Is Guadalajara Safe in 2024? A Traveler's Safety Guide!

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 Is Guadalajara Safe in 2024? A Traveler's Safety Guide!
Dreaming about visiting Guadalajara but just aren't sure if it's a safe choice? In this article, we'll address any safety concerns you may have before visiting this lively city. Explore this guide and travel in confidence!

Mexico to me and my friends have always been a really polarizing place to travel to.

One the one hand, I've heard raving reviews from your friends about that time they went to Mexico and had a blast.

On the other hand, I've also heard story of how my other friend almost getting kidnapped by Mexican Police.

To me, I've never been sure whether Mexico is a safe place to travel to, especially with how they're typically portrayed in modern media and entertainment.

But Mexico's a big place, and having been to Puerto Vallarta, I know for a fact that it's a lot safer there than a lot of places in Mexico.

But what about Guadalajara? Guadalajara is a incredibly popular tourist destination in Mexico, being the birthplace of Mariachi music, Tequila, Birria.

But does being a cultural hub of Mexico make it a safe place to travel to for tourists? Is it dangerous to visit Guadalajara?

Don't worry, you've come to the right place to find your answers. I've dug up facts, statistics, and stories I can find about whether Guadalajara is a safe place to visit. I also found some incredbily helpful safety tips to follow to stay safe should you visit Guadalajara.

Let's begin!

Guadalajara mexico building
Image Courtesy of Roman Lopez on Unsplash

Is Mexico Generally Safe?

To answer the question of whether a city is safe, we'll first have to find out whether the country's a safe place. While safety differs drastically from places to places, especially in Mexico, the overall governance and management can tell a story.

Mexico is a stunning country known for its sandy beaches, friendly locals, and vibrant culture. Filled with flamboyant festivals, mesmerizing historical sites, and food that will make your mouth water, it isn't hard to see why it's a premium vacation spot for 32 million people each year.

However, it's no secret that Mexico also comes with a higher-than-average crime rate. According to the Crime Rate Index, Mexico stands at 54.19, which is lower than other South American countries but higher than Europe.

Still, some places in Mexico are safer than others.

So where does Guadalajara stand? Somewhere in the middle.

I'll walk you through the crime rates and safety concerns in Guadalajara and whether it is a safe destination for solo female travelers. More importantly, we'll talk about how you can keep yourself safe while visiting this lovely city.

But first, let's get to know Mexico's second-largest city: Guadalajara.

Where is Guadalajara?

Guadalajara is the capital of the state of Jalisco, a Mexican state that sits between Mexico City and Puerto Vallarta.

It is nestled within a mountain valley and sits at an elevation of 1,556 meters. The famed hometown of Mariachi and tequila, Guadalajara is renowned for being the cultural center of Mexico.

The city is a gorgeous mix of contemporary and historic architecture and is tied together by a thriving arts community.

You can find markets filled with crafts, as well as spectacular festivals throughout the year. Guadalajara also plays host to an international film festival and the largest book fair in the Americas.

All of these factors make the city one of the more popular places to travel to in Mexico besides Puerto Vallarta & Cancun.

But just exactly how safe it the city?

How safe is Guadalajara?

Now, on to the essential question: Is Guadalajara safe to visit?

It's moderately safe if you're careful. Travel advisories for multiple governments, including the United States and Canada, both lists the Jalisco State as either travel with "high caution" or "reconsider travel".

Jalisco state is known for violent crime, cartel-affiliated crime, and kidnapping. Although you may be wondering how this qualifies as medium-safe, for the most part, these crimes only involve locals.

In Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, one of the biggest crimes involve auto theft which, again, is unlikely to affect you as a tourist.

That being said, there is still some crime that tourists have to contend with, namely, pickpocketing and scams—something that most travelers deal with no matter where they are.

There are a few things that you can do to prevent such crimes, like wearing a money belt or ensuring your luggage has travel luggage locks. You should also only stay in tourist areas, be very aware of your environment, and prepared to react to any situations.

Guadalajara has relatively low risk of natural disasters, since they're mainly shielded from hurricanes being inland, away from the coast.

Is Guadalajara safe to visit in 2024?

In short, it's only safe if you're cautious. Let me elaborate.

As I mentioned above, the Jalisco state is listed as "reconsider travel" for the U.S. Travel Advisory and "exercise high caution" for the Canadian Travel Advisory.

However, most of these affected areas aren't exactly widespread across the entirety of Guadalajara, but in nearby areas and highways. Cartels rivals for territorial ownerships over certain areas, and while it's rare, tourists have been caught in the crossfire before.

Guadalajara has a crime index of 62.11 with 100 being the highest, with concerns of corruption, armed robbery, and sexual assault being the highest. While numbers are great, they rarely paint the full picture of how it's actually like in Guadalajara. Gang activity has also gotten progressively worst in recent times.

In reality, it's an amazing place to visit, even for solo travelers. If you're careful and cautious with a plan to avoid troubled neighborhoods and stay alert, you should be more than safe.

Safety Concerns in Guadalajara

While visiting Guadalajara, it's best to know the most common crimes that occur. Being aware and diligent is key to keeping yourself safe while exploring Mexico's cultural center.

Here I'll list out all of the common crimes that might happen while you're in Guadalajara and how you can prevent or avoid these from happening to you.

Guadalajara mexico at night
Image Courtesy of Roman Lopez on Unsplash


Crime is the biggest concern for most tourists visiting Guadalajara. It has an elevated crime rate and is infamous for being the headquarters of the Jalisco's New Generation Cartel.

While the crime index and murder rates remain high in the area, they're predominantly Cartel affiliated in neighborhoods that are controlled by Cartels, which tourist areas are least affected by.

Areas like the State Highway 544, Federal Highway 110 & 80, and the Jalisco-Michoacan border are listed as restricted travel in U.S. Government employees Travel Advisory

Other crimes can include corruption and bribery, oftentimes by its own police force.

Avoid Mexican police at all cost. Policing in Mexico is extremely varied and has very little oversight on controlling its rampant corruption across the entire country.


In crowded spaces such as on buses or popular tourist sights, it's not uncommon for pickpocketing to happen.

Pickpockets are usually skilled in distraction and sleight of hand, so keep your wits about you while in busier areas. As pickpockets usually target wallets, it's important not to put all your cash and cards in one place.

A simple way to reduce your chance of being pickpocketed is to blend in. Don't look like a tourist, and you won't be targeted for tourist scams or petty crime. You'll also want to avoid public transportation when possible.


Faking an emergency, spilling something on or near you, or even sending a kid, are all techniques that scammers use to trick you into letting your guard down.

Don't fall for them.

Instead, if someone comes up to you, send them immediately on their way or quickly leave the area. Even restaurants and establishments can scam you, so always pay attention to your surroundings.

My tip is to make sure not to show affluence when you're out and about. It's always better to bring that cute dress so you can change into it if you're taking a nice picture, but I'd avoid expensive clothes, jewelery, or tech that might make you a target.


During the day, Guadalajara is a relatively safe place to explore as long as you stay in tourist areas. However, the city becomes a bit more unfriendly at night.

Mugging usually occurs at night or in dark alleys, so it's best to avoid both of these entirely—especially alone and especially as a solo female traveler.

The same tip as above for this. Dress NOT to impress is the key here. You're way more likely to be a target if you're flashing that new iPhone and Airpods Pro wearing designer clothes.

Additional Safety Tips

Here are some additional safety tips to stay safe in Guadalajara. This not only applies to Guadalajara but to most of Mexico as well.

  1. Tap Water: Do not drink tap water. They're not safe, even for brushing your teeth. Always make sure you have a bottled water with you whereever you go. I'd also avoid ice cubes at restaurants and bars as they're sometimes made with tap water.
  2. Uber Everywhere: I've heard stories of taxis scamming and straight up robbing passengers. Public transit is also out of the question for me, since they're not as reliable and are oftentimes places where petty theft occurs. Ubers are relatively safe and are relatively accessible across the city.
  3. Travel in Groups: While it's not required, it's almost always safer to travel in groups. It's harder to target large groups and support systems are always better as a group. Make sure everyone's clear on the itinerary and meet-up locations should you split up.
  4. Avoid Night-time Activities: It's relatively dangerous to be out and about at night, especially in non-touristy areas and even more so if you're alone.

Is Guadalajara Safer than Mexico City?

Between the two cities, Guadalajara is less safe than Mexico City.

Both cities are large and sprawling, so some crime is to be expected. Guadalajara, on average, has 21.5 murders per 100k residents, while Mexico city has 14.5. Again, violent crimes like this have little effect on the tourist population and rarely paint the full picture.

Guadalajara's crimes happen mostly on selected parts of the city, especially in rural areas and highways.

Mexico, from sandy beaches to vibrant cities, relies heavily on the tourism industry for income. This means that, for the most part, locals are eager for you to enjoy your time while touring their beautiful country, so you can be assured that most of them are friendly and hospitable.

Of course, this doesn't mean that you're free to let your guard down while traveling. Staying diligent is always important, especially in large cities like Guadalajara.

This means staying in tourist areas, not venturing out alone at night, and having a full battery on your phone. Use a portable power bank to keep your phone at 100% at all times.

Guadalajara mexico streets
Image Courtesy of Roman Lopez on Unsplash

Is Guadalajara Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

For the most part, Guadalajara is a relatively unsafe destination for solo female travelers.

Experiences such as catcalling, harrassment, and encounters with unpleasent characters have been common. Nighttime exploration is not encouraged and should be avoided in most areas.

Of course, you'd need to take the same safety precautions as with any other location: staying in safe parts of the city, letting people know your travel plans, and not going out at night alone.

Unfortunately, female travelers, in general, should expect catcalling and advances from locals while out and about. It's best to ignore them and keep moving and to stay in public tourist places where there are a lot of people around.

It is recommended that you stay in a shared accommodation space such as a hostel. This will not only keep you in the tourist parts of the city, but you'll also be surrounded by other travelers if you decide to go on tours or hostel bar crawls.

As a solo female traveler, you can stay safe by being diligent.

Only drive with registered taxis (which restaurants and hotels will be willing to call for you) or use uber, protect your cards from ATM skimmers, avoid getting inebriated in public, and trust your gut, no matter what.

Ubers are available around Mexico and are generally safer than other forms of transportation. While it's safer, I'd still travel with a buddy.

Doing these things will help you stay safe and enjoy your time in Guadalajara.

Is Guadalajara safe at Night?

Like many bustling cities, Guadalajara by day is different from Guadalajara by night.

For most travelers, going out at night should be avoided—especially alone. Even in the tourist parts of the city, it becomes dangerous to walk around at night unless in a large group. This applies to men and women.

If you're itching to try out the colorful nightlife of Guadalajara, you could go out on bar crawls with your hostel. Many hostels will host events and tours.

This is a safe option for night exploration as you'll be led by someone familiar with the city while surrounded by other travelers.

To reemphasize, I highly recommend NOT traveling alone at night, espcially to non tourist areas.

So How Safe is Guadalajara Really?

If you take the right precautions and keep your wits about you, Guadalajara can be a safe, fun, and intriguing destination filled with Mexican culture.

However, like most large cities, it does come with its fair share of crime. Tourists are usually safe from violent crime in Guadalajara but may have to contend with petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams. Educating yourself and staying diligent on your travels is extremely important if you want to stay safe.

All in all, Guadalajara is a vibrant, cultural center brimming with massive potential. If you want to see truly authentic Mexico, then Guadalajara is the place for you. If you're considering other Mexican cities, Sayulita, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Cancun, and Tulum are other top spots.

Safest areas in Guadalajara

As I've mentioned, the safest areas in Guadalajara are usually tourist areas for many reasons.

First, they're usually busy and have events happening at night, which means there's usually people around, especially people who are also tourists and are also trying to stay safe in a foriegn place.

As I've mentioned before, Mexico relies heavily on tourism in these areas to boost their local economy, and as a result, they focus more on securing the area and making sure nothing bad happens.

While that's never a good excuse to relax, it's certainly an reassurance to stick to tourist areas.

Here are some great places that are safe in Guadalajara:

  • Zapopan
  • Colonia Americana
  • Centro Historico
  • Tlaquepaque
  • Chapalita

If you're planning for evening activities, feel free to check out Avenida Chapultepec in Colonia Americana, packed with bars and restaurants. I'd still avoid going out alone and staying out too late.

Planning ahead is the best way to stay safe

My number one recommendation to anyone worried about staying safe abroad: Plan, plan, and plan.

Even the most seasoned travelers I know that are highly spontaneous take calcuated risks. That means, they know exactly what they're getting into, and what they need to do to stay safe while being risky.

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