Mexico has indeed earned a spot in the news lately with all of the violence and drug traffic at the border. Mexico City has been depicted as a very dangerous place as well. However, the metropolitan area of Mexico City is home to over 21 million. A city this large will indeed rank high on the crime scale, just as large city in the United States. As with travel to any large city, one must just exercise caution and good judgment. Any large city has dangerous areas as well as safe areas for visitors. When travelling to a large city you should always familiarize yourself with the area you are visiting before you arrive. The internet as well as the local library is a great source of information.
The United States government sponsors a website that lists all travel warnings to foreign countries. It is always a good idea to monitor this site before travelling to any foreign country and plan your trip accordingly. This is the link to the Travel.State.Gov website.
When travelling to Mexico City there are a few things that fall under the common sense category. Most of the suggestions apply to all large cities:
Do not venture out into the city alone at night. Travel is generally safe during the day, but inadvisable at night. Avoid parks at night and do not wrap yourself in the surmised safety of police presence. This may not be the case. Many local police are corrupt and can present a danger as well.
There are several modes of transportation in Mexico City. The taxi system does represent a danger. That said, you can travel safely if you are familiar with the taxi system in Mexico City. Make certain that the taxi you enter is a city operated taxi. These are called Sitios. Ask before entering a taxi if it is a Sitio taxi. This means it is a city owned and certified taxi. Unauthorized taxis can charge inflated fees and can be dangerous with a risk of kidnapping. The Sitio taxis are expensive, but are safer. Avoid the metro and buses at night. They can be very dangerous. Mexperience offers valuable advice for those planning to utilize the Mexico City taxi system.
Try to avoid looking like a tourist. Always keep money and other valuables hidden. Flashing cash, jewelry and expensive cameras can be an invitation for theft. Carry as little with you as possible. It is not a good idea to carry more than one credit card or more cash that you need. Leave your passport locked in your room. Move with confidence and do not appear confused or lost. This will invite someone to take advantage of you. Backpacks and maps are a dead giveaway when you are trying to blend in. do not carry your wallet in your rear pocket or a bag with a long strap as pick pocketing is common. A smaller day bag you can carry in the front is better than a backpack for carrying necessary items.
There are many safe areas in Mexico City. Consider a stay in a hotel in a residential area such as La Condesa Hippodroma. This boutique style hotel offers 15 suites decorated in a beautiful, Mexican contemporary design. They do provide a fitness center and lounge on site, as well as a restaurant and spa on location. The hotel concierge will be very helpful as will the room service. This will eliminate the need to venture outside at night. The rooms are equipped with flat screen televisions as well as high speed internet service.
If you prefer the city and want to treat yourself to luxury, the Four Seasons Hotel is luxury to the max. Room rates are between 150-300 per night, with rumors of discounted rates on the weekends. Located on the Paseo de la Reforma, you are near the National Museum of Anthropology and History as well as Chapultepec Park.
www.mexicocity.com.mx/chaprk.html. With 240 rooms, 40 of which are suites, you will definitely find something comfortable. This is a great place to serve as home base because of the location. Rooms are standard with LCD flat screen TV and high speed wifi. The bathrooms are elegantly decorated in marble with a soaking tub that will challenge anything else you find in Mexico! This is the perfect way to end a day of walking up and down the streets of Mexico City.
There are many incredible things to see in Mexico City. Know where you are going before you get there, wear good shoes and don’t trip on the sidewalks!