Is Mexico as dangerous as people say it is for tourists?

Hey guys, so I’m planning to backpack through Mexico and/or South America in the next two or three years, but everyone I’ve talked to says it’s too dangerous for me and I would be a “target”. I’m a white American with blue eyes and blonde hair, so I could see why someone would think that, but I’ve seen so many white travel vloggers backpack through Mexico and all of South America and they do it with a camera, so to me it seems like people are being over dramatic.

Also I’m not planning to go far away from big cities. I speak English and Spanish.

Hoping someone who has actually been to these places can give me some feedback and tell me your experience and maybe some places to look out for. Thanks in advance!


  1. I think as long as you’re not looking for drugs or use Mexico as an excuse to do whatever you can’t do in the USA, you’ll be fine. Mexico has many beautiful places, I wouldn’t limit the visit to those three major cities. I actually go every three months or so to “the most dangerous city” which is ciudad Juarez and I take my family with me and even drive across in my two year old car and have never had any problems. I see brand new USA plated cars every time I go. Like the US, there are bad neighborhoods, so by doing a little research, you should be fine…. One warning note: once you go to Mexico one time, you’ll be addicted to the people, culture and food and you’ll definitely be back for more. Don’t believe all the negative stuff you see on TV (political tactics to pass new laws) and go visit Mexico. I guarantee you will have a blast!

  2. Today marks 5years exactly since I came to this beautiful place. I could not look more “gringo ” if I tried. I’m 6’3″ with brownish hair and if I look at a painting of the sun I get sunburned. I get along awesome here. When I lived in Mexico city I walked home at 4am quite a bit without feeling afraid (as a female it would be admittedly different)

    Is there danger here? Hell yes there is, there’s also daily killings in Chicago but that doesn’t mean you avoid its museums. There are different social norms here, as there are any time you’re in a different culture. You learn to read the signs, the people, and the graffiti so you know where you are. Is there more beauty than danger? Most definitely, Mexico is second only to Italy in unesco world Heritage site. You will be unable to find anywhere in the world that has a higher concentration of museums than downtown Mexico city. There are 90 different languages spoken here, food that tastes so good it’ll make you want to slap your mama (seriously though, she was holding out on you) people that will stop doing what they’re doing to tell you about what you’re seeing, why it’s famous etc.

    There’s danger anywhere in the world, Mexico is no exception and people that try to tell you to the contrary are lying to you, but there are enough safe areas here to spend quite a while exploring to make your memories last for a lifetime, come visit! You can reply or pm if you have any questions.

  3. I’m a tall, white American living in Querétaro for about 3 years now. I had my wallet pickpocketed on the Mexico City subway, which is the worst security issue I’ve faced directly since I moved here. Now, having said that…

    You have to maintain a high level of situational awareness, especially in the big cities. I have had people follow me on the street, stare at me on the subway (this one’s a lot worse for white women, unfortunately), and try to sell me coke at the beach. Normally if you project a sense of knowing what you’re doing, then you’re fine. It also is very helpful to go out in a group of people.

    The big thing to remember is: common sense rules. Yes, there is violence here, and a higher-than-normal level of unrest as of late, but I’ve lived a relatively incident-free life here. I’ve had about the same number of security issues here as I did when I lived in Boston.

  4. I lived in rural-ish Mexico for a year, teaching English, in a town about an hour away from Tulum (beach town), Quintana Roo. I’m pale, blue eyes and blonde. Nothing bad ever happened to me, although another teacher did have an incident with someone breaking into their house and threatening them with a knife. One off crazy man though I think. Just received standard stares/”guerra”/hola/hello’s from people in the street not used to seeing white people. Most people pretty friendly/interested etc.

  5. Honestly it isn’t too bad. I’m currently in Oaxaca right now, which is pretty close to where the students were killed on Iguala and besides a school shutdown for the locals,nothing has been too out of the norm. If you visit first of all people will love you, but really all you need to do is be more aware of where your personal belongings are and do not try to walk home alone after 10. If you think about it, every country has it’s own dangers but Mexico just gets a lot of shit.

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