Women Speak About Safety Traveling to and in Oaxaca

Eleven women gathered together in early March 2011 to participate in our first Oaxaca Women’s Writing and Yoga Retreat: Lifting Your Creative Voice.  All were from the United States except for two, an Australian transplant living in Mexico City and a local Zapotec woman from the village of Teotitlan del Valle.  Nine of us traveled to Oaxaca by air, some making connections through Mexico City, all negotiating the distance in time and space independently, solo, alone. Our ages ranged from 28 to 60-something.  Several had never been to Mexico before.

During our week together we talked about what it was like for a woman to travel to Mexico on her own, and I included the following question on the program evaluation form.  I want to share participant responses with you.

What would you say to people who are concerned about safety and hesitant to travel to Oaxaca?

I would say you are often as safe as you think you are and that bad media, amongst other things are only trying to feed your fears. That safety is not a concern in Oaxaca, just to be wise, as you would anywhere and trust your gut, come well-informed and open your arms and heart to the beauty of the incredible place.

Not a problem. We felt perfectly safe in Teotitlan del Valle.

There are some simple precautions to take regarding food, but I have always felt safe here and that the people are very helpful.

I would say – “you are missing an awesome (in the real, not slang sense of the word) experience.”

It’s a wonderful place. I did not feel threatened in any way.

It was safe and people were kind, patient, friendly.

I felt more safe here than in many U.S. cities. I saw/heard no violence, no drunkenness, no homelessness.

10 responses to “Women Speak About Safety Traveling to and in Oaxaca

  1. Thanks for your reassurance everyone. I will be travelling to Oaxaca in January. I think will wear a wedding ring though! Thanks for that tip!

    • Trish, a wedding ring is a good idea but not a total deterrent. We advise our workshop participants to dress conservatively — no shorts, halter or low cut tops. That does not assure that you won’t be hassled but it definitely helps keep a lower profile 🙂 Enjoy your travels.

  2. Hola! I have traveled solo to Mexico, from Australia, many times. I have been in Oaxaca for three months this time (again, totally alone) and have traveled all over Oaxaca state, Jalisco, Quintana Roo and Mexico City – solo.
    Apart from a few “men” issues, which are at first flattering, but you soon learn to lie and say you are married (if you want to of course!!!), I have not had ONE scary or even remotely dangerous encounter (I did have a cab driver lift up my dress once……but the security guard at the shop we were parked at promptly gave the guy a verbal serving!!!). I have never felt threatened, only embraced by the wonderful people! I go out alone at night, but of course use my common sense, as I would anywhere, and have had no problems, infact I have now made many friends and thankfully dont have to go out alone anymore!!!
    I have not been to the north of Mex, but I can attest to the South, in my experience, being far safer than a lot of America, Europe or Australia! I feel so secure.

    • Kerryn, what a treat to read your comment! I really like the humor about now you have so many friends you don’t have to go out alone anymore! A great tribute to Oaxaca and to southern Mexico. Thank you.

    • Kerrin,
      I read your post about traveling alone in Oaxaca and I’m thinking of going in march . I was wondering if you cld give some suggestions for things ro do in Oaxaca although I already have a list, and perhaps people I can contact and meet up with since I will be traveling alone. I am a teacher and will be on spring break.
      Thank you,

      • Melanie, my name is Norma Hawthorne and I am the owner, author and photographer of this blog. I have published lots of information about things to do in Oaxaca over the past 7 years I have been writing. Use the search engine on the home page to delve deeper and have a great time.

  3. I have traveled alone throughout many parts of Mexico recently – Oaxaca, Chiapas, Yucatan – and have always felt safe, despite the troubles near the border. I feel particularly at home in Oaxaca (plan to retire there when the time comes) and would encourage women to step out of their comfort zones and go experience a wonderful place, a beautiful culture, and lovely people.

  4. I have always felt safe in Oaxaca.
    I’m coming down in September, the first time alone, and I feel no quasms what so ever!

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