Veracruz is a major port city and municipality located on the Gulf of Mexico, in the state of Veracruz, known for its wide ranging blends of indigenous, Hispanic and Afro-Cuban cultures – which particularly shows itself in its food and music. Veracruz is bounded by the state of Oaxaca to its south-west – another beautiful travel destination.
With a tropical savanna climate, plenty of social coffeehouses, and live performances of the unique “son cubano” style of music, Veracruz has become a very popular travel destination for travellers all around the world. Veracruz has also become a popular filming destination in the recent years, so if you’re a vlogger, actor, or humble Instagrammer, you might also be in luck with this destination!
Just like for all big cities, crime is a worry that many travellers have. However, with the right guide, you can make sure that your visit there will go as smoothly as possible, allowing you to enjoy as many activities as possible.
Is Veracruz safe right now?
Veracruz has gone through a lot of transformation in the recent years; once being a safe haven from drug related crimes, now not so much.
Violent crimes, including illegal roadblocks used to stop cars, have been on the rise in the state. As of 2019, Veracruz is listed as the 18th state on the list of Mexican states with the highest homicide rates. Reports of corruption, vandalism, theft, and general crime have also been on the rise, and are considered as high threats within the state. Due to this, governments around the world advise that extreme care is taken when travelling Veracruz.
However, as a tourist, you’re unlikely to stumble into any bad business – as long as you keep your wits about you. Many tourists travel Veracruz every year without personally encountering any crime, simply because they keep to the popular, touristy areas and practice common sense. Knowing a bit of Spanish (the main language in Veracruz) will also come in handy when figuring out what’s going on around you.
Is Veracruz safe for solo female travellers?
Solo female travellers have travelled to Veracruz and back safely countless times.
Female travellers are advised to take extra care when using public transport by keeping their belongings in sight at all times. It’s also advised to be extra cautious if driving, by parking and refuelling in main areas, and always keeping doors and windows locked, especially at traffic lights.
As pickpocketing is a real concern in Mexico, you should keep your purse or handbag safe and secure at all times. Being aware of your immediate environment will maximize your chances of not being a victim of pickpocketing.
General advice applies here: be cautious of consuming lots of alcohol or taking drinks from strangers, avoid drugs, never walk late at night (especially in empty areas), tell people where you’re going, and always be aware of your immediate environment. Once you have these few habits running automatically, you will be just fine travelling this beautiful state.
If at any point you feel like you’re being followed or threatened, walk to the nearest police station or dial 911.
Is Veracruz safe to live?
Living in sunny, tropical Veracruz would surely have its benefits! The cost of living is low and the expat penetration is even lower, so you’re likely to have a very authentic experience. But is it safe?
Well, homes being broken into and belongings stolen are still considered moderate threats in Veracruz, alongside the threat of things being taken from your car. Therefore, as a relatively-high crime area in Mexico, living in Veracruz also comes with risks.
It’s recommended that you are comfortable with speaking and understanding Spanish before moving to live in Veracruz. One reason for this is, of course, to converse with the local people. But another, more important, reason is that drug related crime is a very active threat in Veracruz, usually carried out in non-touristy areas. Many people have reported accidentally walking into cartel-run areas, and getting themselves into trouble, due to simply not being able to understand what was being said by the cartel members in Spanish.
Is Veracruz safe at night?
Veracruz is filled with restaurants and cafes that come alive at night – with the help of local live music and dancing. Its nightlife can give you a real taste of the different aspects of Mexican culture, so make sure to soak up the atmosphere as much as you can! You can find nightclubs in the city of Veracruz, though they are a few miles away from the main port area. If you’re looking for a real party experience in Mexico, Cozumel might be the location for you.
It’s recommended that you don’t drive at night in Veracruz, as the chances of being broken into or illegally stopped with the threat of violence have increased. Taking official cabs to move around at night is the safest way of enjoying nightlife in Veracruz. If you have to drive, make sure you use toll roads (“cuotas”) over isolated streets, as they are more safe.
Similarly, when walking around at night, use well-lit, main streets whenever possible and don’t flash any expensive belongings or cash.
Is the tap water in Veracruz safe to drink?
Yes, the tap water in Veracruz is considered safe to drink, although the water quality in the city of Veracruz is considered below average. Conversely, the capital city of Veracruz, Xalapa, has tap water that is considered of very high quality.
While people are encouraged to drink tap water to reduce their carbon footprint and plastic usage, many people opt for bottled water in the city of Veracruz to ensure they are getting quality water and avoiding any chances of drinking polluted water.
A filter water bottle is an effective way of purifying water to remove any impurities or contaminants.
Veracruz 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.
Are taxis in Veracruz safe?
Yes, taxis in Veracruz are generally safe to use. Although there have been reports of taxi drivers taking advantage of tourists or robbing passengers in the past, these have usually taken place in unofficial taxi cabs. Therefore, it’s advised that you use pre-paid airport taxi services when you arrive, exclusively use authorized taxi ranks when travelling around town, and ask your hotel concierge to book you a taxi when requiring one.
It’s recommended that you negotiate and agree on the taxi fare before starting the trip, as some drivers may try and charge you more than necessary.
Once you have these precautions in place, taxis are the best way of getting around Veracruz, being cheap and safe, during the day and night!
Top 9 Veracruz Safety Tips
We’re glad you’re thinking of going to Veracruz. You will be sure to experience a real taste of Mexican culture, and want to return in future years. So, is Veracruz, Mexico safe? Here we will summarize the top safety tips for you to ensure a smooth travelling experience.
Avoid walking around non-main streets late at night
When exploring Veracruz on foot, stay on well-lit, main streets as much as possible. Most acts of violence take place in dark, isolated roads where there are very few people to witness it.
Don’t carry large amounts of cash
Before leaving your hotel or apartment, try to estimate how much you are looking to spend (make sure to include the cost of taxis) and only take out that amount in cash. By doing this, you reduce your chances of accidentally flashing cash to the wrong people, losing some accidentally, or being pickpocketed.
Avoid the drug culture
As a tourist, you are safe from the drug culture if you don’t go looking for it. Many drug cartels operate throughout Mexico, including in Veracruz. The best way to stay out of trouble with any cartels is by avoiding drugs altogether when in this state.
If in doubt, take a cab!
If at any point along your travels you feel that you are lost, or that you have lost track of time by enjoying yourself too much, don’t try to save money by walking back to your hotel. By taking an official cab, you are much more likely to get home safe and sound, and they are cheap!
Agree on any fees before starting a journey
Public transport drivers or merchants in Veracruz have been known to overcharge naive tourists. You’re even more likely to be a victim of this if you cannot communicate in Spanish. Therefore, it’s in your best interest to agree on any fees before starting a journey or tour.
A Travel Safety Belt is an effective and affordable way of protecting your notes, cards, and cash.
Don’t flash any valuable items
You should avoid flashing any expensive items, such as jewellery, cameras, watches and handbags, on the streets – especially at night. By keeping your belongings to a minimum when travelling, you also minimize your chances of being seen as a target by criminals.
Protect your personal belongings
In addition to handbags and expensive items, you should also make copies of important documents, including your passport and identification card. This guarantees you a way of getting around even in the worse case scenario that the original documents are stolen from you.
Always know your emergency options
Before travelling to any areas in Veracruz, take a few minutes to locate the police stations on the map and note down any emergency service numbers. Remember, 911 will always connect you to the police.
Avoid driving at night
As reports of car crimes and illegal road blocks have been on the rise in Veracruz, it’s recommended that you avoid driving at night altogether. If you must drive, keep all doors and windows locked, as break-ins have been reported at traffic lights when cars are stationary.