Most Dangerous Places in Mexico: A 2024 Guide to the Top-Ranked Cities

Most Dangerous Places in Mexico

Embarking on a journey to Mexico? You’re not alone if the whispers and stories floating around have given you pause. It’s undeniable that the most dangerous places in Mexico pose real safety challenges due to high crime rates.

However, take it from someone who’s been knee-deep in this research—infinitely scrolling through articles, desperately trying to distinguish between genuine concern and unnecessary panic.

After thoroughly investigating (yes, that included poring over the latest figures from trusted sources such as the World Population Review), I’ve compiled this guide for you. Whether it’s the unsettling reports about drug cartels in Tijuana or the increase in petty thefts in Cancun making headlines, rest assured I’ve meticulously analyzed the data so you can navigate your plans with confidence.

This article aims to enlighten by pinpointing locations where extra caution is warranted—or perhaps recommended against visiting entirely.

Are you ready for some eye-opening insights? Let’s dive right into it!

Why Are Some Mexican Cities So Dangerous?

Mexico’s dangerous cities are like a playground for bad guys. Imagine streets where drug cartels, such as the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, call the shots.

These groups are involved in everything bad you can think of, from smuggling drugs across borders to violent turf wars. It’s not just about drugs; they’re also into stealing people (kidnapping) and other bad things.

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Because these cartels want to control as much land and power as possible, they often clash with one another or anyone who tries to stop them.

Where there is power, there is resistance.”

This battle for control doesn’t end well for regular folks caught in the middle. Plus, Mexico battles some big problems that help crime grow, like not having enough money and jobs for everyone, which makes joining a cartel look good to some people desperate for work.

And let’s talk about cops and leaders who sometimes make deals with these criminals instead of fighting them. So yeah, between gang fights over land, shady deals behind closed doors, and too many people without hope feeling stuck, it’s no wonder some Mexican cities are super dangerous places to be.

The Most Dangerous Cities in Mexico Based on Murder Rates

Alright, let’s get real here. If you’re packing your bags for Mexico, I’ve got some solid advice: keep an eye on those murder rates. Some cities are just hotspots for trouble, and, trust me, you’d rather know before you go.

So grab your map and maybe a strong coffee (or something stronger), because we’re about to walk through the spots where staying safe means staying alert. And hey, it’s not all doom and gloom; knowing is half the battle when planning that dream trip or adventurous escape!


I visited Coatzacoalcos once, and boy, it’s not just any city. It holds a scary record, with 48 murders per 100,000 people. This place, located in the southern part of Veracruz, is like something out of a movie full of bad guys.

You’ve got criminal gangs left and right, making it super risky.

The danger isn’t just talk; it’s real. Cartels like Sinaloa and the Jalisco New Generation have their claws deep in this city. That’s why there’s so much violent crime around here. The streets can feel like a battleground if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I made sure to keep my eyes open and stay clear of trouble spots during my visit.

Ciudad Obregón

So, let’s talk about Ciudad Obregón. With a murder rate of 52 per 100,000 people, it’s pretty high up there on the list of places you might want to skip in Mexico. This city isn’t playing games when it comes to violent crimes and homicides.

It’s like walking into a movie scene where you know something bad is about to happen—except it’s real life.

During my time there, I couldn’t help but notice the tension that seemed to hang in the air; it was clear this place has seen its fair share of cartel-related crime. It’s understandable why experts advise tourists to avoid this area.

Gang violence seems more common than street tacos, and that’s saying something because those tacos are everywhere. Even with all its beauty and the genuine warmth of many locals, you’ve got to watch your back in Ciudad Obregón.

It serves as a stark reminder: some spots are known for their beaches, others for their crime rates.


Uruapan is one of those cities where the air feels a bit heavier. It’s not surprising that there are 55 killings for every 100,000 residents in Uruapan. This place has a big problem with criminal groups that deal in illegal drugs and pull off other dark deeds.

You might hear names like Sinaloa, Jalisco New Generation, and Arellano Felix thrown around here; they’re all bad news. They’ve turned Uruapan into their playground.

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It can feel like moving through a villain-designed movie set when you’re walking down its streets, except that this is real life. The city’s fight with murder rates isn’t just numbers on paper; it’s stories of people caught in the crossfire of Mexico’s drug war.

It makes you think twice about wandering into certain areas without keeping your eyes wide open and staying smart about safety tips to avoid becoming part of these sad statistics.


Moving on from Uruapan, let’s talk about Culiacán. This place has a murder rate of 61 per 100,000 people. Yep, you read that right. It’s pretty high, making the city one of those spots in Mexico where you’d be super careful.

And guess what? A mega-powerful cartel calls this place home. That alone makes many travelers think twice.

“In Culiacán, even the bravest might tread lightly.”

So imagine walking down a street where every corner could tell a story—some scary and others just wild. The connection to drug lords and their empires is real here. Culiacán lives up to its reputation in more ways than one can count, from whispers of organized crime to the echoes of drug-related unrest in its alleys.


I went to Cancun last year. You might think of it as a paradise for beaches and parties, right? It surprised me too, but this place is on the list of Mexico’s most dangerous cities.

This isn’t just my opinion. The numbers are pretty scary—a homicide rate of about 64 murders per 100,000 visitors!

This high number comes from some serious issues like the drug trade and violent crimes. I saw more police than I expected on those sunny streets, which made sense after I learned about the cartel fights happening there.

It feels weird to see that kind of security in a holiday spot.

Walking around Cancun needs careful steps and eyes wide open—especially at night. Even with all its beauty and fun spots, knowing these things puts a different perspective on things.

So while you’re out enjoying those stunning blue waters or exploring local shops, stay aware—it’s not all sunshine and margaritas here.


So, here’s the deal with Irapuato. It’s got a murder rate of 81 per 100,000 people. Yeah, you read that right. This isn’t just a number on paper; it means real danger. The city finds itself in a tough spot, with drug-related violence at its core.

Think about it: When places become playgrounds for groups like the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels, peace doesn’t stand a chance.

Walking through Irapuato feels different because of the shadow over it. People here are dealing with more than their fair share of problems, from murders to human trafficking and even carjackings.

Feeling safe? For many living there, it’s not really a thing. The crime rate paints a grim picture, putting Irapuato high up on the list nobody wants to be on—Mexico’s most dangerous cities.

Ciudad Victoria

I had the opportunity to visit Ciudad Victoria, and I must warn you, it’s not a place for the timid. This place has a high rate of violent crimes. To give you an idea, imagine this: 86 people out of every 100,000 find themselves victims of homicide here.

It’s like walking into a scene straight out of a crime drama but real.

Gang violence has gripped the city. Groups fighting over turf have made it one tough spot to be in, especially for locals trying to live their daily lives amidst chaos.

On my trip, I couldn’t help but notice the tense atmosphere—police patrols were everywhere, yet it seemed like they could barely keep up with criminal activities sprouting left and right.

Yes, these include drug trafficking associated with well-known cartels that we’ve all heard about in the news.

Ciudad Juárez

Ciudad Juárez sits right on the US border, making it a hotspot not just for tourists but, sadly for crime too. This city has seen its fair share of trouble, with a high homicide rate that puts visitors on edge.

The cartels have their hands in this mess, upping the danger meter for everyone. Just walking down the street, you can feel the tension in the air. It’s like everything is a bit too quiet.

Safety here needs to be your top priority. Stick to well-known areas and don’t venture into unknown neighborhoods; trust me, it’s not worth the risk. Always remain vigilant; rely on reliable transportation methods to avoid unnecessary confrontations.

“What’s the key to safety in Ciudad Juárez?” Vigilance and common sense.”

Now, off we go deeper into Mexico’s dangerous spots…


Acapulco used to be a hot spot for visitors wanting sun and sea. Now, it’s got a darker side. With 54.13 murders per 100,000 people, it stands out for the wrong reasons—making headlines not just for its beaches but because of its high danger levels.

Crimes such as drug selling and human smuggling are part of the problem.

I heard stories about Acapulco’s past glory days from my grandparents. They wouldn’t recognize it now, with all the criminal groups fighting over it. Still, its beauty pulls people in, as risky as that might be, with kidnappings and armed thefts happening more often than anyone would like.

It’s weird thinking of such a stunning place as one where you have to watch your back so much.


Switching from Acapulco’s sunny but risky beaches, we land in Tijuana. This city tops the charts with a homicide rate that’ll make your head spin—138 per 100,000 citizens! I visited once and let me tell you, it felt like walking into a live-action movie set about drug lords and secret deals.

The place is known for being a battleground for drug-related violence and crime. It’s smack on the U.S. border, making it a prime spot for trafficking everything bad you can think of—from humans to drugs.

The shocking truth is that Tijuana’s murder rates are among the highest in the world. Navigating certain areas of this city can feel precarious; a single misstep could lead to trouble.

It’s home to some scary folks involved in all sorts of illegal trades. I guess being close to another country makes some believe they can play by their own rules? My advice? Stick to well-lit streets and don’t wander off into unknown areas.

Unless you fancy starring in an unplanned adventure story that might not end well, this is not for you.

Additional dangerous places in Mexico

Oh, and if you thought the list ended there, think again. There are more spots that might make your heart race a bit faster.


So, I heard you’re planning a trip and Colima popped up on your radar. Well, let me share some crucial information before you pack those bags. Colima’s beauty is undeniable, but it’s also got a darker side.

Since 2015, the city’s crime rates have skyrocketed. Yep, we’re talking a triple increase in murder rates here. It seems the place became a hot spot for cartel activity, leading to more violent incidents like assaults and robberies.

“We advise travelers to proceed with extreme caution.”

My visit there was eye-opening. Walking through the streets, you feel the weight of its reputation. The tension from ongoing turf wars between criminal groups is palpable. These aren’t just petty crimes; we’re talking about serious stuff tied to drug trafficking rings that have their claws deep in the region.


The rich agricultural scene in Zamora once drew me there. It’s also a hotspot for danger because of the underground worlds that run deep. Little did I know. This city is not just about growing crops.

No sir! It’s a central hub for cartels and illegal wood cutting. These activities are quite risky for Zamora.

Walking through the streets, you feel the weight of its reputation. You see more than farmers and markets; there are shadows of criminal groups, too. The clash between everyday life and these hidden dangers caught me off guard.

I quickly learned to keep my eyes open and stay aware of my surroundings in Zamora, making it back with tales taller than their cornfields, but also with warnings for fellow travelers about this beautiful yet complicated place.


Reynosa sits tight on the border, making it a busy spot for cartels fighting over paths into the United States. It’s true, this city sees more than its fair share of trouble. Reynosa has it all, from drug movement to grabbing people against their will, and even ending lives.

Worse yet, these actions make stepping foot in here risky business, especially for tourists just looking to explore.

Why visit then? Well, some might say it’s for the thrill, or maybe an interest in what life looks like on such edgy grounds. For me, staying safe means keeping my distance from places with such high danger levels.

The city’s crime wave is linked to big crime groups that don’t play nice. They’re behind most of the scary stuff happening around—think smuggling humans or trafficking illegal substances.

If you find yourself needing to pass through or by Reynosa, remember that being extra careful should be at the top of your list.

Chihuahua City

I need to tell you about Chihuahua City. This city is known for its crime linked to drug gangs and illegal trading. It’s on the list of Mexico’s most risky places because of violent acts connected with narcotics sales.

Despite this, its murder rate stands at 41.7 per 100,000 people, which is actually lower than many others in the lineup.

So why talk about it? Well, if you’re heading there or just curious, staying sharp and aware is key due to the criminal group’s activities. Next up, we’ll chat about Tepic, another place with its own set of challenges.


Leaving Chihuahua City behind, our next stop is Tepic. This city sees a lot of trouble because the Jalisco New Generation Cartel holds power here. They’re heavy into bad stuff like drug trafficking and have their hands deep in corruption and bribery.

Imagine walking through a place where crime is as common as cars on the street. That’s Tepic for you—robberies, assaults, and way too many murders happen all the time.

Tepic wasn’t always like this. It used to be famous for its sugar cane, tobacco, and citrus fruits. Now, it’s known for something much darker: its high crime index and murder rates that are through the roof.

This makes it one of Mexico’s most dangerous spots, not just for locals but also for tourists who might wander in unaware of the dangers lurking around every corner due to heavy criminal activity linked with organized crimes, including smuggling stolen goods or people across borders illegally.

Essential Tips for Staying Safe in Mexico

I know Mexico is a beautiful country with lots to offer. But it’s also true that some places can be dangerous. Here are my tips for staying safe.

  1. Plan your trip carefully. Use Google to check the latest news about where you’re going. Focus on visiting safer cities and knowing the areas to avoid.
  2. Stay in hotels or resorts known for good security. They work hard to keep their guests safe. Hotels often have strong locks, cameras, and guards.
  3. Use well-known transportation methods. Stick with taxis from official stands or ride-sharing apps like Uber. They are safer than random cars on the street.
  4. Avoid going out at night by yourself. There’s safety in numbers, so go out with friends if you can. Dark streets and lonely places are riskier.
  5. Don’t flash expensive stuff around. Carrying a lot of cash or wearing fancy jewelry can make you a target for robbery.
  6. Learn basic Spanish phrases. Asking for help or directions can come in handy when you find yourself lost or in trouble.
  7. Keep in touch with family or friends back home. Tell them where you’re going each day, just in case.
  8. Be careful who you talk to. Not everyone who seems friendly has good intentions, especially in crowded places like markets or busy streets.

Following these steps doesn’t guarantee nothing bad will happen, but they can reduce risks and help you enjoy your trip more safely.


So there you have it, folks. A quick tour through some spots in Mexico might make you want to think twice about visiting. Sure, stories of adventure sound cool and all, but how about staying safe? That’s even cooler.

Keep those essential tips in mind, stay sharp, and hey—there are plenty of other beautiful places in Mexico where you can chill without worrying too much. Stay smart out there!

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