Staying Safe in Mexico Guide
Below is based off my personal experience in Mexico and from connecting with many locals. Keep in mind everyone experience is different, these are just somethings to keep in mind as a possibility of happening.
Cops and Corruption
Basically, money tends to run everything in Mexico, so with enough money you can do about anything. This is great if you have money, however it can make you a target.
It is not uncommon to get pulled over or stopped on the street for no real reason. Many times when this happens the cops will try to get you to bribe them. However, if you make it very clear you will get a lawyer they will usually walk off. Another common thing is fleecing which is where cops will search your bag and take your values.
Scheduled fleecing is another thing to be aware of. This is very common in cities like Tulum. Basically, you will be at a private party by invite and it will move to another location after a few hours. At the new location, the music could be cut and the police will come in and expect bribes or threaten to arrest you if you don’t. My best advice is avoid parties that are too good to be true.
ADO buses are great
ADO buses are the most affordable and safe way to get around Mexico.
The buses usually have air conditioning and are very comfortable to use. I recommend using this over a van as it is same level of safety and tends be a lot cheaper.
Always buy your ticket at the bus station as online they can cost more and the times can be off. As for local buses they tend to be safe too they just don’t have air conditioning. But great for a quick ride and will only cost you some change.
Using credit cards
While being in Mexico I have had quite a few friends get their cards ran for the wrong amount. Also using cards can add extra fees and conversion rates could be higher. Make sure you ask if there is a card minimum or an additional percentage to avoid this. If you can use the cash that is always preferred. However, if not I would recommend using cash for restaurants, gift shops, and taxis. I would try to use credit cards for mainly hotels, long bus trips, and tours. Many places in Mexico do take credit which is nice however just make sure you check your statements.
Staring is normal
Don’t be alarmed by people looking at you many people are doing this for no reason. However, if you do feel uncomfortable make sure to stair back this makes it obvious to them that you see them and know if they are up to something.
Say no thank you
In Mexico, people will always be trying to sell you something. I have found it’s best not to ignore them. If you do ignore them they usually get louder and sometimes follow you. A quick no thank you has worked best for me looking to avoid being bothered. Also, use manners are big in Spanish culture and can go a long way.
Learn some Spanish or keep downloaded Google translate
In Mexico, the majority of people that don’t speak fluent English. Obviously, this will really vary on area. I found that it is helpful to be able to say a few basic things. At the very least slow down my language so other people can understand it whose first language may not be english. When times are hard I’ve used Google translate in many situations to really connect with others and see how they’re feeling. Overall, with these two things you should be fine.
What to look out for:
Parties too good are true could be a set up
Credit cards being ran for incorrect amounts
Say no thank you and use manners
Download Google translate and learn what you can in Spanish
In conclusion, I would recommend Mexico to all solo travelers who are looking to step outside their comfort zone. This place can be challenging, but can offer an amazing experience. I have met some nicest people in Mexico and love visiting here. Keep an open mind and always be aware.
“We grow fearless when we do the things we fear.”-Robin Sharma
For more information on Mexico and traveling Post-COVID check these out: