How safe is Mexico City for a single female traveler?

This question just came in: How safe is Mexico City for a single female traveler?

This is my experience.  I have been flying from the USA directly to Mexico City for the last several years. I do this to know Mexico better.  Usually I travel solo, alone, single, without a companion.  The Mexico City airport is very safe and secure.  I always buy a taxi ticket from the Taxi Seguro ticket stand in the airport after you exit from baggage claim.  This secure taxi service is licensed and registered by the Distrito Federal (D.F.) officials.  The cost from the airport to the historic center is about 200 pesos.

Mexico City is filled with culture, art treasures, stunning architecture, great restaurants and street food.  It is where Diego Rivera murals adorn public spaces to visually convey the history of Mexico from pre-Conquest to the socialist ideals of Communism.  It is filled with energy and beauty.  It is clean and overall safe. Definitely worth a stopover, in my opinion.

In the historic center I walk everywhere with my BIG Nikon camera and small purse (long straps crisscrossed over the my body) — to FONART, to Palacio Bellas Artes, to Mercado de San Juan, to Museo de Arte Popular, and to Palacio Nacional.  You need a taxi to the anthropology museum in Chapultepec Park.

If I’m there on the weekend, I will call a friend to go with me to Lagunilla flea market.  This is an all-day adventure.  There is a Saturday and Sunday Plaza del Angel antiques market in the Zona Rosa that is safe and accessible, and perfect for solo traveling.

I have taken the Metro with friends, but not yet solo.  Taxis are reasonable and plentiful.  Your hotel can call you a taxi they know to be secure and safe.  One Australian friend who has lived in D.F. for four years says to only take the white radio taxis that are available at marked corner stands.  I’ve used red and gold city taxis with no problem.

On past visits, I have asked my hotels or B&Bs to arrange a car and driver for a full day of sightseeing at about 100-120 pesos an hour.  We’ve gone to Casa Azul, the Dolores Olmeda Pineda Museum, and Xochimilco. The driver stays with us.

Two nights in Mexico City only gives you one full day, so I recommend at least three nights minimum to really get a flavor for the city.

As with all travel anywhere — in the USA or any foreign country — be mindful of your surroundings, only take cash out of an ATM during the day, keep your camera slung across your chest, don’t walk and use your SmartPhone at the same time (someone can easily grab it), check the taxi seat and floor before departing to make sure you don’t leave anything behind, stay alert, move away from people you think are suspicious.  I always carry my Passport with me for identification, but I’ve heard advice to the contrary.

I’m in Chicago this weekend and a platoon of policemen were heading toward Water Tower Place on the Magnificent Mile this morning for patrol duty.  Locals say there are a lot of iPhone thefts in that neighborhood, so there you go!

What else would you like to know?





8 responses to “How safe is Mexico City for a single female traveler?

  1. Thank you Norma once again. One advantage in hiring a driver is he can carry your “purchases” and will go back and put your items in the trunk of his car. Carrying “purchases” is exhausting and can get heavy.


  2. Metro. Before taking the Metro from the bus station to the airport in Mexico City, I was advised to remove my earrings and rings and deep them in my purse, with straps across the body and held in front.

    I think that’s a general, common sense theme about not calling attention by flashy decoration!

    • MaryPelham, thanks for reminding me about jewelry. First rule: never wear gold jewelry in Mexico. Silver is just fine, but not too much of it. If you wear diamonds, leave them home. A simple silver wedding band will convey the idea. Your advice about removing the earrings and rings is excellent. Even this week, before going into Chicago’s Maxwell Street Market, I removed my wide silver bracelet and also put it deep into my purse. Important to be cautious everywhere. Yes, common sense about not calling attention to oneself!

  3. Thanks, Norma!
    I was in Lima in May, walking around with two other women. A policeman came up to us and advised us to keep our purses in front of our bodies. But until that moment I felt completely safe! I also walked around Iquitos alone, and got help from locals when I was trying to find the Biblioteca Amazonas. One person even walked me to it. It helps to know some Spanish, of course. Be sensible but not paranoid, in my view.

    • Right, Pat. Sensible, cautious, not fearful. Traveling is so important for expressing who we are, our independence and interests. So many are afraid to travel to Mexico and also want to avoid the Mexico City airport, even as a transfer point to connect on a Oaxaca flight. It’s a modern, safe, well-appointed, manageable international airport with excellent food and shopping. No worries. Fear is debilitating and prevents us from discovering life. Thanks for your reminder about how to wear the handbags (should be a shoulder bag with strap crisscrossed across our bodies) and how welcoming local people can be.

  4. Where do you catch the bus to Oaxaca City, and how much does it cost? It seems it might make the flight to Mexico cheaper if part of it is a bus ride – and then a person could visit the sights that you suggested. Thanks Norma,

    • Hi, Claudia. Your hotel will call you a taxi to take you to the TAPO regional bus station. In rush hour (any time after 8 a.m.) it will take you about 45 minutes to get there. You will need to buy a ticket in advance on ADO — the only direct bus line to Oaxaca. Choose either ADO GL for about $56 USD or ADO Platino for about $70 USD. You buy the bus ticket at a ticket agency in downtown Mexico City. The hotel should tell you where it is located. When I was in Mexico City the ticket agency didn’t have a connection to Boletal, so I went to the ADO station two hours before I wanted to leave and bought the ticket on the same day. Taxi ride from the historic center to TAPO costs about 160 pesos. The bus trip from Mexico City to Oaxaca takes 6 hours.

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