Safety in Puebla
We have been asked by many why we have not addressed the safety of Puebla, Mexico on our web site and the answer has always been very simple: Puebla is one of the safest cities in Mexico and has not been affected by the Narcoviolence. But now that the media talks as if the drug cartel killings and kidnappings happening in the border states between Mexico and the US, in the Pacific Mexican coast and in Cuernavaca, as a universal problem across Mexico, I feel compelled to address it. One way is to compare Puebla to San Antonio, Texas in the United States (both cities with similar population). In this comparison we find out that Puebla is the one with the lower homicide rate.
Another way is to visit the latest Travel Warning provided by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs dated November 20th, 2012 in which they go in detail mentioning the different dangers in Mexico… they mention cities like Monterrey, Tijuana, Ciudad Juarez, Acapulco, Cuernavaca, Oaxaca, Guadalajara, etc. and they make a point to exclude Puebla from any travel warning. Moreover, "The San Francisco Chronicle" in a recent issue mentions Puebla as a city "you can travel safely in Mexico" and "hunkered near the bottom of the crime rate list." To prove this last point I'm including in this page a recent data exhibit done by an independent company in which you can see the state of Puebla (Pue) as second from the bottom in "Property and Violent Crime" in Mexico; considering that it has the 4th largest city in Mexico, this is very impressive.
Puebla was named one of the top 10 cities in the world that should be visited by National Geographic Magazine (Fall 2011). Lonely Planet readers named Puebla as one of the top 10 cities in the world to visit for 2012 and The New York Times names Puebla #13 on the list of the cities in the world that you should visit for 2012. All these publications can not be wrong and recommend a city that is dangerous to visit.
I´m also including paragraphs written by foreigners living in Puebla, by recent ex-students and by current students, on how they view the safety of Puebla, Mexico first hand. When I requested individuals write a paragraph about the safety of Puebla I was overwhelmed with responses, so I'm not able to publish all of them. Some went to great detail like the one from Donald Jones (Retired Businessman), living in Puebla, that included the graph I show above. (I will be happy to share other paragraphs and give you the phone number or e-mail of any of these individuals so you may contact them directly).
"I have lived here for the better part of the past five years, since studying at the Spanish Institute in 2007. Before I came here, my friends and family warned me about how "dangerous" Mexico was. But the truth is that I feel safer here than in most major cities in the United States, and I have never felt my personal security threatened in Puebla."
Rebecca Smith Hurd
"I thought safety level in Puebla was unexpectedly high. As long as you have a basic precaution (e.g., how to dress properly, when to return home, how to manage financial matters, how to consume alcohol correctly, etc.), you should not have any safety issues. This is pretty much the same in many parts of Mexico as well as in many cities in the U.S. Safety often comes up when traveling abroad, and the comfort zone varies by individual. However, I would say Puebla is one of the most comfortable cities of its size which I have traveled in the past. Besides, there is so much to learn and gain from the city that is full of culture and history. I am a female, but I did not feel any danger walking up and down the streets alone in any parts of Puebla. And believe me, I have walked all over the city!"
Haruna Miyagawa Fikui
"I came to The Spanish Institute of Puebla as a single woman and felt safe everywhere I traveled during the month of studies. I took public transport, walked and used taxis to navigate the city. I found the residents warm, friendly and helpful. Puebla has very few tourists from the USA, so as a city, it is not even on the radar for kidnappers that you may hear about on CNN. Please remember that only bad news gets reported in US media and Mexico is a huge country, with many, many areas that are just as safe (or often safer) than your city in the USA or Canada. Don't give up on a wonderful place to study and live because Puebla will charm you! The risks to coming are very low, but the potential benefits are unlimited."
"Allow me to take the opportunity to address the question of safety in Puebla. After spending a month in Puebla, I have to say safety is not an issue one has to be overly concerned with. No matter where I am, I always pay attention to my surroundings and I want to say that at no time did I ever feel uncomfortable or threatened in the city of Puebla. The people are extremely friendly, courteous and helpful and the Institute is so well organized that any anxiety a new student arrives with is quickly diminished.
"I studied at the Spanish Institute of Puebla in June 2010 - my family had been very worried about my safety in Mexico because of all the stories in the news... but the reality is quite different. Puebla is kind of a large small town, meaning that the people are friendly and are just as horrified by the reports of violence as anyone else. As a woman walking alone through Puebla in daylight, I never felt uncomfortable at all. The staff at the Institute is terrific and can advise you if you have questions about where to go - but definitely don't pass up the chance to visit Mexico! It can be the experience of a lifetime!"
"While in Puebla I felt extremely safe walking around during the day and during the early evening. I never went anywhere alone at night so I can't speak about safety in Puebla at night. However, I did not come across one situation where I felt uncomfortable or threatened in any way. Everyone was really nice and helpful and I had a great time in and around Puebla. Whatever is going on in other cities in Mexico does not affect anything in Puebla and the people who live in Puebla have a good attitude about and toward Americans or foreigners in general".