Stay Safe as a Solo Female Traveler in Mexico

Mexico is an awesome country to visit… but he has a bad reputation. Is it really safe to visit? What if you are a woman traveling alone? In this guest post, Kristin Addis from Be My Travel Muse shares her safety tips and advice to help you navigate safely through Mexico as a woman traveling alone.

The tastes, smells, sights and sounds of Mexico are irresistible. This is the first place I’ve traveled internationally, and whenever I want a cosy and welcoming, easy and accessible adventure, I think of Mexico.

But sometimes people with little or no travel experience in Mexico will try to discourage you from going there on your own. You’ve seen nothing but negativity in the news, and that’s your impression of the whole country. After all, Mexico has an international reputation for high crime. So yes, this is something you need to be aware of when traveling there, especially alone.

But let’s face it: many fantastic destinations — many of them in the United States — have a similar reputation. This does not mean that the whole country is “bad” or that you cannot safely have a good time there. You just have to take certain precautions, as you would in a large part of the world. It starts with being well informed.

To help you stay safe, here are my top tips for traveling safely in Mexico as a woman traveling alone:

1. Choose your destination wisely

I tend to base My destinations on suggestions from other people or photos that I have seen and saved, usually From Instagram. So I landed on a road trip in Baja California, I looked at the cenotes of Tulum, I attended a women’s retreat in Sayulita and I fell in love with Isla Hellbox.

But recently, crime has increased in parts of the Riviera Maya, and tourist cities that were once popular destinations, such as Acapulco, have since become more synonymous with cartels. Just because something was popular ten years ago doesn’t mean it’s now a good place to visit.

How do you know that? If you have a place in mind, do a quick Google search for the city with “crime” or “tourist crime”.”Remember: the media can really double down on things. I like to look at as many specific statistics as possible, if any.

I also like to post on message boards (like Trip Advisor) when I plan to travel to get the most up-to-date information. Facebook groups Of local expats can also be useful. For example, here is one specifically for Tulum. You can ask the people who live there or who are local about their experiences. It works for almost all major regions of Mexico (and the world).

2. Choose a centrally located accommodation

Especially if you are visiting Mexico or a particular city for the first time, choose a place near the Zócalo or the main square. These areas are always well lit and there are usually a lot of police officers nearby, which makes them less attractive to delinquent. (An exception is Mexico City, because there are so many neighborhoods to choose from in addition to downtown Zócalo.)

Although I did not make this mistake IN MEXICO, I have misunderstood it from time to time in other countries. I remember a situation in the Philippines where I was so far away from all things and other tourists that I spent a few very lonely days on top of an island, cut off from everything and everything.

Coincidentally, that’s when someone tried to break into my Bungalow at night. I learned my lesson the hard way: always read the reviews in full and understand well what is near your accommodation.

3. learn some basic Spanish

Especially if you are a woman who travels alone, knowing a few key phrases can help you have a smoother experience. You can make friends with the locals, get home safely more easily if the taxi driver does not speak English and understand when someone is crossing a line when they are talking to you.

What if you don’t know much? Well, my Spanish is not good. I thought it would be cool to take French in high school, even though I grew up in southern California, where Spanish would have been very useful! So all I know is exactly what I’ve learned since.

That said, the basics are quite often, and Mexico is a great place to find out more. Mexicans are usually very friendly and forgiving towards those who try to speak their language.

Even if you only learn basic greetings and key phrases, you have a good start. Duolingo is useful in this regard and you can also download Google Translate for offline use.

Speaking the language (also badly) is a sign of respect and can help break the ice with the locals, so why not try it?

4. find travel friends to make you feel less alone

I love everything about the sea, so I signed up in Baja California to swim with sharks. On the boat, I met one of my friends with whom I had swum with cetacean in French Polynesia! But even though I didn’t know anyone on the boat, I tend to make friends every time I do an activity, which gives me an integrated group to have dinner with or even go out that night and do more things in the coming days.

Sometimes it’s also a good way to sign up for a retreat. I usually find them through influencers that I follow. I did it towards the end of my trip to Sayulita a few years ago, which gave me a good balance between time spent with people and also loneliness before and after.

As a woman traveling alone, this is my favorite way to make sure I meet other people. Do you like food? Sign up for a cooking class or even a food tour with great reviews on Google or TripAdvisor.

5. opt for ride-sharing apps if you can

Sometimes Taxis can be sketchy, depending on where you are traveling to in Mexico. In Mexico City and Playa del Carmen, for example, drivers have even been kidnapped and extorted. However, in other cities, Taxis are completely safe. Mérida, Cancún, San Cristóbal de las Casas and San Miguel de Allende are all good places to take Taxis.

Ride-sharing apps are usually a safer option, especially at night. These applications make it possible to hold drivers accountable for misdeeds, which makes them much less likely to commit crimes. In addition, he does not exchange real money and is less likely to add extra kilometers to increase the bill, because you can see directly in the application What the proposed route is.

Uber is available in some cities in Mexico, but not in all. There is almost always some kind of Taxi app (like DiDi, for example) or a WhatsApp Taxi service available in all major cities, but if you are visiting a small town or village, these options are unlikely to be available.

6. avoid being flashy

Wearing flashy jewelry and designer clothes will draw attention to you almost everywhere in Mexico. An exception is Mexico City, where people usually dress up more in certain neighborhoods. Almost everywhere else, wearing extravagant clothes could make you a potential target for theft.

Although I own them, they won’t catch me with designer handbags abroad because I just don’t want to make myself the most attractive destination.
The same applies if you have your beautiful Smartphone on the street. There are two reasons for this: firstly, it can be a great distraction for you, and secondly, it is something very simple that you can quickly steal out of your hand.

7. veterinary excursion company in advance

There are hundreds of tour operators in Mexico, and not all of them are reputable or safe. I almost never book a visit directly with a seller or directly from the street. I always want to look at the reviews first.

If you want to take a day trip with a particular tour operator, see if you can search for it online and read the current reviews before handing over your money. Then I check if they have websites and social media like a Facebook page.

Another great way to make sure a tour is legit before booking is to visit a third-party website like GetYourGuide. These platforms allow you to see other customers’ reviews and make a more informed decision about which tour is safer and worth your time and money.

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