safety in mexico city
August 24, 2011 3:46 AM   Subscribe

Travelers of Latin America! Help me understand the current general safety/travel risk in Mexico City relative to other places I know well (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo Lima, and Tacna/Arica). There's a lot of news about what's going on in the north but I know less about the DF and how it measures up - in statistics or "feeling" - against other areas. Do you know the DF and one of the other areas? What should I know? Mostly, this is to help my mom feel better about the idea of my visiting for 7-10 days.

Statistics are interesting, but actually so are anecdata and your impressions, which I can't google up.

I'm a well-traveled white female who speaks Spanish and would always or almost always be with a trusted local person. I have already read the State Department CIS and my university's travel recommendations (which puts the capital in the same risk category as East Timor and Nepal, and the northern states in the same category as Afghanistan and the Ivory Coast...), as well as plenty about the situation further north.
posted by n y my to Travel & Transportation around Mexico City, Mexico (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I was in DF recently with a mix of well-traveled friends and not well-traveled friends, and while we stuck pretty closely to obvious tourist destinations, I never felt unsafe. I've heard bad things about being kidnapped by taxi drivers and such, but that never seemed like a major risk when taxiing with other people. The one trip I took alone, I used the transport service from my hotel both there and back, just to be sure.

There were no muggings, violence, etc, amongst our group of wedding guests. There were about 10 of us in town for various lengths of time from 3 days to a week and mostly doing tourist things aside from the wedding. One person did get really sick, but then, who drinks the water in Mexico?
posted by jacquilynne at 6:00 AM on August 24, 2011

I traveled alone and felt extremely safe during the day and never had any incidents or near-incidents. During the night, I felt quite unsafe and rarely went out (this is after comfortably being out at night in a number of smaller Mexican cities/towns, so I'm not just scared of Mexico or night-time or something). To me, it felt uncomfortably deserted and poorly-lit. This was in the downtown Centro Historico. YMMV in Zona Rosa or some other area that I imagine as more bustling by night.
posted by threeants at 6:39 AM on August 24, 2011

I (white male conversant Spanish-speaker) was in DF on business with the rest of my mostly blindingly white hispanohablante team, staying in the Centro Historico, in March 2011. No worries at all during the day or night (although we didn't stray more than 20 minutes' walk or so from the hotel, in well-traveled areas), but my ride to the airport late Saturday night did note that he was taking a different route for safety reasons.

It might be worthwhile to spring for more trustworthy transportation methods (or it might be unnecessarily paranoid). In my opinion, if you were comfortable in Rio you probably should not worry too much about DF.
posted by deeaytch at 6:56 AM on August 24, 2011

I felt perfectly safe in Mexico City, safer than in many U.S. cities, even at night. Although I'm sure there are unsafe neighborhoods, I believe they are mostly far away from where a typical tourist would go. I was told to avoid the Tepito neighborhood, which I did (I believe it's northeast of the Centro Historico). Some people told me to be cautious in the Centro Historico very late at night, although I had no problems there.

I think the main danger of Mexico City is the deplorable condition of the sidewalks--there are deep cracks and holes everywhere. Watch where you step!
posted by mahamandarava at 12:34 PM on August 24, 2011

Polanco is a pretty safe and pretty neighborhood in D.F.

I believe most of the current violence in the news is regarding the problems in the border states, not Mexico City. If you've been to Sao Paolo then you can do D.F.

It sounds as if you are pretty knowledgeable about traveling in Latin America , but I just put together a presentation on traveling safely in Colombia. The rules or more or less the same in any foreign country but it includes info about some of the quirks or dealing with Latinos as a gringo. If it sounds at all interesting or helpful MeFi mail me.
posted by Che boludo! at 1:01 PM on September 20, 2011

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