Guadalajara is the second-largest city in the state of Jalisco and it has many things to offer first-time visitors. When traveling to Guadalajara, you will be engulfed by its beauty, delicious food, and history. However, before you pack your bags, you may be wondering if Guadalajara, Mexico is dangerous to visit?
Generally speaking, Guadaraja is a safe place for tourists to visit. Nonetheless, it is important to take necessary precautions before visiting a large city like Guadalajara. Like other large cities, there is a crime, but travelers will be happy to know that they will be safe when visiting Jaliscos second-largest city.
Traveling to another country or city can be intimidating because of the unknowns. Usually whatever you put in your head about a place is usually the complete opposite of what it's actually like. For example, I had reservations about going to Guadalajara because of what I had read online about the crime. But, when I finally made it to Guadalajara I was met with an absolutely beautiful city filled with friendly people.
Read on, as I talk about safety tips for traveling to Guadalajara, Mexico. In addition, I will give recommendations on things to do, places to eat, and where to stay.
Safety Tips For Traveling To Guadalajara, Mexico
No matter what city you travel to native or foreign, it is wise to use your common sense. Not saying that bad things don't happen, but when you use some simple common sense then the chances of something life-threatening happening are low. Here is a list of simple safety tips for traveling to Guadalajara, Mexico.
Stay Where There Are Larger Crowds
With over 1.4 million people, Guadalajara is a fast-moving city. Its city traffic is busy from the streets to the sidewalks of people sightseeing and working. If you are a first-time visitor to Guadalajara it is easy to get lost and possibly wander into a bad area of town.
When we visited, we stayed in Zona Centro because this area offers the core of Guadajara's colonial history. We never felt unsafe as there were police around almost every corner. Staying in larger crowds means more eyes, making it harder for criminals to get away with crimes. Walk with confidence and act like you know where you going even if you don't. This will make you less susceptible to petty thefts.
Be Aware Of Your Surroundings And Pickpockets
As travel bloggers and vloggers, we always have some of our gear on us at all times. We stayed in a hotel in Zona Central and when we first arrived, we were warned by the hotel manager to keep a stronghold on our GoPro 9.
Why? What could happen?
In the busy downtown streets, motorcyclists will drive by people and snatch their phones, cameras, and video gear out of their hands and drive off. Keep your gear around your neck or in your inside hand when walking down sidewalks.
When we weren't using our equipment we put them in our backpack secured with a lock. This almost completely took the stress out of worrying about getting our expensive gear stolen.
Watch for distractions such as someone spilling something on you and then trying to help clean it up. This is a common pickpocket trick that is a perfect opportunity for things to be taken out of your pockets. Be polite, and say no thank you, and don't let them touch you.
After all, your belongings like your wallet or cell phone are more important than the mustard they just spilled on your pants.
Ask Your Host What Neighborhoods To Stay Away From
Whether you stay at an Airbnb, hotel, motel, or with a friend, those people live in Guadalajara and will be able to help you with some insight on where and where not to go. It is important to just stick to the nice areas such as Historic Center, The Americana, Providencia, Chapalita, Zapopan, and Puerto de Hierro. We were told to stay clear of neighborhoods near the railroad tracks and also to stay around busy streets at night.
We stayed for three full days and felt like we had more than enough things to do just in the Historic Center or Zona Central. While we were there, we never had a moment where we felt like we were at risk.
However, this doesn't mean that we let down our guard and acted recklessly. We weren't flashy, paid attention to our surroundings, and stayed confident wherever we went.
Avoid Parking On Side Streets
If you are traveling by car it is important to be mindful that car thefts are common in Guadalajara. Research places to stay that offer valet parking or a place to park your vehicle that is more secluded. This will give you peace of mind that your rental or personal vehicle isn't at risk during your stay.
If you are making a quick stop to check out other areas of surrounding Guadajajara like Tlaquepaque then I recommend parking in paid public parking. There are several of these parking lots around the historic and tourist areas.
It cost us 54 pesos or about $3 for three hours of parking. The benefits of parking in the paid parking lots in Guadalajara are:
- You can park in the shade.
- You have someone watching your vehicle.
- You can park close to the local attractions.