Were you wondering: is Nogales safe?
Nogales is not very different from any other border town. It’s full of culture, traditions, good food, and lots of shops.
So, is Nogales safe to visit?
That’s what we’ll discuss today! It’s not the safest place and it’s not meant for a long visit, but you can have a good time passing through.
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Is Nogales, Mexico Safe?
Whether you are traveling here for some Mexican gifts, Dental care or just passing through to get to another part of Mexico you’ll need to be aware of the safety situation in Nogales right now.
Is It Safe to Travel to Nogales right now?
So, is Nogales safe? As long as you’re cautious and you never go alone, Nogales is safe to visit and travel through from Arizona to Mexico.
The danger in this border town is that, because it’s a border town, it’s often used by drug cartels and human trafficking networks.
That means crime is always nearby, so you need to be careful to enjoy safety in Nogales. Not all of Nogales is a tourist zone for a reason.
If you want to explore it, you need to stick to El Periferico highway and Avenida Obregon, where you can have some fun.
The Obregon distric starts one block north of the border wall and has tons of shops and things to do beyond the so called ‘border tourism’.
Safety Facts about Nogales
This blog talks a lot about travel as well as safety in Mexico and does it’s best to despel typical Mexican stereotypes but what are the facts?
The OSAC annual crime and safety report of 2020 sheds some light on the level of safety in Nogales.
The homicide rate in the city has increased since 2019, residential burglaries are common, car theft is common, and gun crime is quite prevalent because gangs carry weapons.
Not to mention petty crime is active. There’s no evidence to suggest that tourists are targeted.
However, people report feeling unsafe because they’re stared at as they explore the city, so it’s easy to feel like a target.
💡Smart Travel Tip
Nogales is not meant for tourism, which is why it’s not super safe and it doesn’t have the best infrastructure, that’s something to keep in mind.
Is Nogales Safe to Travel Alone?
Safety in Nogales for solo travelers is a big issue and it is not good to travel alone. Especially not if you’re passing through at night.
You could always stay close to the border at a place such as this one and continue your travel during the daytime hours.
Additionally, women should never visit Nogales alone because sexual attacks have been on the rise.
Street crime is common even during the day, so it’s good to have a companion. If not let family or friends know your travel plans.
This way, you can watch each other’s backs. Express kidnapping is a risk and criminals can be bold enough to commit them during the day.
Be sure to purchase travel insurance before arriving, and if you must go through Nogales alone, aim to stick to the tourist and built up areas.
Also, avoid walking around after dark, and avoid the nightlife scene. Many people do a day trip to Nogales for shopping or to visit family.
Backpacking Nogales Safety
If you’re backpacking through this border city, safety in Nogales is the main concern. To be seen as a the ‘gringo tourist‘ isn’t ideal in this town.
That means you need to remain aware of your surroundings and practice absolute caution.
The tourist area of the city is where you want to be because those are the safest spots in Nogales.
People that work and live there need to make sure the area is safe enough for tourists because that’s how they make a living.
However, don’t get super comfortable with this thought.
You still need to be cautious and practice travel safety habits, such as keeping your valuables on you at all times and not flaunting them.
Dress to blend in, keep an eye on your things, and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Get a neck wallet for concealing valuables.
You will learn that the main tourist areas are Plaza Pesqueira and Campillo, which are both know as popular medical tourism areas.
If you’re in Nogales for some retail therapy, Obregon will be your destination. You can negotiate on anything you want to purchase.
Also, try some delicious Mexican food before going on your way. You’ll see options after crossing via the Nogales-Morley Gate to the east.
💡Smart Travel Tip
If your hungry after crossing the border be sure to make a stop at Taqueria Las Yaquis De Obregon for some cheap and cheerful Tacos.
Nogales Safety Tips for Travel
Though Nogales is not the most tourist area, you can enjoy your time there before you move on to other Mexican cities.
Safety in Nogales is not the best, so there are things you need to keep in mind. Here are some important travel safety tips to follow:
⤵️ Follow these helpful tips if you want to stay safe:
- Always stay in four-star hotels; this tip is valid for any border town in Mexico. Cheaper hotels are likely owned by cartels.
- Don’t flaunt your valuables at all.
- Dress to blend in and leave your jewelry at home, especially if you’re backpacking.
- If you happen to get mugged, don’t resist and give your things up.
- Make copies of important travel documents and keep the originals safe.
- Never walk around at night, especially not if you’re alone.
- If staying over night City Express is one of the most popular hotels with tourists.
- Avoid visiting Nogales alone because you need someone to watch your back.
- Don’t bring your own car because carjackings are common. Go for an authorized taxi instead.
- Don’t stay in Nogales for too long. There’s really not much to explore, so you won’t need to spend much time here. Get in and get out.
- If someone presents themselves as a police officer, ask for their name, patrol car number, and badge number.
- Avoid drinking any kind of water that’s not bottled.
- Don’t be too curious about people, especially if they look suspicious. Keep your distance.
Traveling from Nogales, Arizona to Nogales, Mexico
There are only 4 km or 2.4 miles between Nogales, Arizona, and Nogales, Mexico. Though it may seem like a good idea to drive there, remember carjackings are common.
The best way to get through is via direct bus, which goes from Nogales to Nogales about 4 times a day and it’s operated by Tufesa Mexico.
The trip will take a little over an hour and the buses run daily.
Once you’re in Nogales, don’t use public transport. It’s not safe because theft is common and public buses can also get hijacked if they go through conflict areas.
If you need to take a bus from Nogales, make sure it’s first-class and from a licensed bus line. It will be more expensive, but it will be safer.
Got Travel Insurance for Nogales?
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Nogales Safety FAQ’s
See these frequently asked questions about safety in Nogales:
Safety in Nogales: Final Words
Safety in Nogales is definitely an issue.
It will be okay for you to visit on your way to other Mexican cities, but it’s not a place you want to be in for long.
Most visits to Nogales go without an incident, but potential dangers and risks are all around you.
That’s true of most border towns, which is why they’re not awfully touristic.
Due to their location, crime rates are higher and safety risks are considerable. You can pass through, do some shopping, and eat good food, but be wary at all times!
Read more about safe cities in Mexico you can visit on your travels.
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