• Alan Travers

Is Ixtapa Safe in 2021? | A Gringo's Guide!

Updated: Jan 22


Ixtapa beach sunset

If you are planning a trip on down to Mexico, there are many things you need to take into consideration, especially now with the U.S. government saying that some places in Mexico are just as bad as war-torn countries like Iraq, Afghanistan and Yemen.


While this statement would describe some of the places in Mexico at their extreme low points, it's not entirely accurate, especially when talking about the country as a whole.


Today I'm talking specifically about Ixtapa, if you are planning a visit or would like to know more about the city, this is the perfect place for you to be.



Is There any Truth to the Accusations?


Sadly yes! Some places in Mexico can prove to be extremely dangerous to visit, in some small cases, the problems can just be as bad as war-torn countries, but this is very rare!


The problems the country is currently suffering from are mostly limited to impoverished areas and states where the cartels and gangs choose to operate. The ongoing drug war is only dangerous to those who are seeking trouble, either by buying/selling drugs or trying to get involved with other illicit activities.


Trouble is not looking for you, so if you aren't looking for it, you will be fine!


There are very few dangers in Mexico specifically aimed at tourists, Mexico is just like any other country in the world, tourists are always targets for pickpockets, thieves and scam artists, Mexico is no different in this regard.


I would go as far to say tourists tend to be safer here in comparison with most places across the U.S. Tourists in Mexico always hear about bad things on the news and on other mainstream medias, so people visiting here tend to keep their guard up, whereas tourists in the states are less likely to do so.



How About Ixtapa?

tourists on beach in ixtapa

Ixtapa is located along the coast of Mexico, and it's easy to see why thousands of visitors arrive here every year, there is the beautiful weather, tropical beaches, cold beers, fantastic food and the warm, welcoming people.


This fantastic city has turned into quite the hotspot over the years with tourists from all over the globe flocking here to enjoy its beautiful tropical beaches.


A lot of people usually have a ton of questions about Mexican destinations like Ixtapa, the first question that comes to mind, is it actually safe to visit?


Generally speaking about the country, yes, most of the places in Mexico are completely safe for you to visit! If you don't do silly things like flash jewellery, carry your phone around in your hand, and take cash out of your wallet, you won't make yourself a target.


While most of the cities across the country are safe for you to visit, some places have made a bad reputation for themselves over the years, one such place is the state of Guerrero.


While Ixtapa is safe for you to visit, it is unfortunately located in the state of Guerrero, which is highly dangerous at this moment in time.



But The City is Safe!


Ixtapa is generally safe, and I do recommend that you visit, especially if you are interested or were thinking about doing so. Your really just have to be mindful and have some common sense, if something doesn't feel right, your gut instinct is usually right! Ixtapa would in fact actually be considered to be one of the safest cities in the entire country.


Just below I cover what I consider to some of the more essential topics that are worth talking about.



Transportation

mexico tropical

For those of you that are currently in Mexico and are considering driving to Ixtapa, I highly recommend that you rethink your means of transportation, I couldn't recommend anyone drive or take a bus here as the dangers in Guerrero are extremely volatile at this moment.


There is only one way that I can recommend you arrive in Ixtapa by, and that is flight. There are very few airlines at this moment that provide direct flights to this city, but if you do manage to find flights you should absolutely consider visiting, you will most likely not have a problem, and your stay should be an exceptional one.



Crime

mexican police on beach

Ixtapa is not immune to criminal activity, I have probably said this a thousand times before and I'll likely say it a thousand times again, but there is not a single city in the world in which everyone is completely safe from criminals.


Ixtapa does have a low crime rate compared to most places in the country, there are some things that you need to be mindful of just like any other popular city in the world, there will be those out there who look to take advantage of unsuspecting tourists.


In beautiful resort towns like this criminals don't often resort to violence, in places full of tourists you will commonly find scam artists and thieves, for the few criminals that do threaten people, they usually do so with a weapon of some sort, even if they don't have any intention of using it.


You can easily avoid becoming a victim if you just follow some basic rules and have common sense about you.


Don't be flashy! If you are walking around all day with your phone in your hand and your DSLR around your neck, taking pictures every 5 seconds, you are just setting yourself up for a bad experience.


Don't visit any areas that you are not familiar with, this is easier said than done especially in a foreign city but if you just stick to the popular tourist destinations and the high streets you are more than likely be fine.



Corruption


Unfortunately, all of Mexico is just rife with corruption, even though there are corrupt officials everywhere in this country, including Ixtapa, that's not something that you should concern yourself with too much.


You will only ever have a problem with corrupt officials if you actually do something wrong, in which case you may then have to pay up.


The most common way I've seen people running into corrupt officials is by people not carrying the correct documentation when driving.


If a police officer stops you and you don't have your license or the proper documentation you have to pay a fine, but you can usually get away with this by bribing the official, a small fee of $20 or $30 often does the trick.



Cartel, Paramilitary & Gang Violence

Mexico military

Although you often see stories on the news and on other mainstream media about gang violence and killings in Mexico, this is not usually the case in popular tourist destinations across the country.


Gang violence mostly occurs in border towns or in some cities that are plagued by drug cartels.


Another thing that is worth mentioning is that gang violence is just gang violence, there are very rarely civilian casualties especially foreign tourists, if you have seen on the news or heard stories about this, it was most likely a situation of the wrong place the wrong time.


If you happen to run into the paramilitary, they have been known to be violent against visitors. It's sad to say but road blockades have been popping up more and more often with little resistance from the Mexican government.


I haven't heard any stories so bad that involves kidnapping, sexual assault or death but what I have heard about is plenty of blockades being set up on certain sections of the highways in Guerrero where paramilitary groups, gangs try to extort tourists.


This is the main reason I can't recommend anyone to drive here, either by car or bus, it's just too unpredictable, and you should not be putting yourself at any risk whichsoever!



Conclusion

Ixtapa homes

I think the city of Ixtapa is a fantastic place for you to visit and it is entirely safe for you to do so however I do have some concerns about visiting or passing through the state of Guerrero.


Even though some parts of Mexico are dangerous, this should not deter you from visiting this beautiful country, the benefits far outweigh the cons!


Mexico has one of the most unique and fascinating cultures in the world today, with the amazing culture & heritage, diverse lands and welcoming people, it's hard to argue not to visit.


The atmosphere is something I always take into consideration when thinking about visiting any place, you do not want to visit a place where you are not welcome.


Thankfully the inhabitants of Ixtapa are very welcoming and friendly, they love the fact that thousands of tourists visit this city every year. Most of the residents here in Ixtapa make a living off of the tourism industry.


In fact, in all of Mexico, you will find that the people are generally warm and welcoming, they are some of the friendliest feet people I have met in all of the world.


For some advice on how to stay safe during your visit to Mexico, check out my other article on how to stay safe in Mexico, you can find it here!