Mexico is a beautiful world-class city that is safe for solo female travellers to explore.

Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Female Travellers? Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on October 4, 2022 by Ashlea J. Russell

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When I told people I was planning an extended trip to Mexico alone as a woman, the number one response I got was “Be careful.” The second was “Is Mexico City Safe for solo female travellers?”.

Mexico is one of those countries that has a reputation that precedes it. When you think of Mexico you often think of beaches, tacos and tequila but unfortunately people also associate it with drugs, crime and danger.

So after almost two months in Mexico and over two weeks in Mexico City itself I think it’s time to address the top question: Is Mexico City really safe for solo female travellers?

Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Female Travellers?

Prior to 2021 I’d only been to Mexico once, which was when I drove over the border at San Diego, California several years ago for 20 minutes and drove right back.

Fast forward to 2021 and I found myself planning to work remotely from Mexico as a solo female for almost two months.

I’m pretty well travelled, with about 40 countries and hundreds of towns and cities under my belt but I was still nervous planning this trip. Living in North America, the only news that seems to come out of Mexico is cartel violence, drugs and kidnapping so who could blame me for worrying?

After a lot of research I chose Puerto Escondido, an up and coming beach town in Oaxaca popular with digital nomads as my base. The only problem was, they don’t have an international airport. I had to stop in Mexico City on my way to the coast.

If you asked me “is Mexico City safe for solo female travellers?” before this trip, I’d probably say no. I’d urge caution, suggest joining a group or recommend trying to avoid routing through Mexico City when booking a flight.

If you ask me “is Mexico City safe for solo female travellers” today, I’d say absolutely, you’d be crazy to miss it, it’s one of my favourite cities on earth.

So how did I arrive here?

Expectation As A Woman

When I was planning my trip to Mexico I initially only set aside three nights in Mexico City, or as the locals call it CDMX.

I figured because my flight had to land there anyways, I would be brave and take a look around. With the looming worry of if I’d be safe as a solo female traveller in Mexico City tumbling around my mind, I didn’t think it was somewhere I really wanted to spend time.

“The panic started almost instantly upon entering the terminal.”

Due to a last-minute flight change with Aeromexico I ended up losing my first night in Mexico City and arriving at 5am. The panic started almost instantly upon entering the terminal.

I had done some research in advance about the best way to get to my accommodation. I had booked a serviced apartment from Casai in the Roma Norte, one of the safest neighbourhoods in Mexico City for women and solo female travellers.

Mexico City is worth visiting just for the hundreds of museums to suit any interest.
Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

From what I had read, Ubers are reasonably priced and readily available, plus I didn’t have to try to speak to anyone. If that failed there were authorized taxis inside the terminal that were priced flat-rate by zone.

When I exited into the main arrivals hall it was still very much nighttime outside and I was greeted by a wall of male drivers staring at me.

Scanning the arrivals hall there was no obvious indication as to where Ubers would be so I asked an airport employee. This was when I first realized that people in Mexico really don’t speak any English and I really didn’t speak Spanish at that time. I’m not talking about fluency either, I’m talking about any form of basic English.

During my time in Mexico I would say probably less than 10% of all the people I encountered understood or spoke any English at all so I was fortunate to pick up Spanish quite quickly.

After a very brief and awkward non-conversation about how to find an Uber I found myself at the authorized taxi kiosk.

I had heard like most people, that Mexico City isn’t safe for foreigners, especially female travellers who are solo. Now here I was, stood in the taxi bay, sticking out like a sore thumb having to open my bag and my wallet, exposing my laptop, tablet, phone and money to about 15 people who were all watching me.

I was given a ticket to give to the taxi driver and loaded into a car by an enthusiastic older porter and then we were off.

Mexico City is safe for solo female travellers with the typical amount of precaution used in any large city.
Casai Apartment View, Romita

Taxi drivers in Mexico are a bit like taxi drivers anywhere, they know their town and city and they don’t use GPS. I hadn’t considered this at the time of booking but I had selected an unmarked apartment in a tiny historical corner of Roma Norte, up a poorly lit, dead end back lane.

The taxi driver got us to the general neighbourhood using the address I’d provided but neither of us knew where it really was and neither of us could tell the other that.

“It was pitch black in the early morning of Mexico City and I didn’t feel safe. I was lost and alone and I couldn’t communicate.”

It was pitch black in the early morning of Mexico City and I didn’t feel safe. I was lost and alone and I couldn’t communicate.

Fortunately, the previous day I had done a Google Street View walk from my apartment to a nearby café and I somehow recognized the end of the lane. I got into the apartment, climbed into bed and told myself it would look different in the daylight.

Reality As A Woman

And it did. With two hours of sleep under my belt it was time to join the free walking tour of Roma and Condesa I had previously booked. The meeting point was about a 3-minute walk from my apartment. This was when my perspective on Mexico City really changed, not just as a solo female traveller concerned about being safe but just as a person exploring a new place.

At this point, of all the places I’d travelled in the world, from the arctic circle to South Africa. Mexico City felt more safe for solo female travellers than how I’ve felt at times in London, Paris, New York and Barcelona, to name a few.

I can honestly say that in all the time I was in Mexico I never once felt watched, threatened, stood too close to or unwelcome.

Mexico is a beautiful world-class city that is safe for solo female travellers to explore.
Museo Nacional de Antropología, Mexico City

Mexico City Safety Measures For Women

One of the reasons why Mexico City feels so safe for solo female travellers is because it actually is. A few years ago the city appointed a female mayor. Her perspective on safety in the city brought forth a lot of change.

For example, Mexico City has introduced measures such as CCTV cameras in most neighbourhoods.

Mexico City also has panic buttons on streetlights that connect directly to the police. If you push the panic button they instantly know where you are. They can look for you on the CCTV cameras, dispatch police to be with you in a matter of minutes. The police can also communicate with you through a two-way radio.

Solo female travellers know that there are a lot of factors to feeling safe in Mexico City, or any large city, but the ability to get help quickly if you need it is hugely important.

Another measure Mexico City took to keep people safe is launching a CDMX app for your phone. The app also has a panic button built-in as well as other safety features.

For example, hailing taxis in Mexico City isn’t safe for solo female travellers or even locals. Taxis should be taken from authorized stands or they can be hailed safely through the app. You can also track public transport to get you moving safely.

As a female in Mexico City, you get a little special treatment when it comes to public transport. Women are welcome to ride on any train or bus but there are also designated trains and areas on transport that are for women only.

This feature keeps local women safe but also makes solo female travellers in Mexico City more comfortable with attempting public transit.

Mexico City is beautiful and safe for solo female travellers to walk around including well lit green spaces.
Parque Mexico, Mexico City

Mexico City also focused on installing plenty of lighting on the streets as well as in the many green spaces. This simple thing improves safety at night for women. As solo female travellers we aim not to be walking around alone at night, but it’s comforting to know that if we had to we’d be more safe in Mexico City.

And finally, there is good, free WiFi provided by the city almost everywhere you would go! You are almost always connected to the internet. I’m sure other solo female travellers are the same, but I don’t like to look like a tourist. I like to sit down and figure out where I’m going before I start walking and staying connected to the internet is a great tool for that.

Practically speaking, Mexico City is doing a great deal more than a lot of other cities with regard to keeping women and solo female travellers safe. I live in Toronto, Canada and Mexico City does more to keep females safe than Toronto does.

Take a walking tour to familiarize yourself with your surroundings.
Bustling Pedestrian Promenade, Centro Histórico, Mexico City

Cultural Norms In Mexico City

The people and culture is another reason why Mexico City feels so safe for solo female travellers. En masse Mexicans are a very proud and respectful people, and that attitude extends to those around them, whether you’re local or not.

“…Mexicans are a very proud and respectful people, and that attitude extends to those around them, whether you’re local or not.”

In fact, it actually took a bit of getting used. Where I live most people go through life looking straight ahead and ignoring those around them.

For example, if you enter into a restaurant in Mexico and people are already sitting at a table they will say hello to you and they’ll say goodbye when they leave. People will also greet you when you enter most establishments and thank you when you leave.

Something I had prepared myself for as a solo female traveller to Mexico City was trying to keep myself safe from scams or having to haggle for fair prices. I found this to be a huge overreaction and nothing to worry about!

Most places, including markets have prices listed or on signs. The vendors are incredibly helpful, offering sizes, colours, options but without pressure to purchase.

One afternoon I was working from a patio at a cafe and I decided to purchase some shoelaces from a street vendor. I asked him how much they were, and he said $20 MXN. I picked out my pair of shoelaces and handed him $40 MXN, thinking he meant $20 MXN per lace. It was actually $20 MXN per pair.

Although he could have very easily doubled his money on me, he handed me back my change with a chuckle.

Shopping In Mexico City is safe and easy for solo female travellers.
Shoelace Vendor, Roma

Even the poor community operate with such respect. People very rarely beg unlike what I’m used to in North America. Instead of this they offer something in exchange such as selling small items or playing some music.

This is very normal in Mexico and you could find yourself approached ten or twenty times a day, even when inside restaurants and cafes. Many Mexicans do donate to these people and if they do not they simply thank them with a smile and the person moves on to the next table.

Almost every business, no matter how small operates with a great deal of pride. It is this culture of pride that makes shopping and interacting with local businesses safe for solo female travellers in Mexico City.

This pride even stretches to the streets – which are spotlessly clean! Mexico City actually removed most of the garbage cans from the streets as they found that the bins would fill up and overflow. They noticed that when they removed them people were reluctant to litter. This meant people would carry their garbage with them until they found somewhere suitable to dispose of it – I think this says a lot about the people!

As solo female travellers we have to consider all sorts of sneaky ways to stay safe, especially in a large city like Mexico City. But, this is not a place where you need to hide your phone or wear a money belt. People walk around everyday with smart phones and smart watches without fear.

Not just as a solo female traveller, but as a woman in general, I almost always have a bag with me [how do men walk around empty handed all the time??]. I always have to think about keeping my bag safe anytime I take it off my body.

In Mexico City the restaurants provide bag trees which are little, short coat racks that sit beside your table where you can put your belongings, bags, jackets so they are off the floor and right in your eyeline!

Mexico City is full of history and beautiful architecture.
Street Cleaning, Mexico City

How Solo Female Travellers Stay Safe In Mexico City

I’m not going to say that solo female travellers are free to roam the streets of Mexico City, leaving a trail of hundred-dollar bills behind you and you’ll be safe and sound, but Mexico truly is not a place to be feared.

As with anywhere in the world you need to trust your gut and intuition, however that speaks to you. If you find yourself somewhere you think you shouldn’t be then leave. Here’s a few tips that help keep solo female travellers safe in Mexico City:

Staying Safe In Mexico City: Do’s

  • Do bring a printed copy of your accommodation address and location. You can use this for any taxi driver.
  • Do get a Mexican SIM card. Telcel SIM cards can be purchased at any 7Eleven or OXXO. SIM cards are activated for you in the store, so just pop it in and get going! Staying connected is always a good idea.
  • Do learn some basic Spanish! Get your Free Useful Mexican Words and Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page.
  • Do take Ubers, especially at night.
  • Do stay in a safe neighbourhood
  • Do keep small cash and coins in a handy separate pocket to make small purchases without taking your whole wallet out.
  • Do use ATMs inside banks – always.
  • Do trust your instincts. If it feels off, remove yourself.

Staying Safe In Mexico City: Don’ts

  • Don’t flash expensive items like designer bags and jewellery.
  • Don’t flash large wads of cash.
  • Don’t draw negative attention. Mexicans are respectful people, avoid making a scene, be polite, say hola, gracias and por favor.
  • Don’t use ATMs on the street or inside stores.
  • Don’t overdrink, so make sure you drink plenty of water and try not to skip meals.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drinks unattended.
  • Don’t purchase or seek to purchase drugs anywhere in Mexico.

Neighbourhoods To Avoid In Mexico City

As with many other major cities, it’s highly unlikely you’ll find yourself in a bad neighbourhood of Mexico City accidentally.

Travellers don’t have any reason to visit the dangerous neighbourhoods of Mexico City. Unless you’re seeking them out you’re unlikely to end up there because you really have no reason to be there.

One exception to this rule is the barrio of Doctores. Doctores sits on the east side of Roma, one of the most safe neighbourhoods to stay in Mexico City for solo female travellers.

The northwest corner of the barrio, where Av. Cuauhtémoc meets Dr. Lavista is where you’ll find the Arena Mexico, the home of Lucha Libre wrestling. Although Doctores is considered to be dangerous, don’t let that deter you from experiencing a Lucha Libre performance.

  • Lucha Libre is a lot of fun but I don’t recommend that solo female travellers go alone. I took an amazing tour which I highly recommend! Click the link below to see the tour I took:
Lucha Libre is a truly Mexican experience that is worth visiting.
Lucha Libre Match, Arena Mexico

When the event ends, follow the crowd toward Av. Cuauhtémoc. Once you cross to the west side of the avenida you’re in Roma, one of the safest neighbourhoods in all of Mexico City.

Other areas to avoid, which fall into the “you have no reason to be there anyways” category are Tepito, Iztapalapa, Ciudad Neza and La Merced Market.

It’s also best to avoid venturing to the outskirts of the city at night, particularly in the far north and far south.

Mexico City FAQs

How Many Days Should I Spend In Mexico City?

There is so much to do and see in Mexico City from museums to hot air balloon rides over Teotihuacán, that I would recommend visiting for at least three full days but I would give it more time if you have it. The city is large and sprawling so consider navigation time when you plan your days.

Many people will add a trip to Mexico City on as a stopover to somewhere else. If this is your plan, keep in mind that you will likely only have time to explore one part of the city so choose wisely!

Mexico City is also a brilliant and safe destination for digital nomads and solo female travellers. If you wanted to stay for at least a couple of weeks there is plenty to keep you busy.

Do They Speak English In Mexico City?

As a rule, no, people don’t speak English in Mexico City. Tour guides and some customer service positions at popular hotels and restaurants will speak some English but it is uncommon to find English speakers in Mexico City.

Mexicans speak Spanish. If you find yourself off the tourist path and in local establishment you are sure to encounter a language barrier.

Solo female travellers to Mexico City will feel a lot more safe with a little Spanish. It is helpful to download Spanish Offline using the Google Translate app to have access to translations without internet. You can also download my Useful Mexican Words and Phrases Cheatsheet at the bottom of this page.

Can I Use US Dollars In Mexico City?

It is a common misconception that you should bring US Dollars to Mexico. While it is possible to use US Dollars in some highly touristic areas such as Cancún, it is never advised. US Dollars are subject to harsh exchange rates and price gouging.

Trying to pay with US dollars in Mexico City can make you look like a real fish out of water so just stick to the local currency.

Should I Buy Travel Insurance For Mexico City?

Yes, everyone traveling internationally should purchase travel insurance. Travel can be unpredictable so it is important to purchase a comprehensive plan. Your plan should cover (at a minimum) emergency medical, emergency transportation and trip cancellation and interruption.

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Mexico City?

For the rest of Mexico I’d say no, but for Mexico City, it depends. Mexico does not have a nationwide universal clean water program. Drinking from the water supply can cause what Mexicans call “Montezuma’s Revenge”. This consists of severe diarrhoea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms.

Although Mexico City is not considered to be a hot destination, temperatures can soar during the day and the sun is hot. Staying hydrated is vitally important and luckily, finding drinking water in Mexico City is easy.

Mexico City has a world-class restaurant scene and many of these restaurants have water purification systems. Instead of having to purchase bottled water, restaurants often have pitchers of clean drinking water to fill your glass for free. Don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a bottle!

Bottled water is available in most restaurants, shops, bars, hotels, and supermarkets. It is also often available for purchase from street vendors.

There are products like water purification powders and straws that can purify tap water in Mexico but finding drinking water in Mexico City is easy to do.

Can I Brush Your Teeth With The Tap Water In Mexico City?

The rule for testing brushing your teeth in Mexico is the same rule you should use for testing street food: Try once and see how it goes.

How your body reacts to the bacteria in Mexico is unpredictable. It is best practice to brush with bottled water however I have spent months in Mexico using tap water to brush my teeth and didn’t experience any adverse affects.

Take in the incredible cityscape from Cityzen Rooftop Kitchen.

Summary: Is Mexico City Safe For Solo Female Travellers?

The truth is, the ugly reputation Mexico City has isn’t the truth at all. This false reputation of Mexico City not being safe for solo female travellers is standing in the way of so many people exploring this incredible part of the world.

I’m not going to say danger doesn’t exist in Mexico. What I am saying is that Mexico is a huge and diverse country and as with any country, it has some problems.

Statistically speaking the rate of crime that involves tourists in Mexico is 0.0002%. The US actually averages 9x more crimes than Mexico overall, 3x more per capita. But you wouldn’t think twice about visiting the States would you?

By the end of my three days in Mexico City I had fallen so deeply in love with it that I booked a flight back for another two weeks and starting planning my next Mexico City itinerary.

It’s the really interesting blend of European architecture and Mexican culture that makes it feel so unique. Mexico City has so much to offer in terms of history, culture and unforgettable experiences.

So however you want to ask the question: Is Mexico City safe for solo female travellers? The answer is yes, it’s safe for every traveller. Regardless of where you come from, what you look like or who you are, everyone is welcome.