Mexico is a pleasant country with friendly people. But it’s also a large country and this means not everybody has the best intentions. Furthermore, Mexico is the last state on the route of South Americans trying to get to the US which means some areas of the country are facing a rise in violent crime.
At the moment, your best bet is to avoid these areas completely and to follow the instructions of the US government on which cities and areas are safe to visit. Until then, you can inform yourself of the following cities which are known as unsafe.
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The state of Coahuila is not a safe place in Mexico. While nature and other attractions here might make you think otherwise, it’s a Level 3 no-go area on the US travel advisory board list. You should stay clear of this area mostly because local law enforcement can’t get a grip on violent crime. Their inability to respond coupled with crime associated with gambling establishments where locals and foreigners are always caught in the crossfire means you should stay clear at all costs.
The city of Celaya has been seen as a tourist hotspot over the past few years. However, the extra cash tourists brings into the city hasn’t been seen in how it’s organized as crime is on the rise. The city might still be a tourist attraction for locals, but you should stay clear as a foreigner if you don’t want to get in trouble.
You might be familiar with Acapulco as a tourist destination, especially with its luxurious all-inclusive hotels. But things can be a bit different once you get outside these resorts. Acapulco is still very poor. While you would expect locals working at these resorts to living a better life, most of them and other residents live below the poverty line. As a result, the struggles and crimes are frequent here.
You might think this city sounds cute as it shares the name of a small dog breed but things are different than they first look. Authorities have struggled to keep it under control since 2013. It’s also on the list of many international organizations as a no-go area. So what’s the problem with this city? It lies on the route to the US border where kingpins try and smuggle illegal substances into New Mexico. If you traveling through the area to safer parts of the country make sure you don’t get out after nightfall.
Located close to the US border with Texas, Tamaulipas is a level 4 no-go area according to the US Department of State. This area has claimed the lives of police officers, civilians, and criminals. Cartels always fight for supremacy in this crucial route, mainly for smuggling substances into the US. Much of the state’s population lives in poverty as tourists never come here. Police officers also avoid working here as some of the world’s most notorious gangsters are frequently seen here.
Tepic doesn’t look like a typical unsafe city. Its impressive Spanish colonial buildings make it look quite interesting. However, violent crime is very high in the city located in Western Mexico. State authorities recommend people not to go there as crime is out of control. Tepic is one of the new cities to be put on the bad reputation list in Mexico.
You might think that Tijuana’s proximity to San Diego would benefit its residents, but things are very different here. It’s a Level 2 no-go area in Mexico and while it does see tourists, it’s generally unsafe. Small crime is not as problematic as a large crime here since many kingpins see it as a gateway to drug smuggling into the US.
3. Ciudad Juárez
The city is located close to El Paso and it offers one of the most problematic areas to control by the Mexican government. The army has been sent several times over the past few years. Several high profile arrests among local corrupt politicians also shook the city. However, tourists are still found here as many travel to the city easily from the US.
It seems things aren’t going to be any easier for tourists who’d like to explore the city further. The murder rate is still high. Over 3,000 people were murdered here in 2010 alone. Since then, drug trafficking has remained a serious concern and it often involves both Mexicans and other nationals traveling from South America to the US.
2. Nuevo León
While the city is on the radar of outdoor sports fans, it’s about the only safe place in the region. Once outside city limits, you might not even know what you’re going to face. The border state is close to the US but it also attracts all types of violent crime with people from all over South America heading to the United States.
Guadalajara and the entire state of Jalisco should be areas you should avoid in Mexico. It’s almost impossible not to get into trouble here, especially as a foreigner drawing in plenty of unwanted attention.
It’s believed over 40 drug cartels fight here over territorial supremacy. Most of these cartels are based on the outskirts of Guadalajara. But the rest of the state is not safe either. It was only recently that a group of students was killed trying to film a documentary here. New cartels are also reported in the area frequently and the massive shift of underground power makes it impossible to visit carefree.
While cartels don’t necessarily target tourists, this doesn’t mean you should visit the Level 3 no-go state. Cartels such as Jalisco New Generation are based here. These are not the types of criminals you want to face. The cartel operates as a semi-militarized organization. It declared war on most other cartels. Eventually, the Jalisco New Generation cartel aims to control the entire city of Guadalajara for profits and territorial influence.