cat said

    The first video would have been 100% more helpful if you had translated everything the locals said in Spanish!

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