The 7 Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico to Avoid at All Costs

Vacationing in Mexico is a popular destination for U.S. tourists for good reason. The country has almost 6,000 miles of coastline that includes world-class surf on the Pacific coast, along with pristine crystal clear waters on the Gulf of Mexico and gentle Caribbean coasts. Needless to say, traveling to Mexico is popular for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, the country has more than its fair share of dangerous areas that travelers should avoid at all costs.

Between travel bans and the current political climate, government officials here in the United States advise against vacationing in Mexico. In fact, being an American tourist in the country may be more dangerous than you thought. Certain regions of the country are considered especially dangerous based on widespread homicides, kidnappings, carjackings, and robberies. These are seven cities you should avoid at all costs, including one very popular destination, according to Business Insider.

7. Ciudad Juarez

Ciudad Juarez

Criminals can target large amounts of people here. | Paul Ratje/AFP/Getty Images

  • 56.16 homicides per every 100,000 people

Located just south of the border from El Paso, Ciudad Juarez is part of the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Positioned at a major thruway into Mexico, the city is a prime location for criminals to target large amounts of people. While reports indicate that Americans are not being primarily targeted, robberies, carjackings, and burglaries seem to be running rampant. Although homicides were seeing a decreasing trend for many years, 2017’s report saw a huge increase. Of the city’s 1,448,859 population, there were 814 homicides.

Next: A few hours north of Puerto Vallarta, safety is a true concern.

6. Culiacan


The area has a drug problem. | Alxpina/iStock/Getty Images

  • 70.10 homicides per every 100,000 people

Located about one hour inland from the Pacific coast, Culiacan is nestled into the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. For perspective, the state is about eight hours north of the popular tourist destination, Puerto Vallarta. Sinaloa has been considered the “drug capital” of Mexico for quite some time, which lends itself to high levels of crimes. In 2017 alone, the Culiacan’s 957,613 population experienced 671 homicides.

Next: Just south of the border, cartels are battling it out.

5. Ciudad Victoria

Ciudad Victoria

There’s lots of gang and cartel activity. | Dk_photos/iStock/Getty Images

  • 83.32 homicides per every 100,000 people

Located within the state of Tamaulipas, Ciudad Victoria is riddled with gang and cartel activity. You see, rivaling Gulf and Zetas cartels have been battling it out in order to gain territory for their illegal enterprises, but with these feuds comes high levels of crime. Ciudad Victoria is a relatively small city in comparison to others in the country, but it still experienced 301 homicides in its 361,078 population.

Next: The Baja peninsula isn’t as safe as you thought.

4. La Paz

La Paz

Some tourist locations are safer than others. | Saiko3p/iStock/Getty Images

  • 84.79 homicides per every 100,000 people

Practically all of Mexico’s Baja California Sur state is romanticized as an idyllic place to vacation, but the truth is that the state is peppered with crime. Sure, certain locations appear safer because the economy is thriving on the tourist’s dollars, but venturing too far from the safety of your resort is probably not a good idea. Despite La Paz’s Gulf of California pristine beachfront, homicides are on the rise. In 2017, the small 305,000 population experienced 259 homicides.

Next: The world’s busiest border crossing is a haven for crime.

3. Tijuana


It’s a popular border crossing spot. | F8grapher/iStock/Getty Images

  • 100.77 homicides per every 100,000 people

Tijuana is home to the world’s busiest land border crossing with over 50 million people crossing it every single year. Some Mexicans cross the border every day, traveling to and from the U.S. for work. Just south of San Diego, California, Tijuana’s popularity as a border crossing for tourists and workers make it a prime breeding ground for crime. That said, drug violence greatly contributes to the 1,897 homicides that impacted the 1,882,492 population.

Next: Once a place of glitz and glamour is now a murder capital. 

2. Acapulco

Acapulco beach, Mexico

Its tourism heyday has faded. | Rafal_kubiak/iStock/Getty Images

  • 106.63 homicides per every 100,000 people

Back in the Mad Men days of the 1950s, Acapulco’s glamorous tourist hot spot was all the rage. It was the place where John F. Kennedy Jr. honeymooned with Jackie, along with a slew of other big-name celebrities. But Acapulco’s heyday of glitz has faded into a city laden with homicides and drug-related crimes. In fact, it has been named in the past as the murder capital of Mexico. In 2017, reports indicate that of the city’s 853,646 population, 910 were killed.

Next: Are you vacationing to this major tourist hot spot? No, it’s not Cancun. 

1. Los Cabos

Los Cabos

The major tourist hot spot is home to many homicides. | Sorincolac/iStock/Getty Images

  • 111.33 homicides per every 100,000 people

Los Cabos is located at the far tip of the Baja California Sur peninsula and is a major tourist hot spot. Being a vacationer’s paradise begs the question of how Los Cabos could be the new murder capital of Mexico? For the longest time, Los Cabos was a safe retreat from the crimes of Mexican cartels. But ever since drug kingpin Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman’s arrest, Los Cabos appears to be a full-on battleground. Of Los Cabos’ 328,245 population, the region experienced 365 homicides — one for every day of the year.

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