Skip to Content

Is Zihuatanejo Safe To Visit in 2024? Zihuatanejo Crime Stats and Safety Tips

Is Zihuatanejo safe to visit? Zihuatanejo is a city in Guerrero known for its captivating attractions such as Playa Las Gatas and Muelle Zihuatanejo. However, the city also has dangers such as homicides, fraud, and petty theft. This raises an important question how is secure Zihuatanejo?

Continue reading and learn more about the crime rate in the city. Uncover the worth visiting good neighborhoods and bad areas you should stay aware of. Discover a detailed transportation guide to explore the city safely. Moreover, some car rental numbers are shared below to help you book rides without any safety concerns and avoid being part of any incident. Let’s dive deeper into this guide!

Is Zihuatanejo Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk – MEDIUM
  2. Kidnappings Risk – LOW
  3. Fraud Risk – LOW
  4. Petty Theft Risk – LOW
  5. Level of Danger When Driving – MEDIUM
  6. Level of Danger in Buses – MEDIUM
  7. Level of Danger in Taxi – LOW
  8. Level of Danger at Night – MEDIUM
  9. Areas Requiring Caution – Opalo Street, Playa Quieta
  10. Safe Places – Playa La Ropa, Museo Arqueológico de l. A. Costa Grande, Playa Las Gatas
  11. Crime in Zihuatanejo compared to other cities in Mexico – Rating based on real reviews from travelers and locals according to Numbeo. Crime index meaning: 0-20 is very low, 20-40 is low, 40-60 is moderate, 60-80 is high, and 80-100 is very high.







Quintana Roo




Quintana Roo








 Baja California Sur




Nuevo León










Quintana Roo








Baja California


Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping in previous years.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Guerrero, including to tourist areas in Acapulco, Zihuatanejo, and Ixtapa.U.S. Travel Advisory

Is It Safe To Travel To Zihuatanejo: A Detailed Overview of Crimes

As per Mexico Travel Advisory, it is not recommended to visit Zihuatanejo due to widespread violence. As per the 2023 National Information Center report, there were a total of 2,173,220 alleged crimes recorded in the country. Guerrero was responsible for 27,198 of those crimes.

Is It Safe To Travel To Zihuatanejo

The 2024 stats also paint a similar picture with 2183 incidents out of 173,927. The 2024 report of the National Information Centre also tells that there were 198 cases related to homicide in Guerrero. However, the safety index rate of Zihuatanejo is 71.08 as per Numbeo but there are only three contributors for this data. Now, to get a clear picture of the crimes in the area, let’s dive deep into the 4 common crimes:

Cartel Violence Risk – Moderate

Based on official data from Semaforo about violent crime, 98 cases of homicides were reported in Zihuatanejo in 2023. In January 2024 the value was – 4. Moreover, on 23 October 2023, a terrible incident occurred. Where, as per the Washington Post, twelve police officer and a local security supervisor lost their lives in a brutal ambush.

This was due to the criminal gangs challenging authorities in an area known for heroin production. Considering these reports we can say that the risk of cartels is moderate in Zihuatanejo.

Zihuatanejo homicide rate

Kidnapping Risk – Low

Zihuatanejo has not had any major or mass kidnapping risks in recent years. According to Semaforo, only 1 kidnapping case was reported in 2023, and that too in August. Coming to 2024, no cases related to kidnapping have been reported in the city as of yet.

Still, it is wise to take some precautions such as varying routines and being vigilant in unfamiliar surroundings.

Fraud Risk – Low

Like other Mexican towns, Zihuatanejo isn’t also completely free of scams. But, the risk is low. According to the National Information Center, 901 fraud crimes were recorded in 2023 for the Guerrero state. When compared with the 23,891 frauds recorded in Ciudad de México in 2023, we can see that the state is considerably safe.

However, there might still be some prevalent scams that you should be mindful of:

Scams to Watch Out for in Zihuatanejo
  1. Counterfeit Goods from Street Vendors: Street vendors may offer counterfeit goods to tourists such as pharmaceuticals and car spare parts, a common-sense fraudulent practice. So, resist purchasing items from street vendors, even if the prices seem attractive.
  2. ATM Usage and Card Skimming: The use of ATMs poses a risk of card skimming, where unauthorized devices capture card information. Exercise caution when withdrawing money. Prefer ATMs located within banks equipped with security cameras. This precautionary measure reduces the risk of falling victim to card skimming schemes.

Petty Theft – Low

Zihuatanejo vacation maintains a generally low theft index rate of 33.33 as per Numbeo.

Petty Theft in  Zihuatanejo

However, always remember to adhere to the following couple of safety suggestions:

  1. Be aware when visiting the market as many petty theft crimes happen there.
  2. Be cautious in tourist hotspots, where asking for directions might be a ploy for theft.
  3. Keep a close eye on your phone and camera in public areas to avoid becoming a target.

When you explore the beautiful places in Zihuatanejo, it’s important to know about some areas that might not be safe. Here is information about a couple of places you should avoid:

Bad Areas to Avoid In Zihuatanejo
  1. Opalo Street: On November 7, 2023, a woman was murdered on Opalo Street near the Eva Sámano de López Mateos school, as per The Guerrero Post. There are also some dangerous drug dealers lurking there so it is best to avoid this area.
  2. Playa Quieta: This is the beach town of Zihuatanejo. You need to be aware of sharks during swimming. For example, The Guerrero Post mentions that there was a shark attack on a 76-year-old Canadian tourist last year. This resulted in his fatality.

Exploring In-Depth Travel Options

Zihuatanejo offers easy exploration by foot or through the local public buses known as “micros.” These buses operate regularly within the city and connect Zihuatanejo with Ixtapa. They even stop at various Zihuatanejo beaches such as Playa la Ropa and Playa Contramar along the route. The Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo Airport (ZIH) sits just eight miles from Zihuatanejo.

While many Zihuatanejo resorts offer complimentary shuttles, alternative transportation options include taxi rides, booking private transport, or opting for a collective. Let’s take a look at the security situation in the public transportation of the city below:

Is it Safe to Drive in Zihuatanejo Mexico? – Moderate Risk

The overall driving situation has a moderate safety risk in Zihuatanejo. According to Semaforo reports a total of 164 vehicle thefts within the city were reported in 2023. Plus, in 2024, 14 cases related to vehicle theft have been reported as of yet.

Is it Safe to Drive in Zihuatanejo Mexico

So, you have to be careful while driving on the outskirts of the city. Solo travelers can easily reach Zihuatanejo by following Autopista del Sol or Autopista Siglo 21 when coming from Mexico City. Car rental options are readily available, with companies like:

  1. Adapza
  2. Alamo
  3. Europcar
  4. Hertz
  5. Payless

All of these services have offices at the airport and various locations in Zihuatanejo. However, exercise caution, especially with Hertz, due to reports of unauthorized credit card charges associated with their services. Moreover, renting a car becomes more advantageous for extensive sightseeing in nearby areas such as:

  1. Playa Larga;
  2. Barra de Potosi;
  3. Bahías de Papanoa.
Note: In case of an emergency while driving, reach the Ministry of Tourism‘s hotline at (55)36865581, 0123, 0292, and 0493, or use the toll-free number 800-903-9200.

Safety in Buses in Zihuatanejo – Moderate Risk

Even in Guerrero state, there have been 2,199 reported cases of robberies related to transport, as per the Mexican Government. While on buses, there are chances that you fall prey to muggers or pickpockets in Zihuatanejo. Therefore, you need to take precautions like avoiding showing off your wallet or wearing expensive jewelry.

Safety in Buses in Zihuatanejo

Micros serve as the go-to mode of public transportation in the city, offering fares ranging from:

  1. $12.00 to $14.00 (pesos) for trips between Zihuatanejo and Ixtapa;
  2. $12.00 for Zihuatanejo to Playa La Ropa;
  3. $15.00 for Zihuatanejo to Playa Linda.

Safety in Taxis in Zihuatanejo – Low-Risk

Generally, there are lower chances when it comes to taxis in Zihuatanejo. However, ensure that you only book the taxis with a proper license plate and a ‘Taxi’ sign on top. Further, you can get private taxis.

For those looking to book a taxi for specific purposes, such as trips to the airport or sightseeing, reservations can be made beforehand by contacting:




(755) 554-3680

(755) 554-8809

(755) 554-8772


(755) 554-4583

(755) 554-3311


(755) 554-4763

You can opt for Uber as they use advanced navigation and tracking for security purposes.

A Note on Nighttime Safety in Zihuatanejo – Moderate Risk

Zihuatanejo is relatively safe to travel during the night. Numbeo mentions that the city has a moderately good safety index for walking alone during the night at 50.00. Despite that, you still want to be aware of common crimes like robbing and mugging. Therefore, you must take precautionary measures like going out in a group and staying in properly-lit areas to avoid mishaps

Safe Places and Pacific Coast to Visit in Zihuatanejo

Zihuatanejo has many places that attract visitors. Let’s explore some secure and enjoyable spots in the city that you can visit and roam around easily:

The Safest places in Zihuatanejo
  1. Playa La Ropa: You can have a great day at Zihuatanejo’s preferred seaside, Playa la Ropa. If you like chilling within the solar, interesting water activities, or a pleasant swim, this seashore has it all. You can also try distinctive water sports including browsing or renting a ship with a decreased risk of herbal disasters.
  2. Museo Arqueológico de l. A. Costa Grande: Learn Mexico’s history at the Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande. This museum shows how one-of-a-kind cultures stimulated the place from Acapulco to Zihuatanejo. You can see things made with the aid of the Olmec, Teotihuacan, Tarascan, and Mexican groups. Take a walk by the water on Paseo del Pescador, it is stunning and smells like the Pacific coast. Playa Coral, take a stroll and strive for the tasty food and drink on the island’s eating places.
  3. Playa Las Gatas: You can get far away from the busy Playa Ropa and visit Playa Las Gatas for a nonviolent time. Walk through the bushes or take a ship to this great seaside. Explore the shore, snorkel, or simply loosen up on the easy sand. Some eating places provide seafood feasts providing diverse traditional dishes like ceviche, tires, pescadillas, shrimp, fish, and salad.
Playa Las Gatas

Essential Safety Tips Listed For Visiting Zihuatanejo

Allow me to share some handful safety tips with you that will ensure you have a safe and sound trip to Zihuatanejo:

  1. Obtain Robust Travel Insurance: Ensure you have robust travel insurance covering medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and unexpected events. For this, World Nomads extends coverage to encompass over 150 activities to support your explorations in this Mexican destination.
  2. Strictly Avoid Drug Transactions: Zihuatanejo has stringent anti-drug laws, and involvement in drug cartel activity can result in imprisonment. The possession, sale, or distribution of Schedule I, II, III, or IV drugs is considered a serious offense, leading to misdemeanor charges. Offenders may face fines ranging from $500 to $1,000 along with one-year imprisonment.
  3. Verify Police Identification: If you are approached by someone claiming to be a police officer requesting your ID, politely ask to see their official identification first. Otherwise, they might scam you with a fake arrest warrant and ask for money to avoid going to jail.
  4. Minimize Night Driving: Statistics from NHTSA reveal a higher number of accidents and security-related issues including alcohol-involved crashes from 6 pm to midnight. To mitigate risks, it is recommended to avoid driving at night.
  5. Stay Updated on Local News: Regularly check local news such as The Guerrero Post and safety advisories like Mexico Travel Advisory for any developments that may impact your travel plans. They always post about the current situation in Zihuatanejo to help you make informed decisions and adjust your safe and enjoyable trip if necessary.
  6. Stick to Tourist-Friendly Zones: Incidents in well-known tourist areas are significantly lower than in unfamiliar neighborhoods. Staying within popular tourist destinations including Playa Contramar, Bistro del Mar Restaurant, Zihuatanejo Bay, and Central Market enhances your safety by minimizing exposure to riskier areas.
  7. Share Emergency Contacts and Itinerary: Share your travel itinerary and critical emergency contact information with your friends and own family individuals. This proactive step helps in case of unforeseen occasions or natural disasters, contributing to a safer journey experience.
  8. Adhere to Local Laws and Customs: You need to respect local guidelines and customs. This practice will assist you stay away from prison headaches as well as fines.


Is there danger in Zihuatanejo?

The Zihuatanejo carries a moderate danger risk. Although the state of Guerrero itself is marked as a “do not travel” by the government, there is reason to believe that the city itself is not as dangerous as the state as a whole. In 2023 a total of 164 vehicles and 98 homicides were reported as per Semaforo, which is moderate compared with the national average. But you should avoid areas like Opalo Street and Playa Quieta.

Is it better to stay in Ixtapa or Zihuatanejo?

Ixtapa is better and more secure to stay in as its reported homicide cases are just 8 compared to Zihuatanejo’s 95 as per Elcri in 2023. In Ixtapa, you can enjoy its modern amenities and resort atmosphere.

Can you swim in the ocean in Zihuatanejo?

Yes, swimming in Zihuatanejo’s ocean is generally safe. Playa Ropa is highly suitable for swimming, only beware of the occasional jellyfish.

Can you drink the water in Zihuatanejo?

You should drink only bottled water in Zihuatanejo to avoid potential stomach issues. This is because many of the pipes and distribution systems are often old, faulty, and damaged. So, stick to bottled or purified water to ensure your well-being.

Is Zihuatanejo Mexico safe for tourists?

Zihuatanejo is generally moderately safe for tourists. Despite Numbeo’s mentions safety index of around 71.08%, Semaforo highlights 98 cases of homicides in the city in 2023. This means you need to remain careful while in the city.


Is Zihuatanejo safe for travelers? The U.S. has issued a code 4 level risk, advising its citizens not to visit the Gurrero state but the reports from the Mexican Government suggest otherwise. The crime rates have decreased over the years as only 27,198 crimes were reported in 2023 and 2,183 in 2024 in Guerrero. Discussing Zihuatanejo, Numbeo mentions that the crime rate is not very concerning standing at 28.92% only.

However, certain areas should be avoided including Ópalo Street and Playa Quieta. There are also numerous enjoyable activities to partake in Zihuatanejo while prioritizing safety. You can explore Playa la Ropa, Museo Arqueológico de la Costa Grande, and Isla Ixtapa.

Engage in activities like swimming, snorkeling, and scuba diving, and savor the local seafood platter. Throughout the journey, adhere to the Mexico Travel advisory, strictly avoid engaging in drug cartels, and consider obtaining insurance to cover expenses in case of any emergencies.