Safety is still a major concern for a majority of Americans going abroad, and can you really blame them when the world seems to have gone absolutely bonkers, what with the multiple wars taking place and crime levels soaring across multiple destinations?

Mexico-bound travelers are definitely no exception, particularly amid the media-led fearmongering and the decades-old misconception that the Southern neighbor is unsafe to visit – you know, all the gang talk, pickpocketing, gun violence and whatnot.

While that may be true for certain Mexican states, this is still a huge country with varying levels of crime, and not all tourist hotspots are high-risk – that is the case with Merida and Los Cabos, two peaceful destinations that have just been voted safest to visit in Mexico for summer:

A Cultural Hotspot And A Luxury Resort Are The Safest Cities In The Country

Merida, MexicoAccording to the latest National Urban Public Safety Survey (ENSU), carried out by Mexico’s own National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI), the leading authority in this field, Merida and Los Cabos are two of the safest municipalities in the entire country.

This comes at a time when the perception of insecurity increases across a number of Mexican cities, including the capital: compared to March 2023, when the last study was published.

There’s been a 7% increase in residents of Mexico City feeling unsafe (56.2 percent).

Central Avenue Paseo de Montejo in MeridaIn Cancun, it’s a whopping 82.4 percent of the local populace reports their city isn’t as safe as it could be, and they seem to echo common tourist concerns, such as feeling unsafe when taking out cash from ATMs and using public transportation.

In contrast, Merida is one of the safest cities in Mexico, based on the perception of local residents alone, with only 23.2 percent feeling unsafe, even though it’s located in the same peninsula as Cancun (Yucatan).

Beautiful Beach In Los Cabos, Mexico, Latin AmericaOn the opposite side of the country, on the Pacific Coast, the dual destination Los Cabos had similar results: it comprises the resort towns of Cabo San Lucas and San Jose Del Cabo, and below Merida, 24.8% of the population feels unsafe.

Why Is Merida One Of The Safest Cities In Mexico?

Merida has long been known as one of the least risky destinations in Mexico, something Washington authorities themselves have reiterated numerous times in their travel advisories, which have consistently placed the state of Yucatan, where the city is located, at Level 1.

Merida, Mexico. Hispanic colonial plaza and church in Parque HidalgoOther international destinations at Level 1 include Iceland, Finland, Croatia, Japan, and a host of countries traditionally perceived as safe, so this historic state capital with a wealth of colonial-era treasures is in pretty good company.

Merida’s safety is largely attributed to local authorities’ zero-tolerance approach to crime – gangs of Yucatan know the Merida police force is tougher and even respects them – and law enforcers are well trained, well-equipped, and reportedly not as corrupt.

Alfresco Dining Area In Merida, Mexico, Latin AmericaAs a destination, it is famous for its preserved historic center, dominated by a Spanish-built cathedral, which was erected out of disassembled stones from nearby Mayan ruins, colorful facades and imperial palaces.

Los Cabos, on the other hand, has geography on its side:

What About Los Cabos?

It sits on the southernmost tip of the Baja California peninsula, miles away from other major conurbations. The nearest large city is equally peaceful La Paz, a two-hour drive away, while drug hotspots Tijuana and Mexicali, on the northern end of the peninsula, are a much longer 17-19-hour drive.

Tall coconut trees near the swimming pool with a view of El Arco from Riu Palace Hotel in Los Cabos.The highways leading down to Baja California Sur, the state that lays claim to Cabo, from neighboring Northern Baja California, are also heavily patrolled, and the drug trade, though not eradicated, just isn’t as prominent in the laid-back resort as it is in other parts of the Mexican mainland.

At the end of the day, there is a whole sea – the Sea of Cortez – separating Baja California Sur, where the Capes are, from Sinaloa and Jalisco, two of the least-safe states in Mexico, well known for turf wars and trafficking-related incidents.

Mexico Flag Flying Over A Mountain In Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, Mexico, Latin AmericaCabo is also a well-loved destination among affluent Americans and celebrities, so needless to say, security within the Downtown zone and the resort strips is tight, and it has, without question, contributed to the excellent results seen in the INEGI report.

On the tourism front, unlike inland Merida, Cabo is best known for its abundant nature and golden-sand beaches as opposed to cultural value: it is where several of Mexico’s most luxurious resorts are located, and it’s considered the best all-inclusive destination.

Panoramic View Of A Beach In Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, MexicoOther municipalities with lower levels of insecurity perception include Benito Juarez, part of metropolitan Mexico City (11.1%), Piedras Negras (19%), and Cuajimalpa de Morelos (22.5%).

As you can see, not all cities in Mexico are as badly affected by crime, and it’s unlikely Americans will experience violence when staying in Merida or Los Cabos specifically.

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