is Mexico City safe for solo travel? CDMX sign photo

Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Travel In 2024? Tips And FAQs

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Mexico City was nothing like I’d imagined it to be. Before my first time in Mexico City I often wondered and asked this same question myself – is Mexico City safe for solo travel? 

The ideas I had in my mind of what Mexico City would look, feel and sound like at the time came largely from movies and TV shows. These were usually about drug cartels and focused heavily on crime.

As I now realize, not much of the media I consumed really showed me Mexico City. More so, the outskirts and smaller towns. 

When I started exploring Mexico City I was surprised by how much the city reminded me of my home — Chicago. Tall buildings intermingled with quieter side streets, beautiful greenery and nature everywhere, the usual hustle and bustle of any big city. 

I felt silly and surprised by how different the reality of Mexico City was from what I’d imagined.

Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Travel?

There are many sides to any country, to any city. And we so naturally fear the unfamiliar that the only way to overcome it is to see what’s behind the curtain for ourselves. 

Is Mexico Safe For Solo Female Travelers?

As a solo female traveler who has visited Mexico City, I can tell you the answer is yes. A big part of solo female travel is safety, and it’s important to take the same precautions in Mexico City that you would anywhere else. 

There are areas in Mexico City that you should avoid, especially as a solo female traveler. Iztapalapa is the main area to avoid for solo female travelers in Mexico City due to their higher instances of violent crime against women. 

I know this can sound scary, so arm yourself with the knowledge of what areas to avoid and the tips below on how to stay safe as a solo traveler in Mexico City. This will help you be best prepared to have a positive experience in beautiful Mexico City.

Is It Safe To Walk Around Mexico City At Night?

The answer to this question is — mostly, no. There are certain neighborhoods that tend to be safer than others (just like in any other big city). These include: Polanco, Roma Norte and Condesa to name a few. 

However, you should not walk all around Mexico City at night and you should avoid walking alone. Even neighborhoods that are okay to walk around in during the day pose more of a risk at night. 

My strong recommendation is that if you’re going out in the evening, go with a group and opt for an Uber instead of walking.

Mexico city at night

21 Best Safety Tips For Solo Travel To Mexico City

Mexico City is an incredible destination brimming with foodie and cultural experiences. Don’t let being a solo traveler deter you from visiting Mexico City, but do be mindful of these safety tips to help ensure you have the best possible visit. 

1. Join the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

If you’re a U.S. citizen, take advantage of STEP. You can enroll your trip in the program for free and doing so has several benefits:

  • you’ll receive important safety updates for your destination from the Embassy
  • the U.S. embassy will be able to contact you more easily in case of emergency
  • your loved ones will be able to contact you more easily in case of emergency 

2. Use ATMs Strategically

To the best of your ability, avoid using ATMs you come across on sidewalks as you walk through Mexico City alone.

Instead, use the ATMs at the airport or at your hotel. These areas are more secure and you’re less likely to become the immediate target of a mugging. 

Pro tip: One of my favorite ways to save money when traveling is using my Charles Schwabb debit card. I technically never pay ATM fees anywhere around the world because they are completely reimbursed. Definitely something to look into for frequent travelers!

3. Keep Trip Details Private

is Mexico City safe for solo travel inhale exhale sign

Just because you’re traveling solo doesn’t mean everyone you meet has to know it. These days, it’s common for us to share all of our travel moments in real time on IG stories and TikTok. As a travel blogger, you know I do the same! 

However, I encourage you to wait on when you share your solo travels and be mindful of what you’re sharing with who. Announcing your traveling solo in real time, along with clips of your whereabouts, is not the safest approach. 

Additionally, the people you meet while traveling don’t need to know you’re traveling solo. Be cautious of who you share that information with. Instead, you can certainly tell people you are meeting a friend or family member or traveling with a group instead of solo. 

This is not an instance in which you should feel bad about being dishonest. Put your safety first.

4. Minimize the Valuables You Carry Around

You should never carry all of your cash, all of your credit cards and all of your travel documents around town with you if you can help it. 

While your hotel safe isn’t necessarily a 100% safety guarantee, your stuff will likely be more secure there than on your person. Don’t put yourself in a situation where, in case you are mugged, you’re completely wiped clean of all your assets. 

Keep enough cash you anticipate needing for the day with you, and keep copies of important travel documents. Keep the official documents safe at your home base, along with an emergency debit or credit card and any extra cash.

5. Protect Yourself from Pickpockets

My number one travel accessory is this anti-theft crossbody purse. It has a slash-resistant strap, zippers that can be locked and RFID blocking technology to prevent my credit cards being read through the purse.

I always keep the purse in front of me, and anytime I’m walking through crowds I rest my hand over it. 

I highly recommend investing in this purse or one like it. It’s traveled with me all around the world. While it’s not the most beautiful purse to look at, I think that adds to its appeal as an anti-theft purse.

It’s black, so it goes with everything. It’s roomy but looks small enough on the outside. And it’s not flashy at all, so the temptation to go after it is minimal. 

Beyond that, always be vigilant about your belongings. I never take this purse off. When I sit down at a restaurant, the purse stays on. I have an arm or a leg looped through the strap at all times. I recommend this for any of your belongings you’re lugging around. 

Maybe it’s the Chicagoan in me, or the fact that I taught for a few years in what was considered a “rough neighborhood” in Houston. When I travel with my Canadian friends they laugh at me for being so protective of all our belongings, but better safe than sorry! 

6. Get Travel Insurance

There are two types of insurance I recommend — personal articles insurance and emergency health insurance. Neither of these are areas to take a risk. 

For personal articles insurance, which would cover your valuables in case of theft, check with your homeowner’s or renter’s policy to see whether you’re already covered. 

If not, I recommend buying this insurance through Lemonade. Renter’s insurance is $5 for a monthly subscription through Lemonade, which covers your personal property in and out of your home. 

I also definitely recommend purchasing travel health insurance. I’ve had several unfortunate health issues while traveling that would have been a helluva lot more unfortunate without insurance to cover me. 

Paying a little bit for insurance upfront saved me thousands when I had health issues. Even if you think you’ll be fine, this is not a risk worth taking to save a few bucks. It could really cost you in the long run otherwise. 

So, what travel insurance do I recommend? My personal favorite go-to is SafetyWing. For about $40 / month you get global health and travel insurance. You can, of course, also purchase the insurance for less than a month depending on your exact dates of travel. 

👉 Click here to check SafetyWing pricing for your travel dates

7. Learn Basic Spanish

colorful buildings in Mexico City - is Mexico city safe for solo travel?

It’s always a good idea to learn key phrases in the language most commonly spoken at your travel destination.

Not only is it polite, it can also keep you safe by giving the impression that you’re not necessarily a foreigner and that you understand what’s being said and done around you. 

Knowing basic Spanish allows you to ask for directions, communicate with shop owners and interact with locals. 

Here are some key phrases to know in Spanish:

Hello – Hola
Goodbye – Adios
Please – Por favor
Thank you – Gracias 
Yes – Si
No – No
Where is the bathroom? – Donde esta el baño?
How much does it cost? – Cuanto cuesta? 

To learn more, explore a resource like Duolingo or Pimsleur.

Whether you’re in 8. Get a Sim Card for Your Phone

You’ll need a phone with a data plan to effectively navigate around the city (I swear by Google maps), to call Ubers and more. Before your trip, check to see whether your current cell phone provider will cover you while in Mexico City. 

If not, you have a couple options. If you’re only interested in a data plan and don’t need to be able to make phone calls, then consider an e-sim with Drimsim. This is a convenient option because you don’t need a physical product and can get everything set up digitally. 

If you want a plan that offers both data and the ability to make phone calls, pick up a local sim card in Mexico City. Even better, order yours from Amazon before your trip so you’re ready to hit the ground running. The recommended provider for a Mexico City sim card is Telcel. 

My friend and I spent a couple hours at a mall in Mexico City trying to get her set up with a physical sim card for her phone. You can bypass that waste of time and energy by getting a prepaid, fully loaded Telcel sim card before your trip. 

You’ll activate it before your trip and have a working phone as soon as you land. I recommend keeping your phone on airplane mode when you’re not using it to preserve your data. 

I also recommend downloading Whatsapp and using this to text or call friends and family back home using wifi rather than data.

9. Know Emergency Numbers

An additional safety tip for Mexico City travel is to be aware of the emergency numbers, just in case. In Mexico City, call 911 in case of emergency just as you would in the USA. For additional emergency numbers, see here

10. Act Like You Know Where You’re Going

As a solo traveler in a foreign country, it’s important to move with purpose and direction. You might feel lost at times, but you want to appear in the know. Appearing lost and confused might make you susceptible to opportunity crime. 

Avoid looking down at your phone at Google maps to navigate yourself around the city. Instead, review your map in a secure location and then consult your phone as needed.

Or, even better, listen to the directions as you walk with headphones in one ear (so you can still hear traffic and other noises well in the other ear).

11. Connect With Other Travelers

solo female traveler in Mexico City photo with CDMX sign

One enjoyable aspect of solo travel is getting to connect with new people along the way. A safe way to do this as a solo traveler in Mexico City is to connect with fellow travelers.

You can find fellow travelers in relevant Facebook groups or on Bumble BFF. 

Some Facebook groups to consider joining include: Host a Sister, Women in CDMX, Americans in Mexico City and Foreigners & expats in Mexico City.

12. Join Group Tours

Another way to safely meet new people while traveling solo in Mexico City is to join group tours. Explore options for group tours that match your interests (food and drink, culture and history, day trips and more) on GetYourGuide or Viator

While not in Mexico City, I was able to make wonderful friends solo traveling in Oaxaca City through a traditional cooking class and a mezcal tour. The same opportunities await you in Mexico City!

13. Stay Alert

Even when walking in safer-feeling, well-populated areas, stay alert. Be mindful of your surroundings at all times. If you’re drinking, drink responsibly and keep your wits about you. 

While you don’t need to be in such a state of hyper-vigilance that it takes away from your joyful experiences, it’s important to keep your awareness steady so you can safely enjoy the city.

14. Don’t Drink the Tap Water

Let’s talk food safety for a moment. Avoid drinking the tap water in Mexico City or risk getting quite sick. Consider using bottled or filtered water to brush your teeth, as well. 

Food is one of the great pleasures of Mexico City. When exploring street food, look for stalls that are popular with longer lines and that have food being made fresh rather than sitting out for a long while.

15. Don’t Sample the Drug Scene

There are tourists who seek out the drug scene when traveling. People can feel like being more adventurous when traveling and in some destinations drugs are readily available to them. 

For your safety on multiple levels, avoid getting involved in the drug scene whether you’re visiting Mexico City, partying in Tulum or exploring any other foreign destination.

16. Blend in

is Mexico City safe for solo travel 4

An important rule of thumb when you’re a tourist in another country is to not overtly look like a tourist in another destination.

The less attention you bring to yourself as you explore Mexico City solo, the less likely you are to be targeted for petty crime or scams. 

Avoid dressing ostentatiously, speaking loudly in English and losing yourself in your phone as you walk through the city. Instead, play the role of observer and really take in your surroundings. 

By blending in, not only do you set yourself up to be safer but you also get a better glimpse into what your environment is really like.

17. Trust Your Intuition

Especially as a solo traveler, it’s important to be tuned in to yourself. Check in with yourself regularly and listen to any nagging sensations you have, even if they don’t make logical sense.

Trust your intuition when it kicks in and let your instincts help keep you safe during solo travel to Mexico City. 

18. Don’t be Overly Trusting

I hate to say this, because making new friends as a solo traveler is one of my favorite parts about it.

But also, as a solo female traveler I’m always cautious of being too trusting of any new people I meet. In my experience, this is the right approach at least at first. 

I’ve still managed to form deep bonds and develop more trusted relationships along my travels, but again trust your intuition and don’t be overly forthcoming or trusting of people when you first meet them.

19. Consider Additional Safety Tools

Want more peace of mind regarding your safety as you travel alone in Mexico City? I have a couple more tools to suggest. One is a portable alarm keychain. This is the one I have.

Thankfully, I’ve never had to use it. But it has brought me peace of mind on several occasions knowing I could easily activate it and bring attention to any potentially harmful situations I might end up in.  

Another is this portable door lock that can be used with nearly any door, including hotel doors. 

Two great options for added security and peace of mind.

20. Share Trip Details With Loved Ones

Before your solo trip to Mexico City, be sure to share the details of your trip and expected whereabouts with loved ones you trust.

Share your itinerary so that someone knows where you plan to be at all times, and make a plan to check in regularly even if it’s just via text. 

Hopefully, they’ll never need to do anything with this information. But in the off chance that something happens it will be helpful for someone you trust to have these details.

21. Stay in Safe Areas

I always thoroughly research accommodations when traveling, but especially so when I’m traveling solo.

One of the most important aspects of staying safe as a solo traveler in Mexico is choosing a safe home base to begin with. Which brings us to the next section of this guide…

Where To Stay In Mexico City When Traveling Solo

The best neighborhoods to stay in Mexico City when traveling solo are, in my opinion, Polanco, Roma and Condesa.

You might also consider the Centro Historico, Zona Rosa, Coyoacan and San Rafael as popular areas for tourists to stay in. Here are some recommendations for where to stay in Mexico City:

Budget Friendly: Hotel Catedral

overlooking Zocalo on solo travel to Mexico City

Hotel Catedral is a centrally located, modern and affordable option for where to stay in Mexico City when traveling solo. It’s also highly rated for its facilities, staff and breakfast options. 

This hotel is within walking distance to major sites in Mexico City, including a 5-minute walk from Zocalo square. The hotel even has a terrace from where you can take in aerial views of the city.

🏨 Click Here To Book Your Stay At Hotel Catedral Today!

Mid-Range: Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel

circulo de belles artes in Mexico City for solo travel

An outdoor pool, a fitness center, an on-site bar and an award-winning restaurant are among the amenities you’ll find at the Sheraton Mexico City Maria Isabel. The hotel is located right near the US Embassy and is only a 10-minute drive away from the historic city center. 

Previous guests highlight the excellent service and kindness from staff, the feeling of safety and security at this property and the great food options as reasons to stay here. 

🏨 Click Here To Book Your Stay At Sheraton
Mexico City Maria Isabel

✅ Luxury: Las Alcobas

photo of Chapultepec Park Mexico City solo trip safety

Situated in the affluent Polanco neighborhood, Las Alcobas offers a slice of luxury on your visit to Mexico City. Indulge in spa treatments with local ingredients at The Aurora and enjoy farm-to-table international cuisine at Anatol Restaurant. 

Within a 5-minute drive you’ll be strolling through the stunning Chapultepec Park or exploring the National Archaeology Museum. Guests (who also tend to become loyal to this property) love this luxury, boutique hotel for its amenities, service and the quiet it offers. 

🏨 Click Here To Book Your Stay At Las Alcobas,
A Luxury Collection Hotel

How To Get Around Mexico City By Yourself

During the day, if you stick to the safer and well populated neighborhoods, walking through the city is an enjoyable way to take it in. If you’re moving across longer distances, from one neighborhood to another, take an Uber. 

While there are also taxis in Mexico City, it can be tricky to tell which ones are official and which ones are not. For this reason, it’s safer to stick with ordering an Uber. 

Another great option for a safe way to get around Mexico City by yourself is to book a 1 or 2-day buss pass for a hop-on-hop-off bus. It’s a great, affordable option for getting around Mexico City since it stops at all the key landmarks and allows you to move at your own pace. 

🚌 Click here to review details and purchase your bus pass!

You might also consider taking the metro in Mexico City as a way to get around, but I can’t speak to this with confidence since it’s not something I’ve tried yet. Explore your transportation options in more detail, here.

Mexico City Dangerous Areas

The most commonly known neighborhoods to avoid as a tourist in Mexico City are: Tepito, La Lagunilla, Nezahualcoyotl (Ciudad Neza), Iztapalapa and Doctores. 

Doctores is also where lucha libre wrestling takes place, which is perhaps on your list of things to experience while visiting Mexico City. Don’t let this dissuade you from going, but do exercise increased caution when in the area and avoid visiting after dark. 

Additional areas that are popular for tourists but where you should also exercise increased caution and avoid after dark include: Xochimilco and La Merced.

If you really want to experience these particular activities but are nervous about navigating them solo, sign up for a guided tour led by a local who is familiar with the areas. Consider these:

Mexico City Crime Rates

While Mexico overall does have high crime rates, different areas within Mexico are either safer or less safe. Mexico City’s crime rates are not all that different from other big cities, including some US cities. 

For some perspective, you can run a crime rates comparison. Additional context — Mexico City is the largest city in all of North America by population. In such a large city, you can expect to see crime rates. 

Practice precaution and keep your wits about you as you enjoy the best of what Mexico City has to offer.

Conclusion: Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Travel?

Mexico City historic center safety tips

If you’re planning a solo trip to Mexico City, wondering about safety is a natural and necessary concern. Follow the tips in this guide as you prepare for your trip so that you can fully appreciate everything Mexico City has to offer! 

And, check out this guide on top tips for how to plan a solo trip to help things go as smoothly as possible.