Is Campeche Mexico Safe to Visit? Travel Safety Guidance

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The city of San Francisco de Campeche (or just Campeche), though popular, is considered an alternative destination on the Gulf of Mexico and the Yucatan Peninsula, with more people typically choosing to head to Merida, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel or Cancun – despite that, this charming, historic city has more than enough to satisfy tourists of all kinds.

Campeche was awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 1997 and is rich with Mayan & Spanish architecture & significance which can still be seen to this day. Popular for high quality seafood and easy access to the surrounding natures spots, the city is earning a reputation as a popular holiday destination for people looking to avoid the commercialism of its touristy rivals.

The state of Campeche is one of the most scenic areas in the country, attracting hoards of tourists each year, it is also considered the safest state in the whole of Mexico. Bordering the states of Yucatan, Tabasco & Quintana Roo, with international borders to Guatemala & Belize to the south and a pristine coastline to the west – Campeche is extremely accessible and a hub of activity and entertainment.

In this article we will take a detailed look at how safe the city and state capital of Campeche is for tourists and what precautions you should take. From taxis, to tap water, this is the ultimate guide for safety in Campeche.

Is Campeche safe right now?

Campeche
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Campeche is considered a very safe place to travel and ranks amongst the safest cities in Mexico, boosting its reputation as a tourist hot spot, a reputation the local authorities are keen to keep.

San Francisco de Campeche is a safe city for tourists and residents alike and due to its grid-like layout, it is very easy to navigate, reducing the chances of accidentally wandering into the less desirable parts of town. However, like any city, crime still exists and tourists can be a victim of scams, or even robberies… so be vigilant and apply the same common sense you would back home.

Police are present in all the main tourist areas and are happy to offer assistance if required, but if you choose to venture away from the residential areas of the city you should exercise increased caution, or use a taxi to reach your intended destination.

Visiting a tourist information point is also recommended, as you can gain valuable insight into the city and learn which areas are deemed as unsafe and should be avoided if possible.

Like most popular tourist areas, the Yucatan Peninsula does have an issue with pickpockets so have your wits about you in crowded areas, or on busy public transport. Also avoid having valuables or money on show. Items such as passports, large sums of cash, electronics and expensive jewellery should be kept in your hotel room’s safe when they are not being used. Thefts within hotels are rare but not completely unheard of.

Hiring a car in the Yucatan Peninsula is generally safe but drivers should ensure they have adequate insurance. Driving at night is not advised and carjackings have been reported in this area, if you suspect you are being followed then you should drive to a police station, or a busy, central area.

Drink driving is a serious offence in Mexico and the national legal limit is a blood alcohol level 0.08%.

Drinks behind a bar in dim light
Photo by Sergio Alves Santos

The numbers

In 2017, the state of Campeche was ranked third in the Mexico Peace Index. This was attributed to an 18% drop in homicides, a 12% reduction in violent crime and a 9% decrease in crimes involving a firearm. It is also one of the few states that does not suffer from prison over-population, with prisons 22% under capacity.

According to the index, the top five peaceful states in Mexico are; Yucatan, Tlaxcala, Campeche, Coahuila & Chiapas.

Border cities in Mexico (particularly to the US) are generally a hub for crime due to smuggling, which is another reason why Campeche avoids a lot of the problems which may make you feel uneasy about visiting Mexico.

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According to the crowd-sourced database, Numbeo, crimes such as car theft, attacks, being insulted, & racist attacks are low. Walking around in the day is considered highly safe and there is only a moderate chance of muggings, drug crime and burglaries.

The most dangerous cities in Mexico are considered to be; Tijuana, Acapulco, Victoria, Juarez & Irapuato.

Is Campeche safe for solo female travellers?

woman on beach
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Mexico can sometimes receive undeserved bad press and a reputation for being dangerous but much of this is completely unwarranted, especially in the state of Campeche. Some cities in Mexico certainly have a problem with drugs and gun crime but incidents are largely restricted to local neighbourhoods and major crime involving a tourist is extremely rare.

Campeche is a fantastic destination for a female solo traveller and is easy to navigate by foot or bicycle if there are concerns about using taxis or public transportation. The main centre is well policed and the locals are friendly, instantly putting you at ease as you walk its historic streets.

Mexican people also socialise late into the night when the weather is cooler so there is no need to worry about taking an evening stroll in the evening hours. Like anywhere, females can receive unwanted attention but local men are very unlikely to become aggressive, or threatening compared to other parts of the world. In a lot of cases, female travellers have reported that fellow travellers have been more of a problem than locals.

In terms of accommodation, many hostels offer female-only dormitories if you are looking to reduce costs and require a cheap but safe place to stay.

Do not leave food or drinks unattended in bars and do not accept drinks from overly friendly strangers as drink spiking can occur on rare occasions.

As a day trip, you can also head to the seaside colloquial town of Ciudad del Carmen, where you will find the same levels of safety should you want to explore more of this beautiful coastline.

Is Campeche safe to live?

Campeche beach
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

The state of Campeche is one of the safest places to live in Mexico with crime levels considered low-to-moderate on a global scale. According to Numbeo, the only area of crime which sees Campeche score high is regarding bribery and corruption, a problem which has been publicised throughout Mexico.

Many Ex-Pats from the US and around the globe have chosen Campeche as their home due to its low cost of living, beautiful surroundings and its safe environment. Its reputation within the digital nomad community is growing and more and more tech workers are choosing it as a base to work remotely.

Is Campeche safe at night?

Like all cities, walking around in the day time is much safer than during the night, where undesirable characters such can occupy dark alleys and take advantage of an unsuspecting tourist. Be wary of your surroundings when using an ATM at night as people withdrawing large sums of money are the main target for muggers. Apply the same common sense as you would back in your home city or town.

Stick to well-lit, public areas and use a taxi if you are travelling away from the main tourist district. Luckily, the Mexican people are very fond of evening activities, with dancing and music in parks and squares until late at night, making the most of the cool temperatures. People also circulate around bars and street food stalls, ensuring the streets of Campeche are bustling to provide an added level of safety.

Protect your money from pickpockets!

Keeping your money safe from theft and pickpockets is essential when traveling on the road.

A Travel Safety Belt is an effective and affordable way of protecting your notes, cards, and cash.

Is the tap water in Campeche safe to drink?

Gold metal tap with running water
Photo by Svklimkin

It is not advised to drink tap water in Campeche, or Mexico in general and many locals choose to drink bottled water instead. Water served in restaurants will almost always come in a bottle but if it is served in a glass, ask whether it has been purified before drinking.

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The water itself is safe to drink but due to ageing pipes and distribution systems, it can get contaminated on its way from the treatment plant to people’s homes, giving it an unpleasant taste or possibly causing an upset stomach.

Water in Campeche is safe to use for tasks such as cooking or brushing your teeth.

Are taxis in Campeche safe?

Rusted taxi in Mexico
Photo by Michael Mongin

Taxis in Campeche are safe to use and also cheap, although scams are not completely unheard of.

If a taxi driver tries to convince you that your choice of hotel is bad and attempts to direct you to another, then they are probably working on commission and it is very likely that the hotel will be a lot worse than the one you had in mind! Firmly state that you want to go to your chosen destination, or leave the vehicle.

On average the starting fare of a taxi in Campeche is $1.49 and another $0.87 for every kilometre.

If you want to avoid using a taxi, then a one-way ticket on the bus is around $0.35 on average.

Campeche Travel Insurance

Always make sure to get travel insurance! Even if you’re only going for a short holiday, you should always take out travel insurance. Take our word, travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds – so make sure to get it before you leave.

We highly recommend using Safety Wing, but there are many insurance companies to choose from so make sure to shop around to find the best deal.

Top 9 Campeche Safety Tips

Security
Image by Ryan McGuire from Pixabay

  1. Apply best practice and common sense to avoid having anything stolen – this can include having your bag in front of you on public transport, using a money belt, using locks on the zips of your bag, not wearing an expensive watch or jewellery & covering pockets when walking through a crowd.
  2. Do not leave drinks and food unattended, or out of your view, as spiking has been known to happen in Mexican cities, although not so much in Campeche; extra caution should be taken if you are a female solo traveller.
  3. Make copies of your important documents before travelling in case they are lost, stolen, or you need proof of identity. If you have been the subject of a crime then you will need to be able to prove who you are in the police station.
  4. Explore in the day time, as although Campeche is relatively safe at night, especially compared to other parts of Mexico, the darkness can still attract opportunist thieves and unwanted attention.
  5. Drink bottled water as old infrastructure in Campeche increases the risk of contamination and can even make some people feel ill.
  6. Use a safe to keep your valuables secure as hotel room theft can occur in Mexico, if your room is not equipped with a safe then ask to keep important items in the safe behind reception but make sure you get a receipt. Items you should keep out of sight are; your passport, laptops, tablets, watches, jewellery, cash and other important documents.
  7. Be wary of taxi scams – if the driver tries to persuade you that the hotel you’ve chosen is a bad one and tries to direct you elsewhere then they will be working on commission. If this happens, be stern and order them to take you to your destination, if that doesn’t solve the problem then exit the vehicle as soon as you get the chance.
  8. Do you research and find out which areas you should avoid and what potential scams you may encounter in Mexico. There are many bloggers who share first hand experience of problems they have faced and how other people can avoid them.
  9. Be sensible when using ATMs – When withdrawing money, try to do it in a busy public area such as a shopping mall or high street. Avoid ATMS in poorly lit areas, quiet streets, or in areas away from the main tourist district where you would be unable to call for help should a robbery occur.

We hope this Campeche safety guide has provided you with some useful information and you feel ready to explore this wonderful state and the Yucatan Peninsula.

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