For decades, Mexico has been a popular destination amongst Northern Americans fascinated by the beautiful beaches, the good beer, the ancient civilizations and, of course, the cheap prices. Nevertheless, Mexico remains a relatively safe country although there are numerous places you should avoid, especially if you’re a foreign tourist.
Although the country continues to be a top destination for Spring breaks and traditional bachelor parties, you shouldn’t get fooled by the promises. The crime rate is still high, especially in the country’s capital, Mexico City. The State Department even issued a “do not travel” warning for the American citizens to avoid these Mexican destinations.
Just south of California you’ll find the border city of Tijuana, one of the main tourist destinations for American citizens. It’s one of the closest Mexican cities to the American border so, in theory, it should be a safe zone. Unfortunately, this isn’t so as the city is a top destination mainly for drug cartels and drug dealers.
Although the crime rate has decreased in the past few years thanks to the continuous cooperation between the two countries, Tijuana remains a rather unsafe place. The war between rival drug cartels continues to scare people off, while the gruesome violence doesn’t show signs of ending anytime soon.
Just outside El Paso, Texas, the Mexican city of Juarez became the most dangerous city in the country in the past few years. There are no less than four international entry points connecting the two countries, so there’s plenty of space for drug dealers, cartels, and organized crime groups to operate.
Just ten years ago Juarez was declared the most violent city in the world, mainly due to the fight between rival drug cartels. The crime rate drastically diminished in the early 2010s, especially because the Sinaloa Cartel managed to defeat its enemy, the Juarez Cartel.
Nevertheless, the city remains one of the unsafest in the entire American continent, and it was credited as even more violent and dangerous than cities like Sao Paulo in Brazil or Bogota in Colombia.
Acapulco de Juarez
Commonly known as Acapulco, this Mexican city is a famous destination due to its astonishing beaches and breathtaking sunsets. It’s also one of the country’s oldest beach resorts, so it comes as no surprise that it still triggers the interest of American tourists.
Back in the 1950s, it used to be a glamorous destination and most A-list stars, including Elizabeth Taylor or John F. Kennedy Junior, spent plenty of time under the hot Mexican sun.
Unfortunately, the increasing crime rate and violence rate has drastically diminished the touristic potential of this area, turning Acapulco into a city that should be avoided. Beaches are left deserted, bars are shutting down, while the remaining touristic areas are constantly patrolled by police forces.
Although many official statements from the Mexican government included Los Cabos in a list of the safest places to go in Mexico, recent data doesn’t support this affirmation. Furthermore, Los Cabos was listed as the city with the highest murder rate in the world in 2017, with over 365 homicides in the past year.
Los Cabos is also an extremely popular tourist destination due to its turquoise waters and endless beaches with fine sand. Unfortunately, it’s not safe to walk the streets of the city and many recent visitors have complained about the increasing number of robberies and other minor crimes, alongside violent crimes and notorious drug cartel fights.
The capital of the state Baja California Sur, La Paz ranked as the sixth most dangerous city in the world in 2017. In fact, the entire region of Baja California Sur has experienced a massive increase in violence and crimes in the past year, including the previously mentioned Los Cabos.
La Paz remains a place where active crime scenes happen on a regular basis and these mainly imply the most powerful organized crime groups in the country. Unfortunately, the trend of rising criminality will maintain in the next few years, which will lead to devastating consequences on Mexico’s 20-billion dollar annual tourism business.