10 Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico That You Should Avoid

most dangerous cities in mexico

Mexico is a popular tourist destination for its delicious food, breathtaking scenery and landscapes, history, and warm people. It has a vibrant and lively culture that knows how to give you a break from the monotony of the average working day.

While Mexico is undoubtedly one of the best places in the world to go backpacking and unwind, there are some safety issues you need to be conscious of as a traveler. This article will talk about 10 of the most dangerous cities in Mexico. If you’re ever planning to visit them, make sure you have a trusted local guide.

10 Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico

#1. Mazatlan


Mazatlan is a beautiful Mexican resort town located along the Pacific shoreline in the state of Sinaloa. It features stunning sandy beaches and is renowned for big-game fishing.

The city receives hundreds of thousands of tourists from across the world every year to enjoy the nightlife, scenery, and beach resorts. Mazatlan is a small but booming economy with major historical significance and a lot of fun places to visit.

However, that’s just the good part. Mazatlan is considered one of the most dangerous cities in the world and forms a part of Mexico’s dark underbelly of crime and corruption.

It’s also the home of the infamous Sinaloa drug cartel. The homicide rate is over 39 per 100,000 people. Violent theft and sexual assault are also a scourge for local residents and tourists.

#2. Reynosa


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Reynosa is located directly across the US-Mexico border from Hidalgo, Texas, in the northern part of East Mexico. It’s a tropical paradise and the largest metropolitan area in the state of Tamaulipas. Reynosa used to be among the top 5 fastest growing cities in Mexico but took a different turn as corruption and drug gangs rose to power.

The OSAC describes Reynosa as consistently violent and pretty dire. The city, unfortunately, sees a lot of gun battles between the police and drug cartel members, some of which result in the death of ordinary citizens caught in the crossfire. Carjacking and kidnapping also occur at a high frequency.

#3. Tepic


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Tepic, the capital city of the Nayarit state in western Mexico, has one of the highest populations of indigenous people in the country. It’s also at the center of one of the richest agricultural regions in Mexico known for sugarcane, tobacco, and exotic citrus fruits.

Tepic has a relatively moderate crime rate compared to other cities in Mexico. However, it is still one of the world’s top 50 most dangerous cities to live in. Corruption and bribery are enormous problems in Tepic.

It has led to a high rate of armed robberies, violent assaults, vandalism, and drug abuse in a city otherwise blessed by Mother Nature.

#4. Ciudad Obregón


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Ciudad Obregon is a city located in the heart of the Yaqui Valley in Southern Sonoma. It’s the second-largest city in the state and is an important commercial center with an airport, packing plants, cotton gins, and granaries.

It’s a relatively safe city, with the police known to have a good response rate. So if you’re ever visiting Sonoma, it would be best to land at Ciudad Obregon. It’s a fun holiday destination, although you may not find the nightlife too enthralling. Ciudad Obregon is safer than most Mexican cities, but it is still notorious for theft and various other street crimes at night.

#5. Chihuahua


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The capital of the state of Chihuahua, the Chihuahua city is located in Northwestern Mexico. Landmarks of historic significance such as the Spanish Baroque Cathedral de Chihuahua have made it quite popular. Chihuahua is also the richest state in Mexico, owing greatly to its livestock production and silver mining.

However, once again, despite its progress, Chihuahua is one of the worst cities in Mexico plagued with crime. It’s a hotspot for gun violence, armed theft, carjackings, and kidnappings. The United States Bureau of Consular Affairs Travel Advisory strongly recommends reconsidering travel to the state of Chihuahua.

#6. Ciudad Juarez


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Ciudad Juarez is another Chihuahuan city, home to the Mexican Vaquero (cowboy) culture. Juarez is also one of Mexico’s major historical centers as it hosts some of the finest cathedrals, museums, and art exhibits in the world.

Ciudad Juarez and Chihuahua city share a similar situation of crime, corruption, and poverty. It’s been experiencing an escalating homicide rate, so it’s probably best to save Juarez for the future.

#7. Culiacán


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Culiacán, also known as Culican Rosales, is the capital of and the largest city in Sinaloa. It’s known for its rich culture, celebrations, and luxury hotels. The city also hosts beautiful botanical gardens, zoo parks, and a stunning neoclassical cathedral.

In terms of safety for travelers, Culiacán is not on the list of safe places in Mexico for tourists. Problems like mugging, violent crime, and terrorism are rampant. Despite the town’s countless attractions, it sees fewer and fewer tourists with each passing year.

The United States Bureau of Consular Affairs Travel Advisory strongly recommends not to travel to Culiacán until the Mexican government gains better control of the situation.

#8. Ciudad Victoria


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Ciudad Victoria is the capital of the Mexican state of Tamaulipas and the Municipality of Victoria. It’s located in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Oriental mountain range in northeast Mexico. It is home to some of Mexico’s most reputed educational institutions, such as the University of Tamaulipas.

However, it also has one of the highest homicide rates in Mexico. Most of the violence and bloodshed tends to come from clashes between the police and criminal groups. In recent years, crime in Ciudad Victoria has become so bad that armed soldiers have now become a common sight in the streets around the city.

#9. La Paz


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La Paz is the capital of the Mexican state of Baja California Sur and is located in the Baja California Peninsula. It’s a seafront destination, renowned for its beautiful coastal cliffs and sandy white beaches.

At first glance, La Paz is an idyllic vacation spot but its level of crime has been sky-rocketing in recent years. The US State Department Advisory has advised tourists to exercise increased caution if they decide to visit Baja California Sur.

#10. Tijuana


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Tijuana is located right under the US–Mexico border south of California. It’s a party spot for tourists from all across the world and hosts Mexico’s largest Asian population. It’s got lively bars, sandy beaches, and beautiful cultural complexes; however, it’s arguably the most violent city in Mexico.

In terms of its homicide rate, it has been ranked at 7.7 times higher than Detroit. Shootings, dead bodies, and gang violence are very common sights in Tijuana since it’s a passageway for drugs to enter the US.

Gretchen Walker
Gretchen is a homemaker by day and writer by night. She takes a keen interest in life as it unfolds around her and spends her free time observing people go about their everyday affairs.