most dangerous places in mexico | Map (2023)

There are manyReasons to visit Mexico. Beautiful beaches, delicious food, a rich culture with a complex history and friendly people are just some of the reasons why the country attracts millions of tourists every year.

However, it's also true that there are places in Mexico that just aren't very safe. Some of the main reasons for unstable areas are the presence of drug cartels and unreliable law enforcement. Violent crime and kidnapping are some of the most concerning things to look out for, and some states are much worse than others.

The 16 most dangerous states in Mexico

In this post we analyze themmost dangerous places in mexicoas defined byUnited States Department of Stateand the travel advice it lays out. We'll also look at crime rates in Mexico and see how they compare to other countries.

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5 states not to travel

Do Not Travel is the strictest travel advisory issued by the US Department of State of the four possible levels of travel advisory. It's what the department issues when there are significant life-threatening hazards in an area.

currently therefive Mexican states with a “Do not travel” sign:

  1. colima
  2. Guerrero
  3. Michoacán
  4. Sinaloa
  5. Tamaulipas
(Video) 10 Dangerous Places in Mexico.

1. By car

A small Mexican state on the Pacific coast of Mexico, Colima is home to Manzanillo, a beach town with resorts and consistently warm weather. It is designated as a "No Travel" state due to the widespread prevalence of violent crime, kidnapping and gang activity.

most dangerous places in mexico | Map (2)

US government officials are prohibited from traveling to the city of Tecomán, the Colima/Michoacán border and the non-tourist areas of Manzanillo.


Located between the states of Michoacán and Oaxaca, Guerrero is also listed as a state to avoid. The reasons for this are violent crimes and kidnappings. This state is home to several armed groups that operate independently of the government and are known for setting up barricades and inflicting violence on travelers.

most dangerous places in mexico | Map (3)

The very popular tourist cities of Acapulco and Ixtapa are located in Guerrero. Both places annually attract a large number of tourists in search of sun and beautiful beaches. Agriculture and livestock are other important sectors of the country's economy.

Most of Guerrero is off limits to US government officials, with the exception of parts of Taxco.

3. Michoacan

Located between Colima and Guerrero, Michoacán forms three neighboring states on Mexico's Pacific coast labeled "Don't Travel". This occurs for the same reason as the other two: high prevalence of crimes and kidnappings.

Part of the Monarch Butterfly Reserve is located in Michoacán, as are many Spanish colonial towns, making it an attractive location for tourists.

4. Sinaloa

The Sinaloa Cartel is one of the most notorious drug cartels in the world, responsible for trafficking most of the illegal drugs that enter the United States. They are also one of the main reasons this state is so dangerous.

Mazatlán, a popular vacation destination for tourists arriving in Mexico, is located in the state of Sinaloa and is one of the few places where US government officials can travel.

5. Tamaulipas See More

Tamaulipas is located on the Gulf of Mexico and borders the US state of Texas to the north. It is an important center of the Mexican fishing industry.

(Video) Most Dangerous State of Mexico / Narcos War Zones / How people live

The status is listed as No Travel due to high rates of violent crime and kidnapping. There are armed groups that engage in organized criminal activities such as kidnapping, carjacking, armed robbery, murder and more, particularly along the northern border.

11 rethink travel states

States in this "Rethinking Travel" category are listed as such due to "severe security risks" as described by the US Department of State. The Department of Foreign Affairs provides additional advice specific to these areas.

  1. baja california
  2. chihuahua
  3. Coahuila
  4. Durango
  5. Guanajuato
  6. jalisco
  7. Mexico
  8. morelos
  9. Nayarit
  10. Sonora
  11. zacatecas

In Mexico, the term "reconsider travel" is generally attributed to the increase in violent crime and kidnapping in the area. Most violent crimes in thesemexican statesoccurs between members of criminal organizations, but these incidents sometimes happen in areas frequented by tourists. Collateral damage is often the biggest risk for visitors.

How dangerous is Mexico?

It's not easy to say how dangerous Mexico is. The truth is that the level of danger in the country varies from one region to another, as in any other country. Some people are also more at risk than others. For example, young men make up the vast majority of murder victims.

With that in mind, it's certainly true that it's important to take more precautions to stay safe in Mexico than in many other countries.

How many murders are there in Mexico?

As the table above shows, the homicide rate in Mexico is significantly higher than in the United States or the United Kingdom.

Is Mexico 2022 safe for tourists?

There are many safe places for tourists in Mexico in 2022, but it is important to be careful and carefully plan your travel destinations. Mexico is one of the top countries in the world for tourists in general: tens of millions come to the country every year and the vast majority have a problem-free stay.

However, there are tourists who are occasional victims of violent crime. Sometimes it's because the tourists were involved in illegal activities, and other times it's just collateral damage from gang violence. In general, resorts and popular tourist areas are safe. The Mexican government sometimes sends marines into these areas to ensure the safety of visitors.

Some measures visitors can take to protect themselves include not traveling alone or at night, being aware of their surroundings and being extremely careful when using ATMs. Learning basic Spanish can also boost your confidence level.

What are the safest states in Mexico?2022?

The only states in Mexico that do not have US State Department travel advisories are Yucatán and Campeche. It is recommended that you take the usual precautions that should be taken when traveling anywhere, but none of these states pose a greater security risk. You are on the Yucatan Peninsula, an area that made up a large part of the Mayan civilization.


The Mexican state of Yucatan is a popular travel destination for many. It is known for beautiful beaches, tropical jungles, cenotes and being home to the ancient Mayans. Here are the ruins of Chichén Itzá, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The pink lagoons of Las Coloradas, on the coast of the state of Yucatan, are another attraction that attracts many tourists.

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The capital of Yucatán is Merida, sometimes known as the "White City". It is the largest city on the Yucatan Peninsula and the cultural capital of the state. It is also one of the safest cities in Mexico.


The state of Campeche is located on the Yucatán Peninsula, along with Yucatán, Tabasco, Quintana Roo and Guatemala. Its capital is San Francisco de Campeche and it has one of the smallest populations of any Mexican state. Mining and oil exploration are the biggest contributors to the state's economy.

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Campeche is the coastal town of Ciudad del Carmen. It has calm beaches and colonial buildings that create a beautiful and relaxing environment. While the coastal areas of Campeche are known for their tranquility, Mexico's most beautiful beaches can be found elsewhere.

Other states generally considered safe include Mexico City, Oaxaca, Chiapas, Quintana Roo and Puebla.

Crime rates by state

While information on Mexico's most dangerous states focuses primarily on violent crimes such as murder, kidnapping, and violent robbery, the crime rates described below also represent non-violent crimes. These types of crimes include shoplifting, theft and others that do not endanger your physical well-being.

Crime rate per 100,000 population in 2020 by state in Mexico.

Mexico City53.334
State of Mexico39.539
Quintana Roo33.342
Saint Louis Potosi32.136
new lion29.064
baja california27.377
Baja California Sur22.739

Crime rate in Mexico in 2020 by state (per 100,000 inhabitants), Source:political

Mexico City is by far the region with the highest crime rate in Mexico. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily the most dangerous condition. It is important to realize the size of Mexico City when thinking about security. Greater Mexico City has over 20 million inhabitants and ranks fifth among the most populous cities in the world.

The incredible size of the Mexican capital means that there are many very different parts of the city, and the most dangerous parts are not the ones that tourists and foreigners tend to frequent. It is common for residents of these safer parts of Mexico City to feel much safer in the city than when traveling to other parts of the country.

The table above also shows that the state of Tamaulipas has the third lowest crime rate in the country. This can be misleading, as the US Department of State lists the state as one of five "No Travel" states. While there are fewer minor crimes, more cases of kidnapping and violent crime make it one of the least safe states in Mexico.

At least three of Mexico's five most dangerous states are in the middle of the list with the lowest crime rates. It is also possible that crime reporting in these states is not as thorough or effective as in states with higher crime reporting rates.

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common questions

What is the safest place in Mexico?

Mérida, the capital of the state of Yucatan, is probably the safest city in Mexico. It has a low homicide rate and is widely considered one of the safest places in Latin America. One reason for its security is its geographic isolation, which makes it less attractive to drug cartels.

Is it safe to move to Mexico?

If you plan carefully and take basic safety precautions, moving to some areas of Mexico is safe. The most dangerous states and territories in the country are best avoided and it is important to follow good safety practices throughout the country.
Many foreigners move to Mexico every year and live safely in places like Mexico City, Merida or Puerto Vallarta.

What is the most dangerous country in Latin America?

The country with the highest homicide rate in Latin America is Venezuela. The political situation in Venezuela is extremely unstable and the economy has been in trouble for several years, straining public services and basic security. Honduras also has a high homicide rate in Latin America, and Mexico is the third most dangerous. The safest country in Latin America is Chile.

Is Mexico more dangerous than the United States?

If you look at homicide rates, Mexico is significantly more dangerous than the United States. But homicide rates don't paint the whole picture. The vast majority of homicides in Mexico occur among members of criminal organizations, and foreigners are rarely the victims. The homicide rate for US citizens in Mexico is significantly lower than for US citizens living in the United States.


What is the roughest city in Mexico? ›

The Mexican city of Tijuana witnessed a homicide rate of 138 for every 100,000 inhabitants in 2022. Here are the top 10 cities with the highest murder rate in the world.

What areas of Mexico to avoid? ›

Do Not Travel To:
  • Colima state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Guerrero state due to crime.
  • Michoacan state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Sinaloa state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Tamaulipas state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Zacatecas state due to crime and kidnapping.
Oct 5, 2022

What are the top 3 most violent states in Mexico? ›

The seven most violent Mexican states are: Guanajuato (2,823 murders in 2021), Baja California (2,656), Mexico State (2,346), Michoacán (2,234), Chihuahua (2,056), Jalisco (1,826) and Sonora (1,600).

Where is most crime in Mexico? ›

Tijuana is considered the most dangerous city in Mexico due to its high rate of homicides and drug-related violence. What is this? The homicide rate is 138 per 100,000 people. As the main entry point for drugs coming from South America, Tijuana is a hotbed of cartel activity.

Where is the cartel in Mexico? ›

Recent News. Sinaloa cartel, international crime organization that is among the most-powerful drug-trafficking syndicates in the world. It is based in Culiacán, Sinaloa state, Mexico. Its origins can be traced to the Guadalajara cartel, which was one of Mexico's largest crime organizations in the early 1980s.

Where to avoid Mexico City? ›

The areas you should avoid in Mexico City are Iztapalapa, Tepito, Ciudad Neza and Doctores. These neighborhoods tend to have the most crime, especially at night.

Where is the least crime in Mexico? ›

Seven of the safest cities in Mexico
  1. Merida. Widely acknowledged as the safest city in Mexico (and even Latin America), your biggest safety concern in Mérida will probably be the busy traffic. ...
  2. Playa del Carmen. ...
  3. Mexico City. ...
  4. Puerto Vallarta. ...
  5. San Miguel de Allende. ...
  6. Sayulita. ...
  7. Huatulco.

Where is the most deaths in Mexico? ›

Tijuana was followed by Ciudad Juárez, located south of El Paso, Texas, with a total of 1,393 homicides.
Municipalities with the highest number of homicides in Mexico in 2021.
CharacteristicNumber of homicides
Ciudad Juárez1,393
Benito Juárez760
9 more rows
Jun 1, 2022

Is crime in Mexico worse than US? ›

People are 3 times more likely to be a victim of crime in the US than in Mexico. The US leads the world in gun ownership and has more murders with firearms. School children in Mexico do not have practice drills for mass shootings. Significantly, violent hate crimes occur 89% more in the US than in Mexico.

What are the worst states in Mexico for crime? ›

The state of Chihuahua ranked number one with the most homicides in the country, the least was Baja California Sur. For Mexico there were 24 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.

What is the biggest crime in Mexico? ›

In 2021, robbery or theft on the street or public transportation accounted for 21.4 percent of the total crime cases committed in Mexico.

Is Mexico safer than the US? ›

According to the latest statistics, Mexico seems to be safer than the United States in many aspects. There are 8X more crimes committed in total in the United States than Mexico, largely due to America's size and population. America also has higher rates of gun violence, sexual assault, and drug abuse.

Where can I avoid cartels in Mexico? ›

Places to avoid in Mexico

US border cities, such as Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros and Piedras Negras, remain trouble spots, but it's important to remember that the map of cartel-contested territories is constantly changing.

Who is the number 1 cartel in Mexico? ›

As of 2023, the Sinaloa Cartel remains Mexico's most dominant drug cartel. After the arrest of Joaquín "El Chapo" Guzmán and his son Ovidio Guzmán López, the cartel is now headed by old-school leader Ismael Zambada García (aka El Mayo) and Guzmán's other sons, Jesús Alfredo Guzmán and Ivan Archivaldo Guzmán Salazar.

What is the strongest cartel in the world? ›

Along with the Guadalajara Cartel, the Sinoloa Cartel, Tijuana Cartel, Juárez Cartel and Gulf Cartel are among the largest and most famous drug cartels in the world.

What not to say in Mexico? ›

  • “I'll have a Tecate, please.”
  • “Le voy al América.” (I support Club América [a Mexican football team].)
  • “I'm American.”
  • “I love South America!”
  • “Una quesadilla sin queso, por favor.” (A cheeseless quesadilla, please.)
  • “I love burritos!”
  • “Do you speak Mexican?”
  • “I don't have change.”

What not to drink in Mexico? ›

In Mexico don't drink: Tap or well water.
Other Health Concerns
  • Sealed bottled water.
  • Water that has been disinfected.
  • Ice made with bottled or disinfected water.
  • Carbonated drinks.
  • Hot coffee or tea.
  • Pasteurized milk.
  • In Latin American, coconut milk is deemed a panacea for every conceivable stomach ailment, and then some.
Jun 28, 2018

Can you wear shorts in Mexico City? ›

In Mexico City, people wear jeans year-round. It's never really so hot that you'd be uncomfortable in long pants. I personally wear jeans almost every single day of the year. With that being said, you can totally wear shorts, dresses, or skirts.

Which state in Mexico has the most violence? ›

The state of Chihuahua ranked number one with the most homicides in the country, the least was Baja California Sur. For Mexico there were 24 homicides for every 100,000 inhabitants.

What is the safest place to travel in Mexico? ›

Looking for the safest places in Mexico to travel?
  • Mexico City.
  • San Miguel de Allende.
  • San Cristobal de las Casas.
  • Guadalajara.
  • Valladolid.
  • Puebla. Poblano Cuisine: Best Food in Puebla Mexico. Cholula, Puebla Magic Town.
  • Monterrey.
  • Queretaro.
Feb 11, 2023

Who has more crime US or Mexico? ›

People are 3 times more likely to be a victim of crime in the US than in Mexico. The US leads the world in gun ownership and has more murders with firearms. School children in Mexico do not have practice drills for mass shootings. Significantly, violent hate crimes occur 89% more in the US than in Mexico.

How many people are murdered in Mexico per year? ›

Number of murders committed per 100,000 inhabitants in Mexico from 2009 to 2021
CharacteristicMurder rate
9 more rows
Jul 27, 2022

Where do most Americans live in Mexico? ›

Lake Chapala: Mexico's Largest Expat Hotspot

Lake Chapala is Mexico's largest lake, and the surrounding area is also home to the largest concentration of U.S. expats in the world.


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