Is Mazatlan one of Mexico’s best-hidden secrets, or simply a dangerous destination? Well, despite government warnings, Mazatlan can actually be very safe. Sure, there are instances of petty theft and street crime, but most of the serious crime happens outside of the city and away from tourist areas.
From cartel violence to kidnapping, Mexico has a poor safety reputation in 2020, largely due to the countries war on drugs and being home to one of the most powerful cartels in the world.
However, by following a few safety guidelines we can ensure you of a safe and enjoyable trip. By the end of this article, we hope to show you how you can visit Mazatlan safely, plus know which areas in Mexico to strongly avoid.
Is Mazatlan safe for tourists 2020?
It’s fair to say that Mexico is an extremely popular tourist destination, with Mazatlan receiving over two million tourists every year.
The police are cracking down on crime in the area, making it a very safe place to visit.
Sadly, Mexico does have a reputation for drug-related crime. However, the Mexican government put a lot of effort into making sure major tourist areas are heavily protected.
It’s important to remember that millions of people visit Mexico each year and have a safe time, despite constant news reports on drugs and violance. With so much fake news and other misleading information, it’s hard to know what to believe. The truth of the matter is that Mazatlan is safer than most places in America.
The greatest risks you face in Mazatlan is a petty crime which of course occurs in most countries.
You can reduce your risk in Mazatlan by sticking to the tourist areas listed below:
- Gold Zone
- Olas Altas
- Old Town
- La Marina
A Travel Safety Belt is an effective and affordable way of protecting your notes, cards, and cash.
Is Mazatlan safe for families?
Mazatlan is very safe for families, and there are many family-friendly hotels and private long-term rentals in Mazatlan where you and your family can stay with confidence. You can find these all over Mazatlan, but some of our favourite family-friendly hotels are Emporio Mazatlan, The Palms Resort Of Mazatlan, and El Cid Marina Beach Hotel.
Swimming is also reasonably safe in Mazatlan, or at least no more dangerous than any other waters in the world. Except for surf beaches such as the northern beach Playa Bruja, the waters in Mazatlan are calm and generally safe for children to swim.
Make sure to regularly apply suncream to keep your little ones protected by the sun. It can also get very hot, so a sunhat and sitting in shaded areas is always a good idea.
Is Mazatlan safe for expats?
Mazatlan is one of the best places in the world to retire, and for good reason. Affordable living, hot weather, stunning beaches, and friendly locals – what’s not to love? It’s also very safe, and a lot of people do live in Mazatlan.
Mazatlan is far safer than other parts of Mexico, and other places in the world for that matter. You should still be aware of petty crime such as pickpocketing that is common in resort cities.
As well as being safe, Mazatlan is cheap, too, and you can live for as little as $1,000 per month. Before coming to Mexico you should brush up on your Spanish skills, as it definetely helps builds relationships in the area.
Is the water safe to drink in Mazatlan?
Similarly to the rest of Mexico, you should not drink the tap water in Mazatlan. While water purification has improved significantly in Mexico, the level of quality varies depending on which area you visit. Bacteria, parasites, or other viruses may be present in the water, which can cause stomach upset amongst other symptoms.
Tap water is safe to use for general purposes such as washing, cleaning, and bathing. If you are to drink the water, make sure to boil it first to kill any bacteria or other parasites.
Ice is considered safe in your drinks at restaurants as it is nearly always purified ice. Bottle water and any other water that has been disinfected is also safe to drink.
Are taxis safe in Mazatlan?
Taking a Taxi in Mazatlan is absolutely safe; moreover, it’s one of the most affordable ways of getting around. The majority of taxis are unmetered and rely on your bargaining abilities before boarding the taxi.
Another way to travel is by using app-taxis such as Uber or Cabify that are charged through your app and billed to your home country in the same way that you do back home. These will pick you up directly from your location, and you can even arrange to meet at a predetermined location. Ubers are a safe way to travel, and there are even safety features built into the app if you need it.
Make sure to always use licensed taxi services or transport arranged by your hotel. Unregistered taxis in Mazatlan may be cheaper, but it’s not worth risking your safety.
Moreover, never drive out of the city at night. Sinaloa is one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico, and it’s only a couple hours south from Mazatlan.
Thankfully, most of the tourist attractions are within a short distance of Mazatlan and are reasonably safe. As a rule of thumb, keep your nighttime activities within the city.
Mazatlan Travel Insurance
Enjoy your visit to Mazatlan, but always make sure to get travel insurance! Even if you are only visiting for a few days, you should always take out travel cover. Take our word for it: travel insurance can save you thousands of pounds – so make sure to purchase it before you start your trip.
We highly recommend using World Nomads, but of course, there are many insurance providers to choose from. So make sure to shop around to find the best deal for you!
9 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Mazatlan
Generally, Mazatlan is a safe destination to travel. However, that doesn’t mean it comes without risk. It’s important to remember these few safety tips when it comes to staying safe in Mazatlan.
- Make digital copies of all important documents – before visiting Mazatlan, make sure to take digital copies of all your important documents such as passport, flights, travel insurance etc.
- Stick to tourist areas – avoid being in the wrong place at the wrong time by sticking to tourist and crowded areas. Avoid traveling alone at night.
- Wear a money belt – a money belt is an effective way to keep your cards and cash close to your chest. Failure to do that, make sure to leave your valuables back at your hotel’s safety deposit box.
- Watch what you eat – the food in Mexico is delicious, but you should always pick wisely. To avoid getting ill, make sure to stick to reputable restaurants and stalls, and try to look for places that have other people flocking to them.
- Learn some basic Spanish – having some basic knowledge of Spanish will not only make your trip easier, but also more enjoyable. Learn some basic navigational phrases to help find your way around.
- Don’t flash expensive items – be modest, and try to blend in with the locals. Don’t flash expensive items such as clothes, watches, and money, as of course, this will make you more of a target.
- Don’t travel alone – there is certainly safety in numbers when it comes to travelling around Mexico. Avoid travelling alone, especially during the night.
- Trust your instincts – if your intuition is telling you something is wrong, then it’s usually right. Trust your gut feeling, because nobody is going to take better care of you than yourself.
- Have an emergency contact – whenever possible, make sure to let a family member or friend know every step of your travels. A slightly more extreme measure would be to download a tracking app where you can share your location with them.
We hope by now you realise that Mazatlan is a safe place to visit, and by following a few simple safety tips, you will have a safe and enjoyable trip.
Make sure to stick to the tourist areas, use a licensed transport service, and don’t leave the city at night. For tourists looking to visit a unique and beautiful beach town, then we can’t recommend Mazatlan enough.
Please let us know your own experiences in the comments, and if you enjoyed reading don’t forget to check out our other Mexico travel guides.