“You’re going on your own?? Are you crazy?” When I announced that I would be taking my first ever solo trip this year, my friends and family were concerned. When I told them it would be to Mexico, they were downright alarmed. But the funny thing is, only people who have never been here think solo female travel in Mexico is unsafe.
The locals and fellow travelers I’ve met on my trip don’t bat an eye. Why? Because they know what the rest of the world doesn’t seem to: Mexico is an amazing destination for your first solo trip. Yes, even as a woman. At 29, I’d done my fair share of backpacking, but it still took a lot of courage to go it completely alone. But I’m so glad I finally took the plunge. I’ve been here for nearly two months now and it’s become my favourite solo travel destination yet. Whether you’re looking for stunning beaches, rich culture, incredible (vegan!) food or wild parties, Mexico has something for everyone. In this blog post I’ll aim to answer all the questions and doubts you might have about solo female travel in Mexico, though please do leave a comment below if there’s anything I’ve missed ?
Is Mexico Safe?
For my friends and family, the number one concern seemed to be that Mexico was not a safe place to travel to at all, let alone on my own. You might have encountered similar advice when considering a trip here, so I want to address this one right away: In my experience, I’ve felt completely safe my entire trip, and I haven’t had any issues. As with any country, some areas are safer than others and you need to use your common sense. When I’d get to a new area, I’d check with fellow travellers or at the hostel reception to see if there were any neighbourhoods I should avoid. I didn’t get stupidly drunk or wander off on my own in the middle of the night. I didn’t take unsafe transport (more on that below). But provided you take some basic precautions, there’s no need to feel overly paranoid about your safety as a single woman in Mexico.
Safest Places To Visit In Mexico
The country’s reputation for drug cartels and violence is not unjustified. But what most people don’t realise is that this activity is very isolated and found only in concentrated pockets mainly in the north of the country. For the most part, Mexico is a really safe destination for solo travel. A tougher question would: what are the best places to visit in Mexico? Because there are SO many amazing things to see here. To help you narrow it down, I’ve listed a few of the highlights of my trip below, plus some overrated places that you can easily skip. My one piece of advice is that Mexico is so much more than Cancun and beaches. Even if you’re mainly looking for sun and sand, there’s so much variety even among the beaches, and plenty off the beaten track spots.
You’ve probably seen photos of Tulum splashed all over Instagram. It’s easy to see why; the beaches here are incredible and the town is full of yoga spots, chilled cafes, and fun beach bars, plus it ranks high on the list of safest places to visit in Mexico. I spent two weeks here and could have stayed longer. Make sure you block off some time away from the beach to explore the Yucatan Peninsula’s many cenotes. These underground swimming holes are amazing, and were one of my favourite parts of the whole trip.
I had no idea I would love Mexico City as much as I did. I planned to spend four days here and ended up staying for over two weeks. My favourite neighbourhoods are Roma Norte, La Condesa, and Polanco. They’re all full of gorgeous stores, restaurants, parks, and cafes and have beautiful tree lined streets. San Angel, Zona Rosa, Coyoácan, and Juarez are also all great areas to check out if you have a bit longer in the city.
The cutest little hippie beach town, I absolutely loved Sayulita. It’s full of travellers, but doesn’t feel at all like a tourist town in the way that somewhere like Cancun does. Go here for amazing smoothie bowls, cheap street food, surfing, and an overall chill vibe.
A gorgeous little island just north of Cancun, Isla Mujeres is a great spot to get away from the tourist insanity of Cancun and Playa del Carmen (my opinion is to skip both!). It’s still not exactly a hidden gem, but the beaches are beautiful and the island has a very laid back vibe. For a similar island paradise vibe with fewer tourists, try Isla Holbox.
San Miguel de Allende
A beautiful town four hours from Mexico City, it manages to be full of expats while retaining a very authentic Mexican feel. I could not stop taking photos here, the buildings and city views are stunning, which makes San Miguel de Allende an obvious choice for the list of safest places to visit in Mexico.
This surf town and the surrounding beaches are the perfect place to relax. You won’t get the white sand beaches and crystal waters of the Caribbean, but you will find a less touristy, more rustic atmosphere that’s perfect for combining beach time with authentic Mexican food.
But Won’t I Be Lonely If I Travel Mexico Alone?
One of my main concerns when I was planning this trip was whether or not I’d meet people. Just because I was travelling alone didn’t mean I wanted to be alone the whole time! My worries were quickly put to rest when I got here though because there are so many travellers, expats, and friendly locals that it’s so easy to meet great people. I obviously met new friends in my hostel, but I also met people in cafes, restaurants, the beach… I’ve been to some places in the past where it felt like every traveller there was a 19 year old on their gap year looking to get wasted, but in Mexico you get such a mix of ages and backgrounds. I did meet the young party animals, but I also met lots of expats, digital nomads, and people of all ages on vacation. So whatever you’re feeling up for, you’ll find someone to do it with!
Want to make new friends on the road and find out about all the best events at your hostels? Check out the video below:
Safest Transport For Solo Females In Mexico
A common fear for solo female travellers in Mexico is how to travel around safely. I’ve taken all sorts of transportation during my two month trip, so here’s a little guide to the safest options.
You can find amazing deals on domestic flights in Mexico, and in some cases my flights were actually cheaper than getting the bus. Mexico is a pretty massive country, so flights can also help you to cut down on a ton of travel time (and less travel time = more beach time!). Viva Aerobus and Volaris are two great airline options.
Another awesome way for women to travel around Mexico alone. Buses in Mexico are seriously deluxe with really comfortable seats, tons of leg room, AC, and snacks included. Prices are also very reasonable and services run frequently. ADO and ETN are the most popular bus companies.
Collectivos / Taxis / Uber
For shorter distances, collectivos (aka mini-buses) and taxis are a great option. Taxis are much more expensive than collectivos, but they are still a lot cheaper than you’d get in the UK, Canada, or the US. Check the price for the trip with your taxi driver before getting in, and check with your hostel staff beforehand to make sure taxis are safe in your area. If you’re in Mexico City, Uber is the best way to get around. Avoid the subway altogether- it’s incredibly crowded and Uber is so well priced that it really makes sense as the way to go.
Food In Mexico: The Good, The Bad & The Food Poisoning
This could be a whole article on its own. The food in Mexico is simply amazing. My favourite street foods are jugo verde (green juice) and pastor tacos, and my favourite overall meal was shrimp tacos. Every region has its own specialties, but Oaxaca is a foodie mecca. If you want to go all out, Mexico City’s dynamic food scene boasts some amazing restaurants that are still much cheaper than their US equivalents. I mostly preferred to keep it simple, enjoying lots of street food and exploring the massive fruit stands that seem to be everywhere.
What About Food Poisoning?
The second most common fear after safety: Will I get food poisoning? Unfortunately from my experience, I’d have to say it’s a good possibility. It’s definitely not a guarantee that you will, but I personally had one round of food poisoning on my trip and met many others who did as well. The good news? It’s usually over in about a day. The other good news? I never once got sick from eating street food (and let me tell you, I ate a LOT of street food). I actually got sick from breakfast at the airport, so go figure. But you know what makes up for the potential risk of food poisoning in Mexico? The prices. You won’t find the dirt cheap costs of say South East Asia here, and some areas (like the Yucatan and Quintana Roo) are pricier than others, but as a general rule, your money goes a long way in Mexico. Also in my opinion, the cheaper options are generally the best ones. I’ve enjoyed my 15 peso street tacos and 20 peso green juices much more than my rare 200 peso restaurant meals.
Mexican Visas & Forms
All visitors coming to Mexico who don’t require a visa will receive a form upon entering the country. Make sure you hold onto this!! I didn’t know you had to keep it and it caused issues when I was leaving. Basically, if you lose it/throw it out (oops!) you’ll need to replace it upon leaving. It costs 500 pesos to replace, but the tricky thing here is they take cash only, which can be a huge pain! So skip the headache and hold on tight to your form.
Best Cheap Accommodation For Solo Female Travellers In Mexico
From rooftop pools to sunset views of the beach, hostels are great for solo female travellers in Mexico. You’ll have all your creature comforts whilst also being able to easily meet other travellers for adventures and exchange travel tips. Check out all hostels in Mexico.
Have you travelled Mexico solo? Where do you think are the safest places to visit in Mexico? Or are you considering it? Share your experiences in the comments below ?