Guadalajara is located in western Mexico, and it is the capital city of Jalisco. Guadalajara is famous for its rich cultural heritage, museums, mariachi music, and events like the International Film festival. This city is considered a mecca for those who are willing to experience authentic Mexican culture.
Is Guadalajara safe for Visitors?
Guadalajara is considered safe for visitors, but like any other city, it is important to be aware of the cautions and your surroundings. Jalisco State has been in news for cartels, kidnapping & gang-affiliated incidents. You might be wondering after all these incidents, how Guadalajara qualifies as a safe city to visit.
If we talk about Guadalajara city specifically, the major crime is Auto theft, which is unlikely to affect you as a visitor. There have been cases of pickpocketing and overcharging scams, which you might have to contend with in the city of Guadalajara. For the most part, Guadalajara is safer than other Mexican cities. But this doesn’t mean you should let your guard down. Needless to say, you should always be careful while visiting the city. Avoid venturing alone at night, and going on the highways. Gang wars might happen in public areas, although there have been no to very few cases in the past.
While Visiting Guadalajara you should consider these Safety Concerns:
- Selling and Using Drugs
- Auto Scams
- Gun Fights
Local Authorities and U.S. Government collaboratively work to fight major crimes and provide emergency services in Guadalajara. Although in certain areas, U.S. employees are prohibited or restricted and as a tourist, you should avoid visiting these areas:
- Jalisco-Michoacan border and Federal Highway 110
- Mexican Federal Highway 80
- State Highway 544
Crimes might happen anywhere, but these areas are the hotspots. Visit the areas which are main tourists attraction.
Crimes in Guadalajara
Guadalajara has a history of drug cartels and gun violence. Guadalajara drug cartel was formed in the late 1970s and was at its prime in the 1980s. Gun violence, gang wars, and kidnapping were very common in those days. The roots of cartels haven’t been cleared since then. The Sinaloa cartel has been active to date. Gang wars pose a major threat to visitors s. and the native people of Guadalajara. In recent years, cases of gun violence have increased. The homicide rate in Guadalajara stands at 21.5 per 100000 people, which is comparatively lower than Mexican standards (29/100000 inhabitants). Although, these numbers can be misleading as many murders never get reported to the authorities.
It is best to visit Guadalajara in the daytime to be on the safer side. It is always advised to travel in groups to avoid chances of kidnapping or other notorious crimes. Females visiting Guadalajara are advised to take extra steps to stay safe. You should find a travel group or visit the city with known friends. Guadalajara isn’t considered safe for solo woman travelers.
If we talk about stats, these crimes have affected the locals most, and there have been very few incidents with tourists. There are high chances of not getting affected by these crimes if you are a tourist.
Drug Crimes in Guadalajara
Guadalajara has been an operational center for Drug cartels since the 1970s. After the intervention from American authorities, there was a decrease in drug-related crimes. In recent years, Guadalajara has been in news for all the wrong reasons. Organized drug crime and gun violence have increased since 2018.
Although these crimes are unlikely to affect you as a tourist, there have been several cases of visitors getting caught in the crossfire. It is safer to avoid bad neighborhoods.
Kidnapping in Guadalajara
Stats say more than 42,000 people have been reported missing in Guadalajara since 2006. The thriving municipality of Guadalajara is turned into a war zone from time to time, because of inter-gang issues. These gang wars cost money and it comes from kidnapping and other notorious crimes.
In August 2021, a matter came to light that National Immigration Institute in Guadalajara has been abducting foreigners for extortion. They had been illegally detaining foreigners for a bribe. Although their targetted groups aren’t tourists, it is always wise to carry your documents. Also, you should stay away from people claiming to be the local authority or offering something unbelievable.
Picpocketes and Tourist Scams
Like any other crowdy tourist destination, the City of Guadalajara isn’t free of Picpocketes and travel Scams. You might adore the cultural beauty of Guadalajara but at the same time, you have to be aware of pickpockets who prey on unwary tourists. Make sure, your mobile and other personal items are secure. Put your wallet in your front pocket or zip it up in your front body. Travel in a group and always be aware of the suspicious people around you. Some tourist scams in Guadalajara consist: of overcharged cabs, picture scams and bird poop scam. Some scammers target tourists and ask them to take their photos, upon returning the phone or camera they purposely drop it and claim the repair cost.
While visiting bars in Guadalajara be aware of the people who are trying to start a conversation with you. They might invite you to other bars, where you will end up paying 5 to 10 times more.
Safety Tips for Guadalajara
- Research and Plan Your Trip – Researching the safety concerns and planning your trip always help you to avoid issues. There are both safe and unsafe places in Guadalajara, and knowing about them is your best shot to stay safe.
- Avoid using your Phones on Public streets – Many low-life criminals prey on tourists and keep looking for the perfect time to snatch your phones. Watch out for the people following you, it is better to not use your phone while walking.
- Know the Weather Conditions – Mexico gets dangerously hot from May to June. You will find hails in July, which causes flooding. You might have to get shelter in an unfriendly neighborhood. It is best to know the weather forecast before going out.
- Don’t Get Too Drunk – Guadalajara has a taste for tequila and that might tempt you. Having too much of it might lead you to make poor decisions and it can get you looted on street.
- Don’t seek help at the ATM – If you need to withdraw cash, avoid getting help from someone else. You can simply google the process and follow the instructions.
- Don’t carry large chunks of cash or jewels – Wearing too much of the jewel might draw the attention of thieves.
- Avoid going alone on streets at night – Travel in groups. Don’t wander the streets alone, especially at night.
Emergency Contacts in Guadalajara
If you are visiting Guadalajara, keep these emergency contact numbers handy:
- Ambulances – Air and Land Services : 33 1136 2886, 33 3683 4717
- Highway Assistance and Tourist Help (Angeles Verdes-Green Angels): 078
- Consulate of Canada: 33 3671 4740
- Consulate of the United States of America: 33 3268 2100
FAQs on Visiting Guadalajara
Is Guadalajara safe for American Tourists?
Generally, Guadalajara is considered safe for American Tourists. But in recent years, there have been cases where bystanders were killed because of territorial wars between criminal groups. Jalisco state has a history of violent crime and Guadalajara isn’t different. Reconsider traveling to Guadalajara if you are a solo woman traveler.
Is Guadalajara safer than Mexico City?
Mexico City, on average, has 14.5 murders per 100k residents which is quite lower than Guadalajara which is 21.5 per 100k residents. Both cities have history of drug cartels and other notorious crimes. It is unlikely to get affected if you are a tourist, but, you might find yourself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Additionally, A large chunk of Mexico City’s economy relies on tourism and is therefor considered safer than Guadalajara.