Mexico gets a bad wrap. Yeah, you’ll find a couple bags of dismembered heads found on the side of the road every so often, and yes, it’s not exactly the family-friendly attraction it once was. Not too long ago there was even talk of classifying Mexico as a failed state due to the violence surrounding the ongoing drug war there.

With that said, according to some digging done by the Smithsonian Magazine, you’d still be safer taking your family on vacation in sunny Mexico than to many cities in the United States. And it’d be cheaper, too.

Take the two countries’ capital cities, for example.  It turns out that the murder rate in Mexico City is actually less than it is in Washington, D.C. Mexico City had a murder rate of just 8.4 per 100,000 residents in 2012, while D.C.’s was 14 per 100,000 residents. Definitely some interesting numbers to mull over.

The Smithsonian points out correctly that it depends on where you take your vacation.

The Mexican-American border is, undoubtedly, a no-go for fun in the sun. With that being said, nobody ever visited Ciudad Juarez for two weeks in a time-share, but when you start looking at Mexican tourist destinations compared to American ones, a different picture starts to emerge.

Cancun has a murder rate of just 1.83 per 100,000 residents, compared to Orlando — home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse — which has a murder rate of 7.5 per 100,000. That means that you’re over four times more likely to get chopped to bits outside the Magical Kingdom than in dirty, scary Cancun.

Don’t fancy the Cancun debauchery?  You’re still better off in placid Puerto Vallarta, with a murder rate of 5.9 per 100,000.

At any rate, you should probably still avoid Juarez, with a murder rate of 147 per 100,000, Acapulco with 127 per 100,000 and New Orleans with 58 per 100,000.  Have a happy Mardi Gras.