Is Aguascalientes safe? The question of safety is likely to be at the forefront of your mind if you’re planning a trip to Aguascalientes in 2023.
People are often concerned about whether or not they will be safe when traveling to Mexico in general. Unfortunately, the country does not have the best safety reputation worldwide.
Aguascalientes provides a wonderful opportunity to travel off the beaten path in Mexico and scratch beneath the surface of this culturally rich country. The short answer is yes, Aguascalientes is safe to travel to provided that you take precautions.
But safety is a very personal thing and the answer is a little bit more nuanced than that. This article has been written by a British travel writer living in Mexico and aims to give you all the information that you need to safely plan a trip to Aguascalientes.
Is Aguascalientes Safe?
Aguascalientes is a state in North Central Mexico. It borders Jalisco and Guadalajara to the south, San Luis Potosi to the east, and Zacatecas to the north.
Aguascalientes is both the name of the state and its capital city. The area doesn’t see a fraction of tourists seen by popular Mexico travel destinations like Cancun, Mexico City, and Puerto Vallarta, but it is slowly emerging as a desirable destination for history and culture lovers.
In the city of Aguascalientes, grab an al fresco coffee or some traditional Mexican food at one of the quaint eateries that encircle the Plaza de las Tres Centurias. This park is home to the largest “dancing” water fountain in Latin America, whose water shimmers in 60 different colors.
You can also visit the slightly morbid “National Museum of Death”. The art exhibits here contain various masks, paintings, and sketches that focus on the theme of death.
The museum first opened its doors back in 2007 when Michoacan-born artist Octavio Bajonero Gil donated an array of death-related art pieces from his collection. It has expanded over time and explores Mexico’s unique relationship with death and “Santa Muerte”.
Leaving the Aguascalientes capital, be sure to spend a day in the pueblo magico (“magic town”) of Calvillo where you can go hiking and shop for delicious traditional sweets. Heading a little further north, you will find Real de Asientos.
The town is home to a spooky cemetery that is the oldest in the state. Similarly, the Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Belén is the oldest church in the state.
Safety Tips for Aguascalientes
Aguascalientes is generally considered a safe place and crime rates are low. The U.S. Department of State states that you should “exercise increased caution” when traveling to Aguascalientes.
There are no specific travel warnings in place. The US travel advisory offers a state-by-state view of the safety of traveling to Mexico.
The 32 states are categorized into places where you should exercise “normal” caution, places where you should exercise “increased” caution, places where you should reconsider traveling to, and places you should avoid completely. The fact that Aguascalientes is only in the second tier should speak volumes about its safety.
It is always a good idea to check your government’s travel advice before traveling to any new country and the same rings true for planning a trip to Mexico. The US state department website is sternly worded but is a good source of information that is regularly updated.
The British travel website also provides useful real-time updates. You may also want to visit the Mexican government advice for additional safety tips.
Crime rates in Aguascalientes
According to the latest data from the Secretaría de Seguridad Pública de Aguascalientes, the overall crime index in the state is significantly lower than in many other Mexican cities. In 2019, the rate was 6.9 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Theft and larceny were the major concerns, followed by break-ins and burglaries. As a tourist briefly passing through the area, the chances of you being a victim of these sorts of crimes are slim.
The Numbeo crime index is also a good way to sense-check the safety situation in any city or state. The crime level it awards to Aguascalientes city is low at 33.80.
By contrast, the crime level in Mexico City is high at 77.94. If we are comparing Aguascalientes city with US cities, you will note that Los Angeles has a moderate crime rating of 59.57. New York is moderate at 53.15 and Atlanta is high at 74.65.
Use your common sense in Aguascalientes
We have established that Aguascalientes can be a safe and enjoyable place to visit. But of course, a lot of that does depend on you using the same common sense as you would elsewhere.
Always be mindful of your surroundings, don’t walk alone at night, be conscious of where you walk (i.e. don’t go wandering off down unsuspecting side streets), and be wary of over-friendly strangers.
Choose a safe neighborhood in Aguascalientes city
It is important to do a little research on where you are going to base yourself in Aguascalientes city. As mentioned, the city is generally safe on the whole.
Most hotels are located in the city center or in upscale areas and are therefore completely fine. El Campestrs and Pulgas Pandas are elegant neighborhoods in the northern part of the city.
Villas de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción, La Barranca, and Las Huertas are a little rough around the edges and are generally best avoided. However, they don’t have much in terms of tourist interest for travelers anyway.
When you choose a hotel that you like, check past reviews to get an idea of what previous visitors thought of the property and the area.
Additional safety measures in place in Aguascalientes
Tourism is a major contributor to the Mexican economy and it is growing year on year. Keeping tourists safe and helping them enjoy their trip is a big priority for the Mexican government.
There is a 24-hour police presence in the tourist areas of Aguascalientes city. This includes the central square (zocalo) and numerous parks, museums, and malls.
There is also a 24-hour hotline that people can call if they sense any suspicious activities or threats. Despite being the state capital, Aguascalientes city has a very small-town feel about it.
Consider doing a walking tour to get your bearings
Walking tours can be a great way to get your bearings when arriving in a new city, especially if you are nervous. Taking an Aguascalientes city tour will help you get familiar with the layout of the area, learn about its history, and meet some of the friendly locals.
You will be able to see the city from the perspective of someone who has grown up there and you will have an Aguascalientes expert on hand to ask for recommendations. If you are traveling solo, this can be a nice way to meet other travelers.
Be careful using ATMs
There have been incidents of theft at ATMs in Aguascalientes and across Mexico on the whole. Be careful when withdrawing money and ideally, never carry more than 4,000-5,000 pesos in cash with you.
Opt to use ATMs in banks and malls. Standalone machines are more likely to have been tampered with.
Try to avoid using ATMs at night and be aware of your surroundings when making a withdrawal.
Watch your personal belongings
If you’re going to be a victim of a crime in Aguascalientes, it is likely to be petty theft. For instance, bag snatching or pickpocketing.
Still, Aguascalientes is so safe that even petty crimes are not common here. You just need to be careful and not give opportunists an opportunity to snatch your bag, something from your back pocket, etc.
Keep your belongings close to you at all times. In crowded markets, festivals, and busy streets, keep your backpack in front of you rather than hung over one shoulder.
You may also want to consider purchasing a theft-proof bag. These bags are designed to be resistant to cutting and provide added security for your belongings.
Pacsafe is a trusted brand of theft-proof backpacks. They come with additional features such as RFID-blocking pockets, TSA-approved locks, waterproof covers, and a slash-proof strap.
With one, you can confidently explore Aguascalientes without worrying about your valuables.
Is Aguascalientes safe for solo travelers?
Solo travelers of all ages and genders can feel safe traveling in Aguascalientes. The city is safe and more and more tourists are heading here each year to visit the various pueblo magicos and hiking trails.
Rest assured, you won’t draw attention to yourself or get weird looks for being alone. You just need to be extra careful about wandering into unfamiliar areas, going to bars, or going out at night.
You are essentially more of a target anywhere in the world when you are alone. But Aguascalientes is not a particularly dangerous area.
Is Aguascalientes safe for solo female travelers?
Solo female travelers too can feel comfortable here. It is worth noting, however, that Mexican women often dress quite conservatively in towns and cities around Mexico.
This is so that they do not draw attention to themselves. Unless you’re at the beach, you will not find people wearing shorts, t-shirts, and short dresses.
Even in the spring and summer months, local women often wear jeans and t-shirts. Although obviously as a woman you should feel that you’re able to wear whatever you want wherever you want and be free from harassment, that isn’t always the world that we live in.
It is better to follow the example of the local women if you do not want to draw attention to yourself. If you are traveling during the warmer months, you can easily buy trousers, shirts, and long dresses made from breathable materials.
Enjoy your time in Aguascalientes!
It is easy to worry yourself silly when planning a trip to Mexico for the first time, especially when you often hear the country mentioned in the news for all the wrong reasons. It is important to take your safety seriously, but doing so shouldn’t stop you from having a wonderful trip.
Be mindful of what you do and where you go, but Focus your energy on all of the wonderful food that you’re going to be eating, things you were going to be doing, and people you are going to meet.
if you are paranoid and skittish, you will only end up making yourself look more out of place during your trip. if you are constantly looking over your shoulder, you are not going to have a great time. Relax and enjoy!
Use Uber rather than street cabs
Uber exists in Aguascalientes. Local people often prefer to use ridesharing apps like uber rather than taking random street cabs.
They are considered safer and after all, there is more accountability with Uber when you can see whose car you are getting into and their license plate and vehicle information.
You simply do not have this when you get into a random street cab. Not to scare you, but there have been issues in the past with taxi drivers in Mexico scamming tourists or committing an express kidnapping
An express kidnapping happens when an unsuspecting traveler gets into a car and the taxi driver insists that they hand over all of their valuables. Their accomplices will enter the vehicle and make the tourists withdraw a maximum amount of money at various ATMs around town.
Uber is the safer alternative. Just be sure to check your driver’s reviews and ratings before you confirm the ride.
Because some taxi drivers in the city are annoyed at Uber drivers taking their business, there is a bit of anti-Uber sentiment around the state.
Uber drivers will often prefer not to pick you up from major bus stations and hotels. so, when you order a car, you may have to walk a block or two away from the main hubs.
Is the water safe to drink in Aguascalientes?
Unfortunately, the tap water is not safe to drink anywhere in Mexico including Aguascalientes. It is purified at the source but often gets contaminated en route to the tap.
There seems to be some misinformation online about this. You really shouldn’t try and drink tap water here and it isn’t safe for consumption unless it has been boiled.
All hotels will provide you with a complimentary bottle of water at check-in. Then, you should purchase bottled water from local convenience stores during your trip.
A reusable filtered water bottle like those offered by Lifestraw is a good way to minimize plastic waste. Then, you can purchase large multi-liter bottles at an Oxxo or 7/11 store and fill up the bottle each day.
Consider purchasing an alarmed doorstop
An alarmed doorstop is a great way to ensure your safety while staying in Aguascalientes. These doorstops are designed to sound an alarm when someone inserts a key or card into the lock, alerting you and anyone else nearby of any potential intruders.
Usually, the loud alarm should be enough to deter anyone from entering your room. This is particularly useful if you are staying somewhere like an Airbnb where you don’t know how many people have access to the premises.
This extra layer of security can provide peace of mind and help keep you and your belongings safe. You can buy these for just a couple of dollars on Amazon, etc.
Is Aguascalientes safe? Final thoughts
Aguascalientes is one of the safest destinations that you can visit in Mexico. It is a good choice, even if this is your first visit to the country.
You need to take precautions to ensure your safety as you would anywhere. However, many of the violent crimes that have affected other parts of Mexico simply aren’t an issue in Aguascalientes.
I live in Merida in the Yucatan and I am happy to connect if you have any questions or concerns. Enjoy your time in Aguascalientes!
Buen viaje! Melissa xo