The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (2022)

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Just under 100 million people visit Mexico every year. They’re drawn down south for all sorts of reasons. From the golden beaches of the Pacific coast to the ivory-white sands of the Yucatan, the mystical temples of Chichen Itza to the taquerias of Mexico City, the hills of Oaxaca to the tequila-soaked villages of Jalisco, there’s loads to get through. But what are the most dangerous places in Mexico that everyone should avoid?

Sadly, there’s no shortage of them. Mexico has a bit of a bad rep when it comes to crime and whatnot. Five of the six most murderous cities on the planet are here. There are a whopping 14,000+ cartel-related homicides in the country in a normal year. There have even been reports of drug-related violence spilling into sun-kissed tourist resorts in recent years.

Now we’re not sating don’t go to Mexico. Not at all. This is one seriously incredible country; a land of rich Mayan history, wild jungles, and beaches the likes of which you’ll never encounter again. However, it’s important to be careful and to plan accordingly, which is where this list of the most dangerous places in Mexico can be of help…

Table of Contents

(Video) No-Go Zones - World’s Toughest Places | Tepito, Mexico | Free Documentary


The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (2)

Home to the busiest land border crossing in the world, Tijuana sees more than 50 million people pass through every year. That’s one stat. Another is more shocking: A murder rate of 134 per 100,000 head of population. That translates to over 2,300 killings per year and makes the town the most murderous city on the planet by quite some way!

Really, it’s all down to the geography. Just check where Tijuana is on the map. Plonked neatly on top of the US-Mexico border right below San Diego, it’s unsurprisingly become something of a hotspot for traffickers and cartels. In fact, it’s been fought over by some of the most powerful cartels in the country since the early 1980s and things haven’t really let up since then.

Thing is, much of the violence in Tijuana is limited to specific areas. Thousands of day and night visitors still cross to enjoy the shopping of Downtown Tijuanaand the party venues of Avenida Revolucion, where you can sample authentic tacos and hit cool bars, not to mention score cheap pharmaceuticals galore. However, there are certain areas to avoid completely, like the Zona Norte red-light district and the neighborhoods to the east of the town center.

Los Cabos

The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (3)

Capping off the lovely Baja California Sur peninsula, Los Cabos is a major tourist hotspot. It has gold-sand beaches, amazing whale watching, and glassy surf breaks, not to mention a reputation for hedonism and luxury that keeps everyone from spring breakers to jet-setter celebs coming back for more.

That’s all despite the fact that it is arguably the most dangerous city in Mexico. To put it in perspective, in 2017, the city had 328,245 residents and a total of 365 homicides reported. That translates to a murder rate of just over 110 per 100k people, putting it roughly in line with the top two most deadly cities on the planet (both of which happen to be in Mexico!).

The New York Times have reported that shootings in Los Cabos indicate conflicts by cartels battling over territory. They do, however, make it clear that tourists were not the target in these shootings. What’s more, the vast majority of tourist visits to the town go off without a hitch, so we’d say have your wits about you but don’t be put off coming to see the humpbacks and get your tequila slammers in Cabo Wabo!


The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (4)

First made famous in the 1950s as the spot JF Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy chose for their honeymoon, Acapulco is now much more dangerous due to the high level of homicides. Known as one of the most dangerous places in Mexico, a good tip is to not venture too far from your holiday resort.

(Video) 10 Dangerous Places in Mexico.

The city has seen a surge of violence caused by drug trafficking, land rights and social triggers, historical ones and institutional ones. The good news is that the violence doesn’t really affect tourism partly due to the fact that the city has a public safety initiative that provides assistance to visitors.

La Paz

The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (5)

It’s a bit ironic that the name La Paz means peace in Spanish, as this holiday hotspot is anything but peaceful. This capital city of Baja California Sur, with its rugged beaches and incredible beaches, does require travelers to be careful and be aware of their surroundings.

Although there are no travel restrictions when it comes to La Paz, the crime rate makes most visitors think twice about spending their vacation here. According to the Los Angeles Times, the biggest concern for travelers is the fact that some of the homicides are taking place close to airports.

Ciudad Victoria

The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (6)

As with other cities in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas, the crime rate here continues to rise, mostly due to rival drug cartels operating in this area. According to Business Insider, much of the bloodshed is caused by shootouts between rival gang members as well as these individuals clashing with police officers and soldiers. The major drug cartel in the area is the hyper-violent Zetas group.

NBC News reported that neighboring San Diego is safe, mostly because it is fortified by plenty of law enforcers from the FBI, US Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the US Coast guard, and the US Drug Enforcement Agency.

It is so bad, in fact, that some of the violence and homicides even happen within prison walls. The Guardian reported that in 2017 there was a big shootout inside a prison, which led to injuring thirteen people and killing seven.


The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (7)

Located around an hour from the Pacific coast, the city of Culiacán is the capital city of the Sinaloa Mexican state. It is an eight-hour drive away from the tourist hotspot of Puerto Vallarta but not nearly as inviting because of its crime rate.

It deserves a spot on our most dangerous places in Mexico list as drugs and violence are the first things that come to mind when you ask them about Culiacán. PBS reported that the state’s problem with drug rivalry reaches back as far as a hundred years. Culiacán has in fact become the hotbed of the largest drug traffickers Mexico has ever known.

(Video) Most Dangerous Cities In Mexico

Ciudad Juarez

The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (8)

Ciudad Juarez is the highest populated city in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. Situated on the Rio Grande just south of El Paso in Texas, this is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, and also around the world. However, a report by the State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council stated that US tourists are not a specific target for violence.

The council has warned visitors to be aware of burglary, theft, carjacking and robbery. Homicide has also been on the rise since 2016, which earns it its nickname as being Mexico’s Murder City.


The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (9)

The State Department has advised travelers to reconsider visiting this dangerous city. In 2017 alone, Chihuahua had 460 homicides, a lot if you consider its population of 929,884.

Chihuahua city is the capital of the Mexican state by the same name. The Army and Federal Police have bases in this city to help operate anti-drug operations. Their presence seems to have a positive effect as crime and murder rates have fallen from 2010.

Ciudad Obregón

The 9 Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: Deadliest Cities (10)

Ciudad Obregón is a large city based in the northern Mexican state of Sonoran. It was named after the Mexican president, Álvaro Obregón. The Tuscan Sentinal has reported that the US Department of State has warned that non-essential travel to this city should be halted unless the crime rates drop. As with our other most dangerous places in Mexico, the high crime and homicide rate is due to the international drug trade. It’s also known for its high human trafficking rates.

What is the deadliest city in Mexico?

As mentioned above, Los Cabos is currently the deadliest city in Mexico. In 2017, the murder rate per 100,000 people was 365. This means that this municipality has the largest per capita murder rates in the world.

The main driving point of crime is a large number of drug cartels moving into the city. While the violence is not specifically targeted towards tourists, the US State Department has advised caution when planning a trip to this beautiful resort city.

How dangerous is Mexico right now?

Aside from the high crime rate in Mexico, we also have to consider Covid restrictions right now. The good news is that it is currently open to travel. As far as current travel restrictions go, however, Forbes reported that travelers will have to fly into Mexico at the moment as the land border with the US is still closed to all non-essential travel.

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Also, be aware that anyone showing symptoms when they arrive in Mexico will be quarantined. While there are more restrictions depending on which area you are traveling to, tourist hotspots like Cancun and Cozumel are open to tourists.

At the moment, the US State Department has assigned Mexico with a Level 3 Travel Advisory due to the high level of Covid cases. They recommend that you only travel to Mexico after being vaccinated and have urged US citizens to currently reconsider traveling there.

And if that wasn’t enough, you also have to consider the high amount of toxic and dangerous animals in Mexico. Some of these, like the Fer-de-lance snake, is also considered to be one of the most dangerous animals in the world. Best follow traveling advice on how to avoid these animals.

What is the safest place in Mexico?

The coastal town of Tulum is quite possibly the safest place in Mexico. Less touristy than the other resort towns in the Yucatan Peninsula, this town offers great historical structure and is mostly known for its well-preserved Mayan city wall ruins.

Its spectacular coastline featuring azure waters and soft sandy beaches is another great reason for choosing this safe Mexican destination. And to top that, it offers some great cavern and cave diving as well as plenty of hotels and restaurants for every budget. The US State Department has reported that there are no restrictions on traveling to Tulum.

You can also consider a trip to Nogales, Mexico, as long as you take every caution and never travel alone.

Just bear in mind that even when traveling to one of the safest places in Mexico, bad things can always still happen. Regardless of where you go in this country, it’s best to follow good common sense. This means leaving your valuables at home, always getting a taxi after dark and only drinking in moderation.


What are the top 10 most dangerous cities in New Mexico? ›

According To FBI Statistics, These Are The 7 Most Dangerous Cities In New Mexico For 2022
  • Gallup. Gallup, NM, USA. cmh2315fl/Flickr. ...
  • Belen. Belen, NM 87002, USA. Jimmy Emerson, DVM/Flickr. ...
  • Deming. Deming, NM 88030, USA. ...
  • Los Lunas. Los Lunas, NM 87031, USA. ...
  • Roswell. Roswell, NM, USA. ...
  • Clovis. Clovis, NM 88101, USA. ...
  • Artesia.
29 Jul 2022

What is the number 1 dangerous city in the world? ›

Tijuana – Mexico

Tijuana is the most dangerous city in the world with 138 homicides per 100K people. Almost seven people are killed every day in this city. This city is famous for poverty and violent crime like rape, homicides, and kidnapping, etc.

What is the most dangerous part of Mexico City? ›

The areas you should avoid in Mexico City are Iztapalapa, Tepito, Ciudad Neza and Doctores. These neighborhoods tend to have the most crime, especially at night.

Why is nm so poor? ›

Poverty in New Mexico is mainly caused by the lack of well paying opportunities and unfavourable landscape for agriculture particularly in the rural areas.

What rank is New Mexico for crime? ›

New Mexico Rankings
Health Care#33
Fiscal Stability#35
Crime & Corrections#47
Natural Environment#31
3 more rows

What city in US has most crime? ›

Most Dangerous Cities in the United States 2022
  • Detroit, MI.
  • Memphis, TN.
  • Birmingham, AL.
  • Baltimore, MD.
  • St. Louis, MO.
  • Kansas City, MO.
  • Cleveland, OH.
  • Little Rock, AR.

Is Mexico more dangerous than the US? ›

Its murder rate - 18 per 100,000 according to this United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime report - is more than three times the US rate of 4.8 per 100,000.

What are the top 10 most violent countries? ›

Profiles of the Most Dangerous Countries in the World
  1. Afghanistan. With a 2022 score of 3.554 (actually slightly safer than 2021's 3.631), Afghanistan remains the most dangerous country in the world for the fifth year in a row. ...
  2. Yemen. ...
  3. Syria. ...
  4. Russia. ...
  5. South Sudan. ...
  6. DR Congo. ...
  7. Iraq.

Where should you avoid in Mexico? ›

Do Not Travel To:
  • Colima state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Guerrero state due to crime.
  • Michoacan state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Sinaloa state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Tamaulipas state due to crime and kidnapping.
  • Zacatecas state due to crime and kidnapping.

What is the safest city in Mexico? ›

Seven of the safest cities in Mexico
  1. Merida. Widely acknowledged as the safest city in Mexico (and even Latin America), your biggest safety concern in Mérida will probably be the busy traffic. ...
  2. Playa del Carmen. ...
  3. Mexico City. ...
  4. Puerto Vallarta. ...
  5. San Miguel de Allende. ...
  6. Sayulita. ...
  7. Huatulco.
15 Sept 2022

What should I avoid in Mexico? ›

Violent crime. Mexico has a high risk of violent crime, especially after dark. Murder, armed robbery, sexual assault and kidnapping are high risks. These crimes can occur at tourist spots and resorts.

Where do the cartels live in Mexico? ›

Within Mexico, the cartel primarily operates in the "Golden Triangle": the states of Sinaloa, Durango, and Chihuahua. The region is a major producer of Mexican opium and marijuana.

What part of Mexico is the cartel in? ›

Sinaloa cartel, international crime organization that is among the most-powerful drug-trafficking syndicates in the world. It is based in Culiacán, Sinaloa state, Mexico. Its origins can be traced to the Guadalajara cartel, which was one of Mexico's largest crime organizations in the early 1980s.

What is wrong with New Mexico? ›

New Mexico performed poorly in several categories including the highest percentage of the population living in poverty, lowest income growth, the lowest population aged 25 and older with a high school diploma or higher, and had the highest crime rate.

Are people moving out of NM? ›

Between 2010 and 2019, nearly 60,000 more people moved out of New Mexico than moved in to the state. People exiting the state went primarily to Texas, Arizona, Nevada and Oklahoma.

Are people moving to New Mexico? ›

The state moved from number 39 to number 10 on the 2021 U-Haul Growth States list, based on transactional data compiled for the annual U-Haul Growth Index. New residents are leaving several parts of the country, such as the northeast and California, to establish lives in New Mexico.

What is the safest state to live in? ›

New England continues to be the safest region of the country, according to WalletHub's metrics. Vermont was named the safest state in the U.S. for the second year in a row. Maine, New Hampshire and Utah were also the runners-up in back-to-back years.

How violent is Albuquerque? ›

Crime in Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, crime rates are high across the board. According to the Albuquerque Police's annual report on crime, there were 46,391 property crimes and 15,765 violent crimes recorded in 2021.

Are there Crips in New Mexico? ›

The commission's study also indicates that street gangs based in Los Angeles, primarily the "Crips," have developed crack cocaine markets in New Mexico. This migration of the Crips operations may be due to aggressive law enforcement in California.

Which city has the most murders? ›

The twenty cities in the United States with the highest murder rates (murders per 100,000 people) are: St. Louis, MO (69.4) Baltimore, MD (51.1) New Orleans, LA (40.6)
Cities with Most Murders 2022.
CitySt. Louis
Murder Rate69.40
18 more columns

Which state has the most murders? ›

Texas recorded the largest number of homicides in 2021, at 2,064 for the year. North Carolina had the second-highest number of murders, with 928 for the year.

Which country has most murders? ›

Here are the 10 countries with the highest homicide rates:
  • El Salvador - 52.02 per 100k people.
  • Jamaica - 43.85 per 100k people.
  • Lesotho - 43.56 per 100k people.
  • Honduras - 38.93 per 100k people.
  • Belize - 37.79 per 100k people.
  • Venezuela - 36.69 per 100k people.
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines - 36.54 per 100k people.

What state in Mexico has the most murders? ›

2011 INEGI records
Mexican States by Homicides - 2011
RankStateHomicides (2011)
2State of Mexico2,613
30 more rows

Is Chicago more dangerous than Cancun? ›

You can see the moderate to high crime stats for Chicago versus the low to moderate crime stats for Cancun. Other major U.S. cities, such as Dallas and Orlando, have similar statistics.

Which country has 0 crime rate? ›

According to the Global Peace Index, Iceland is the safest country in the world for the 14th year in a row. Iceland is a Nordic nation with a relatively small population of 340,000.

Which country is No 1 in world? ›

The overall ranking of Best Countries measure global performance on a variety of metrics. Switzerland is the best country in the world for 2022.
  • Switzerland. #1 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Germany. #2 in Best Countries Overall. ...
  • Canada. ...
  • United States. ...
  • Sweden. ...
  • Japan. ...
  • Australia. ...
  • United Kingdom.

What is the hardest country to invade? ›

The USA is the hardest country to attack because of all of these factors, in addition to having the finest military on earth. 2. Russia: Russia is the world's biggest nation. The main defense against any possible invasion is simply the topography of Russia.

What is the safest place to live in New Mexico? ›

The 10 Safest Cities In New Mexico: A Quick Look
  • Corrales.
  • Rio Rancho.
  • Alamogordo.
  • Anthony.
  • Sunland Park.
  • Portales.
  • Las Cruces.
  • Artesia.
21 Jul 2022

Does New Mexico have a high crime rate? ›

Coming in with the second highest rate is New Mexico, with 778.2 violent crimes per 100,000 people. The majority of these offenses were carried out by the age group of 20-29, males and in the residential home. Tennessee ranks third in the US, with 672.7 violent crimes having been reported per 100,000 people.

What is the best city to live in in New Mexico? ›


Often ranked among the best places to live in New Mexico, the charming Corrales lies alongside the Rio Grande in between Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

What is the cheapest and safest place to live in New Mexico? ›

1. Deming. Deming tops our list of most affordable cities in New Mexico. Located 35 miles north of the US-Mexico border, Deming is home to around 15,000 residents and is the county seat of Luna County.

What state has the highest crime rate? ›

Both property crime and violent crime were 22% higher in these states than the national average. Washington, DC had the highest property crime rate in 2020, at 3,493 crimes per 100,000 residents. This was 21% higher than Louisiana, the state with the next-highest property crime rate.

What state has the lowest crime rate? ›

In 2020, New Hampshire had the lowest crime rate. There were about 1,245 crimes per 100,000 people, according to Statista data.

What city has the lowest crime rate in New Mexico? ›

New Mexico's safest city is Los Alamos, earning a very high 0.98 Safety Index score that dwarfs those of every other community in the state.

How violent is Albuquerque? ›

Crime in Albuquerque. In Albuquerque, crime rates are high across the board. According to the Albuquerque Police's annual report on crime, there were 46,391 property crimes and 15,765 violent crimes recorded in 2021.

Is Albuquerque or Santa Fe safer? ›

Albuquerque has numerous nearby points of interest of an archaeological/anthropologial nature, but Santa Fe has more. And so on. Finally, as regards crime, Santa Fe has a higher crime rate than one might expect, but it's almost all residential crime that is all but invisible to the visitor.

Is Santa Fe a safe city? ›

According to the crime report the city of Santa Fe is safer than only 9% of U.S. Cities. Property crimes are on top of the list. The level of crime is ranked on the scale of one hundred points. Santa Fe property crime is 65, which is very high.

What is the best state to live in USA 2022? ›

Massachusetts topped 2022's list, touting a score of 62.65 out of 100. New Jersey came in second, dropping from the top spot last year. New York, Idaho and Virginia fill out the rest of the top five states to live in, in that order.

What is the poorest county in New Mexico? ›

Mora County, New Mexico.

What is the best place to raise a family in New Mexico? ›

Rio Rancho

Suburb of Albuquerque, NM, 256 Niche users give it an average review of 3.9 stars. Featured Review: Current Resident says We've lived in a lot of places and Rio Rancho has been our favorite.

What's the cheapest state in the US to live in? ›

1. Mississippi. Mississippi is the cheapest place to live in the United States, with a cost of living 16.7% lower than the national average.

Is it cheaper to live in Texas or New Mexico? ›

Cost of Living

New Mexico and Texas are both affordable places to live compared to the national average. However, cost of living is 5% higher in Texas, where larger cities and more expensive houses contribute to higher prices in almost every category.

What is a living wage in New Mexico? ›

Living Wage Calculation for Bernalillo County, New Mexico
0 Children2 Children
Living Wage$16.03$36.97
Poverty Wage$6.19$12.74
Minimum Wage$11.50$11.50


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