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What NOT To Do In Mexico


Modified: December 27, 2023

by Shara Peer



When it comes to exploring Mexico, there are countless attractions and experiences to enjoy. From vibrant cultural festivals to stunning natural landscapes, Mexico offers a rich tapestry of history, cuisine, and adventure. However, like any travel destination, it is important to be mindful of certain precautions to have a safe and enjoyable trip. In this article, we will explore some important tips on what not to do when travelling in Mexico.


Mexico has a unique blend of modernity and tradition, with a rich cultural heritage that is deeply rooted in its people. It is important to show respect for the local customs, traditions, and way of life. By being aware of the do’s and don’ts, you can ensure a memorable experience while avoiding any potential pitfalls or issues.


Whether you’re planning a visit to the vibrant streets of Mexico City, the magnificent Mayan ruins in Chichen Itza, or the stunning beaches of Cancun, it is crucial to understand the local environment and adopt responsible travel practices.


Let’s delve into some of the key things to avoid to ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Mexico.


Avoid drinking tap water

One of the most important things to remember when traveling in Mexico is to avoid drinking tap water. While the water may be safe for locals, it can often contain bacteria or parasites that can cause illness in foreigners who are not accustomed to it. It’s important to remember that tap water in Mexico is not treated in the same way as in many other countries.


To ensure your safety, it is recommended to drink bottled water or use a water purification system. Bottled water is widely available in Mexico, and most hotels and restaurants will serve it. Additionally, be cautious when ordering beverages with ice, as the ice may be made from tap water.


It’s also important to be mindful of the water you use for brushing your teeth or washing fruits and vegetables. Use bottled water or boil tap water before using it for these purposes.


By avoiding tap water, you can minimize the risk of contracting waterborne diseases such as traveler’s diarrhea, also known as Montezuma’s Revenge, which can put a damper on your trip.


Remember, staying hydrated is essential, especially in Mexico’s warm climate, so make sure to have plenty of safe drinking water readily available during your travels.


Don’t display excessive wealth or flashy jewelry

When visiting Mexico, it’s important to be mindful of your surroundings and avoid displaying excessive wealth or wearing flashy jewelry. While Mexico is generally a safe country for tourists, it is always a good idea to take precautions to minimize the chances of becoming a target for theft or pickpocketing.


Wearing expensive jewelry or carrying around designer bags can attract unwanted attention and make you a potential target for thieves. Instead, opt for more discreet accessories and avoid drawing unnecessary attention to yourself.


It’s also a good idea to keep your valuables securely locked in your hotel safe when you’re not using them. Only carry the essentials with you when you’re out and about, such as a copy of your identification, a small amount of cash, and a credit card. Leave any unnecessary items or large sums of money locked away.


By being mindful of your appearance and avoiding flashy displays of wealth, you can reduce the risk of being targeted by opportunistic thieves and enjoy a worry-free trip.


Avoid wandering alone at night in unfamiliar areas

Exploring new places can be exciting, but it’s important to prioritize your personal safety, especially when it comes to wandering alone at night in unfamiliar areas. While Mexico is known for its vibrant nightlife, it’s essential to exercise caution and make smart decisions to avoid any potential risks.


If you’re planning to go out at night, try to stick to well-lit, busy areas with a good reputation for safety. Avoid poorly lit streets, secluded areas, or places that seem deserted. It’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood you’re staying in and ask your hotel staff or local authorities for any recommendations or areas to avoid.


When exploring at night, consider joining a guided tour or group activity. This way, you can enjoy the experience while having the support and security of a knowledgeable guide and a group. Additionally, traveling in numbers reduces the likelihood of becoming an easy target for criminals.


Trust your instincts and be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you feel unsafe or uncomfortable in a certain area, it’s best to leave and find a safer place. It’s better to prioritize your safety over exploring a particular spot.


By being cautious and avoiding wandering alone at night in unfamiliar areas, you can significantly reduce the chances of encountering any risks or unfortunate incidents, ensuring a safer and more enjoyable trip to Mexico.


Don’t forget to carry identification and travel documents at all times

When traveling in Mexico, it is crucial to carry your identification and travel documents with you at all times. This includes your passport, visa (if applicable), and any other necessary permits or documents. Having these documents readily available is not only important for legal purposes but also for your own safety and convenience.


Law enforcement officials in Mexico have the right to request identification from both locals and tourists. As a visitor, it is essential to abide by the local laws and regulations. Carrying your identification with you ensures that you can provide the necessary documentation if requested by authorities.


In addition to identification, make copies of your travel documents and keep them in a separate location from the originals. This will come in handy in case you misplace or lose your documents, as it will be easier to obtain replacements when you have copies readily available.


It’s also a good idea to have digital copies of your documents stored on your phone or in a secure cloud storage service. This way, you can access your documents even if your physical copies get lost or stolen.


By ensuring you have your identification and travel documents with you at all times, you can navigate any legal or administrative situations that may arise during your trip, giving you peace of mind and a smoother travel experience.


Do not disrespect local customs and traditions

One of the key aspects of traveling in Mexico is respecting the local customs and traditions. Mexico is a country with a rich cultural heritage and deep-rooted traditions that are highly valued by its people. It’s important to be mindful of this and avoid any actions or behaviors that could be seen as disrespectful or offensive.


Take the time to learn about the customs and traditions of the specific region you’re visiting. This may include social etiquette, appropriate dress codes, and behavior in religious or sacred sites. For example, when visiting churches or temples, it is customary to dress modestly and adhere to any specific rules or regulations.


Engaging with the local community in a respectful manner can contribute to a more enriching travel experience. It’s important to approach interactions with an open mind and a willingness to learn from the locals. Show respect for their traditions, beliefs, and way of life.


Avoid making negative or derogatory comments about the local culture, customs, or traditions. What may seem like a harmless joke or comment to you could be offensive to the locals. Embrace the diversity and uniqueness of the Mexican culture with an attitude of curiosity and respect.


By respecting local customs and traditions, you not only show appreciation for the rich heritage of the country but also foster positive interactions with the locals and create a more harmonious travel experience for yourself and those around you.


Avoid consuming street food without proper hygiene precautions

Mexico is renowned for its delicious street food, offering a wide array of flavors and culinary delights. While street food can be a fantastic way to experience the local cuisine, it’s essential to take proper hygiene precautions to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.


Before indulging in street food, make sure to assess the cleanliness of the food stall or cart. Look out for vendors who follow good hygiene practices, such as wearing gloves, using clean utensils, and maintaining clean cooking surfaces. Consider the overall cleanliness of the surroundings as well.


Ensure that the food is cooked thoroughly and served piping hot. Avoid consuming raw or undercooked meat, seafood, or eggs, as these can pose a higher risk of food poisoning. Stick to freshly prepared dishes and avoid any food that has been sitting out for a long time.


It’s also a good idea to observe how the food is handled and prepared. Watch for hygienic practices such as regular hand washing and the use of safe water sources for food preparation.


Additionally, be cautious of the water source used for beverages or ice. Opt for bottled or boiled water and avoid using tap water or ice of uncertain origin.


By being mindful of hygiene precautions when consuming street food, you can savor the delicious flavors of Mexico while minimizing the risk of foodborne illnesses. Remember, it’s better to be cautious and prioritize your health than to risk falling ill during your travels.


Don’t engage in illegal drug activities

It’s crucial to understand that engaging in illegal drug activities is not only against the law but can also have severe consequences in Mexico. Mexico has strict drug laws and penalties for drug-related offenses, which can result in lengthy imprisonment or even worse.


Drug trafficking and possession of illegal substances are serious crimes in Mexico, and the country has been actively combating drug-related activities. It is important to respect and abide by the local laws, regardless of your personal beliefs or cultural differences.


Avoid any involvement in purchasing, carrying, or using illegal drugs during your time in Mexico. This includes recreational drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, or any other illicit substances.


Remember that the consumption and possession of drugs not only put your personal safety at risk but also contribute to the perpetuation of illegal activities, violence, and social issues in the country.


Instead, focus on exploring the natural beauty, cultural heritage, and vibrant atmosphere that Mexico has to offer. Immerse yourself in the rich traditions, cuisine, and history, and create lasting memories without jeopardizing your well-being or breaking the law.


By steering clear of illegal drug activities, you can ensure a legal and safe journey through Mexico, allowing you to fully appreciate the beauty of the country and its people.


Avoid discussing sensitive topics or making offensive remarks

When traveling in Mexico, it’s crucial to be mindful of the cultural and social context and avoid discussing sensitive topics or making offensive remarks. Mexico is a diverse country with a complex history and a range of cultural, political, and social issues. Respecting these sensitivities is essential for maintaining positive and respectful interactions with the locals.


Avoid engaging in conversations related to sensitive topics such as politics, religion, or socioeconomic issues unless you have a deep understanding of the subject matter and are certain that it will be received well. Remember that different cultures may have different perspectives on these matters, and it’s important to approach them with sensitivity and an open mind.


Be cautious when discussing controversial or sensitive historical events, as they can evoke strong emotions. Engage in discussions with respect and empathy, listening to different perspectives and understanding the significance of these topics for the local community.


Furthermore, refrain from making offensive remarks or engaging in discriminatory behavior. Treat everyone with respect and kindness, regardless of their background or identity.


It’s always a good idea to observe and learn from the local customs and behaviors. Pay attention to how the locals interact and engage in conversations, and follow their lead. By being respectful and sensitive to the cultural nuances, you will foster positive connections and create a more fulfilling travel experience in Mexico.


Don’t ignore travel advisories or warnings

When planning a trip to Mexico, it’s important to stay informed about travel advisories and warnings issued by your home country’s government or international organizations. These advisories provide valuable information about the safety and security situation in specific regions of Mexico.


While Mexico is a popular tourist destination, it does experience certain security challenges in some areas. Ignoring travel advisories or warnings can put you at unnecessary risk. It’s essential to heed the advice and take appropriate precautions.


Before your trip, research the current travel advisories for Mexico and the specific regions you plan to visit. These advisories may provide guidance on areas to avoid, high-risk locations, or any ongoing security concerns.


It’s also recommended to register with your country’s embassy or consulate upon arrival in Mexico. This allows them to keep you updated on any important safety updates or emergency situations that may arise.


While travel advisories are crucial, it’s important to remember that they are not meant to discourage travel but to ensure that you are well-informed and prepared to make informed decisions about your safety.


By staying updated on travel advisories and taking them into consideration, you can plan your trip accordingly, avoid high-risk areas, and have a safer and more enjoyable experience in Mexico.


Avoid relying solely on public transportation without researching its safety measures

Public transportation can be a convenient and cost-effective way to get around in Mexico. However, it’s important to prioritize your safety by not solely relying on public transportation without researching its safety measures.


Before using public transportation, whether it’s buses, taxis, or trains, take the time to research the safety records and reputation of the specific mode of transportation and the local companies operating them.


When using buses, opt for reputable and well-established companies that prioritize passenger safety. Check if the buses are well-maintained, equipped with safety features like seat belts, and adhere to proper driving regulations.


When taking a taxi, it’s advisable to use official taxi services or reputable ride-sharing apps. Avoid hailing taxis from the street, especially at night, as this can increase the risk of encountering unlicensed or potentially unsafe drivers. Always ensure that the taxi meter is used or negotiate the fare beforehand.


If you’re taking the train, verify that the railway system is reliable and follows safety standards. Be cautious of crowded trains, particularly during peak hours, and keep an eye on your belongings to prevent theft.


Additionally, consider the safety of the routes and areas you’ll be traveling through. Some regions of Mexico may have higher crime rates or unsafe road conditions. Stay informed about any ongoing security concerns in the specific areas you plan to visit and adjust your travel arrangements accordingly.


It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case of any transportation issues or emergencies. Familiarize yourself with alternative transportation options or have a reliable map or navigation app on hand in case you need to change your route or mode of transport.


By researching the safety measures of public transportation and making informed choices, you can navigate Mexico’s transportation system with greater confidence and minimize any potential risks during your travels.



As you embark on your journey to Mexico, it’s important to keep in mind these valuable travel tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience. By avoiding tap water, refraining from displaying excessive wealth or flashy jewelry, and being cautious when wandering at night, you can minimize the risk of encountering any unfortunate incidents.


Don’t forget to carry your identification and travel documents at all times and show respect for the local customs and traditions. By doing so, you can navigate through Mexico with ease and build positive connections with the local community.


When it comes to food, exercise caution when consuming street food by following proper hygiene precautions. By prioritizing your health and well-being, you can relish the delectable array of flavors without worrying about foodborne illnesses.


It is essential to remember that engaging in illegal drug activities is not only against the law but can also have severe consequences. Adhere to the rules and regulations of Mexico, and focus on immersing yourself in the cultural richness and natural beauty of the country.


Furthermore, be mindful of discussing sensitive topics or making offensive remarks, as respecting the diverse perspectives and traditions of Mexico is vital for fostering positive interactions and cultural understanding.


Lastly, don’t ignore travel advisories or warnings and conduct thorough research on the safety measures of public transportation before relying solely on it. By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, you can navigate Mexico’s transportation system with confidence.


By incorporating these travel tips into your itinerary, you can enjoy a memorable and safe experience in Mexico, embracing the vibrant culture, breathtaking landscapes, and warm hospitality the country has to offer.