Table of Contents

U.S. Issues Security Warning For Puerto Vallarta

This post may have affiliate links, which means we may receive a small commission (at no extra cost to you!) if you choose to purchase through them. Here’s our Disclosure & Privacy Policy for more info.

Share The Article

Last Updated 7 months ago

From the sandy beaches of the world-famous Riviera Maya to its picturesque Pacific Coast, Mexico has been grappling with an increase in violence lately. Although Cancun suffered the brunt of it, and in the midst of a long-awaited tourist season, it is now Puerto Vallarta that has woken up to the news the U.S. has issued a security alert for the city.

Much like its rivals on the Caribbean coast, Puerto Vallarta is a massively popular destination among Americans. A well-developed city with an unparalleled cultural offer, it famously features some of Mexico’s most famous beaches, including Playa de Los Muertos, plus numerous resorts and tourist complexes that rarely see the odd quiet month.

Sad Desperate Man On The Promenade, Conceptual Picture At The Beach

While Puerto Vallarta had managed, so far, to dodge the level of scrutiny Cancun has been under, this may not be the case anymore as more incidents make the headlines:

Confrontation Between Police And Local Gangs Increases In Puerto Vallarta

Following a recent shooting near the Marina Vallarta resort stretch, resulting from a clash between local police and criminal groups, as well as reports of abduction, the U.S. Mission to Mexico was quick to assert safety levels in the region were compromised, mainly as a result of the ‘increased presence of Mexican security forces‘.

View Of The Cathedral And Old Town In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

While it is easy to think increased security would, in fact, mean the opposite, the U.S. mentions ‘the potential for confrontations between criminal groups and security forces in the Puerto Vallarta area and in the Guadalajara metropolitan area’. Although criminals rarely target tourists, they could still be in danger of getting caught in the crossfire.

As authorities warn, shootings can occur in public places and bystanders risk being injured even when not directly engaged in the conflict. Despite reminding Americans of this gloomy prospect, the U.S. does not mention any particular event as the reason behind the alert, which also encompasses other tourist hotspots in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit.

Arches Los Malecon In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

When vacationing in Puerto Vallarta, Americans are advised to:

  • Follow local news for security updates
  • Be aware of their surroundings
  • Review personal security plans
  • Call 911 during an emergency

They should also ‘reconsider travel’ to the whole state of Jalisco due to ‘crime and kidnapping’. Sadly, Jalisco is not the only destination Americans are now discouraged to visit: Baja California, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, the State of Mexico, which comprises Mexico City, Morelos, and Zacatecas are among other regions listed.

Aerial View Of Beach Near Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

How Actually Dangerous Is Puerto Vallarta Right Now?

Even though crime has increased, it is far from being rampant and U.S. authorities seem aware of that. Unlike the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa and Tamaulipas, Jalisco has not been placed under a ‘no-travel list’, and there seems to be only a moderate to low exposure to violence in the area.

El Malecon, Famous Puerto Vallarta Sea Promenade, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

In our article challenging misconceptions about safety concerns in Cancun, we have discoursed extensively on how crime levels are poised to be higher than average in nearly every big North American city – including New York and Los Angeles. That is not to say security alerts should be ignored, especially when issued by security experts.

Nevertheless, visitors should bear in mind Mexico has mobilized a whole battalion to protect tourists from any such incidents in tourist zones. Exercising caution and having contingency plans in place may be advised, both on trips to Mexico and any vacation abroad, but in reality, the vast majority of visits to the country are trouble-free.

Colorful Houses In Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Simultaneously, we also cannot overlook the fact that Puerto Vallarta has seen a 200% increase in travel scams, or that power struggles could become more common as more cartels battle for dominance over the Vallarta region. Even then, scams can easily be avoided by following this guidance, while shootings seldom affect vacationers.

If you are headed to Puerto Vallarta soon, make sure you follow all the following recommendation in order to ensure a smoother trip:

  • Apply for a passport in advance as there have been long wait times
  • Only book travel packages in Mexico through licensed providers
  • Pre-book your airport transfer to avoid taxi scams
  • Stick to popular tourist areas
  • Exercise caution walking after dark, especially in distant neighborhoods
  • Do not display any valuables unnecessarily outside tourist complexes
  • Purchase travel insurance for increased health and safety guarantees

For more information on travel to Mexico, including all the latest security warnings and Covid updates, make sure you visit our dedicated page.

Read More:

↓ Join Our Community ↓

The Travel Off Path Community FB group has all the latest reopening news, conversations, and Q&A’s happening daily!



Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path’s latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox

This article originally appeared on

Colombia Is Preparing A New Port For International Cruises

Travelers Will Have To Make A Reservation To Visit Major Hawaii Attraction

Wednesday 6th of July 2022

Both USA and MEXICO have significant and unacceptable high levels of crime, corruption, fraud, drug, gun, race-based and gender violence targeting innocent victims as deserving bystanders of expected outcome with perpetrators seeking disparate treatment as the victim in the minds eye of the media and class structure.

The fundamental fact is that it does not make any sense to claim safer wellbeing or enjoy a false sense of protection by citing lower rates of violence in any geopolitical area. This is justified because there is not a true disclosure of the entire description and impact of violence or crime that is comprehensive and includes collateral impact of these events outside the defined arbitrary borders of any entity. To be clear, statistics mean absolutely nothing when the most important number is the largest number that is of importance to any individual and that large number is #1 being you.

When you are a victim if does not matter to you that the relative incidence is higher or lower than any other location, all that matters is that you are a victim. Lets not forget that there exist the perpetrators, enablers and those “white collar” criminals stealing millions, hundreds of millions and the billions of USD swindled, cheated, defrauded and often overlooked for its severity and impact as it has a biased designation as a non-violent crime, which is not taken seriously or is lightly punished leading to truth to saying CRIME PAYS.

How many people are provoked to violence upon the loss all assets, funds, pensions and investments by criminal activity of persons acting with impunity in your face because they know, that you know that the courts and the prosecutors know that they are biased to discount fraud and corruption as non-violent and therefore there is the trend to highlight so called violent crime as the public enemy. no matter where the corruption, defrauding and money laundering occurs, it always ends up in the uSA or EU (London) banking system. All of it! How hypocritical! There is no place to go that is not impacted by violence.

Monday 13th of June 2022

Puerto Vallarta is very dangerous. Your biggest risk comes from the Puerto Vallarta police themselves, they will rob you then sling you in the jail for 24 to 36 hours. No phone call, no food, no clean water. So if you are in any trouble and you need the police then you stand a good chance of being robbed twice. You only need to read about recent shootings in Puerto Vallarta, Crime in Puerto Vallarta, beatings, bodies on beach and the list is endless. Just because most big cities eg in USA are not safe that does not mean that you choose to take a holiday in a place that is equally not safe.

Wednesday 11th of May 2022

This is crazy lol. Puerto Vallarta is safer than most big cities in the US. I am from Orlando and take more caution there. Don’t believe the bs

Tuesday 10th of May 2022

Hola to all, I had been a constant visitor to Puerto Vallarta since 1982, I have now been living in the Puerto Vallarta area for four years until recently moving about one hour south. I can only speak to my experience, the so called petty crime is really out of control, homeless problem has become more daunting than ever before but the recent introduction of military units is much more troubling. While I get it that major cities in the US is a growing problem, soldiers armed with high powered weapons, grenades and supported by helicopter gunships makes it a much different landscape. When the bullets start flying the caliber is high enough that they pass through cars and buildings with ease. Even in the small town where I now reside while there is little to no “petty” crime the military makes regular visits to town in force. So I guess from my stand point is Puerto Vallarta safe..mostly yes are the are the normal precautions a good idea. yes but just know that if the military finds whoever they’re looking for the likelihood of a gun battle increases. Stay safe stay aware and enjoy Paradise!

Friday 6th of May 2022

Has the fact that Puerto Vallarta has grown so much in the last few years been taken into consideration when these articles of warning and scare tactics are issued from the US. It must be over whelming to step back and take stock of what is happening in their own back yards. When people talk about other people’s problem’s they don’t have time to face the realities going on all around them. All of us need to be alert and aware or just put the phones away and become consensus of our surroundings. More likely that cause of death is being run over by car or city bus

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

This blog may contain affiliate links. Read our disclosure policy for more info.

Each year the picturesque Mexican city of Puerto Vallarta attracts travelers from all over the world. The pristine white sand beaches of the Pacific Coast in Jalisco state, along with the vibrant local culture, delicious food, and exciting nightlife, have helped grow Puerto Vallarta into one of Mexico’s top tourist destinations.

Having lived in Puerto Vallarta, one of the questions we are frequently asked is whether or not Puerto Vallarta is safe for travelers. It’s absolutely a safe place to travel. However, as with anywhere, you’re going to need to use common sense, good judgment, and some basic safety practices to ensure that your trip to Puerto Vallarta goes smoothly.

Read Post  10 Asia Countries Open for Tourism without Quarantine in 2022

Puerto Vallarta is a different vibe from the all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, where you hardly leave the nest of the resorts. In Puerto Vallarta, you’re immersed in authentic Mexican culture, experiencing the city alongside ex-patriots and locals alike. It’s a relatively large port city, so a lot is happening. Keeping some basic safety protocols is a good idea in any city, and Puerto Vallarta is no exception.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

A lady walks along the southern end of the Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Walking the Puerto Vallarta Malecon – one of the safest areas of the city!

Spending too much time watching the news, which seems to always paint a picture of new or increasing violence in Mexico, may have you questioning whether or not it’s a good idea to visit Puerto Vallarta. The answer is that Puerto Vallarta is perfectly safe as long as you use common travel safety precautions and practices.

The truth is, petty crimes – like theft – will always be an issue in tourist destinations where there is a large income disparity. One of our biggest safety tips for traveling in Latin America is to be aware of pickpocketing.

With that said, the vast majority of the crime being reported, on the other hand, is happening in a tiny stretch of land along the US-Mexico border. It affects only a small percentage of Mexico.

The tourism industry in Mexico continues to explode, with people from all over the world flocking there each year, but it is still a developing nation. Mexico is an extremely large country with a variety of different regions. Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest destinations in Mexico.

The areas where crime is concentrated tend to fall outside of popular tourist areas, and most visitors won’t have any issues with safety or crime. The narrative that Mexico is dangerous is largely exaggerated. That being said – you’re encouraged to use caution, just as you would in any other city across the world.

Puerto Vallarta Saftey FAQs

City street in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

One of the backstreets of Puerto Vallarta which are still a safe place to wander!

Is public transport safe in Puerto Vallarta?

The buses in Puerto Vallarta are safe, reliable, and cheap. Public transportation is by far our favorite way to get around.

Is Uber safe in Puerto Vallarta?

Uber is considered safe in Puerto Vallarta, although taxis are generally more dependable in places like the airport. Make sure you verify your driver and license plate number, as you would in any other country.

Is it safe to live in Puerto Vallarta?

Yes! Puerto Vallarta continues to be one of the safest and friendliest Mexican cities for people who are looking to move there.

Is Airbnb safe to use in Puerto Vallarta?

Renting an Airbnb in Puerto Vallarta is perfectly safe, although don’t expect the properties to have the same levels of security as a resort. Lock your doors and don’t leave things outside to avoid theft.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for families?

Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest cities in Mexico for family vacations.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo female travelers?

Puerto Vallarta is a favorite destination for solo female travelers of all ages. It’s very welcoming to single females. Just make sure to use precautions as you would in any other city.

Is Puerto Vallarta a safe place to drive?

The roads might be a little different than you’re used to, but it’s perfectly safe to drive in Puerto Vallarta. Pay attention to unfamiliar road signs, take it slow, and keep calm. Police can hassle tourists with bribes, but this is not common.

Are there lots of drugs in Puerto Vallarta?

Drugs are present in all tourist destinations, but no more so in Puerto Vallarta. To avoid drug trafficking – don’t try to buy drugs – it’s pretty simple.

Puerto Vallarta Crime Rate

A scenic photo of a cathedral on the Puerto Vallarta Malecon

This is one of the central tourist areas which are very safe!

Examining the crime rates in Puerto Vallarta should ease your fears if you’re still worried about whether or not it is considered safe. The crime rating in Puerto Vallarta is considered low, with a crime rate of 33.55/100

When compared to some popular U.S. tourist destinations, you’ll find that Puerto Vallarta is quite safe! Miami, Florida has a moderate crime rate of 51.64/100; New Orleans, Louisiana, has a rate of 67.34/100; and the ever-popular Maui, Hawaii has a crime rate of 58.53/100.

The crime rates in some of the USA’s most popular destinations are significantly higher than in Puerto Vallarta. New Orleans is almost 87% higher, and yet each year, hundreds travel there each day. The data shows that Puerto Vallarta is actually safer than some of the most popular U.S. beaches and tourist destinations!

To ease your worries even further, it’s important to understand that within the city limits of Puerto Vallarta, most of the crimes reported is the petty non-violent crime like theft. The most commonly reported crime in Puerto Vallarta is public drunkenness, and we can only imagine that part of this statistic comes from the throngs of tourists chugging tequila at all hours of the day and night.

Obviously, you will want to keep track of your belongings to avoid theft. Don’t leave your iPad neglected on a beach chair while you take a swim, carry around large sums of cash, or wear excessively flashy clothes or jewelry. Use situational awareness.

15 Safety tips for Visiting Puerto Vallarta

The Puerto Vallarta Sign in Mexico on a sunny day

The Puerto Vallarta sign!

Staying safe in Puerto Vallarta is the same as any other city around the world. If you use common sense and good judgment, you’re unlikely to have any problems. Here are a few tips to help you stay safe on your travels in Puerto Vallarta and anywhere else you choose to venture.

  1. Don’t walk alone at night. Keep with a group. Stay in well-lit areas.
  2. Leave your travel itinerary and contact info on how to reach you abroad with loved ones.
  3. Verify license plates and driver’s names when using Uber.
  4. Learn a little Spanish ahead of time so that you can ask for directions or help if you need it.
  5. Don’t buy drugs or interact with drug dealers.
  6. Don’t carry around large amounts of cash.
  7. Avoid flashy clothes or jewelry – try to blend in.
  8. Keep your purse or wallet securely attached to your body.
  9. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when using ATMs.
  10. Keep your valuables within a safe or locked up at your hotel. Don’t carry them around.
  11. Keep a list of emergency numbers and maps.
  12. Watch out for fraudulent rental listings. Make sure they have reviewed and are verified.
  13. Don’t let anyone take your cards out of your sight to avoid bank card cloning.
  14. Avoid common pickpocket scams.
  15. Take photos of your passport or scanned copies.
  16. If you choose to drive outside of the city, stick to the main toll roads.

Food and Drink Safety in Puerto Vallarta

group of friends eating at a fish taco stand in Puerto Vallarta

I eat at all the food stands with no problems in Puerto Vallarta!

Generally, the food in Puerto Vallarta is safe for everyone to consume. With that said, you’ll still want to use some precautions to keep yourself from getting sick and avoid eating anything that isn’t cooked or peeled. The biggest concern for tourists in Puerto Vallarta is “Turista” – or traveler’s diarrhea.

As a tourist, your stomach might not be used to some of the bacteria and organisms that naturally occur in food, so something safe for locals might cause an upset stomach for travelers. Avoid questionable food that smells off or looks like it might have been sitting out for long periods.

The tap water in Puerto Vallarta is some of the cleanest in Mexico, and many locals might encourage you that it is fine to drink. It’s still a good idea to avoid drinking tap water unless it’s been filtered. Don’t drink water from the faucet or the shower. It’s okay to consume fruits and veggies that have been washed in tap water, as long as they’ve been cooked or peeled.

To be extra safe, stick to bottled water. It should be available everywhere, as most tourists prefer drinking bottled water in Mexico. Again, your stomach won’t be used to some of the bacteria that could be present, and nothing ruins a vacation faster than a stomach bug.

Is Solo Travel in Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Wandering the Malecon on a Puerto Vallarta city tour

Exploring the Malecon!

Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest places in Mexico and is a particular favorite for solo travelers. You’re never really alone in Puerto Vallarta because there are so many opportunities to meet fellow travelers and make new friends!

The same precautions you would take anywhere that you travel alone should be applied to Puerto Vallarta. Be aware of your surroundings and try not to walk around alone at night. If you do walk at night, stick to well-lit areas. Keep an eye on your belongings to avoid theft, and don’t fall prey to scams. Avoid doing anything illegal, like purchasing drugs, and you should be just fine.

Make sure that you check in regularly with friends and family and tell them where you are and what you’re doing. You might want to create a daily check-in with a loved one back home.

Solo Female Travel in Puerto Vallarta

woman standing at the malecon in Puerto Vallarta

Staying near the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta is a great location for solo female safety!

Most solo female travelers conclude their trips to Puerto Vallarta without any trouble. The same rules apply to all solo travelers, but women will want to be particularly careful about not walking around alone at night, not getting into cars with strangers, and keeping to well-lit, well-traveled areas of the city.

A particular concern for solo female travelers all over the world is being drugged via substances that can be slipped into drinks without detection. Never leave your drink unattended, even for a second. It’s safest to use a drink with a lid and a straw.

You can purchase gadgets like straws and coasters that detect common drink-spiking drugs ahead of time and use them during your travels, or even a one size fits all lid for your cup. Avoid leaving a bar alone at night, especially if you’re feeling intoxicated.

Puerto Vallarta has a thriving LGBTQ community, which is absolutely wonderful, but it means that men should also take precautions, especially in areas like the Romantic Zone.

Overall, drink spiking isn’t a major problem in Puerto Vallarta, but for solo female travelers, it should always be a concern, and it’s important to be careful and take precautions. Keep in mind that other tourists are just as likely to use drink-spiking drugs as locals are, so don’t assume that you’re fine as long as you’re with another traveler.

Related Read: Read our story about when we got robbed at gunpoint in Brazil!

Travel Scams to Watch out for in Puerto Vallarta

woman relaxing at a rooftop pool in Puerto Vallarta

I loved staying in Puerto Vallarta!

If you do become a victim of a crime in Puerto Vallarta, it is more than likely going to be an instance of petty theft or a travel scam. Again, use common sense and situational awareness to avoid becoming a victim of a travel scam.

Travel scams are always evolving and changing, so trust your intuition. If something feels off, then chances are it probably is. There are a few common scams that are known in Puerto Vallarta, and they’re easy enough to avoid.

The Mustard Scam is probably the most common in Puerto Vallarta right now. It’s a pickpocket technique in which someone will walk by you or brush up against you and spill or smear you with mustard, salsa, or some other gross goop.

They might either begin to apologize profusely or simply point out that you have stuff on you before kindly offering to help clean it off. This is all a distraction to have the opportunity to pickpocket you while you’re distracted.

So, if someone mentions you have something spilled on you, hold on to your bag or wallet and walk away quickly without further interaction. Do not accept help or let anyone touch you.

Airport scams are also common, although not necessarily illegal. As soon as you pass outside of customs, you’ll be offered all kinds of services like transportation, lodging, and timeshares – the list goes on and on. Usually, these are overpriced tourist traps. Avoid them and stick to your predetermined travel plans.

Costco or Walmart pickpocketing is actually a scam you need to watch out for. As a local to the area, I often shopped here and heard many times on the Puerto Vallarta ex-pats group of this happening inside the shops. This is often because people let their guard down in these large malls, don’t! Within minutes, they can rack up 5 to 15k in charges on your card – this is an organized crime operation and goes deep into the banking system in Mexico.

Read Post  6 Places to Avoid in Costa Rica

Card skimmers are common around the world, and they can be attached to ATM machines and other credit card scanners at shops and restaurants. A card skimmer will feel a little bit loose or out of place when you insert your card. Always inspect ATMs before you insert your card. There is also the extra risk with a pay pass – which I turn off on my card when in Mexico.

Cash transactions are best performed using Mexican pesos. Try to gain a bit of an understanding of the exchange rates before you begin spending cash. Using cash other than Mexican pesos is a good way to ensure that you might be overcharged or short-changed.

Make sure to always count your change regardless of what kind of cash you are using. Avoid making purchases while under the influence, as this is a common situation in which tourists are short-changed or overcharged.

Diseases in Puerto Vallarta



Before you travel anywhere, make sure your basic vaccinations are up to date, which you can check with your doctor before traveling to Mexico. Hepatitis A and typhoid are commonly transmitted through unclean food and water but aren’t especially common in Puerto Vallarta.

Mosquito-borne illnesses are present in Puerto Vallarta, although rare. These include malaria and dengue fever. It’s a good idea to use mosquito repellent on your clothes and body while traveling in Mexico, even though they’re less prevalent in urban areas.

You might even consider taking Malaria pills if your travels are going to take you outside of the city into tropical areas, however, in Puerto Vallarta, this is not required!

Puerto Vallarta Travel Insurance

Daniel and Bailey take a selfie in Puerto Vallarta

Getting travel insurance gives you peace of mind. So all you have to do is pick your next cocktail!

As always, we strongly recommend that you get travel insurance for your trip to Puerto Vallarta.

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. It is what we both used when we lived in Puerto Vallarta for a couple of months. SafetyWing offers travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4-weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

We’ve personally used both SafetyWing for different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive.)

It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!

Related Read: Check out our absolutes favorite day trips from Puerto Vallarta inlcuding visiting the nearby towns of Sayulita and San Pancho.

Getting Help in Puerto Vallarta

Danza de Los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers) on the Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Getting help is easy, doing this dance on the other hand is not!

A variety of excellent medical care and emergency services are available in Puerto Vallarta, so if you do happen to find yourself sick, injured, or in need of emergency services, you should have no trouble accessing them and getting the care you need quickly and effectively.

Those of you from the United States or Canada should have no trouble remembering the emergency phone number, as it’s exactly the same in the U.S. Simply dial 911 in the event of an emergency.

Puerto Vallarta has some excellent medical services. Our favorite hospital is CMQ.

  • CMQ Hospital Puerto Vallarta +52 322 223 1919
  • Hospital Joya Marina Vallarta +52 322 226 1010

Suppose you happen to have an unfortunate dental emergency in Puerto Vallarta, like a cracked tooth or something of the sort. In that case, you’ll be relieved to know that Puerto Vallarta has world-class dental care at affordable prices. Many people actually travel to Puerto Vallarta to save money on dental work in a growing trend known as medical tourism.

A few great emergency dental clinics include:

  • Mexdental Puerto Vallarta Dentist network +52 333 143 4467
  • Clinica Dental Plaza Marina Puerto Vallarta + 52 322 221 0165

Some other emergency numbers that you might want to keep on hand during your Puerto Vallarta travels include the Consular Agencies for your home country. You might want to contact the Consular Agencies if you have any kind of emergency including being arrested, hospitalized, or losing your passport.

  • U.S. Consular Agency +52 333 268 2100
  • Consular Agency of Canada +52 322 293 0098

The Vallarta Tourism Center might also be of assistance in answering any questions you have regarding situations that arise while traveling.

  • Vallarta Tourism Center +52 322 221 2676

Safest Areas to Stay in Puerto Vallarta

woman sitting on the edge of a hotel pool in Puerto Vallarta

Pool life is the best life!

There are lots of options when it comes to where to stay in Puerto Vallarta, as each neighborhood of this vibrant city offers something different. Although most of the city’s accommodations are in relatively safe areas, we recommend staying in either Zona Romantica, Nuevo Vallarta, or the Hotel Zone.

Zona Romantica is perfect for a laid-back traveler who enjoys vibrant nightlife, cultural dining, and lots of shopping. Nuevo Vallarta is great for those who prefer a resort experience with a more chill beach ambiance. The Hotel Zone, on the other hand, provides less of an authentic cultural feel but does allow plenty of opportunities for shopping and fine dining, as it’s home to some of the best restaurants in Puerto Vallarta.

There are tons of activities to keep you busy near all three of these areas, so you really can’t go wrong no matter which one you choose. Below are our personal favorites hotels in Puerto Vallarta in the safest areas:

Zona Romantica – Casa Nicole Boutique Hotel ($$$)

For a stay in the Zona Romantica district, we recommend checking out the Casa Nicole Boutique Hotel. This luxury hotel offers a blended design of colorful Mexican tiles and antiques mixed with the sleek, contemporary features of a modern hotel. They offer a wide variety of both Mexican and American-style dishes, and incredible on-site amenities. A King suite at this hotel will start from $225 USD per night.

You can check the booking availability for this hotel on

Zona Romantica – Posada de Roger ($)

The Posada de Roger was one of our favorite places to stay during our time spent in Puerto Vallarta! This hotel will give you a true Mexican experience with its tropical gardens, adobe architecture, and the adjoining authentic Mexican restaurant Fredy’s Tucan. It’s also just two blocks away from Puerto Vallarta’s Malecón boardwalk, so only a couple of minute’s walk to the beach. This hotel also has a rooftop terrace and even better, a huge pool! A double room here starts at $80 USD per night.

You can check the availability on

Nuevo Vallarta – Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort ($$)

Nuevo Vallarta is home to one of our favorites, the Villa de Palmar Flamingos Resort! This gorgeous Mexican resort includes incredible amenities like a state-of-the-art fitness center, a lagoon-style pool with private cabanas, a relaxing spa, and even a poolside bar! Each spacious suite includes a kitchenette and dining area, a fully-furnished balcony, and our favorite part – incredible ocean views from the balcony! A junior suite here will start at around $326 USD per night.

You can check availability on

Nuevo Vallarta – Marina Banderas Suites Hotel Boutique ($)

Marina Banderas Suites is a boutique hotel located in the heart of Nuevo Vallarta. This charming hotel sports a 70s throwback charm with its colorful designs and patterns found decorated all over the hotel! The hotel also includes a dockside, open-air restaurant that serves up all the Mexican classics for you to indulge in. Each suite includes a full-service kitchen complete with modern appliances. Studios and Junior Suites start at around $80 USD per night.

You can check availability on

Hotel Zone – Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta ($$$)

Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta is a premier resort located in the Hotel Zone of Puerto Vallarta. This all-inclusive hotel and spa offers a luxury experience for families, couples, and solo travelers to Puerto Vallarta. Not only do they have their own on-site golf course, but this resort also boasts a therapeutic spa, fine dining restaurant, and relaxing lounge chairs alongside the lagoon-style pool. Superior and Deluxe Suites at the Fiesta Americana (all-inclusive) start at $900 USD per night.

You can check availability on

Hotel Zone – Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla ($)

For travelers looking to party while on a budget in Puerto Vallarta, Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla is a top hotel choice. Not only is its design fresh and modern, but it’s located right in La Isla shopping center and is incredibly affordable! This pristine hotel offers a 360° lounge, business center, updated gym facilities, and even a convenience store. A stay in this budget hotel in the heart of the Hotel Zone will cost you about $103 USD per night.

You can check availability for this hotel on

Renting a car in Mexico

Bailey and Daniel in a rental car in Mexico

Bailey had to drive at first because Daniel is used to driving on the other side!

Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.

I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Mexico in 2019, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.

I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.

The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.

Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.

Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your renal will be much cheaper!

Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!

If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!

SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.

We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)

It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and Daniel in Puerto Vallarta

Thanks for reading!

We hope this guide was helpful in showing you how to stay safe while enjoying all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer. Remember to use common sense and follow the basic safety tips we outlined, and you’re sure to have a great time. We know you’ll enjoy your stay in this beautiful city!

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Guide

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit in 2022? | Safety Guide

Puerto Vallarta is known for its rich Mexican culture, beautiful coast, and tasty delicacies. Located along Mexico’s Pacific Coast in Jalisco state, Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular vacation destinations worldwide.

However, being part of Mexico creates the perception that the city isn’t safe for travel, and many tourists wonder, “is Puerto Vallarta safe?”

Read Post  Where to stay in Iceland

The answer is that Puerto Vallarta is safe. Simple safety guidelines go a long way in keeping you safe while having fun. We look at some of them.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit in 2022?

Mexican police patrolling the streets for a piece titled Is Puerto Vallarta Safe

Puerto Vallarta is the safest place for international tourists visiting Mexico. In fact, it’s regularly featured as one of the Friendliest cities in the World by Travel + Leisure magazine.

It’s also satisfying to know that local law enforcement is always up and about to ensure safety in the city. You’re likely to find officers driving around town and busy intersections.

What’s more, they drive at night with flashlights on to make people aware of their presence. Such patrols create a sense of security among locals and tourists while warning those up to no good.

Another factor that could compromise a tourist’s safety is the weather. Mexico is a hurricane-prone territory, and cities within this country are deemed such. Thankfully, Puerto Vallarta has the most conducive weather year-round.

Its unique location (in the middle of Banderas Bay) and the fact that the Sierra Madre Mountains surround it protect it from the full impact of storms. Most storms making their way up Puerto Vallarta’s coast are diverted and pushed towards the sea.

Banderas Bay still experiences storms, but they aren’t so severe to deter tourists from visiting the city. The last hurricane that caused significant damage happened 18 years ago (Hurricane Kenna in 2002).

The summer period is an excellent time to visit Puerto Vallarta because the weather is warm and more predictable. Mornings are characterized by sky blue skies allowing you to take on a range of water sports activities on white sandy beaches.

Significant technological advancement has helped meteorologists predict weather patterns accurately, and provide alerts of impending hurricanes and tropical storms, so timely precautions are taken.

Keeping up tabs with the news helps you know if there’s increased local crime in Puerto Vallarta, natural disasters, or new travel warnings.

Crime in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is relatively safe compared to the neighboring Mexican cities like Playa del Carmen and Cancun. Statistics show the crime rate in Puerto Vallarta is 37.01, much lower than Miami’s 58.45 crime index.

Home robberies and petty theft are pretty common, but travelers hardly have anything to worry about as long as they keep their valuables out of sight.

Neighborhoods to Avoid

Although police officers patrol tourist zones to enhance safety, there are some pretty dangerous neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta that visitors must avoid.

The traditional Romantic Zone and the area along Malecon are the safest places for tourists as plenty of people are out and about for most of the day. However, further inland from the beach is some of the most dangerous streets in Puerto Vallarta.

Most crimes consist of break-ins, occasional late-night brawls, and a few incidences of violent crime. The latest crime news in Puerto Vallarta happened in December 2020 when a cartel assassinated Aristoteles Sandoval , Jalisco’s former governor.

Violent crimes have been a bone of contention in Mexico since 2006 when the government decided to crack down on cartels. The cartels began targeting tourists after realizing they were a potential drug market.

As a result, tourist destinations like Los Cabos, Cancun, Mazatlan, and Acapulco transformed into the most dangerous places to visit in the world.

The last incident involving violent crime happened in 2021 in Cancun. According to the news reports , American tourists went scrambling for cover when gunmen opened fire on the beach.

What are the Safest Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta?

Main Square in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco for a post titled Is Puerto Vallarta Safe

Having known the neighborhoods to avoid in Puerto Vallarta, visitors should also acquaint themselves with safe areas they can visit. They include:

The Romantic Zone

The neighborhood isn’t just great for newlyweds and couples but LGBTQ members too. The Romantic Zone is regarded as the most gay-friendly place in Mexico .

It’s dotted with restaurants serving Mexican delicacies, lively LGBTQ bars, contemporary art galleries, and boutique hotels on cobblestone streets. The Romantic Zone is also known for its vibrancy and rich culture.

A visit to the famous flea market will help you to discover unique artisan treasures like Mexican-style blankets, dinnerware painted in striking colors, a range of beautiful textile products, and more.

Marina Vallarta

The Marina was among the first neighborhoods that sprang up in the 1980s as an alternative to Acapulco and Cancun. It’s a few miles off the main highway, south of the airport.

It’s a great spot to take walks and gawk at the luxury sailboats and yachts, and you never have to worry about getting mugged or robbed. The neighborhood is pretty safe and quiet owing to the older ex-pat community living here.

The Hotel Zone

Many tourists vacation here thanks to the vast range of all-inclusive resorts and high level of safety. White sandy beaches and the famous Galleria Vallarta Shopping Mall characterize this neighborhood.

The Hotel Zone also has plenty of shopping centers and condo buildings, including La Isla, a premier mall in Puerto Vallarta featuring state-of-art cinema and international shops. Transportation is also convenient as visitors can hire taxis at any time.

Nuevo Vallarta

Located in Nayarit state, right next to Puerto Vallarta, the neighborhood is another safe option for tourists.

No crime-related incidents have been reported for years making Nuevo Vallarta a haven for tourists to unwind and take night strolls. It’s also one of the quietest neighborhoods after Marina Vallarta.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta

A few miles away from the Romantic Zone in Downtown Puerto Vallarta. It’s a very safe area for tourists, and the vast range of restaurants and tourists means you don’t have to miss out on the fun.

Downtown Puerto Vallarta also provides access to the city’s beautiful beaches and attractions like The Municipal Market.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Female Travelers on Solo Trips?

Female travelers must be extra cautious when on solo trips. Besides keeping up tabs with State travel warnings , they must be wary of scams and situations that compromise their safety.

Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas of Riviera Nayarit are mainly considered female-friendly. The region is dotted with hostels and beach hotels where solo travelers meet and mingle.

Traversing the city is also pretty convenient for solo travelers, thanks to the abundance of local buses and taxis. Tourist-friendly areas like the Zona Romantica, Zona Hotelera, and Malecon are well-lit, not to mention the abundant police security.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for the LGBTQ Community?

This is another group that will likely have the most questions about safety in Puerto Vallarta. But there isn’t much to worry about in this city.

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most gay-friendly cities in Mexico, with cities like the Romantic Zone having exclusive gay bars. You’ll also find drag shows, pride parades, and LGBT-inclusive signs in many Puerto Vallarta restaurants.

Is Public Transportation Safe?

Public transportation is safe, and it’s the best way to get around Puerto Vallarta. There are two ways to get around the city: bus and boat. Local buses make the most affordable ways of traversing the city, operating from 5:00 AM – 11:00 PM.

Since they run on loops, you’re sure to get a bus to your destination every five minutes. The most extensive bus terminal is at Plaza Lazaro Cardenas, but if heading south along the highway and beyond, take the white and orange Boca De Tomatlan buses.

Take water taxis traversing Mexico’s waters if looking for a little more adventure. Their routes run to the stunning sandy beaches on the south at Playa de Los Muertos pier.

Then they make stops at Yelapa, Playa de las Animas, and Quimixto. Whether you’re going by bus or boat, here are a few tips that will come in handy:

  • Wear a lifejacket
  • Layer up and apply sunscreen
  • Keep the ticket safe. Inspectors make random checks and not having one spell trouble
  • The bus fare is for one route, and there’s no return ticket
  • For couples, a good rule of thumb is to allow your woman to board first and the male to pay the bus fare

What Travel Scams Should Visitors Look Out for?

Although Puerto Vallarta is relatively safe, you may fall victim to travel scams if you’re not careful. Here are the most common:

  • The Mustard scam: This is a pickpocketing technique where somebody smears you with salsa or mustard to distract you while stealing your valuables. If it ever happens to you, hold on to your wallet and walk away.
  • Walmart or Costco pickpocketing: These scammers target shoppers visiting either of these stores. They rack up as much as 15k on your card if you’re not careful.
  • Airport scams: This scam is pretty common at the airport as locals offer overpriced services. It’s best to organize a travel plan beforehand to avoid this tourist trap.

Things to Consider

For a piece on Is Puerto Vallarta Safe, the Palm trees and the beach by the ocean pictured

  • Pair up with other tourists, especially if on solo travel.
  • Acquaint yourself with the native language. Knowing a little bit of Spanish makes interactions with the locals easy.
  • Opt for vacation rentals. The attendants vet hosts and guests before checking in, a critical safety feature in foreign places. Most vacation rentals are located in gated communities
  • Avoid carrying too much cash and keeping all your cards in one place.
  • Avoid wandering off on beaten paths as they are potential crime spots.
  • Buy a local sim card upon arrival.
  • Drive during the day and stick to the main road when driving. Cartels are notorious for carjacking and making road ambushes at night. Also, avoid nighttime driving and avoid back roads. If you must travel at night, hire a taxi.
  • Have some local currency (pesos) in hand. Although some shops accept US dollars, they do it at a meager rate.
  • Keep up tabs on safety news through your travel agent or hotel concierge.
  • Opt for first-class bus companies as they’ve stricter safety measures. They make stops on toll roads that perform security checks on each passenger as they board.
  • Be sure to make copies of your travel documents. Leave some copies with a loved one at home and carry the others. Store the originals at the hotel when heading out.

Frequently Asked Questions

To help answer the question is Puerto Vallarta Safe, the Conchas Chinas beach pictured on a sunny day

Let’s take a look at some common questions regarding Puerto Vallarta:

Is Puerto Vallarta family-friendly?

Although Puerto Vallarta is a popular vacation destination for couples and newlyweds, it’s family-friendly too. There are plenty of activities for adults and kids to explore.

What is the safest way to travel to Puerto Vallarta?

You can take a direct flight to Puerto Vallarta and hire a taxi to drive you to your hotel. Alternatively, notify your hotel about your flight a day before, and they’ll send a car to pick you up from the airport.

How safe is it to rent a car in Puerto Vallarta?

Bus travel is the best way to get around Puerto Vallarta, but if you don’t like waiting on people, you could hire a taxi or rent a car. Car rentals are readily available, and you enjoy the much-needed freedom and comfort. Be sure to make online reservations as it guarantees the best deals.

Is tap water in Puerto Vallarta safe to drink?

Tap water is safe to drink thanks to the city’s state of art water treatment system. However, some buildings still have old pipes and may allow dirt to seep through. Ask the hotel if the water is safe to drink or stick to filtered water.

What is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?

The summer months (April-June) make the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta. The weather is warm and tolerable, and the hotel rates are pretty affordable. However, if you’re big on whale watching, the winter season (December-March) is the best time to visit.

So, Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Puerto Vallarta is undoubtedly safe for travel. Whether you’re on solo travel, on a honeymoon vacation at the Romantic Zone, or want to try out one of the gay-only clubs, you don’t have to worry about getting mugged, robbed, or hijacked.

You can also rest assured that Puerto Vallarta isn’t hurricane-prone as other Mexican cities. Its unique location averts any storms that may be affecting other regions.




Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *