Home Feature How safe it is to travel to Mexico these days?

How safe it is to travel to Mexico these days?

by Yucatan Times
1 comment

Some countries are always safe, or green, on the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) travel website. Those that feature orange (leisure travel not recommended), or are painted entirely red (all travel not recommended), vary with the times – one decade’s “axis of evil” nation is another’s edgy adventure-travel destination.

Mexico has always fallen somewhere in between. Drug-related crime and violence have been features of everyday life in certain regions for a long time – with places like Sinaloa state and Ciudad Juárez synonymous, in the unsubtle gaze of foreign media, with gruesome killings and lawlessness.

Even allowing for this, the FCDO map for Mexico has rarely looked so concerning. It resembles – appropriately enough – military camouflage, with numerous swathes of orange abutting a dwindling number of green zones. The small print on its website now features no fewer than 27 bullet points outlining exactly where tourists should and should not go.

Among the orange areas is the state of Zacatecas, which I find both surprising and dispiriting. One of my first trips to Mexico, in 2006, was to write about the so-called “Silver Cities” – former mining towns that grew rich in colonial times through precious metals.

San Miguel de Allende is renowned for its welath of fine colonial-era architecture - Getty
San Miguel de Allende is renowned for its welath of fine colonial-era architecture – Getty

I loved that journey. I was blown away by beguiling architecture, delicious food, welcoming people and cactus-strewn landscapes. There was no sense of risk. Julia Roberts and Brad Pitt had just been there, filming The Mexican. Real de Catorce was like a peyote-induced dream. In San Miguel de Allende I found traces of Beat writers. Of the region’s eponymous capital, I wrote that it was “the only ‘Silver City’ that actually feels like a city – big, bold and full of smart shops and restaurants. It was here that the first seam of silver in the Americas was discovered.”

Today, the FCDO advises against all travel to Zacatecas, “except Zacatecas City accessed by air”. My visit as a Mexico virgin had been a road trip. As were a lot of subsequent ones – to Baja California, Chiapas, Tabasco and Yucatán. Mexico is a land of huge skies and long, empty highways; it was made for driving holidays.


TYT Newsroom

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1 comment

nenyuhaifen January 16, 2023 - 5:00 am

Mexico is the world’s leading country in terms of the number of intra-country workers. If you don’t visit the forbidden areas, you’ll be fine.


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