Fire and rescue services
Call 911 or go to the hospital.
Call 911 or go to the local police station.
We haven't changed our level of advice:
Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico.
Reconsider your need to travel to Michoacán (except Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and the Monarch butterfly reserves); Guerrero State, including Acapulco; Tamaulipas State; Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua, north-eastern Sinaloa State, north-western Durango State and south-eastern Sonora State, except for the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway.
Reconsider your need to travel to:
the State of Guerrero, except for the tourist areas of the cities of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco, and the toll road to Taxco, due to the very high levels of violent crime and volatile security situation. This includes Acapulco.
the State of Michoacán, except the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas, and the Monarch butterfly reserves, due to organised crime and the volatile security situation
the State of Tamaulipas due to the high levels of crime, including kidnapping and extortion
the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua State, north-eastern Sinaloa State, north-western Durango State and south eastern Sonora State, except for the Chihuahua-Pacific Railway, due to very high levels of violent crime and lawlessness
More than 80,000 Australians visit Mexico by air each year. Most visits are trouble-free. We set out below some information to help you prepare for your trip and stay safe.
*Source: Government of Mexico Ministry of Tourism, Foreign visitors by country, year ended June 2019.
Avoid protests and large public gatherings. These can become violent. It's also against the law for foreigners to participate in political activity.
Mexico has a high risk of violent crime, such as murder, armed robbery, sexual assault and kidnapping. Don't travel at night outside major cities.
Kidnapping is a serious risk. Don't draw attention to your money or business affairs. Only use ATMs in shopping centres during daytime.
Drug-related violence is widespread. Stop at all roadblocks or you risk being killed.
Hurricanes and earthquakes are common in Mexico. Find your nearest hurricane shelter. Know the earthquake safety measures where you're staying.
Full travel advice: Safety
Malaria and Zika virus are risks in Mexico. If you're pregnant, ask your doctor about the risk of Zika virus before you travel.
Mexico has insect-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, chikungunya, Chagas disease and leishmaniasis. Ensure your accommodation is insect-proof. Use insect repellent.
Parts of Mexico are at high altitudes. Air pollution can also cause health issues, particularly over winter (December to February). Talk to your doctor before you travel if you have heart, lung or breathing issues.
Full travel advice: Health
Get legal advice before buying or investing in property. This includes time-shares. Mexican property law is complex.
Some activities are illegal for foreigners in Mexico. These include political activity, driving without insurance, and failing to report a road accident. Ensure you understand and follow local laws.
Possessing or exporting ancient Mexican artefacts and carrying firearms or ammunition without a permit are also illegal. Apply for a firearm permit at a Mexican embassy or consulate before you arrive.
Although same-sex marriage is legal in Mexico, some areas are conservative. LGBTI travellers should consider limiting public displays of affection.
Full travel advice: Local laws
Ensure you understand Mexico's entry requirements. If you're visiting for 180 days or less, you generally won't need a visa.
Check the requirements if you're travelling with children. Minors with Mexican dual nationality or residency will need a specific form (SAM) from the Embassy of Mexico.
Exchange your Australian dollars for US dollars before you travel. Tourist areas and resorts accept US dollars, but you generally can't exchange Australian dollars and traveller's cheques.
Most international hotels and tourist facilities accept credit and debit cards. ATMs are widely available in urban areas, but carry cash if you're travelling to rural areas.
To drive in Mexico you need either a valid Australian driver's licence. Learn local road safety and driving laws before driving.
If you're taking public transport or taxis, use only first-class buses and official taxis. Crime levels on intercity buses are high, especially after dark.
Full travel advice: Travel
The Consular Services Charter tells you what the Australian Government can and can't do to help when you're overseas.
The Australian Embassy in Mexico City can provide consular assistance to Australians in Mexico.
You can also contact the Australian Consulate in Cancún for limited consular assistance.
Full travel advice: Local contacts
It's illegal for foreigners to take part in political activity in Mexico.
Public protests and events that draw large groups of people can turn violent. They're common, and often:
disrupt public services
cause traffic delays
stop movement around affected areas
Protesters may blockade roads.
Public protests in Mexico City are ongoing. Expect protests and potential roadblocks in the states of Oaxaca, Chiapas, Guerrero and Michoacán.
To protect yourself during periods of unrest:
check local sources for details of possible strikes or unrest
follow advice from local authorities
change your travel plans in case of disruptions
Mexico has a high risk of violent crime, especially after dark.
Criminals posing as police officers have committed sexual assault, extortion and robbery. They may drive fake police cars.
Gangs have attacked travellers after they've changed money at airports.
To protect yourself from violent crime:
avoid travelling at night outside major cities, including on major highways
monitor the media for new safety risks
don't change large amounts of money at the airport
Crime on intercity buses and highways is common in Mexico.
Thieves have robbed tourists on buses along the Pacific Highway, including from Acapulco to Ixtapa and Huatulco.
Violent carjackings have increased. The northern borders and along the Pacific coast are high-risk areas.
Criminals have attacked tourists on toll roads and highways. The Sonora, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and border regions are high-risk areas.
There is increased law enforcement activity in the city of Culiacan, Sinaloa state. This is due to gunfights between security forces and drug cartel members in October 2019.
Organised crime groups have targeted large campervans and SUVs travelling in and out of the United States.
To reduce the risk of crime when travelling by road:
use official taxis from airports, and pre-pay your fare at an official taxi company booth in the airport terminal
use radio taxis or taxis at assigned stands (sitios), especially in Mexico City
use first-class buses
drive via toll (cuota) roads
Watch out for drink and food spiking. This can occur in bars and restaurants. You're at higher risk of sexual assault and theft if you get drugged.
Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and bag-snatching, is common. Take care on public transport, at tourist spots, and in airports, hotels and bus stations.
Thieves often work with or pose as taxi drivers. Travellers have been robbed when using taxis hailed from the street.
Kidnapping is a serious risk in Mexico. It's common in rural and inland areas.
Some victims claim police officers are involved in kidnapping.
Express kidnappings target travellers on metro and public transport in Mexico City. Kidnappers force victims to withdraw funds from ATMs before they are released.
Virtual kidnappings target people over the phone. Kidnappers pose as officials and demand payments for the release of a family member they have allegedly detained. If you receive a call or message, contact local police.
To reduce the risk of kidnapping:
avoid talking about your money or business affairs
use ATMs inside shopping centres during daylight hours
check for cameras directed at your screen or keyboard if you're using the internet in public
avoid giving personal details to strangers online or over the phone
The Australian Government's longstanding policy is that it doesn’t make payments or concessions to kidnappers.
Violent crimes related to the drug trade are widespread in Mexico.
Shoot-outs, grenade attacks and car bombings have occurred in public places.
Targeted attacks have increased on the military, government officials and journalists.
You may become a victim of violence directed against someone else.
Federal police and the military use roadblocks and random vehicle checks to deal with drug-related violence.
Drug cartels set up roadblocks in the northern areas of Mexico to obstruct military and police movement.
Stop at all roadblocks or you risk being killed.
Risks are higher in those areas most affected by drug-related and gang violence, including:
Northern border states – Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas
Pacific coast states – Colima, Guerrero, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nayarit and Sinaloa
Central region states – Durango, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas
State of Mexico and the State of Veracruz on the Gulf coast
Major cities along Mexico's border with the United States – Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, Nogales, Piedras Negras and Reynosa
Government efforts to increase security in Guerrero haven't helped. The violent crime rate remains high and the security situation is volatile.
Violent criminal gangs are more active in rural areas than cities.
Acapulco has high levels of violent crime, such as murder and shootings. The resort city is unsafe, especially outside tourist areas.
Crime risks are lower in the tourist areas of Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo and Taxco, and on the toll road to Taxco, than in other parts of Guerrero.
Protesters can disrupt toll booths along the road to Taxco, causing delays.
Crime in the states of Baja California, Colima, Jalisco, Tabasco and Veracruz is increasing. The risk is greater on roads outside major cities.
Federal authorities took full control of public safety in Michoacán in early 2014. Organised crime had been increasing.
Many 'self-defence' groups have formed in the state. They are unpredictable and the security situation is volatile.
Crime is lower in the cities of Morelia and Lázaro Cardenas and in the Monarch butterfly reserves on the State of Mexico border than in other parts of Michoacán.
Tamaulipas has widespread criminal activity linked to drug trafficking. Kidnapping and extortion are also common.
The government took control of security in May 2014 after a sharp increase in violent crime.
High levels of violent crime and lawlessness occur in:
the Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in southern Chihuahua State
north-eastern Sinaloa State
north-western Durango State
south-eastern Sonora State
Organised crime gangs operate in these regions. The Chihuahua-Pacific Railway is less affected.
The State of Mexico has a high level of violent crime. Murder, assault, armed robbery, extortion and kidnapping are common.
Baja California Sur and Quintana Roo have reported large increases in drug-related violence, particularly murder, according to Mexican Government statistics. The states with the highest homicide rates are Baja California, Chihuahua, Mexico City, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, State of Mexico, Michoacán, Puebla, Tamaulipas and Veracruz.
To reduce your risks if travelling to violent areas, stay in:
well-known and well-frequented public areas with good access to safe transport in the evenings
To protect yourself from crime in violent areas:
avoid road travel, especially at night
avoid isolated locations
pay close attention to your personal security
stay alert to possible threats around you
follow the advice of local authorities
monitor the media for safety or security risks
Terrorism is a threat worldwide.
Even strong swimmers can be at risk from undertows and currents on both coasts of Mexico. Obey the beach warning flags.
In September 2017, major earthquakes affected Mexico City, the states of Morelos, Oaxaca, Puebla and Guerrero, and the State of Mexico. The earthquakes caused deaths, damaged infrastructure and interrupted essential services.
If you're involved in a natural disaster:
secure your passport in a safe, waterproof location
keep in contact with your friends and family
monitor local media and other sources
follow the advice of local authorities
contact your tour operator or airline
Register with the Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System to receive alerts on major disasters.
Severe weather occurs in Mexico.
The hurricane season is from June to November. The direction and strength of hurricanes can change with little warning.
Landslides, mudslides and flash flooding can also occur, including in Mexico City.
If there's a hurricane or severe storm:
you may get stuck in the area
flights could be delayed or suspended
flights out may fill quickly
adequate shelter may not be available
To protect yourself if a hurricane is approaching:
know the evacuation plan for your hotel or cruise ship
identify your local shelter
monitor alerts and advice from the US National Hurricane Center and local authorities
If you're travelling to Mexico during hurricane season or after a natural disaster, check weather reports.
Mexico experiences earthquakes and tremors each year. Aftershocks are common and can damage already weakened structures.
Earthquakes can disrupt power and communication systems.
Get to know the earthquake safety measures for each place you stay and visit.
Tsunamis may occur in Mexico.
Receive tsunami alerts by registering with:
If you're near the coast, move immediately to high ground if advised by local authorities or if you:
feel a strong earthquake that makes it hard to stand up
feel a weak, rolling earthquake that lasts a minute or more
see a sudden rise or fall in sea level
hear loud and unusual noises from the sea
Don't wait for official warnings, such as alarms or sirens. Once on high ground, check local media.
Active volcanoes include the Popocatepetl and Colima volcanoes.
Register with the Disaster Prevention Centre of Mexico (Spanish) for alerts on the Popocatepetl volcano.
The Global Disaster Alert and Co-ordination System can give you general volcano alerts.
Get comprehensive travel insurance before you leave. Your policy needs to cover all overseas medical costs, including medical evacuation. The Australian Government won’t pay for these costs.
If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel. This applies to everyone, no matter how healthy and fit you are.
If you're not insured, you may have to pay many 1000s of dollars up-front for medical care.
what activities and care your policy covers
that your insurance covers you for the whole time you’ll be away
Consider your physical and mental health before you travel, especially if you have an existing medical condition.
See your doctor or travel clinic to:
have a basic health check-up
ask if your travel plans may affect your health
plan any vaccinations you need
Do this at least 8 weeks before you leave.
Not all medication available over the counter or by prescription in Australia is available in other countries. Some may even be considered illegal or a controlled substance, even if prescribed by an Australian doctor.
If you plan to take medication, check if it's legal in Mexico. Take enough legal medicine for your trip.
Malaria is a risk in Mexico, particularly in:
the State of Chiapas
rural areas of Nayarit, Oaxaca and Sinaloa
some parts of Chihuahua, Durango and Sonora.
Zika virus is widespread in Mexico. There's no vaccination for Zika virus.
Read the Australian Department of Health's Zika virus bulletin for advice on how to reduce your risk.
If you're pregnant, the department recommends that you:
discuss travel plans with your doctor
consider deferring non-essential travel to affected areas.
In Mexico, there's also a risk of:
To protect yourself from disease:
make sure your accommodation is insect-proof
use insect repellent
wear long, loose, light-coloured clothing
consider medication to prevent malaria
Get medical advice if you have a fever, muscle pain, rash or severe headache.
Foodborne, waterborne and other diseases are widespread. These include:
Serious outbreaks sometimes occur.
To protect yourself from illness:
drink boiled water or bottled water with sealed lids
avoid ice cubes
avoid raw and undercooked food, such as salads
get vaccinated before you travel
avoid contact with dogs and other mammals
If you're bitten or scratched by an animal, get medical help straight away.
Get medical advice if you have a fever or diarrhoea.
High altitude in some regions and air pollution can cause health issues. Pollution peaks in winter from December to February.
If you have heart, lung or respiratory problems, ask your doctor for advice before you travel.
Private hospitals in Mexico City and other major cities provide a reasonable standard of care. Services are limited in rural areas.
Treatment at private clinics and hospitals is expensive.
Doctors and hospitals are unlikely to work with your overseas travel insurer. You'll need to pay cash before they'll treat you, even in emergency care.
You can find hyperbaric chambers in major cities and resort towns where scuba diving is popular.
You're subject to all local laws and penalties, including those that may appear harsh by Australian standards. Research local laws before travelling.
If you're arrested or jailed, the Australian Government will do what it can to help you under our Consular Services Charter. But we can't get you out of trouble or out of jail.
Property laws and time-share agreements can be complex.
Before you buy or invest in property, do your research and get legal advice.
In Mexico it's illegal to:
conduct political activity, including demonstrations
possess ancient Mexican artefacts or export them from Mexico
carry firearms or ammunition without a permit, including in Mexican waters
drive a car without insurance
fail to report a road accident.
If you need a firearm permit, apply at a Mexican embassy or consulate before you arrive.
You're responsible for any illegal items found in rented or borrowed vehicles. This applies even if you don't know they're there.
Some Australian criminal laws still apply when you’re overseas. If you break these laws, you may face prosecution in Australia.
Mexico passed laws allowing same-sex marriage in 2015. But parts of the country are conservative.
Public displays of affection by LGBTI travellers or between members of the same sex may not be acceptable in some areas.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders.
Make sure you meet all entry and exit conditions. If you don't, the Australian Government can’t help you.
If you're visiting for 180 days or less, you generally won't need a visa.
To avoid being detained or deported, you'll need to:
fill in a Multiple Immigration Form (FMM)
make sure your passport is stamped by immigration officials on arrival
You can complete the FMM online before you arrive, or on arrival.
If you're entering by road, you can get the form at the immigration office (Instituto Nacional de Migración: Spanish). This is usually located near, not directly at, a border crossing.
Present your completed FMM for inspection at immigration if entering by air. Keep the form safe. You'll need to show it when you leave Mexico.
Information on other customs and import requirements are available from the Mexican government.
Entry and exit conditions can change at short notice. Contact the Embassy of Mexico for details about visas, customs, currency and quarantine rules.
Mexico charges all visitors an immigration fee.
If you arrive on a commercial flight, the cost of your ticket includes the fee.
If you enter by land, the immigration office will arrange for you to pay the fee at a nearby bank. There's no exit tax.
A child aged under 18 years departing alone, or with anyone other than their parent or legal guardian, must carry their notarised consent.
Minors with Mexican dual nationality or residency will need a specific form (SAM). Contact the Embassy of Mexico to get the form.
You may need a permit if you arrive in Mexico by motor vehicle. Check with the Embassy of Mexico before you travel.
If you travel through the US, you must meet US entry or transit requirements. Check with your nearest US embassy or consulate.
Some countries won’t let you enter unless your passport is valid for 6 months after you plan to leave that country. It can apply even if you’re just transiting or stopping over.
Some foreign governments and airlines apply the rule inconsistently. Travellers can receive conflicting advice from different sources.
You can end up stranded if your passport is not valid for more than 6 months.
The Australian Government does not set these rules. Check your passport’s expiry date before you travel. If you’re not sure it’ll be valid for long enough, consider getting a new passport.
Your passport is a valuable document. It's attractive to people who may try to use your identity to commit crimes.
Some people may try to trick you into giving them your passport. Always keep it in a safe place.
If your passport is lost or stolen, tell the Australian Government as soon as possible:
Mexico's official currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN).
Declare amounts over US$10,000 or foreign currency equivalent. Do this on arrival and departure. This covers all forms of currency, not only cash.
US dollars are widely accepted in holiday resort areas. You can't generally exchange Australian currency and traveller's cheques in Mexico.
ATMs are widely available in cities and towns. Take care as credit card fraud occurs.
Carry cash if you're travelling to rural areas.
Most international hotels and tourist facilities accept credit and debit cards.
Ask your bank whether your ATM card will work in Mexico.
To drive in Mexico, you need a valid Australian driver’s licence.
You're twice as likely to die in a motor vehicle accident in Mexico than in Australia.
Driving on rural roads in Mexico is dangerous due to:
poor road conditions.
pedestrians and livestock on roads
inadequate street lighting and signage
Vehicles generally don't stop for pedestrians or indicate when they're turning. Intersections can be confusing, with vehicles coming from unexpected directions.
Strict laws cover insurance and reporting of accidents.
Criminals target vehicles, including campervans and SUVs, especially in rural areas.
If you drive in Mexico:
learn local road use and driving rules
keep doors locked and windows up, even when moving
use toll (cuota) roads to reduce the risk of crime
If you're a victim of roadside robbery, do as you're asked.
It's best to use registered taxis and limousines, preferably arranged through your hotel. To avoid issues:
use official taxis from airports
pre-pay your fare at an official taxi company booth at the airport
use radio taxis or taxis waiting at assigned stands (sitios), especially in Mexico City
Crime levels on intercity buses and highways are high, and the risks increase after dark. See Safety
In 2016, tourist buses were set alight by protesters at a roadblock in Chiapas State.
In March 2018, two explosive devices were found on ferries in Playa del Carmen.
Use first-class buses.
Women travelling on public transport should be cautious.
Check Mexico's air safety profile with the Aviation Safety Network.
DFAT doesn’t provide information on the safety of individual commercial airlines or flight paths.
Depending on what you need, contact your:
family and friends
Call 911 or go to the hospital.
Call 911 or go to the local police station.
Always get a police report when you report a crime.
Your insurer should have a 24-hour emergency number.
Contact your provider with any complaints about tourist services or products.
If you aren't happy with the response, you can lodge a complaint with PROFECO, the state-run consumer protection agency.
Read the Consular Services Charter. It details what the Australian Government can and can’t do to help you overseas.
Ruben Dario #55
Corner of Campos Eliseos, Polanco
Colonia Bosque de Chapultepec
11580 CDMX Mexico
Phone: (+52 55) 1101 2200
Fax: (+52 55) 1101 2201
Check the Embassy website for details about opening hours and any temporary closures.
Limited consular assistance is also available from the Australian Consulate in Cancun.
Parque Maya Tours
Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 16.2
77500 Cancún, Q.R.
Phone: (+52 998) 234 0840
In a consular emergency, if you can't contact an embassy, call the 24-hour Consular Emergency Centre on:
+61 2 6261 3305 from overseas
1300 555 135 in Australia
Be the first to know official government advice when travelling.