Mexico City is one of the most populated cities in the world with more than 21 million people living there. More than 4-5 million people use the metro everyday. Mexico City has Latin America’s largest airport. In a study from 2013, Mexican cities accounted for 9 of the top 50 cities in the world by murder rate. Mexico City facts indicate that in the capital, the murder rate is approximately 8.4 in every 100,000 people (Source).
On the other hand, Mexico’s capital hosts more than 160 museums, has over 100 art galleries and 30 concert halls. After New York, London and Toronto, the city has the fourth highest number of theaters. Culture is very important for Mexico City which is simply called Mexico or DF by the locals.
Media definitely scares the shit out of you when you want to visit Mexico City as a solo female traveler. But is it justified?
Is Mexico City safe for a solo female traveler or not?
I have to admit that before I had come to Mexico, I was terrified of Mexico City. Media made a good job scaring me by talking about all the murders, kidnapping and robberies. I gave myself the vow that I won’t get myself in danger. I didn’t go.
Then while traveling through the south of Mexico and meeting a lot of people who traveled from DF down south, I made a discovery. Everyone who went there, loved it. Nobody told me about crimes, being robbed or having the worst time of their lives.
It made me reevaluate my decision. How can a city has such a negative image in the media and be loved by all those travelers? Shouldn’t I get an impression myself to be able to judge it instead of trusting media?
And when I flew to Costa Rica, I got the chance. As flights are much more cheaper from Mexico City to San Jose than from Cancun, I booked my flight from Mexico City. Then I booked a flight from Cancun to Mexico City a couple of days before to be able to explore the city myself. As a solo female traveler.
So what’s my opinion?
Mexico City is definitely a city you can travel to as a solo female traveler. I say so without hesitation. Of course there are dangers but they can happen to you anywhere in the world. There has been a huge decrease in crime rates over the last years and I even read that it should be safer than Moscow and Washington DC by now.
Mexico City has the highest amount of police men per resident in the world. There is said to be one police man for every 100 residents. And you notice it. When walking through the center, you cannot walk a couple of meters without seeing at least one. Most of the time you see heaps of police men. Sometimes I even asked myself if there is a demonstration planned for the day as there were just so many. But there weren’t any demonstrations. It’s just there normal amount of police men in this city.
In my opinion Mexico City is just a big, ok really big city, in which you should take mainly the same precautions as in every other big city. Not more not less.
Here are my personal safety tips if you plan on going there:
General safety precautions
Read my post How to stay safe while traveling for all general safety precautions you should take.
Don’t go alone at night
This fact is already mentioned in my post How to stay safe while traveling. Nonetheless it is one of the most important things you should have in mind. Crimes often happen during night time and you can easily avoid it by avoiding being an easy target walking around on your own (maybe even drunk) during night time.
Avoid using the subway during rush hour. Even during the rest of the day it might be crowded but in those hours you might end up not getting inside. Yes it can be that full. Remember how many people live here. You are traveling and probably do not depend on certain hours, so choose a different time whenever possible.
In a lot of subway stations there are areas for women and kids. If you are scared of men touching you while riding the subway, watch out for those areas. Get in there and you are only among women and kids.
Only take authorized taxis. If possible don’t stop one on the street but ask the receptionist in your hostel/hotel to call you one. If you are far away from your hostel, take into consideration getting into any hotel and ask if they could call you a taxi. I’m sure they help you even though you’re not a guest.
Certified taxis are gold coloured with maroon lines.
When traveling to big cities which can be dangerous, you should always know where you are able to go and which neighborhoods you should avoid. The safest neighborhoods in Mexico City include the historic center, Roma, Condesa, Coyoacan and Chapultepec Park.
Please don’t let the media stop you from visiting the city. If you use common sense and follow the safety precautions mentioned above you are very likely to be safe. Get your own idea instead of letting you scare you off. Mexico City is a beautiful city with lots of cultural attractions and foodie highlights.
Have you been to Mexico City already? What is your experience? Do you have any safety precautions to add?