Is Mazatlan, Mexico Safe? Top Safety Tips For Travelers

Mazatlan, Mexico is a romantic beach resort town and is a top-tourist destination for many travelers. I’ve been seeing a lot of questions concerning the safety of Mazatlan, so I dug deep into the matter and here is what I’ve learned.

Mazatlan, Mexico is moderately safe according to numerous reports on Numbeo.com. You should feel safe walking around any time of the day, including at night. The most common crimes are vandalism, theft, and corruption. Additionally, local police walk the streets keeping an eye out, ensuring the city remains safe for tourist.

You need to remember that when traveling to any city, there will be crime. It doesn’t necessarily matter what country you’re in or even what city, because one thing is for sure, there is crime.

With that being said, Mazatlan isn’t a city that was built for tourism such as Cancun. The city still maintains its Mexican culture and vibe, eventually us travelers started to catch on to the fact that Mazatlan is actually a fantastic city to visit. However, with more tourist generally comes more crime.

What Areas In Mazatlan Are Safest?

Although Mazatlan is considered safe overall, there are some areas which are considered safer than others, especially for tourists. Here or some of the safest areas in Mazatlan:

Old Town

Old Town Mazatlan is a 19th century built town that has been restored into what is now known to be one of the most tranquil parts of town. Parks fill with people relaxing after a long-day. As well, you will find local art galleries, the historic Angela Peralta Theater, an assortment of restaurants and bars and some lovely cathedrals.

The overall safety in Old Town Mazatlan is considered extremely safe. With a low crime rate and being a less-populated area, Old Town receives minimal crime and would be considered a safe place to bring your family. Moreover, Old Town is perfect for someone who desires both safety and locality.

Although the streets can be a bit noisy during the day; as the sun begins to set and everyone relaxes, the area really quiets down. Old Town is a superb spot for families due to its safety and abundant supply or restaurants and entertainment.

Golden Zone

The Golden Zone is the more modern part of town. This area is going to be more popular with tourist considering the amount of resorts and swimmable beaches, which are vast in the Golden Zone. If you’re looking to take a M-A-Z-A-T-L-A-N selfie, this is where you will find the colorful letters as well.

As far as safety goes in the Golden Zone, it’s moderately safe. Local Police carry a heavy presence due to the tourist density. Mazatlan does rely on tourism for much of their income, meaning it’s a top-priority and in the government’s best interest to protect tourist, so they continue to return year-after-year.

This part of town is known to be more popular; with all the resorts and open-air clubs and yes, a lot more parties. In general however, the Golden Zone is safe and many police occupy this part of town. It’s the perfect area for anyone looking to stay in a resort and relax on the beach.

Marina Zone

Being the most recent addition to the city of Mazatlan, the Marina area is full of towering condominiums surrounding a large marina. This area is popular with locals and expats alike. Grocery stores, restaurants and shops occupy the streets, while the beach is a 10 to 20 minute walking distance.

Safety in the Marina area of Mazatlan is excellent. With many high-class sailboats and condominiums, the people in this area are generally locals who live a peaceful life. Of course crime is still present, it’s just not as common in the Marina Zone.

Tips For Staying Safe in Mazatlan

We have already determined that Mazatlan is safe overall and we have found some of the safer areas as well, but what can you do as an individual to increase your safety and awareness?

Here are the top tips for staying safe in Mazatlan, Mexico:

1. Don’t Get Involved With Drugs

Buying, selling and consuming drugs in Mazatlan, Mexico will put you in the most danger. There is only one place where these drugs come from and that is the cartels. Once you get involved with the cartel, even if you’re just buying drugs, expect nothing less than potential danger.

2. Watch Your Drink At All Times

Ensuring your drink stays in your possession is very important. Someone can easily slip something into your drink. Also, it’s best to watch you drink being made, that way you can confirm that the bartender is using brand name alcohol. It’s best not to accept any drink or food from someone you don’t personally know.

3. Never Walk Around At Night Alone

In order to lessen your vulnerability and increase your safety, avoid walking around town at night if you are alone. Doing this only increases the likeliness of being taken advantage of. If you do have to walk by yourself at night, try to carry an extremely bright flashlight on you at all times. Not only will it light the way, it can also be used to deter any potential criminal by putting them in the spotlight and blinding them.

4. Avoid Attracting Attention To Yourself

Making yourself a target for a criminal is the easiest way to be taken advantage of. Avoid walking around town with any of these items:

  • Excessive cash
  • Flashy jewelry
  • Brand-name clothes and accessories
  • Hateful or offensive clothing

The more you can fit in as the average Joe, the less likely you are to be targeted.

5. Plan Where You Are Going In Advance

Knowing where you are going ahead of time will not only save you a headache, but it also increases your level of safety. Without planning ahead, you risk venturing into the wrong part of town and ultimately into danger.

Instead, know where you are going and when you need to be there, ensuring you are giving yourself ample amount of time to get to your destination.

6. Tell No One Where You Are Staying

It’s nobody’s business where you are staying, so don’t tell anyone. The only people who should know where you are staying and for how long are the people you trust, such as family and friends.

If you just met someone at the bar and they ask you where you are staying and for how long, simply say you don’t know, or make something up if you fear you’re being rude.

The only reason I mention this subject for safety is because you never truly know someone’s intention. Sure, maybe they actually are nice. Or perhaps they aren’t good people and have bad intentions. It’s best not to take the risk.

7. Use Trustworthy Transportation

Getting around in Mazatlan is actually really easy. You can walk or hop in some sore of transportation vehicle, however, some ways may be a bit safer than others.

If you decide to walk around the city, it’s best to walk in a group and not alone. If you decide you want a ride, I recommend either requesting an Uber or taking the local city bus. Uber is a great way to get around Mazatlan and offers more privacy over the local bus. If you plan on using an Uber in Mexico, make sure to read this first: Using an Uber in Mexico: How To, Cost, and Safety.

The bus is great, but make sure to keep a close-eye on all your belongings, otherwise you may not have them when you get off the bus.

8. Exercise Common Sense

Ultimately, common sense will go a long way in Mazatlan when attempting to increase your safety. Common sense may mean a lot of different things to different people, so here are my common sense tips.

  • Trust no one
  • Stay aware (be watchful of your surroundings)
  • Be respectful
  • Avoid sketchy situations (such as a fight or argument)
  • Know where you are going at all times (don’t end up in a bad part of town)
  • Travel in groups
  • Stay low-key
  • Don’t flash your money or tell anyone how much you have
  • Question everything (it’s okay not to know much, but make sure you ask questions)

It’s really as simple as that. Like I previously stated, common sense will go a long way anywhere in Mexico, and Mazatlan is no exception.

Overall, Mazatlan is the perfect vacation destination. You will experience great food, friendly people, and beautiful sites. Although the city sees its fair share of crime, most of it is between cartels and not directed at the tourists.

I personally know many people who have visited Mazatlan and have had a great experience and no safety concerns. I can assure you they were using common sense the entire time, creating the best experience for themselves.


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Alex Gomez

Alex Gomez is a professional writer, travel enthusiast, and the creator of Mexico Travel Buddy. His favorite destination is anywhere in Mexico. Having ventured to Mexico numerous times, he enjoys sharing valuable tips, tricks, and insights he's gathered along the way.

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