Tropical beaches of Riviera Maya in Mexico. (Photo via marako85/Getty Images)
One of the world’s most-visited countries, Mexico continues to be among the safest international travel destinations in 2023.
As of October 2022, the U.S. State Department continues to break down the country’s risk level by state rather than overall with Mexico’s most in-demand and tourist-friendly places such as Baja California Sur, Mexico City, Quintana Roo and Yucatan receiving Level 1 or Level 2 travel advisories encouraging visitors to either exercise normal precautions or increased caution due to the very broad risk of crime.
These states include some of the country’s most popular and accessible tourist hotspots, including Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya, the bustling capital of Mexico City and Los Cabos, among many others.
Similarly to advisories received by travelers outside of the U.S. about crime in major U.S. cities, for the most part, these advisories don’t tell the entire story as they are related to the threat of potential crimes committed by gangs and criminal groups tied to the drug trade. The vast majority of the tens of millions of international travelers who visit Mexico each year are likely doing so on vacation or for work and likely aren’t engaging with Mexican drug cartels.
“The cartels’ business comes from tourists who buy their drugs. So it would be against their interests to attack innocent tourists,” says Steph Farr, Founder and CEO of Maya Luxe, the top luxury villa rental company in Mexico’s Riviera.
Farr adds that one of the best ways to ensure safety in Mexico is to avoid the drug trade entirely. “Reports of violence against tourists in Mexico usually underplay the fact that victims are often involved with the cartels or drug trade,” said Farr.
Mexico’s leading tourist destinations also have an added security presence and while visitors are encouraged to venture from their hotel or resort to explore it’s always wise to practice common sense. That means booking transportation with Uber, Lyft or established and controlled taxi services that can be verified by your accommodation.
Avoiding new places by foot at night is also smart. However, that can be said about most places around the world.
Mexico is a safe destination that travelers will continue to flock to in 2023 as evidenced by the overwhelming number of visitors who choose to return year after year, with the country surpassing pre-pandemic international air arrivals in 2022.
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