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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Find Out Where PV Ranks in Mexico’s Top 10 Safest Cities

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Top 10 Safest Cities in Mexico

This is a question asked by many. Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Is Mexico safe? Well the answer may shock you because all of these cities below are comparable with cities in Japan, Australia, Canada, Singapore, Ireland, Norway, and inner states of the U.S like Utah and Idaho. These are well known worldwide to be safe countries and safe cities to visit and reside in.

Misconceptions

Mexico often faces misconceptions regarding safety for both tourists and residents. While the media tends to highlight certain incidents, it’s essential to recognize that the country offers a diverse range of safe and welcoming destinations. Many popular tourist cities in Mexico, such as Cancún, Playa del Carmen, and Los Cabos, maintain robust security measures to ensure the well-being of visitors. Additionally, numerous Mexican cities have low crime rates and are considered safe places to live.

Cities like Mérida, Querétaro, and Puerto Vallarta are known for their tranquility and quality of life. It’s crucial to approach safety concerns with a balanced perspective, relying on accurate information and local advice. By taking common-sense precautions and being aware of your surroundings, you can enjoy the vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality that Mexico has to offer.

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Things to Consider when Traveling

These cities listed below are considered a safe destination for tourists. However, it’s always important to take precautions to ensure your safety and well-being while traveling. Here are some recommendations:

  1. Stay informed: Stay updated on the latest travel advisories and recommendations for each city when booking your trip. Check the website of your country’s embassy or consulate for any specific safety guidelines or alerts.
  2. Use reputable transportation: When moving around, opt for licensed taxis or reliable transportation services. Avoid accepting rides from unauthorized individuals.
  3. Secure your belongings: Keep your valuables, including passports, money, and electronics, in a secure place such as a hotel safe. Be cautious of your belongings while at the beach or in crowded areas.
  4. Be cautious of your surroundings: Like any tourist destination, be aware of your surroundings and stay in well-lit and populated areas, particularly at night. Avoid displaying expensive items that may attract attention.
  5. Respect local laws and customs: Familiarize yourself with the local laws, customs, and cultural norms of your destination and Mexico in general. Respect the local community, traditions, and environment.
  6. Stay hydrated and use sun protection: Most of these cities have a tropical climate, so it’s important to stay hydrated and protect yourself from the sun. Use the best sunscreen for your skin, wear a hat, and drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
  7. Practice water safety: If you plan on snorkeling, diving, or engaging in water activities, ensure you have the necessary skills and use reputable tour operators with proper safety measures in place. Follow the instructions of trained guides and be mindful of any potential risks.
  8. Be cautious with alcohol consumption: If you choose to consume alcohol, do so responsibly and be aware of your limits. Keep an eye on your drinks to avoid any potential tampering.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Find Out Where PV Ranks in Mexico’s Top 10 Safest Cities
Sunset view over cathedral Our Lady of Guadalupe to the Pacific Ocean.

**Important tip**

Remember, tourism brings in HUGE MONEY for the country. This includes the government and cartels who often have a hand in the major businesses in every city in the country. Because of this influx of foreign money from tourism, tourists are gold. Literally. Tourists are safe because any bad press about a lack of safety in a touristic city/town is the worst thing possible. Therefore there are several layers of law enforcement patrolling the streets, beaches and elsewhere to ensure travelers feel safe at all times. So let’s start with the 10th safest city in Mexico and work our way down to the #1 safest city in Mexico.

10. Cozumel

Cozumel is a beautiful island located off the eastern coast of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula. Known for its stunning beaches, crystal-clear waters, and vibrant marine life, Cozumel is a popular destination for snorkeling, diving, and beach lovers.

In terms of safety, Cozumel is generally considered a safe place for tourists. The island heavily relies on tourism, and authorities prioritize the safety and security of visitors. However, as with any travel destination, it’s important to take basic precautions. Here are some popular activities and attractions in Cozumel:

  1. Snorkeling and Diving: Cozumel is renowned for its magnificent coral reefs, making it a premier destination for underwater exploration. The Palancar and Columbia reefs are particularly famous and offer breathtaking marine life encounters.
  2. Chankanaab Beach Adventure Park: This eco-park is a great place to spend a day. It offers a variety of activities such as snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, exploring botanical gardens, and relaxing on the beach.
  3. San Gervasio Ruins: For history enthusiasts, a visit to the San Gervasio archaeological site is a must. These ancient Mayan ruins provide insight into the island’s rich cultural heritage.
  4. Punta Sur Eco Beach Park: Located at the southern tip of Cozumel, this park features stunning beaches, a lighthouse with panoramic views, and a crocodile habitat. It’s a wonderful place for nature lovers.
  5. Cozumel Museum: Discover the island’s history, culture, and marine ecosystems through exhibits and artifacts at this informative museum.
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Clearest water in Mexico perhaps? Cozumel is stunning in so many ways

9. Puebla

Puebla is a vibrant city located in central Mexico, known for its rich history, colonial architecture, and culinary delights. Here’s some information about Puebla, including things to do and its safety:

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Views of Popocatépetl volcano
  1. Historic Center: Explore Puebla’s UNESCO World Heritage-listed historic center, which features stunning colonial buildings, picturesque plazas, and beautiful churches. Don’t miss the breathtaking Puebla Cathedral and the ornate Rosary Chapel at the Church of Santo Domingo.
  2. Talavera Pottery: Puebla is famous for its exquisite Talavera pottery. Visit the Uriarte Talavera factory or the Talavera de la Reyna workshop to witness the intricate process of creating these colorful ceramics.
  3. Museums: Immerse yourself in Puebla’s art and history by visiting its museums. The Amparo Museum showcases pre-Hispanic, colonial, and contemporary Mexican art, while the International Baroque Museum offers a fascinating collection of Baroque art.
  4. Cholula: Just outside Puebla, you’ll find the charming town of Cholula. Explore the Great Pyramid of Cholula, one of the largest pyramids in the world, and visit the beautiful Church of Our Lady of Remedies perched on top.
  5. Gastronomy: Indulge in Puebla’s renowned cuisine. Try traditional dishes like mole poblano, chiles en nogada, and cemitas (a type of sandwich). Don’t forget to savor the delicious street food, such as tacos arabes and chalupas.
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Downtown Puebla outside the square

8. Mexico City

Mexico City

Mexico City, as one of the largest cities in the world, offers a wealth of attractions and activities for visitors. Despite its size, the city has taken significant steps to ensure safety and has become a relatively safe destination for tourists. Here are some reasons why Mexico City is considered safe, along with popular things to do:

  1. Historic Center: Explore the iconic Zocalo, the city’s main square, and visit the Metropolitan Cathedral, the largest cathedral in the Americas. Discover historic buildings such as the National Palace and Templo Mayor, an ancient Aztec temple complex.
  2. Chapultepec Park: Spend a day in this expansive urban park, which houses numerous attractions. Visit the impressive Chapultepec Castle, explore the National Museum of Anthropology, and enjoy a boat ride on the park’s lake.
  3. Frida Kahlo Museum: Delve into the life and art of renowned Mexican artist Frida Kahlo at her former residence, known as Casa Azul (Blue House). Explore the vibrant rooms and learn about her unique perspective.
  4. Xochimilco: Experience the colorful canals of Xochimilco by taking a traditional trajinera boat ride. Enjoy live music, food, and drinks while floating along the canals amidst the floating gardens.
  5. Teotihuacan: Just outside the city, visit the impressive archaeological site of Teotihuacan, known for its iconic Pyramid of the Sun and Pyramid of the Moon. Climb to the top for breathtaking views.
  6. Coyoacan: Wander through the charming neighborhood of Coyoacan, known for its bohemian vibe and beautiful plazas. In this neighborhood you can find the Casa Azul Museum, where Frida Kahlo lived, and explore the vibrant markets and cafes.
  7. Street Food: Mexico City is a paradise for food lovers. Indulge in the diverse street food scene, sampling delicious tacos, tamales, quesadillas, and more. Local markets like Mercado Roma and Mercado de San Juan offer a culinary adventure.
  8. Museums and Art: Immerse yourself in Mexico City’s cultural offerings by visiting its world-class museums. Apart from the Frida Kahlo Museum and the National Museum of Anthropology, explore the Palacio de Bellas Artes, which houses art exhibitions, theater performances, and the iconic murals of Diego Rivera.

Mexico safest city

Mexico City’s safety can be attributed to several factors. The city has implemented comprehensive security measures, including increased police presence, video surveillance, and improved public transportation systems. Tourist areas and major attractions have enhanced security measures to ensure visitor safety.

However, like in any major city, it’s important to exercise caution and take common-sense precautions. Stay in well-lit and populated areas, avoid displaying valuables, and be mindful of your belongings. It’s recommended to follow local advice and stay informed about any specific safety considerations.

7. Puerto Escondido

Puerto Escondido offers a range of exciting activities and attractions for visitors. Here are some of the top things to do in Puerto Escondido:

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It’s a surfers paradise in Puerto Escondido
  1. Surfing: Puerto Escondido is renowned for its world-class surf breaks. Playa Zicatela, often referred to as the “Mexican Pipeline,” offers powerful waves that attract experienced surfers. If you’re a beginner, there are also surf schools that offer lessons and board rentals.
  2. Visit the Beaches: Puerto Escondido is home to numerous beautiful beaches. Playa Carrizalillo is a hidden gem with calm waters, ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Playa Puerto Angelito and Playa Manzanillo are picturesque beaches with soft sands and crystal-clear waters. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, or simply relaxing on the beach.
  3. Visit the Mercado Benito Juarez: Immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture by exploring the Mercado Benito Juarez. This bustling market offers an array of fresh produce, handicrafts, clothing, and local delicacies. Try traditional Oaxacan dishes and purchase souvenirs to take home.
  4. Explore Puerto Angelito: Puerto Angelito is a charming and tranquil bay located a short distance from Puerto Escondido. Enjoy swimming, snorkeling, or renting a kayak to explore the clear waters. There are also beachside restaurants where you can indulge in delicious seafood.
  5. Discover the Mexican Turtle Center: Learn more about sea turtles and their conservation efforts by visiting the Mexican Turtle Center (Centro Mexicano de la Tortuga). The center features exhibits on different turtle species, their habitats, and the conservation work being done to protect them.
  6. Experience the Puerto Escondido nightlife: Puerto Escondido has a lively nightlife scene, particularly around the Zicatela area. Enjoy beachside bars, live music, and dance clubs where you can mingle with locals and fellow travelers.
  7. Visit the Punta Cometa Lookout: Take a hike to Punta Cometa, a stunning lookout point that offers panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s a great spot to watch the sunset and appreciate the natural beauty of the region.
  8. Explore Mazunte and Zipolite: Take a day trip to the nearby coastal towns of Mazunte and Zipolite. Mazunte is known for its turtle sanctuary and a vibrant community of artisans. Zipolite is a laid-back beach known for its relaxed atmosphere and being one of the few clothing-optional beaches in Mexico.

turtles in Puerto Escondido

These are just a few of the many activities and attractions that Puerto Escondido has to offer. Whether you’re an adventure seeker, beach lover, or cultural enthusiast, there’s something for everyone in this beautiful coastal town.

6. Queretaro

Queretaro is a charming city located in central Mexico, known for its well-preserved colonial architecture, rich history, and vibrant cultural scene. It offers a variety of activities and attractions for visitors. Here are some things you can do in Queretaro:

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A large city, but safety is extremely important in Queretaro
  1. Explore the Historic Center: The Historic Center of Queretaro is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a must-visit. Stroll through its narrow cobblestone streets and admire the stunning colonial architecture. Visit iconic landmarks such as the Plaza de Armas, the Queretaro Cathedral, and the Casa de la Corregidora.
  2. Visit the Templo de Santa Rosa de Viterbo: This beautiful church is a significant architectural masterpiece in Queretaro. Its stunning facade and intricate interiors are worth exploring. You can also visit the attached museum that showcases religious art and artifacts.
  3. Discover the Aqueduct: The Aqueduct of Queretaro is an impressive engineering marvel and a symbol of the city. Take a walk along the aqueduct, which stretches for about 1.3 kilometers, and admire the arches that once brought water to the city.
  4. Enjoy the Jardín Zenea: Located in the heart of Queretaro, the Jardín Zenea is a beautiful public garden where you can relax, enjoy the fountain, and people-watch. It’s a great place to soak up the local atmosphere.
  5. Visit the Casa de la Zacatecana: This historic mansion turned museum provides a glimpse into the opulent lifestyle of the past. Admire the architectural details, antique furniture, and art collections as you explore the rooms and gardens.
  6. Explore the Peña de Bernal: Just outside Queretaro, you’ll find the Peña de Bernal, one of the tallest monoliths in the world. Hiking to the top offers breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape. The nearby town of Bernal is also worth a visit for its charming streets and local crafts.
  7. Take a Wine Tour: Queretaro is known for its wine production. Take a tour of the vineyards and wineries in the region, such as the Freixenet or Cavas de Donato. Enjoy wine tastings and learn about the wine-making process.
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Queretar’s famous aqueduct

5. San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel de Allende

Here are some things to do in San Miguel de Allende:

  1. Explore the Historic Center: San Miguel de Allende’s historic center is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a delight to explore. Wander through its cobblestone streets, admire the colorful buildings, and visit landmarks such as the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, a stunning neo-Gothic church.
  2. Visit the El Jardín Main Square: El Jardín is the heart of the city, a lively central square surrounded by charming cafes, restaurants, and shops. Relax on a bench, enjoy live music, and people-watch as you soak up the vibrant atmosphere.
  3. Attend the Mercado de Artesanías: Located near the main square, the Mercado de Artesanías is a bustling market where you can find a wide variety of handicrafts, textiles, ceramics, and other traditional Mexican souvenirs. It’s a great place to shop for unique gifts and keepsakes.
  4. Explore the Art Galleries: San Miguel de Allende has a thriving arts scene and is home to numerous galleries showcasing local and international artists. Explore the works of renowned painters, sculptors, and artisans. The Instituto Allende and the Fabrica La Aurora are popular art hubs worth visiting.
  5. Visit La Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel: The iconic pink church, Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel, is a symbol of San Miguel de Allende. Its neo-Gothic architecture and towering spires make it a must-visit landmark. You can climb to the top of the church for panoramic views of the city.
  6. Take a Hot Air Balloon Ride: Experience the breathtaking beauty of San Miguel de Allende and its surroundings from a hot air balloon. Take a sunrise or sunset ride and enjoy panoramic views of the city, rolling hills, and vineyards.

Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel

This town is truly stunning. All the storefronts are not allowed to be branded with their traditional colors, so everything feels more authentic and fits right into the city.

4. Playa Del Carmen/ Tulum

Playa del Carmen and Tulum are both popular tourist destinations located in the Riviera Maya region of Mexico. These coastal towns offer beautiful beaches, archaeological sites, cenotes (natural sinkholes), and a vibrant atmosphere. Here are some of the best things to do in and around Playa del Carmen/Tulum:

Playa Del Carmen

Playa del Carmen:

  1. Relax on Playa del Carmen Beach: Playa del Carmen’s main beach is a stunning stretch of white sand and turquoise waters. Relax on the beach, soak up the sun, or take a refreshing swim.
  2. Explore Quinta Avenida (Fifth Avenue): Quinta Avenida is Playa del Carmen’s vibrant pedestrian street lined with shops, restaurants, bars, and boutiques. Take a stroll, do some shopping, and enjoy the lively atmosphere.
  3. Xel-Ha Park: This natural aquatic park offers snorkeling, tubing, and swimming in a beautiful inlet filled with marine life. It’s a great place for families and nature enthusiasts.
  4. Explore Xcaret Park: Xcaret is an eco-archaeological park that offers a wide range of activities. Experience underground rivers, swim with dolphins, discover Mayan ruins, and enjoy cultural performances.
  5. Dive in Cenotes: Explore the stunning cenotes (natural sinkholes) in the region. Cenote Dos Ojos, Gran Cenote, and Cenote Azul are popular choices for snorkeling and diving in the clear, freshwater caves.

Tulum:

  1. Visit the Tulum Ruins: Explore the archaeological site of Tulum, situated on a cliff overlooking the Caribbean Sea. Admire the well-preserved Mayan ruins and enjoy panoramic ocean views.
  2. Relax on Tulum Beaches: Tulum is known for its pristine beaches with soft white sand and turquoise waters. Playa Paraiso, Playa Ruinas, and Playa Santa Fe are popular spots for sunbathing and swimming.
  3. Explore the Tulum Hotel Zone: The Tulum Hotel Zone is a bohemian area with eco-friendly hotels, beach clubs, and trendy restaurants. Rent a bike and explore the area while enjoying the laid-back atmosphere.
  4. Swim in Gran Cenote: Gran Cenote is a popular cenote near Tulum. Dive into its crystal-clear waters, snorkel among stalactites and stalagmites, and spot fish and turtles.
  5. Visit the Tulum Art and Craft Market: Discover local handicrafts, clothing, and artwork at the Tulum Art and Craft Market. Support local artisans and find unique souvenirs to take home.
Tulum Ruins
Cenote near Tulum

3. Puerto Vallarta

Throughout this blog, we go through the immense amount of things you can do in Puerto Vallarta, and how incredibly safe it is. Even when walking alone on a late Friday night, you shouldn’t feel unsafe in this beautiful city.

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View of the Malecon in Centro Vallarta

Here are some of the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta:

  1. Explore the Malecón: The Malecón is Puerto Vallarta’s iconic boardwalk that stretches along the shoreline. Enjoy a leisurely stroll, admire the beautiful sculptures and artwork, and take in the breathtaking ocean views. The Malecón is also lined with shops, restaurants, and bars.
  2. Relax on the Beaches: Puerto Vallarta offers beautiful beaches where you can relax and soak up the sun. Playa de los Muertos and Playa Mismaloya are popular choices with a lively atmosphere. For a more tranquil beach experience, head to Playa Las Animas or the secluded beaches of Yelapa, Majahuitas, and Quimixto.
  3. Visit the Romantic Zone (Zona Romantica): The Romantic Zone is a charming neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta known for its narrow streets, colorful buildings, and vibrant nightlife. Explore the art galleries, boutique shops, and enjoy the lively bars and restaurants.
  4. Take a Boat Tour: Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by stunning natural beauty, and taking a boat tour with palmara.co is a great way to explore it. Go on a whale-watching excursion (in season), visit the beautiful Marietas Islands, or take a sunset cruise along the coastline.
  5. Discover the Vallarta Botanical Gardens: Located just outside Puerto Vallarta, the Vallarta Botanical Gardens offer a peaceful retreat into nature. Explore the lush gardens, see a diverse range of plants and flowers, and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
  6. Visit the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe: Located in the heart of Puerto Vallarta, the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe is an iconic landmark. Admire the beautiful architecture and explore the interior of the church.
  7. Explore the different varieties of taco. Vallarta is a hub for a wide array of taco recipes hailing from all over the country- offering the best tacos de pastor to tacos de birria. Try them all…if you can.
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Just south of Vallarta is the fishing village of Yelapa. A magical boat access only town

2. Riviera Nayarit

The Riviera Nayarit consists of Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, La Cruz, Punta Mita, Sayulita, San Pancho, and Guayabitos. On many lists of safe cities in Mexico, Sayulita appears on this list. But it’s not fair to include all the towns along the coast in Nayarit that have become popular tourist destinations because of how safe they all are.

Many of these towns are for the upper class to wealthy stay and have bought properties in. Most of the residences are fully gated with extensive security. These areas are full of high end restaurants and as of recent years, incredible new building development.

Vidanta World is found at the very start of the Riviera Nayarit because their property starts at the border of Nayarit and Jalisco. Vidanta attracts high end clientele with their exquisite restaurants, incredible service from its staff, excellent amenities, and golf.

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Golfing right next to the Pacific Ocean

Here are a few of the highlights in the area you should check out:

  1. Take a Whale-Watching Tour: Riviera Nayarit is renowned for its whale-watching opportunities. During the winter months, you can embark on a boat tour to witness the incredible humpback whales as they migrate through the region.
  2. Explore the Sierra Madre Mountains: Venture inland and explore the Sierra Madre Mountains. Enjoy hiking or zip-lining through lush jungles, visit local villages to experience traditional culture, or go on an ATV tour to admire the breathtaking scenery.
  3. Visit the Islas Marietas National Park: Discover the Islas Marietas National Park, a protected marine reserve. Explore the diverse marine ecosystems through snorkeling, scuba diving, or paddleboarding. Keep an eye out for manta rays, sea turtles, and colorful fish.
  4. Visit Sayulita: Explore the charming town of Sayulita, known for its bohemian atmosphere, colorful streets, and vibrant surf culture. Enjoy boutique shopping, try local cuisine, and hit the waves for surfing lessons or paddleboarding.
  5. Discover San Blas: Visit the historic town of San Blas, known for its colonial architecture and rich history. Explore La Tovara National Park, take a boat tour through mangroves, and spot diverse bird species, including herons and kingfishers.
  6. Golf at some of the most beautiful golf courses in Mexico. Top tier courses that host annual PGA tournaments like the ones at Vidanta, or play the only natural island hole (the Whale Tail) at Punta Mita’s golf course. The choice is yours, and you have more options than you may think.
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The luxurious Four Seasons resort in Punta Mita, Nayarit
  1. Merida

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Mexico’s safest city, Merida

Mérida, the capital city of the Yucatán Peninsula in Mexico, is a vibrant, ultra safe and culturally rich destination with a mix of colonial architecture, Mayan heritage, and a lively atmosphere. Here are some of the top things to do in Mérida:

  1. Explore the Historic Center: Mérida’s historic center is a delight to explore. Stroll through the vibrant streets, admire the colonial architecture, and visit landmarks such as the Mérida Cathedral, Plaza Grande, and Casa de Montejo.
  2. Visit Mayan Ruins: Mérida is a great base for visiting nearby Mayan archaeological sites. Head to Uxmal, Chichén Itzá, or Dzibilchaltún to explore the impressive ruins and learn about the ancient Mayan civilization.
  3. Experience Paseo de Montejo: Paseo de Montejo is Mérida’s grand boulevard lined with beautiful mansions, museums, and shops. Take a leisurely walk or rent a bike to explore this elegant street and discover its rich history.
  4. Sample Yucatecan Cuisine: Indulge in the flavors of Yucatecan cuisine in Mérida. Try traditional dishes such as cochinita pibil (slow-roasted pork), salbutes, panuchos, and papadzules. Don’t forget to sample the refreshing local drink called horchata.
  5. Explore Cenotes: Yucatán is known for its cenotes, natural sinkholes filled with clear, fresh water. Take a day trip from Mérida to visit cenotes like Cuzamá, Homún, or Dzitnup. Swim, snorkel, or simply enjoy the tranquil beauty of these unique natural formations.
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Downtown Merida

We hope you enjoyed this extensive article, giving you insights into what each town/city is about – and what there is to-do while you visit each unique destination. Most tourists arent coming to vacation at the border, so unless you plan on smuggling drugs across the border or joining a cartel – Mexico is much safer than the media let’s on. Thousands upon thousands of foreigners are seeing the truth about Mexico, and making it their permanent primary residence. The country is on the rise economically and has a bright future ahead of itself.

As long as you’re smart when traveling and dont attract unwanted attention, you’ll be safe and have nothing to worry about. Happy travels!