This section provides practical advice about security in Cuernavaca, Mexico. Violent crime against tourists and international students in Cuernavaca is uncommon.
The Mexican government works hard to prevent incidents that negatively impact Mexico's tourism industry, since Mexico's economy relies on it. This means that security in areas like Cuernavaca, where tourists are likely to visit, is a priority.
For a city of one million people (over the weekends), Cuernavaca has a lower crime rate than many U.S. or European cities of a comparable size. The people of Cuernavaca are friendly and welcoming toward foreigners.
The media pays a lot of attention to drug-related violence in Mexico, but it's important to note that 90% of the violence is limited exclusively to people associated with drug cartels and the police. Mexico is a large country with many regional differences. Violence along the U.S./ Mexican border, for example, is much higher than it is in the state of Morelos, where Cuernavaca is located.
The U.S. State Department says, "Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable." During your stay in Cuernavaca, your safety is mainly a question of using common sense and avoiding potentially dangerous situations and areas where drug activity might occur.
In addition, we offer these tips for personal safety:
- Take Radio Taxis or UBER´s, not taxis you stop randomly on the street. Radio taxis are legitimate licensed taxis. They are in constant contact by radio with the taxi central, which traces their whereabouts. The cabs are numbered, so each one can be traced. Radio taxis are more reliable and safer than other forms of transportation.
- If you go out at night, go with at least one other person, or with a group.
- Let your host family know where you're going, and approximately what time you will be back.
- Don't accept help from strangers who approach you in the street. Don't accept drinks from strangers in bars. Don't go home with people you just met.
- At night, stay in well lit areas with other people around.
- In crowded places, like public markets, be on the lookout for pickpockets. Keep your money safely zipped in a pocket of your bag, and hold your bag close to your body.
- Don't carry more money than you need; don't carry your passport and all of your credit cards. Take one credit card and just enough money for what you plan to do that day.
- Don't wear expensive jewelry or watches. Don't carry around expensive equipment like ipads, ipods, iphones, smartphones, laptops, digital cameras, etc., especially in crowded public places (like cafes and bars) where someone can steal them while your head is turned. You may think you aren't wealthy, but compared to people who are very poor, your material possessions signal that you have money. This applies to designer purses, expensive briefcases, and other "status" items. Anything that is flashy and conspicuous will catch the attention of potential thieves.
- Know where you're going when you go out. Don't stand around on the street looking at maps or otherwise indicating that you're "lost." Walk with determination, and act like you know what you're doing.
- Don't drink to excess, and don't use drugs. Anyone "under the influence" is a target for crime.
- To the extent possible, try to "blend in" with locals in terms of how they dress. If you are the only person on a city bus wearing shorts, flip flops and a baseball cap, you'll call more attention to yourself.
- Be discreet anytime you take money out of your wallet. Don't flash a lot of bills. Using common sense is the best guarantee of self-protection while traveling in most places around the world. By minimizing your vulnerability, you'll reduce the risk of becoming a victim of crime.