Mexico Essentials, Mexico Safety

6 Reasons Why Mexico is Safer than You Think

These things don't make headlines, but they are the real-life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico

Colonial Mexico

Fully revised and updated for 2020

We occasionally receive questions from people asking about the current situation regarding safety and security in Mexico.  To provide some perspective, listed here are six reasons which demonstrate how Mexico’s drug-related issues, which remain a body of work to address, do not make Mexico wholly unsafe.

Mexico continues to attract a record number of international visitors: Mexico’s National Statistics Institute is responsible for collecting and reporting data on Mexico’s international visitors.  In 2019, Mexico attracted over 45 million foreign visitors, making it one of the world’s top-ten most visited countries.  Despite negative news flow, especially about drug-related violence, people keep coming to Mexico.  Statistics from foreign consulate records consistently show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass trouble-free.

Mexico is one of the world’s most important economies. Mexico has a welcoming economy with policies that encourage trade and partnership. (Mexico has trade agreements with 46 countries around the world.)  This, coupled with years of sound macro-economic management, have created an attractive environment for investors and foreign companies. Mexico took a positive approach to the NAFTA re-negotiations, advocating an agile trading framework to benefit all three countries involved.  NAFTA has been replaced by the USMCA and came into effect on July 1, 2020.  Mexico is today one of the world’s few ‘trillion-dollar’ economies and mature nations are keen to work with Mexico.

No foreign resident exodus. In decades now long-past, when Mexico’s economy was less open and less stable, foreign residents would often flee home in the event of a peso crisis.  Today, even with the drug-related flare-ups, no such exodus is taking place and, furthermore, we are seeing consistent demand from foreigners who are interested in relocating to Mexico.  Mexico’s government is expecting its expat communities to grow over the coming decade, and offers choices in facilitation of this, as welcoming foreign residents —who bring their energy and capital to Mexico— creates significant mutual benefits.  If Mexico is a wholly dangerous place to be, why are existing foreign residents staying put and inquiries for relocation to Mexico growing?

The violence is mostly confined to drug-gangs. When you drill down into the detail of the data, figures show that the surge of homicides in Mexico over the last decade has come about through criminal gang members fighting each other.  Tourists, business visitors, and foreign residents are not being targeted by the drug gangs, and statistics from foreign consulates show that the overwhelming majority of visits to Mexico pass by trouble-free.

Mexico matters. Mexico is a good neighbor to the U.S. and is also one of the world’s most important emerging markets.  Mexico and the U.S. share a broad range of common economic, cultural, social, and security interests and behind the scenes both nations continue to work closely together on issues concerning trade and security in efforts to bring prosperity and well-being to the continent they share.

Mexico’s underlying story remains strong. Notwithstanding the drug-related issues, the country’s macroeconomics are in good shape; Mexico has substantial oil and gas reserves as well as considerable mineral and precious metal wealth.  In recent times, the country has been enacting structural reforms across key industrial sectors with the intention to transition the country’s economy away from being heavily dependent on oil and manufacturing.  Foreign visitors keep coming despite the negative news flow; Mexico’s free trade agreements are bridges which cultivate understanding, trade and prosperity between the signatories of these accords.

In summary: Every day, tourists arrive in Mexico to rest themselves and enjoy its rich culture and heritage; business visitors arrive to trade, cultivate friendships and agree deals that create new wealth; and foreign residents living here are going about their lives normally and contributing positively in the Mexican communities they love calling home.  These activities don’t make headlines, but they are indeed the real life experiences of people visiting and living safely in Mexico.

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  1. Alan Lee says

    Great read. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Scott Fulmer says

    I will apologize in advance for the length of my post. It was not my intention to turn this into a dissertation.

    I grew up in Mexico City (Jardines del Pedregal de San Angel) in the mid 60’s. Coming from Chicago at the time, the culture shock was mind bending. But I’ve got to say the experience of growing up in Mexico was indeed, a positive, life altering event. As a young boy getting on the plane, I had preconceived notions of what the city (or pueblo as I had imagined) would look like. Burros, big sombreros, adobe huts and the like. On our approach to the Mexico City International airport, when the wing of that 707 dipped in a bank to reveal my first glimpse of the city, I was astounded at the busy, densely populated, concrete jungle before my eyes. I could not have conceived of such an expansive metropolis of some 7,500,000 inhabitants at the time. Learning Spanish in the interior as I did has also been nothing but a blessing in my career throughout the years. I love Mexico and its people. And I would be remiss if I did not mention my acquired appreciation for the many traditions and culture of the Mexican people. Having lived and worked with Mexicans over many years, I can tell you their core values boil down to just three. God, family and work. I have nothing but great memories of my time there and remain eternally grateful to my parents for the experience.

    Working in the oilfield service sector years later, I returned to Mexico living and working in Villahermosa, Tabasco; a beautiful, small tropical city on the Gulf, but even coming from the Houston, TX climate, the heat and humidity down there will knock your socks off.

    I said all that to say all this. In contemplating our retirement, I’ve spoken with my wife in recent years about exploring Mexico City as a possible retirement location. After all, she’d been arguing with me for years about taking her down there to show her around and see all the sights I’m always talking about. I kept insisting however, that much as I would love to taker her, it was just too dangerous. I guess by now we’ve all seen Denzel Washington’s Man on Fire.

    I later talked about my concerns with a couple of friends of mine here in Houston who, are from Mexico City and frequently travel back and forth. They informed me that Mexico City was about as safe as it gets. Just dress casually, no flashy jewelry, don’t be swinging cameras around your neck, and you’ll be fine. In other words, blend in. Try not to look like a tourist. So, how does a white Anglo-Saxon or black couple NOT look like tourists, you ask? – Easy. Mexico City is extremely diverse. Many inhabitants in Mexico City and surrounding areas are of European descent and interracial couples are given little or no notice. Actually, they’re probably paid less attention to down there than here.

    Now, As I read through the threads, I’ve noticed a few legitimate and justifiable concerns from folks about safety in Mexico, So, as a public service here today, at least where Mexico City is concerned and based on recent travel, I thought I would inject my humble opinion on the subject. So, let’s get that 800 lb. gorilla out of the room, shall we?

    Based on my friends’ advice, I finally took my wife to Mexico City in April on what I deemed to be a discovery trip. We were staying at a hotel near the Zocalo and spent that afternoon walking for what must have been 4 to 5 kilometers down the Paseo de la Reforma boulevard totally unobserved, totally unapproached, totally unmolested, just taking in the sights. There were cops all over the place, three and four in a block. Patrol cars running up and down the boulevards were ubiquitous. – My wife was amazed. She said, “OMG, this place is so cosmopolitan. Look at these buildings”. She took it all in. The streets, the people, the foliage (not a lot compares to a Jacaranda tree in full bloom), she was enthralled. At one point I stopped her and asked her what she thought of the climate. She thought for few seconds and said, “this is really nice”. It was a sunny afternoon and about 76-77 degrees out, I added, “You’ll also notice the lack of humidity”. She did. She asked me how often the weather is like this, and I said, “Every blessed day!” Save the winter months, the weather in Mexico City really doesn’t change much at all. Cool nights, warm days.

    For my own part, I quickly noticed the lack of horns in traffic, the fact that cars were all neatly in their respective lanes and moving at a measured pace. This, in stark contrast to the 60’s and 70’s when driving in Mexico City was NOT for the faint of heart. It was the Wild West. Cars zigging and zagging all over the place, fender benders out the wazoo, red lights were considered little more than a cautionary note, and the millisecond the light turns green, hands were waving and horns were blaring. And, if you were a pedestrian in a cross walk, you were on the point system; God love you.
    We would frequently read in the The News; the one daily newspaper published in English, stories of buses or commercial vehicles that had plowed into someone on a weekly basis and in which, invariably, “And, the driver could not be found”. I rented a car the next day and took my wife all over. We visited all the normal tourist sites, she wore me out at the Pyramids, we visited Chapultepec, Xochimilco, Cuernavaca, and Queretaro. Where I lived, went to school, etc. She also found the people just as friendly and helpful as I had previously described. Now, on a side note, me and Mexican food have been close friends for a long time. The only thing I found disappointing to me personally during the trip, was that Mexico City had grown up so much and appeared to cater so much to its new and diverse inhabitants, that I found it almost impossible to find a good ole’ Mexican food restaurant. We were all over areas surrounding the center of the city and hardly found a thing. There seemed to be an inordinate focus on European and Argentinian cuisines. But I digress.

    Doing the Jen Saki “circle back” to the subject of safety and security in Mexico, it’s not complicated. it all really boils down to simple common sense and awareness of your surroundings. Make no mistake, there’s a plethora of cities and areas of cities in the United States I wouldn’t take my ex-Mother-in-law to. Englewood in Chicago, Chesterfield Square in Los Angeles, downtown New York City, Midtown Minneapolis, Centennial in Portland, etc., etc.

    In Mexico City, the areas of the historic city center, Doctores, Del Valle Centro, Roma Norte, Narvarte and Buena Vista would not be my picks for an afternoon or evening stroll. if you’re concerned about safety and security in strange surroundings (and you should always be), in any city or country you intend to visit here or abroad, a little advance research can go a long way towards ensuring a pleasant trip.

    Now, as regards my proposal of retirement in Mexico, quite expectedly, but before I finally took her to see and experience Mexico City for herself, my wife, a staunch creature of habit, had immediately dismissed the idea on the grounds that we would be too far from her family and the fact that she does not like change. …Fair enough. So, on our last day in Mexico City, while taking a leisurely afternoon drive through the areas of colonia Lomas de Chapultepec, Colonia Polanco and colonia Roma, we’re in the Roma neighborhood and my wife spots a particular building to our left and asks me what it is. I answered, “they’re apartments”. She just replied, “Okay”, and a few seconds later asked, “I wonder how much the rent would be…”.

    I just looked at her with a smile and said, “Gotcha’”!

    • Kelly says

      Fabulous and so right on! I live in Lake Chapala now for 16 months. LOve it!

      • Kathie Epeneter says

        I’m delighted that you are safe and happy in Chapala!

        I was happy there too in the mid-90’s, living in a rented house in a regular
        neighborhood. However we were the victims of 2 home invasion attack robberies.
        My explanation is that our California vehicle license plates were a clear message
        to criminals making us a great target.

        Otherwise the experience of living there for 3 years was wonderful.

        Be safe,

    • Mizz D. says

      Doesn’t get much safer than downtown NYC lol it’s not the 70s.

      Good luck on your apartment search.!

  3. Js says

    Great post!

  4. Ray says

    Thank you for such encouraging words that actually demonstrate a different point of view, not only from the writer, but from all that wonderful people who share so amazing stories about their experiences in my so beloved country, México.

    Thank you again for your support and kind words.

    God Bless us all.

  5. Sharilyn says

    I’ve traveled throughout Mexico for over 50 years and never had a problem with crime. I love it here; I’m in San Miguel de Allende currently taking art classes and enjoying the food and culture. I love attending Antioch Church in the San Antonio area. SMA is a great town with plenty of things to do and very friendly people, both expats and locals. I love the history and the culture.
    That said, there are a few cons as well. SMA has become a victim of its own popularity. It’s overbuilt and getting overcrowded with tourists. Numerous busses and cars belch out exhaust, causing pollution and unhealthy air quality nearly every day, according to my weather app. It’s humid in summer, although the temperatures are moderate—low 80s each day on average. This hills are steep and sidewalks very narrow, and the streets are rough cobblestone. You’ll get in shape walking here! Drink lots of water; I drink at least 3 liters every day. And yes, there is crime here which, according to several people I’ve talked with here in SMA, is on the rise.
    Break-ins are becoming more common. A friend’s house has been broken into twice in the past three years. He’s the pastor of a local church. I met a lady yesterday at lunch; two years ago her shuttle to the airport was car-jacked by armed robbers 15 minutes outside SMA. She lost all her luggage and purse with money and passport. She had to cancel her trip. The police have done nothing at all about this crime.
    Another lady I met yesterday had a very bad experience building her house, even though she vetted the builders very carefully. She now owns a half-built house with numerous problems that she can’t sell. Her attorney has been no help.
    I wish that more people would tell the balanced truth about this country. Yes, it’s a great country and I love it here. I’m considering retirement here in the near future. But I have reservations about it too, because when I meet and talk with real people who’ve lived here for years or decades, they all have some scary stories. It’s not ALL sunshine and rainbows here. There are some serious issues; please don’t be naive and think that as long as you avoid drugs and prostitution you’ll never be the victim of crime.
    Is there crime in the USA? Yes, and it’s a serious concern as well. But at least I can count on my local police response, whereas in Mexico you can count on nothing from the police. This is not my opinion, this is the statement I’ve heard over and over again as I’ve talked with locals and expats living here for years: the police will do nothing to help you if you’re the victim of crime.
    All that said, I’m still enjoying myself here in SMA and feel perfectly safe in an apartment complex with 24 hour security. I walk about the streets and feel safe, even at night going out to dinner. I am still considering retirement here, but I’m carefully considering all of my options. The best advice I can give is to come to Mexico and enjoy it, and if you’re considering retirement here be sure to talk with as many people as you can, asking them about their experiences. It’s the only way to get the truth, both the good and the bad.

    • Cameron Donovan says

      Hi Sharilyn,

      Having traveled to all 32 States of Mexico during 25 years living here so far, may I suggest you visit the South-Eastern area of the State of Mexico where I think you would be delighted to retire. I have over ninety-five specific reasons I love living here not least of which is the best climate in the whole world (in my opinion)!

      Crime? San Miguel sounds dangerous compared to our municipality.

      • Robin says

        Where exactly do you live in Mexico?

        • Bev says

          I have lived in Puerto Vallarta Jalisco for 37 years. I have never been robbed ,raped or bothered by the police. If you respect them and keep you nose clean nobody will bother Actually when all this Corona Virus started we were ordered to stay inside.I left the house to go shopping and was pulled over by the Guardia Nacional.They wanted to know where I was going. I said to get groceries,they followed me and waited to see that I arrived home safely.

      • Jaz says

        Hi Cameron where in Mexico are you in the south east?

      • Vicky says

        May I ask where you live?

        • Josh says

          Hello Nuevo León is one of the safer states of Mexico
          I had lived there by 5 years is amaizing ,But the magic and amaizing part is in the south.

        • Denise says

          Cancun and got held up twice ony way walking yo walmart

          • Steve says

            Are u serious

      • Rick says

        Where on the South-Eastern area specifically are you refering to?

        • Josh says

          Hello Nuevo León is one of the safer states of Mexico
          I had lived there by 5 years is amaizing ,But the magic and amaizing part is in the south.

      • Richard Kull says

        Cameron, are you referring to the hill country southeast of Mexico City?
        I have lived in Pachuca, Hidalgo and Cuautla, Morelos in the past.

      • Deborah Quinette says

        Where do you live ?
        Thank you

    • Jan Tschritter says

      Oh how I envy you. I lived closer to Guadalajara for years and loved it. If I had the Monthly income I’d still be there. It has always felt like home to me.

    • Bo says

      Good advice you hit the nail on the head.

    • Vicky says

      Sharilyn, I lived in SMA for a while and loved it! Do you by chance know what city is pictured at the top of this article?
      thank you

      • Mexperience says

        Hi Vicky, the photo in the article is a street in the city of Puebla.

    • rick says

      Great synopsis, we have no choice but to live between the good, the bad and the ugly…..If anyone finds Utopia, I and millions will follow, Oh wait, that would involve “People’ which is the fundamental problem with a utopianism fantasy…..

    • Virginia says

      Because the police force there is in cahoots with the criminals. Been to SMA and our license plate was stolen one night while having dinner at a restaurant. It was a diplomatic license plate. When we went to the police, they were like, there’s noth8ng they can do about it. When they found out it was a diplomatic plate, they made some calls, and after 5 minutes, the plate was given back to us. We lived in MDF for two years. And still, like you, I will still say, I love Mexico.

      • Laurie says

        Hi Virginia,
        I am sorry that you have a bad impression of SMA because of the loss of your license plate. In all probability, your plate was not stolen. When people are parked illegally the police remove your license plate. You then have to pay the fine to get it back. The reason you got your diplomatic plate back so quickly after a few phone calls was because the police probably had your plate, not some criminals. Criminals are not interested in your license plates. They are more interested in any items left in your car that can be sold.

    • David Palomar says

      As a Mexican I agree with what you say, the rule of law is scarce

  6. Lawrence S Comras says

    This is a good rundown on why Mexico is important and safe. I think better data to underlie it would be worthwhile. Where are the people? What are the crime statistics? How do they break down? What are the trends. These are the stats that matter. Thanks Mexico

    • Oberto says

      You can go on line google the colony or location and they should
      have a type, time assessment. I’m in T.J. ive. had minor rental issues
      but no real probs. I’ts getting hard to trust, the people are struggling
      and when they do, they can/or will take from you.
      But US cities are ugly also. I whole I love most all of the people, and
      there culture is amazing.

  7. Andrew says

    I prefer to call myself an immigrant..not expat

    • Maria Hopkins says

      We are too.

  8. Jaquela M Jackson says

    Hello, my husband wants us to move to Manzanillo, I’m kind of scared. We are an interracial couple. With teenager boys and one young boy. I just want to make sure we won’t be out of place. Like stick of like a sore thumb, it looks like a beautiful paradise. Any suggestions for us planning to move there within the next few months.

    • andrew says

      its wonderful

    • Buzz says

      Hi Jaquela. My wife and I have been here for 15 years. There is certainly cartel activity here due to the port, but as stated above, it’s cartel vs cartel. Interracial family won’t be a problem. The gringo population here is fairly liberal and I’ve never come across any issues concerning race. It’s just not a problem here.

    • Ángel Sánchez says

      Mexicans are by and large respectful of diversity. I say it knowing Mexicans well. I wouldn’t let this consideration stop me. Hide under the bed in that case. It’s a global village!

      • Virginia says

        I’d like to say that yes, we will not have any problem with the locals, but these are the real Mexicans. The rich affluent ones are a different matter. They look at Asians as dirt. I was told one time by my neighbor to go back to my own country.

    • Ali Ramos says

      I moved 10 year ago to Mexico and i lived in Manzanillo for about a year is a nice town i suggest Boca del Rio, Veracruz is where i live now is way better than Manzanillo.

      • rob seven says

        what do you really like about veracruz?……ive looked at it but never really hear anyone say much about it…..

    • Juan martin molina says

      Me and my wife are interracial as well. You will not stick out like a sore thumb you will be very pleased and happy if this is your first time keep it about 4 months and you will be settled in I live here in Mexico and now that I’m settled in it feels just like the United States

    • Theodore Owens says

      We are too an interracial couple and have lived in the Lake Chapala area of Mexico for some 13 years. We visit the area around Manzanillo often. What makes you think you would stand out? We have no children.

    • Celine says

      Just come and rent for awhile. For that matter, unless your husband’s family lives in that area, try out a few locations. You’ll know if it’s a good fit for you. Race shouldn’t be that much of an issue. (You don’t say what the mix is). Wealthy Mexican families may not want their daughter to date someone of some races, but otherwise it shouldn’t be that much of an issue.

    • debbie says

      We lived in Vida del Mar, north of Manzanillo city. You shouldn’t have any issues because of your interracial relationship. People are friendly and it always felt safe. We lived there in the winters only. We left because I was bored. I think PV would have suited me better.

    • victoria ryan says

      Hi Jaquela, I can’t speak to Manzanillo. I live in Patzcuaro in the Central Highlands. I DO have a funny story though. Friends of mine, a gay male couple, adopted two very young African American children 2 & 4 ( a brother and sister) and brought them to Mexico where they grew up bi-lingual/bi-cultural. They never expressed experiencing any racism nor did I see any sign of it as I watched them growing up. They visited their extended family in Colorado at least once a year while they were growing up. When the boy graduated from High School he was asked if he wanted to move back to the US and he said no because up there he would be black and in Mexico he was just a young man. I hope I explained this correctly… do not misunderstand please. He meant he knew from having spent time in Colorado, that he would be treated differently and discriminated against because of his skin color NOT that he did not want to be Black. He was in fact extremely popular here and partly because of his charming differences. That is out of the mouths of babes.

    • Todd says

      People can tell you a thousand anecdotes about how wonderful/awful a place is, but until you go there and experience it first hand you will not know how you will feel about it. My guess is that racism will not be your biggest concern. I’m not of color but I think whatever your color is, you will be categorized as a gringo/gringa which could be good, bad or indifferent. Come with an open mind and see what you think.

  9. Jonathan Wade says

    I visited Mexico in 2017, crossing by foot over the Rio Grande bridge at El Paso to Juarez. From there I flew to Guadalajara, then travelled overland by a mix of long distance, local and private buses to Mexico City, Oaxaco, Chiapa de Corzo, San Cristobal de las Casas, Palenque, Chetumal and finaly Cancun, flying back from there. Mindful of the reputation for violence and crime, I’d taken some precautions against it. I had a brilliant time throughout the trip and never encountered anything that I found threatening. Quite the opposite, with Guadalajara and Oaxaca in particular being so interesting and welcoming. I wasn’t just sticking to a few “safe” tourist areas either. Had a great time and no-one should be put off visiting the country for fear of being the victim of crime. Just take normal precautions to protect yourself and go for it….

    • David Pelletier says

      Same experience here! I’ve been to Mexico more than 50 times, and I go off the beaten path. Like anywhere else you go, important to watch out where you go, no matter what country. The people in Mexico are warm and inviting, culture is like nowhere else I’ve been.

    • Ernesto Perez says


    • Paul says

      Hi Jonathan, I want to take my wife to Mexico for a trip, or rather, I want to go and want her to come with me. She’s sure it’s not safe and that we’d get kidnapped and/or raped. Which areas are safe to travel to if we don’t want to travel the beaten path or do you have any advice? Thanks-Paul.

  10. peter obrien says

    Just need to say something that I have said to many US expats here in Mexico with a mixed response. Mexico does not have a drug problem! Mexico does have a drug related problem, and it has 2 elements. The first element is that it is nextdoor to an affluent country where drug use is rife, (the highest usage rate in the world): And the second is that it sits between that enormous drug addicted market and the manufacturing regions to the south. The market for drugs in the US is enormous, and the “laws” of supply and demand say that some entrpreneur(s) will emerge to meet that demand.

    I have been in Mexico 5 years and never seen any evidence of drug use amongst locals. When the choice is between snorting something up your nose or buying food, food seems to win; at least it does here in Mexico

    I stopped in LA for 3 days on my way to Mexico. My wife and I went out for an evening stroll. We were offered drugs twice in the space of a couple of hours. Five years in Mexico and I have been offered fans, paintings, carvings, roses, jewellry, etc etc. Never drugs.

    So maybe, instead of posting articles denying the dangers of Mexico, (and in so doing continueing to keep the drug violence story alive); you should point out to potential US migrants, the very real dangers of staying where they are. Perhaps you could just say: “Come to a place where community, respect for elders, and a sense of fun still exist”. But don’t come for drugs…stay home if that’s your bent.

    One last thing. Last year, maybe the year before; my wife and I laughed out loud at an article headlined “Terror fo US tourists as gun fire breaks out in Cancun”. This article appeared at a time when more than a hundred people were shot in one city, Chicargo; in one holiday weekend.

    When you live everyday amongst regular school shootings, night club machine gunnings and concert snipers…thats seems to be OK. But don’t spoil my vacation.

    • Ernesto Perez says


    • Mac says

      Great comment! Congrats!

    • Mayasah says

      On point!

    • Maureen says

      Omg, THANK YOU, PETER!! So wish others would point these things out as well! Very well put and again, very AWESOME to point out! Wish common sense was common and don’t people know by now, not to trust everything the media says and don’t they know how crazy and dangerous America can be?! Guess not, right?! Lol! Take care:-)

    • Joe says

      Wow Peter, Point VERY WELL Made! I have been traveling to Mexico for business for almost 20 years…LOVE Mexico and it’s amazing people. Have always felt safe.
      …the press…and we always seem to believe what “they“ put out there for us to hear and read.
      Viva la Mexico ??!

    • John K says

      My wife and I are a mixed racial couple (Caucasian and Asian). Presently, we are living in Manzanillo since Christmas 2019. We have owned a Condo here for the last 10 years. We have never experienced any safety related issues.

    • Todd says

      Before I moved to Merida, Yucatan many of my fellow Americans told me that I was crazy and I would be murdered within the first year. I asked them where they had visited in Mexico and usually the answer was NOWHERE. One time I had a heated argument with a veterinarian who told me that I was wrong to say that Costa Rica where I lived for 7 years is much more dangerous than Merida. He had never been to either place. Talk is cheap….no thinking required. I left the U.S. which is a great country because it seemed like only a matter of time before there would be a bullet with my name on it.

    • Felicia says

      Everything you said is soooo spot on and thank you for saying what I’ve always said too!

  11. Colette and Philip Pepperell says

    Thanks to everyone here for all their great posts and sharing all this realistic information.
    We are expats living in Ecuador right now but will be moving in a few months to PDC initially, then explore things further south.
    We have lived in many places as expats including almost 2 years in Ecuador and we have never felt unsafe. We aren’t worried, we speak Spanish (have to learn Mexican Spanish though, of course!) and we can’t wait to be there.

    Muchísimas gracias!

    • Joe says

      Hi Colette-

      I’m thinking about living overseas, and Ecuador’s a country that’s been on my radar for awhile– climate, cost of living, ex-pat community. You mentioned you are planning to leave there. Do you mind if I ask why? Everyone’s situation is different, but if it’s something that might be a factor for me, any info would be welcome.

      Thanks much– and best of luck in your travels


      • Colette Pepperell says

        Hello there Joe,

        We love Ecuador and have enjoyed our two years here.
        The reasons for moving to Mexico have nothing to do with not liking Ecuador.

        We came to Ecuador initially because of jobs at a boutique hotel in Quito, but unfortunately, that didn’t work out. We then decided to move down here to the coast.

        We choose Mexico because:

        First of all, we need to be closer to my brother in Phoenix, who has many health issues. He fell down last year and fractured his femur and it took me 2 days to get to him from where we live here, on the coast. It would be quicker from Quito, the capital, of course. I can fly straight to Phoenix from Cancún with no hassle.

        We are moving, at least initially, to PDC because we are fanatical divers and, though the diving here is okay (Galapagos is world class of course but super expensive and out of our price range), we prefer the Caribbean coast of Mexico. We worked as divers for years and we want the Caribbean on our doorstep.

        We have an online business and we are planning to do more business on the coast of Mexico. There are opportunities there for us due to the higher population of tourists. Here in Ecuador, there are not huge numbers of tourists yet (apart from Ecuadorians themselves and other from South America).

        Also, having lived many years in Phoenix, where there is a strong Mexican culture, we feel it would be a good fit for us. We love the people and the food, too!

        As for Ecuador…

        I would advise you to come and see Ecuador if it interests you because the country is amazing from the Andes to the coast. The people are warm, friendly and welcoming. The cost of living is much lower than in the US. and the quality of health/dental care is high. There are lots of expats down here on the coast and sprinkled all around the various areas.

        It is quite a procedure to get your cédulas though, I have to tell you and you will need a lawyer to help you with it. But it can be done. Just be patient!

        There is crime here, much as in Mexico. The drugs come from Columbia and to our coast and on up. But you can avoid all of it and feel completely safe. We have never had a moment’s concern, including in the Capital, Quito.

        We have enjoyed every moment here and it has given us great cultural insights. We have also learned Spanish, and we are ready to move.

        I hope this helps and please do let me know if you have any further questions.

        I don’t know when you posted your question but I will check back in now and then to see if I can help you with anything else.

        Best wishes,


    • Lilly says

      We are a retire couple from US now live in Cuenca Ecuador for over 6 years. We like it here but Mexico weather culture and friendly people and expats are our reason for planing to move there very soon. Lake Chapala/Ajijic is our place to land. Love to communicate with expats now calling Lake Chapala “home”

      • Monica says

        That would be me! Love it here!

    • Lilly says

      Hi Colette and Philip, we are an expat retire couple that lives now in Cuenca Ecuador for over 6 years and planing to move to Lake Chapala Mexico in the near future. We have a friend couple that move there and tells us they know 7 couples that move there from Cuenca and they are very happy. We have visit Mexico many times but not Lake Chapala. Is a small village but with a very strong expat community. It will be our arrival place and then explore other towns. We love Cuenca but it has change so much in the last 2 years, housing and food prices has gone up. The air is no longer healthy do to so many cars and we can’t handle this crazy weather
      changes any more.
      We may “have cross the paths some time here”. Love to meet you two.

      Just a comment; spanish in Mexico is not much different that any other spanish country, some difference in words but all are understandable. We are fluent Spanish an English.
      “Have a Good life where ever destiny takes you”

      • Colette Pepperell says

        Hola, Lilly (love that name)!

        What a lovely comment and thank for you for telling us about your plans.
        We are actually going to do house/pet sitting (this is unpaid in exchange for taking care of peoples pets and homes) and our first assignment is in Playa Del Carmen for a month. We work online so this is a great opportunity for us. We plan on looking for other sits when we get there.
        The Riviera Maya is where we want to be as we are fanatical about the ocean and scuba diving. We adore the Caribbean.

        From what we have researched, Lake Chapala is very popular and we are sure you will find some very friendly expats there. There are a lot of house/pet sitting opportunities there, but we need to be on the coast.

        We have heard that Cuenca has changed a lot and we think you have made a good decision to move. We have loved Ecuador but we need to move on as you read above.

        We will keep reading this forum in the hopes that you find yourself a good situation over there and who knows, we may meet at some point!

        Thanks for explaining about the Spanish because I am more or less fluent and my husband is coming along. We study daily with our online course. We love Spanish! I heard Yucateca Spanish is a bit different but who cares, right? Aventura de Cultura! We are so excited!

        We will be in PDC by mid-July.

        We wish you every happiness and success on your journey.

        Please keep us updated and I will keep checking this forum!


        • Cheryl says

          Hello Colette,

          Thanks for all of your helpful information! May I ask which online course you use to learn Spanish? I have tried several but it hasn’t been that successful. Would love to know of reasonably priced, good online course.

          Many thanks,

    • Tracy m Parente says

      Amen!!! I can’t wait to hear about it… We are moving to Mexico for 4 yrs while I attend college etc … We are world travelers so I love a great blog
      Thank you!!! Be safe, much fun, and prosperity!!!

  12. Rafael Zambrana says

    I was born in Mexico city but I have also become Canadian living in Vancouver. I am retired and receive a Canadian pension which goes a lot further in Mexico where I stay about half the time. Since I don’t own a vehicle in Mexico, I use their public transportation like the subway and I’m pleasantly surprised how many people offer me to carry my bags at the stairs or even their seats when they see my white hair. Unfortunately I can’t compare this behavior with Canada because I never use public transportation there, but I sure find it very helpful when so many people of all kinds offer me their help in Mexico.

  13. Fern says

    We have visited Mexico several times before. Have never felt unsafe. Very nice and friendly people. We are staying ing the Yucatan for 3 mo. This winter and can’t wait to go. We are retired and my husband is disabled but it is not a problem when we go down there from Canada.

  14. Travis B. says

    I’ve been telling my family and friends in the states these things for years. I am a soon to be Expat. My wife (who is Mexican) and I are building a house in Puebla, Puebla. I feel safer in Puebla than I do in the states. The weather is like a perfect spring day everyday and the scenery is magnificent. The people are super friendly. I Love Mexico!

    • Brenda says

      @Travis, I visited Puebla, Puebla for the first time this month! I couldn’t believe how beautiful and clean this city was. I was impressed with their tall buildings (as I am a big-city girl). Now my husband and I are thinking about relocating to Mexico too. He’s retired and I work from home. We visited Cholula as well. MY GOODNESS! how beautiful!

    • Eric says

      Congratulations on discovering Mexico’s best kept secret, Puebla, PB. I have a condo in the centro historico and absolutely love it. Have fun exploring. Please walk the streets and buy, buy, buy from the locals and eat, eat, eat at the many wonderful restaurants (especially the higher end establishments for dinner – many of them struggle just because tourism isnt quite there yet).

  15. Michael Cady says

    Mexico looks like a safe haven to me. I live 3/4 mile from the Austin bomber!!! I retired, put house on market. Colonial Highlands here I come!

  16. Tina Ernspiker says

    Nice article. Thank you for putting it together and sharing it with us 🙂

  17. Mike FosterFoster says

    I like SanFelife.I have never felt unsafe there,met some great polite people in the Campo that we stay at “Campo Martine”

  18. Jeffrey A says

    I have subscribed to Mexperience for some time now and always found the articles informative and timely. This is the first time I have had the privilege to read all these great posts on the safety of Mexico. While my wife and I have travelled to Mexico often, we almost always stayed at resorts (Riviera Maya). More recently, we started renting an apartment for 2 – 4 weeks at a time. Now, I have reached out to Mexperience for help connecting us with a RE agent for long term rental and, I hope, ultimately, purchase. With all the posts from folks all across Mexico, I am surprised to see none from the Yucatan and my favorite place on the planet – Playa del Carmen. Can anyone speak to the their experiences (safey or other) there and other places along the Riviera Maya?

    I have studied Spanish now for almost two years – it started as my retirement hobby and has become a passion. Learning of the language, the culture and the people are the keys to understanding Mexico. And it also brings an inherent respect for this great people. I think Rich S puts it best, “Mexican is a blend of at least 5 languages with every pueblo having it’s own dialect.”
    The language is as rich and diverse as the countries culture.”
    Of course, learning the jerga, modismos and local language flavor is the most fun!

    Jeffrey (mis agimos me llaman Javi)

    • Paul says

      Jeffery – My wife and I have been to Playa del Carmen three times. It is also on the top of my list of places to be. We love to stroll down Calle Quinta Ave and enjoy the sights, sound, and wonderful aroma. We have always felt very safe.

      My wife is from Peru and we are very spiritual. We love the Capilla de Nta Señora del Carmen chapel and would go to mass everyday at Parroquia de Nuestra Señora del Carmen. I find the Mexican people are very spiritual also. The churches are pack with very friendly people. I also see that the local people are proud of their home. The area theme parks Xplor/Xcaret/Xel Ha are very careful not to harm the environment. I would love to move to the area permanently.

    • Paddy Mulrooney says

      Hello Jeffrey, my name is Pat
      Like yourselves, my wife and I have for many years traveled throughout Mexico, and like yourselves we decided to extend our time there.
      Six years ago we began staying 4 weeks on Cozumel, four years ago we found our little piece of heaven in the Yucatan. We now stay six weeks, and soon the entire winter. We took a chance on a rental home near a small village called Telchac Puerto, about 4 hours from the Cancun airport. Merida, the capital of the Yucatan, also offers more flight options every year, in fact from Toronto WestJet now offers direct flights to Merida every Tuesday.
      Good Luck!

    • Ross Goodwin says

      Hola Jeff,
      My wife and I have owned a condo in Playa since 2013. It is a vibrant town full of entertainment and restaurants and amazing beaches. We have always felt very safe. Many of our guests wander the streets until the early hours of the morning with no worries. We rent our condo when we are not there and it is a much better choice than an isolated “all-inclusive” hotel. Unfortunately, we now live in a world of “fake news” whereby invested parties publish very slanted stories in an effort to lead visitors (and their money) away from Mexico and instead visit places like Florida and California. Personally, we find many destinations in the USA much more dangerous to visit than in Mexico.
      We always regret having to go back home (to BC, Canada) after visiting Playa Del Carmen. One day soon … we won’t!

      • Colette Pepperell says

        Hello, Ross!

        This is so encouraging as my husband Philip and I (and our little chihuahua mix) are moving to Playa Del Carmen in just a few weeks from Ecuador where we have lived for two years. We are of retirement age but no way are we retired!

        We appreciate everything you have written here and we feel the same way. We had heard Ecuador is dangerous and the “fake news” was just that. We never have had a problem here.

        We are starting our journey by house and pet Sitting for a month in PDC and going from there, trying to find more sits since we had a business doing just that for nearly 10 years it seemed like a good fit. Lots of people seem to be looking for reliable caretakers of their homes and pets. Since we work online, it makes it a win-win for all involved.

        Maybe we will run into you someday. Hopefully so! We are so excited.

        Wishing you every happiness,


      • Lynne Powlik says

        Hi Ross,
        Where in BC are you from? We live in Langley.
        What is the best way to fly to Playa ?
        How much do you charge for rental ? And, how big is your home ?
        Lynne Powlik

  19. Barbara says

    I’ve been living or working in Mexico as a single woman since 1974 – off and on. Last 16 years in San Miguel de Allende. I write a blog called Babsblog which answers many questions about subjects those contemplating retirement ask…….
    I travel by car, alone, all over this grand country. I’ve NEVER once felt unsafe or had an unpleasant encounter! It’s a magnificent country with the kindest, most thoughtful, caring people I’ve ever known.

    • Kate says

      My husband and I are seriously considering a trip to your area to stay an rent a house there for at least 2 months. I would muck appreciate any information about you area can share.

    • Ana says

      Glad to hear! Many continued blessings Barbara. I just retired and would love to read your blog!

    • PEGGY says


  20. Jackie Wright says

    I have been visiting Mexico for over 50 years. When I was child my family enjoyed vacations in San Miguel de Allende; as a teenager I spent a year of high school in Mexico City; I have visted Cuernavaca, Valle de Bravo, Puerto Vallarta, Sayulita and Ajijic, Lake Chapala and travelled to Cuba via Cancun. One of the most beautiful cities I have visited is Guanajuato. Now many years later and after two trips and lots of online investgating, my significant other and I are retiring to Ajijic, Lake Chapala, about 20 minutes from Guadalajara. We selected this area because of the fabulous climate and especially the low humidity (compared to Houston, TX), the beauty of the mountains, easy proximity to US via direct flight and the fact that there are Americans, Canadians and Europeans that have lived there now for many years. In all my years of exploring Mexico, I have never experienced any crime, ever. The Mexican people are very family oriented, friendly and helpful. I can’t wait to be a part of the Lake Chapala community…..

    • Heinz-Peter Crain says

      Great – you made an excelent joice with Ajijic.
      I came to Mexico City 42 years ago from Austria for 2 years !
      Now in Ajijic Puerta Arroyo.

    • vanessa says

      Hi Jackie
      We are planning a visit to lake Chapala for the first time in about 6 weeks. It will be an exploratory trip with the vision of retiring there. Currently in California.
      We plan to arrive the day of the balloon festival.

    • Nydia says

      Hi Jackie, I recently lost my husband. We met in Chicago, but we were both born in Mexico. He was from Zacatecas, and I am from Monterrey, NL.
      We were married for 45 years. I am lost without him. I never expected to be a widow. I live in Chicago but am planning on moving somewhere where it is HOT but NOT humid. I am looking to LIVE again. Is anybody out there that wants to begin an adventure? At 62? Is it possible? Yes, I do speak Spanish.

  21. John K says

    I have been a snow bird in Manzanillo, Colima for the last 7 years. I own a condo on the Pacific. I have never been happier. My wife and I are planning to retire at the end of this year. Mexico is wonderful.

    • Evelyn G says

      I have family in Jalisco, but a cousin(from Mexico) and I are planning to move to Manzanillo, Colima together. It is still a few years from now until I finish my schooling, in the US. Anyways if you could give any expense estimates(like how much your condo is, monthly rent[if you have any clue], monthly internet[is you use it], health coverage, etc., it would be greatly appreciated, as I am researching as much as I can between now and then. Really anything you can tell me would be great. Thank you and I’m really glad tp hear you like Mexico, I love it.

  22. Jan Cestari says

    I had visited Mx several times prior to moving here to Patzcuaro, Michoacan 15 months ago. I have never felt safer anywhere else that I have ever lived….4 states in US, Spain, Ecuador, Carribean. I do not have a car by choice as public transport is inexpensive and terrific. I live in a neighborhood where I am pretty much the “token gringo” and have never felt the slighest bit of discomfort even though I stand out like a sore thumb. Without a car I do a lot of walking around even at night.
    I have been “chased” a couple of times…to give me my change that I absent mindedly forgot to take. I also dropped my wallet in a cab that had over $ 600 US, debit cards, ID’s etc (I never would have all that on me but that day I was taking care of numerous things) the wallet was returned 4 hours later all intact and the cab driver never even asked for the fare to get it back to me.
    I have visited and spent time in quite a few other cities and towns here, again using local transport and look forward to visiting many more. For the most part people are warm, friendly, honest, hard working, family oriented and welcoming.
    The wrong place at the wrong time could be anywhere in the world….common sense and a bit of caution should be used wherever you travel. If your hesitating to visit because of all the overhyped negative news you hear….your missing out on a great experience. If your in the drug trade, sex business or other criminal activity than maybe that news applies to you but for the rest of us I don’t think so.
    I have national health insurance which fortunately I have not had to use yet so can’t really tell you how good it is but I can say the monthly cost is 0….you pay a small fee when you use it.
    Come visit !

    • Eric says

      Hi Jan, so curious about Patzcuaro. Any tips for a first time visitor (but someone with lots f experience traveling throughout MX). Curious about lodging, best part of town to stay in, side trips, restaurants.
      So glad you are enjoying your life there.

  23. Steve says

    I’ve lived in Mexico’s DF, this time, for 2+ years and it’s a wonderful place. I’ve lived in Mexico during the 70’s, 80’s 90’s and now back beginning in 2015. Safety common sense is a part of me, whether in Chicago, where I’ve lived and had my car stolen, or whether in a 22 MM city, and that’s no back-handled compliment to Mexico, it’s just common sense.

  24. Mele says

    I am traveling in Mexico now and feel completely safe. While in Mexico City a friend lost her wallet and passport and it was returned to her the next day. Here in Guanajuato I wander the streets at night and I am surrounded by happy families.

  25. Susan says

    We have been hosting groups of adult professionals to Querétaro for Spanish language immersion for at least 5 years. We are asked this question often, with a special worry these days about how the Mexicans are reacting to our politics. First, we’ve never had anything but a rewarding, transformational experience as our students get face-to-face with the culture. On one occasion, one of our attendees left her computer in the taxi and thought it was lost forever. However, the taxista (who live out of town) drove all the way back to the offices to make sure that computer was returned to her. We’ve had many such instances. And today, Americans studying at Olé Center for Language and Culture say that the people they talk to are mostly curious…. never threatening. We love the culture and the people….. and they continue to be wonderful role models of loving families who enjoy life and their own history and we think that right now especially, it’s important to share that culture and build that bridge.

    • Joe Bickett says

      Susan, been looking to buy a casa in Santiago Queretro for couple years. I have several on my hot list, but need to make the trip down there, from Kentucky, to make a decision. I worked in Celaya, Que., and Ciudad Juarez, for most of 6 years, mostly for Mabe, GE, Plexus; but have lost a lot of my espanol skills. Will need some sort of refresher courses, maybe like what you mention. I will keep your comment handy. Saludos, Joe

      • Susan Carlson says

        Joe, best of luck to you on your transition to Qro. I hope you have begun brushing up on your languge skills. And if not, consider spending time at Olé Center for Language and Culture. The instruction is very good and the staff do all they can to make your feel at home.

        • Suzanne Hong Margeson says

          Hi Susan
          Where is the location, address of Ole Center for Language and Culture in Queretaro? I am visiting for 29 days PV, Mazatlan, Chapala and Queretaro in Nov and Dec. I am preparing to move to one of these areas. I learned English as a Korean-American who lives in Atlanta, GA for 50 years. I feel it is the number one task for me to learn Spanish soon after settling down with a place to live. I am very interested in choosing Qro near the school and a church.

  26. Sandy says

    I’m sure there are safe places to visit in mexico, but I was there in 1967 on a ranch 165 miles from Chicagoan and that was ok , but in autism some bandit is came out of nowhere and threatened my Mexican husband good thing he knew how to talk his way out of trouble. They didn’t see me I was in a car and I hunkered down. I’m sure the border towns are the most dangerous today. Personally I have no desire I re to go to mexico again. The people are re s ally nice there I have to agree.

    • Judy Carter says

      Sandy, My dad was assaulted and mugged in Orlando. My purse was snatched in Hawaii. Only instances of thuggery or thievery experienced in my family and, between us, we have traveled to six continents. So, this means the US is most dangerous. (Using your logic.)

    • Wayne Saucier says

      How exactly do you feel your 50-year-old anecdote relates to the relative safety of an entire nation today?

    • SN says

      It is not 1967 any longer. Tourists and retirees are now a major part of Mexico. Even the cartels don’t want to mess with the amount of money that flows in because of the tourists and retirees.

  27. Uta says

    I strongly agree with all the posted comments. Having visited the the coastal areas and also central Mexico a few times, I can truly say, I enjoyed every single visit. I always felt safe and welcomed by wonderful mexican people. I hope I can return many more times.

  28. Lynda says

    I have visited all over Mexico for over 40 years. My sister is now retired and living in Mexico. I have been asked many times why I would travel to such a dangerous place. My response is that I live in San Francisco and do not worry about riots or murders in Chicago. Yes, crime happens but I feel very safe and absolutely love the friendly, family oriented people as well as the beautiful country and architecture. The food is good too!

    • Kimberly O'Nan says

      Thank you Lynda for your common sense response. I travel from the USA to Mexico several times a year, as we have a home which we built in San Miguel De Allende that is for our later retirement but present time rental. My partner and I , our family, and friends there have never felt under any threat or danger ever in San Miguel de Allende or Mexico City or so many wonderful places in Mexico. So much beauty and so many wonderful people it is a shame some will miss out. But of course I was born and raised in Chicago so I travel with common sense too.

  29. Rene says

    I live in Australia a very safe country but culturally very boring 2013 I went with my family
    to Mexico for nearly one month as my son girlfriend (now his wife) lived in DF she took us to all best places I never saw any danger but the opposite in one occasion going for the tequila tour in Jalisco my son took some money from an automatic bank machine 40 meters was the bus waiting just before we departure one local run behind us to return my son forgotten credit card he found inserted in the teller.
    I believe that for many years some sector of the USA world Media have been trying hard to
    undermine Mexico cultural reputation going around the globe naming Mexico the third on the scale as an unsafest country which is just jealousy.
    Awaiting to retire in Mexico

  30. Luis Miguel says

    I have been spending summers in Playa del Carmen for the past 10 years and have never had or seen any problems. Mexico is a wonderful place with wonderful people and a wonderful culture. Having grown up in Africa, lived in Europe, Asia and now the Middle East Mexico is the best. No one bothers you, no one judges you, no one cares where you are from or what you look like. I hope to retire here someday.

  31. Lee says

    I went to Central MX in the midst of the swine flu scare in 2009. “Scares”, whipped up by the media and the generally untravelled public, are no more than that, scares. In travelling Mexico, as in life itself, most of what we worry about never happens!

    I’m looking forward to going back. There is such a richness of cultural diversity, history, arts, and language there that I wish I had started decades ago to try to cram it all into one lifetime!

  32. lianadevine says

    We have lived in the Oaxaca Trailer Park for 3 years. Many of the travellers who pass through the park are NOT North American snowbirds, i.e. Canadians and Americans, but Europeans and other “global citizens” who want to see the Real Mexico and experience more culture than the gringo enclaves and all-inclusives provide. Often their travels begin in the US, and as they set off on their trek south – with the intention of visiting North, Central and South America – they are warned about how dangerous it is in Mexico. The media, narrow-minded travellers and those ignorant of places and people outside their own county or country put ill-conceived fears into their heads, so they are subsequently pleasantly surprised when they arrive in Mexico to learn the truth firsthand: Mexico is an enchanting country filled with warm, generous people. Bad apples can be found everywhere on the planet, but they are in the minority in the majority of places, so to condemn an entire country is ridiculous.

  33. alex leza says

    I have visited mexico three or four times a year for the last five years and have never felt in danger.I have even taken my grandchildren with me and at no time did they feel unsafe.mexico is a beautiful country but the people are its greatest mexico

  34. Karen Nordin says

    I have stayed in Mexico, for study and for pleasure, four times in the past decade, and look forward eagerly to my next visit. We have never gone to resort areas, but visit towns and cities where we can really experience the language and culture. The beauty and the friendly people are magnets, drawing us back. We always visit in Mexico City as well. As in any large city (eg, New York, Chicago, L.A.), we take common sense precautions, but we have never felt unsafe. I have been attacked twice in Chicago, but never in Mexico. It is a marvelous country, our close neighbour, winning the hearts of non-Mexicans with music, art, beautiful architecture, many schools and universities, and an atmosphere that makes you want to stay forever!

  35. Gloria says

    I have lived in Mexico for eleven years. During this time, I have traveled extensively throughout Mexico, visiting both the major cities and many smaller villages.. I travel by bus, both interstate and locally. I have lived in central Mexico and in Baja. When in Baja, I walk across the border to San Diego several times a week, going through Tijuana with the commuting locals and expats.. Never once have I felt threatened or in danger. I have felt safer in ALL of Mexico than I feel in the U.S. I have been robbed, mugged and pickpocketed in the U.S., but NEVER in Mexico. I have applied for and just received permanent residency in Mexico. I get FULL medical insurance coverage (including medications and tests) for only $400U.S. per YEAR!!! You couldn’t pay me to return to live in the U.S.

    • Nelson Martinez says

      Dear Gloria
      Just moved full time to PDC ….
      I’m interested in Medical Insurannce can you please tell me about yours what’s it called where do you sign up? Any help would be appreciated

    • Rebecca Braun says

      I keep reading conflicting information about medical insurance coverage. I am planning my “great escape” from the US within the next few months and am searching for reliable information on medical coverage. I thought I’d be waiting four more years to stop working full time and beating my head against a wall to make it in the states as a single (widowed) woman. I believe I can live fairly comfortable on the monthly income I have without working and I’d like to do some volunteer work, take Spanish classes, etc., etc. Would you be willing to provide some information about your health coverage and where on the internet I can find information that is up to date and reliable? Is $400 a year for the national/public system? I thought the system was going bankrupt and is about to be done away with. Any advice/help would be most welcome. Thank you!

      • Speranza Avram says

        The system you are referring to is called IMSS and is one of two public health care systems in Mexico. The other is called Seguro Popular and is totally free to Mexican residents and citizens. Neither of these is going away anytime soon – they are the backbone of Mexico’s committment to universal coverage. There are some structural changes happening to enable these two public systems to sometimes use the facilities of Mexico’s advances private health care system. We had a friend who is on IMSS receive an MRI (at no cost) from one of the private systems here in Merida. IMSS is the system that covers Mexican workers and others, like permanent residents, can buy into the system.

      • Speranza Avram says

        And to answer your question on costs, we just renewed our IMSS for the 2nd year and the cost is $350 for each of us. During the first year, only emergencies and doctors’ visits are covered. Beginning the 2nd year, all medical services are covered, including hospitalization, medication, etc. Now, you may have to wait for services, and the equipment may not be the most modern. For those reasons, many expats supplement IMSS coverage with either private Mexican insurance or, like us, pay for a global medical policy that covers us anywhere in the world, including Mexico (but not the US/Canada, by our choice, since it adds 30% to the cost of the policy). You can find several brokers of global health coverage for expats online – we use a company called You won’t be able to buy into IMSS until you at least temporary residency status, so you will either have to self-insure, or purchase a global policy.

        • Old gringo says

          We were on IMSS for 8 years. This year when we went to pay our coverage and for the first time ever they asked us if we had any critical illness?(we have no illness) I asked why? They said we would not be covered for a critical illness like cancer or diabetes if we had/or got it in the future. We have had IMSS for 8 years and according to our IMSS papers we are past any restrictions on being covered if we did contract a critical illness like cancer our IMSS papers say ” no aplican restricciones” We talked to a director. What she told us is that if we got a critical illness in the future it would probably not be covered I asked what if we needed a new hip…she said probably not covered and this was the law since 1997 and they didn’t enforce it in the past. Really from what we gathered it was up to your doctor to declare your illness to be not critical to be covered…What your paying for is accident insurance. We dropped our IMSS coverage and signed up for Suguro Popular.

          • Snowball says

            Well Old Gringo, my wife and I have been paying into IMSS for the past 8 years and never used the system like so many other “Gringos”. This year I was told to return to my “home country” and get all my documents “Legalized” and then go to a Mexican consulate in my home country to have them stamp everything. After that I could return, pay my fee and maybe they would accept the documents. If they don’t accept the documents, then they keep your payment and you’re OUT! So, I dropped them and investigating Seguro Popular.

    • Carlos says

      Good information Gloria thank you!
      What is the name of the full medical coverage insurance in Mexico? Looking to retire there and I have been doing my home work.

    • Denver says

      Hi Gloria,

      Thank you for sharing your story. How does one go about applying for permanent residency and health insurance? Also, what is your favorite place to live in MX?

  36. Fiona says

    I recently wrote about this topic and interviewed a number of expats, from as far afield as Mexico City to Tijuana (!). Not one felt in danger. The woman in Tijuana even said she felt more threatened riding the trolley in San Diego than she does on the public transport in Mexico.

    More people need to know about this.

  37. Frank says

    I live in Mexico for close to 5 years and have never once felt in danger. I travel throughout, have friends down, etc. and everyone marvels at how wonderful Mexico is and how distorted and biased many headlines in the USA are.

    This is a good article and worth sending to others.

  38. Thanks for sharing this. So many people just assume that ALL of Mexico is extremely dangerous, yet they never assume that ALL of the US is dangerous just because of what goes on in inner-city Detroit.

  39. David Meier says

    Very interesting. I’ll share this with my staff and customers.

  40. Travelclutter says

    This needs to be shown to as many people as possible.

    • John says

      Actually, let’s NOT share this with as many people as possible…please!
      Why do we want Mexico to be flooded with people who, until now, never even took the time to investigate for themselves but simply swallowed what the US media was feeding them?
      Those of us who decided to call Mexico home for many years, in spite of all the negative media coverage abroad, don’t need to defend our choice to those with lazy minds!

      • Rich S says

        Great idea John. It’s getting too crowded here and it’s driving the prices up.

        Been here 15+ years and the only time I ever felt myself in danger was when returning from the USSA by the thugs on the US side.
        Ever had 4 border guards pointing automatic weapons at you for a reason they wouldn’t disclose you when you very politely asked? Happened to me 7 years ago at Eagle Pass.

        There is some lash back here near Lake Chapala but the area’s been “gringoized” ie: ruined.

        As my Mexican friends have told me this area has the reputation as being the most dishonest in Mexico
        and my experience bears that out as traveling in other parts of the country there is a much nicer vibe.
        Saying that it’s still much nicer, and definitely much safer, here than the majority of the US.

        Married to a Mexican woman with 4 children who I’m trying to convince to move to Michoacan since it’s so much nicer there. It’s nice to be fluent in Mexican.
        Mexicans don’t speak Spanish.
        Mexican is a blend of at least 5 languages with every pueblo having it’s own dialect.
        The language is as rich and diverse as the countries culture.

        The biggest problem the first few years is expecting Mexico to be like the USA.
        It’s not, and for the most part that’s a wonderful thing.

        • Bruce McGovern says

          My view of languages is slightly different from Rich. Spanish is the national language, for sure. One difference from other Spanish nations is ‘vosotros’ is heavily deprecated in my part of Mexico, including Mexico City. My niece told me they had to learn to conjugate vosotros in school, but do not normally use it in every day speaking. I understand that in certain legal documents, the lawyers are required to use it, and perhaps in the Bibles.

          When you get up in the hills or jungle, many people are bilingual and often speak an indigenous language at home. But, use Spanish in business outside their own village. If you get even deeper in the boonies, you will encounter some, usually older people, who don’t even speak Spanish at all, but with universal education the law in Mexico, that is probably not common in younger people. But, it does happen. A few years ago, two punks held up a bus in northern Puebla. Someone got the gun away from one of them. The other punk escaped. They dragged the one, to the Zocalo, and proceeded to perform a linchamiento, methodically beating him to a pulp, I guess. The police came, but were not able to communicate with the locals. They got a bilingual teacher who negotiated a release with the promise he would go go jail.

          I live in the Mixteca region, and most people speak Spanish in public. There are some within half an hour by car who speak Nahua in the home, and not far away others speak Popoloca in the home. They also talk about speaking Mixteca, and I have never been clear in my mind if that is the same as Popoloca or not.

          There are two villages less than five miles apart, and while they both speak Popoloca in the home, they cannot understand each other. In one of those two, around 1950, a Wyciffe translator and her daughters came to town. She first learned the language, then created an alphabet, then started translating key portions of the Bible into that written language. Then, taught key people to read it.

          When they wanted to teach the people in the next village to read it, they learned it was not possible. I was confused when I heard this and spent some time talking with a local doctor who worked with them. This region was Popoloca until 1503 when the Aztecs finally conquered them. At that time, they had to learn Nahua, of course, but still spoke Popoloca in the homes. When Cortes came in in the 1520’s, they were then forced to learn Spanish.

          They intend to use the same words in both villages, but think about the Brits and the Aussies. We all speak ‘English’ but at times cannot understand each other. We get by because we use the same written language. With no written Popoloca, there is no way for them to communicate in their indigenous language with people living very near. Just as we probably couldn’t communicate with Brits and Aussies if we had no written language in common.

          Though I speak neither Popoloca or Nahua, I an convinced they have blended the three languages to some extent, over 500 years. It would not be possible to maintain the original language in a pure state that long.

  41. eddieMex says

    Great read. Thank you for sharing. I will share this with our customers on our Facebook page.

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