Is Guanajuato Safe to Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Is Guanajuato Safe to Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Despite a few recent criminal incidents, Guanajuato, Mexico is still a reasonably safe place for tourists to visit.

Similar to any other popular tourist destination, visitors should use caution and take precautions to guarantee their safety, like avoiding areas with poor illumination after dark and being alert of their surroundings. To ensure the safety of both locals and visitors, the city also maintains substantial police presence and security measures.

Areas to avoid

According to the city’s crime map, among the areas that represent the greatest danger to visitors and locals, the following stand out: the downtown area in first place, followed by Marfil, San Javier, Cerro del Gallo, La Gualdra, El Carrizo, Cerro de los Leones, La Alameda, and El Carrizo.

It’s usually advisable to plan ahead, get advice from locals or hotel staff, and use common sense when visiting new places.

Common Scams

Unfortunately, there are a few common scams that visitors to Guanajuato should be aware of. Here are some things to watch out for:

  • Exercise caution when encountering individuals who claim to be police officers but fail to present proper identification. Such individuals may attempt to coerce money from you or falsely accuse you of law violations as a means of extortion.
  • Be alert of ATM skimming: A prevalent global scam, ATM skimming is particularly common in Guanajuato. Skimmers, devices affixed to ATMs, can capture your card information, enabling scammers to later withdraw funds from your account.
  • Be aware of overcharging: Be cautious of certain taxi drivers or street vendors who might attempt to overcharge tourists, especially those presumed unfamiliar with local pricing. It is advisable to negotiate prices beforehand or opt for metered taxis.
  • “Free” Tours: Exercise caution when offered “free” tours of Guanajuato. Such tours may lead to additional costs through concealed fees or pressure to purchase expensive souvenirs.

Official Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory for Guanajuato – Reconsider Travel

According to the U.S. State Department, travelers should reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

In Guanajuato, particularly in the south and central regions of the state, gang violence is a common occurrence and is frequently linked to the theft of natural gas and petroleum from the state oil company and other suppliers.  The high number of murders linked to cartel-related violence in the state’s southern region is especially concerning. Kidnapping has affected both LPRs and citizens of the United States.

Travel to Federal Highway 45D, Celaya, Salamanca, and Irapuato is prohibited for U.S. government employees.

Travel to Guanajuato state, which includes tourist destinations like San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato City, and surrounding areas, is unrestricted for US government workers.

Canada Travel Advisory

The Canadian government does not advise citizens against traveling to Guanajuato. In fact, it says visitors should not travel to the states of Chihuahua, Colima with the exception of Manzanillo, Coahuila, Durango, and Guanajuato (which includes the area south of Highway 45D between Irapuato and Celaya and Highway 45 between León and Irapuato.) Such areas should not be visited by tourists unless absolutely necessary. 

Safety travel tips for Guanajuato

  • Stay updated: Refer to the travel advisories of the U.S. State Department or the equivalent in your country for the latest information.
  • Adhere to local customs: Dress modestly and refrain from displaying expensive belongings.
  • Travel in daylight: Opt for daytime travel, particularly in unfamiliar places.
  • Choose well-frequented zones: Select accommodations in popular tourist areas, often subject to diligent patrolling.
  • Utilize trustworthy transportation: Opt for authorized services or apps like Uber when using taxis.