Are you wondering: is Oaxaca safe to travel to or not?
For anyone thinking about traveling to Oaxaca, Mexico, you need to be prepared for both the best and the worst.
This is a tremendous place to be, but it’s also quite different from many other places in Mexico.
Eating crickets, people dancing in costumes around the streets? For first-time visitors, it can be a bit of a culture shock to go through.
Is Oaxaca Safe?
However, I believe it is safe. While it might have a bit of a negative reputation in some quarters, it’s unfairly gained in my opinion.
Like Mexico as a whole, some parts of Oaxaca are not safe. That is the same for any city in the world, though.
You have no reason to fear to travel to Oaxaca; it’s not a place that you should be worried about visiting whatsoever.
For most, the experience is only going to be a positive one.
Safety Facts about Oaxaca
Like in most places you’ll need to abide by the necessary precautions when traveling to Mexico. See the general consensus below:
- Along with Riviera Maya, it has the lowest advisory warning in Mexico.
- Highway driving can be dangerous, with various warnings laid out.
- Oaxaca is among the safest states in Mexico, with a very low crime rate.
- Crime is extremely low in the overall area, but also in Oaxaca City.
- The cost of living is among the best in the country, minimizing crime.
- Puerto Escondido is considered a ‘dangerous’ location by some???
Is Oaxaca Safe for Tourists?
The current U.S. Department of State Travel Advisory at the date of this report’s publication assesses Mexico at Level 2. indicating travelers should exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.
However, if you’ve been to Mexico before, you’ll already know about how the U.S. government likes to broadly sweep over the whole country as if the heart of Chihuahua is just as dangerous as Cozumel.
Oaxaca Crime Rate Facts
- Oaxaca and all along the Riviera Maya has, according to the U.S. advisory boards, the lowest advisory warning in Mexico.
- This region is known for its dangerous highways, as it has some of the highest numbers when it comes to driver warnings issued.
- The cost of living is the best in the country, making the desperate crime rate drop considerably compared to the rest of Mexico.
- Oaxaca is known by visitors as one of the safest states and cities in the whole country.
Most pretty crimes can be avoided as a tourist. Exercise caution if you go out at night, don’t trust strangers, avoid flashing expensive items, and don’t accept offers of drugs.
Not only is it illegal, but it’s dangerous. You’re funding the cartels which means they’ll keep taking over parts of Mexico.
Is Oaxaca, Mexico safe to travel alone?
If you’re backpacking Mexico safely by taking precautions about where you go and what you do; you’ll find Oaxaca a rewarding place.
I recommend that you always try and travel with at least one other person. You can easily meet other like-minded people here by staying in hostels or hostels.
If you are backpacking be sure to connect yourself with some of the best hostels in Oaxaca before you arrive and get help with transport from the bus station.
If you do travel alone, though, you simply need to be vigilant about the potential for issues.
Plus, ensure that a close family member knows your current location.
Don’t purposely make yourself stand out from the crowd, and do what you can to blend in with those around you.
Traveling to other tourist attractions in Oaxaca’s region such as Puerto Escondido from Oaxaca city can be done using the Ado bus.
Oaxaca is extremely safe compared with the rest of Mexico, but it wouldn’t hurt to carry out necessary checks before traveling.
How can you be sure you won’t be targeted by pickpocketers?
You can’t! Unless you keep valuables hidden!
However, you will be if you find yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time, which surprisingly can also be widely prevented.
Consider staying at a hotel or one of the many top-rated hostels as a secure location when deciding where to stay in Oaxaca.
Let’s look at some basic precautions to have in mind before, whilst, and after your travel.
As a great place to come and visit, you’ll not be disappointed with all there is to discover here.
Oaxaca, Mexico: Safety Tips
Below are some tips to help you stay safe:
- If you suffer from culture shock symptoms see our tips on this blog.
- Never promote yourself as a tourist or a traveler and don’t flash gadgets or goods if you can avoid it.
- Always keep spare cash hidden away and keep things like large luggage kept in a secure place.
- Aim to get padlocks for everything – even for your bag that you know will be stored inside a locker!
- Always wear clothing with zip-up protection.
- Avoid trying to stand out in crowds; stay low profile to avoid attention.
- If you want to take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden, locked away and on your person. A PacSafe backpack is perfect for this.
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked
- Don’t have ice with drinks and only drink from factory sealed bottles.
- Taxi drivers may try taking you to restaurants or hotels. These establishments will overcharge immensely and give the driver a commission. Try using a taxi booked through a hotel or Uber.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets and your money hidden away. Bras, travel neck wallets or secret bag compartments will do.
- Don’t go where there are few other people in the vicinity; this includes camping in secluded places. A simple rule: if there are families around, you’re probably safe.
- Be wary of attempts at credit-card fraud. Either use cards for emergencies only, or take cash out at trusted ATMs.
As you can see, you can never be too careful wherever you may find yourself in Mexico.
However, another helpful tip would be to rid yourself of all those Mexican myths.
As you may well know, Hollywood is notorious for damaging Mexican stereotypes with both lazy and dangerous assumptions of all kinds.
That way, you should find the whole experience to be trouble-free, but at the same time, it doesn’t hurt to exercise caution.
Keep them in mind, and Oaxaca will remain safe!
Oaxaca is a region with many backpackers taking the long route down from Mexico City or other popular places such as Puebla.
Many travelers visit to be able to experience some of the beaches in Oaxaca and explore what the Pacific coastlines have to offer.
Best Time to go to Oaxaca
To avoid the mad rush of tourists in the Summer months and to visit during the Dia de Los Muertos, we would suggest visiting during September/October time.
However, Spring is also a sweet time to visit Oaxaca.
Room rates and tourist crowds aren’t at the heights of summertime, and even though temperatures are high (average highs hover in the upper 80s Fahrenheit) there is less average precipitation than the summer.
Major earthquakes quite often happen during the months of June and July too, but they mostly happen off-shore.
Traveling around Mexico by Bus
I recommend that if you are going to come to Oaxaca then you travel by bus when you can and be sure to check the bus out before getting on board.
If you feel uncomfortable with the people on board, wait for the next bus. Using Ado bus you shouldn’t experience anything unruly.
Read this comprehensive guide on bus travel in Mexico for an excellent primer on Mexican bus systems and services.
Traveling via bus around Mexico via bus is possible, but it’s easy to feel unnerved if you do so.
It’s not unsafe to travel by bus, but it’s important to remain vigilant.
Try to divide long-distance travel up into shorter journeys.
For example, 6-7 hours maybe your threshold.
Some trips around the country can be up to 18 hours long so keep that in mind when planning. If you’re thinking of renting a car whilst in Oaxaca try to take the toll roads and always keep cash on you.
Travel Insurance for Oaxaca
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Is it Safe to Travel to Oaxaca?
As you can see, then, going about Oaxaca is not something you have to worry about per se.
It’s a fun and enjoyable location to spend your time, but you just need to be prepared to keep your wits about.
Do that, though, and your time here will be productive. See these safe places in Mexico for more ideas on where to go.
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