These are some great statistics and good local information to check out and reveal the truth behind the headlines related to how safe Mexico really is. When you take the border drug war statistics out of the equation where the vast majority of violent crime occurs between warring drug gangs, you may be surprised to see how safe it is in Mexico.
1) Tlaxcala <http://www.tlaxcala.gob.mx/> (1.1 deaths per 100,000): Mexico’s safest state is also its smallest, tucked just east of Mexico state like a notch in Puebla’s side, with the Sierra Madre Oriental dominating its eastern boundary. It is an agricultural state with a significant tourism industry made up mainly of Mexican visitors and a smattering of history-minded German, French and Swiss travelers. Its primary attractions, barely known to U.S. tourists, are precolumbian archaeological sites such as Cacaxtla and colonial architecture in and around the capital city of Tlaxcala. The state has more than 1,000 archaeological sites, only seven of which are open to the public. It’s tailor-made for travelers hankering for an authentic cultural foray safely removed from the hordes.
2) Yucatán <http://www.yucatantoday.com/> (1.3): The land of the Maya is arguably Mexico’s most beguiling state, and its safety is icing on the cake. (Drug-related deaths doubled in 2010 — from 1 to 2.) Despite being overshadowed by Cancún and the Riviera Maya in neighboring Quintana Roo, the Yucatán has a well-developed tourist infrastructure, thousands of archaeological sites, refreshing cenotes, grand haciendas, uncrowded beaches, stunning wildlife, widely varied ecotourism and unfailingly gracious people. You could visit every year for the rest of your life and never run out of things to do and see. If you’re still wary of going to Mexico, think of Yucatán as a country apart — many of its residents do.
3) Puebla <http://www.puebla.gob.mx/> (1.85): It’s the home of both mole poblano and chiles en nogada, the ambrosial national dish made of poblano chiles filled with spicy meat and fruit, smothered in a walnut cream sauce and topped with pomegranate seeds. What more is there to say? Well, perhaps that it is also home to the twin volcanoes Iztaccíhuatl and Popocatépetl, site of the battle commemorated by Cinco de Mayo, home of Talavera pottery, 2,600 historic buildings, a wealth of archaeological sites, and virtually nonstop festivals originating in five distinct prehispanic cultures.
4) Querétaro <http://www.queretaro.travel/
5) Baja California Sur (2.98): In a classic case of guilt by association, tourists have avoided the southern half of the Baja peninsula in droves because Tijuana — 900 miles away in Baja California (Norte) — was the first flash point when Calderón upset the drug cartels’ equilibrium. In fact, Baja Sur has been barely touched by drug violence. If Los Cabos isn’t your style, you can hightail it up to artsy Todos Santos, satisfy your urban longings in the authentic Mexican city of La Paz or repair to the East Cape, a still-rugged area favored by divers and fishermen, where active types and fans of primitive, wide open spaces will find hiking, kayaking, surfing and windsurfing, zip-lines, cave paintings and hot springs.