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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for American Tourists?

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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? While there are many sites that tout the danger of visiting Mexico, there are also plenty of others that argue otherwise with me being the biggest proponent of traveling to Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta has been appointed as “The Friendliest City in the World” by Travel + Leisure magazine and I personally believe it is one of the safest places to visit in Mexico.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

Its coasts are embraced by the Sierra Madre Mountains and sprinkled with beaches, islands, and coves, with stunning landscapes contrasting between the sea and the mountain.

Situated on Mexico’s Pacific coast in Jalisco state, Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by the clear waters of Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), lush forests, and the ridges of the Sierra Madre.

And despite its scenic views, the city has maintained its authenticity and is one of the most popular beach destinations

In fact, walk down the cobbled and narrow streets, and you’ll find yourself in some of Puerto Vallarta’s most traditional areas, including the Romantic Zone, known for its lively atmosphere and its range of art galleries, traditional markets, and eateries.

This guide on Puerto Vallarta safety will provide you with the facts you need to decide is Puerto Vallarta safe.

I will point you in the right direction and you can decide if Puerto Vallarta’s crime rate is high enough for you not to visit this beautiful resort town.

I will also tell you what to do if you find yourself in an unsafe situation, as well as how to avoid those situations in the first place.

It’s important to check the Puerto Vallarta travel advisory before planning your next vacation to ensure you really understand Mexico is safe for American tourists right now and how to avoid travel scams so you will not become a victim of a crime which includes petty theft and petty crime.

I will also discuss the following on Puerto Vallarta safety & Puerto Vallarta Travel Advisory.

  • Is Puerto Vallarta safer than Cancun?
  • Is Puerto Vallarta safe at night?
  • Is Mexico safe overall?

is puerto vallarta safe

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for American Tourists in 2023?

Puerto Vallarta is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The city has implemented various security measures, and local authorities prioritize the safety of residents and visitors.

However, as an avid traveler to Mexico, it’s always advisable to exercise caution, especially in crowded tourist areas, and take standard precautions like using authorized transportation and staying aware of your surroundings to ensure a safe and enjoyable stay in Puerto Vallarta.

Violent crime, petty theft, and petty crime is soaring in certain areas because American tourists are buying drugs from Mexican drug dealers.

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful beach town situated on the western coast of Mexico on the Pacific Ocean. It is in the state of Jalisco, just south of San Blas and some 185 miles (300 kilometers) west of the state capital, Guadalajara.

The city also borders the state of Nayarit, which is home to sister destination Nuevo Vallarta on the Riviera Nayarit, sharing the same international airport on the edge of Puerto Vallarta.

Because Puerto Vallarta is part of Mexico it has a negative connotation of being unsafe which is further from the truth as you will see below there other countries with the same travel warning as Mexico and they are not perceived as dangerous.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Restrictions for 2023

Updated Security Alert – Quintana Roo & Puerto Vallart Advisory (01/23/2023)

The last gang-related incident in Puerto Vallarta happened in December 2020 when a cartel assassinated Aristoteles Sandoval, Jalisco’s former governor.

There appears to be a lot of paranoia north of the border about safety in Mexico. But it’s a big country, almost a quarter of the size of the USA and Puerto Vallarta is very safe.

The media is full of reports and, from what we’ve seen, 99 % of it is inaccurate, (We’ll bet most of the reporters have never been to Mexico).

The people who believe what they see on TV news programs are misled. These same people have never even been to Mexico.

With that being said how many murders have happened in your hometown? I am sure more than one.

Do not let the over-exaggerated news stories deter you from traveling to this vibrant Latin American destination.

Aside from dangerous areas along the U.S. border and other regions where cartels operate, Mexico is safe and I firmly believe it is safe to travel to Mexico including Puerto Vallarta.

In general, if you’re not taking part in illegal activities you don’t have anything to worry about. 

Four Americans traveling from South Carolina to Mexico were ambushed in the small town of Matamoros in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.

While this did not happen in Puerto Vallarta it has still caused travelers to be concerned about traveling to any part of Mexico.

One of them – a mother of six – was traveling to Mexico to undergo a medical procedure across the border.

Once across the border, they were fired upon by unidentified gunmen, “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” according to the FBI.

Investigators believe the Americans were targeted by a Mexican cartel that likely mistook them for Haitian drug smugglers. The US citizens have no concerning criminal history that has been identified by investigators, the official said.

For years, Matamoros has been a stronghold for various feuding criminal organizations, particularly the Gulf Cartel, which has used the city as a key pipeline for moving cocaine, meth, and fentanyl across the border into Texas — and from there across the U.S.

No one should be traveling through Matamoros under any circumstances.  A quick Google search would have told them that it was a no-no to travel through Matamoros.

When deciding whether or not to visit Mexico as a tourist it’s important to consider safety and understand the area you are traveling to.

After all, no one wants to travel somewhere that isn’t safe.

However, Mexico is not quite what people make it out to be because most Americans are killed because they are looking for drugs. 

What do you think is going to happen if you go to a Foreign country seeking to buy drugs and then get on the news and play the victim when something bad happens?

To put things in perspective, Level 3 is the same tier given to many other tourist hotspots that have an uptake in criminal activity including the following countries:

I have been to both Belize and Italy and I have never wondered if it is safe to travel to those countries.  Are you concerned about traveling to Italy?

Italy has the same level 3 warning so why is Mexico considered more violent and why are you asking is Puerto Vallarta safe?

U.S. Department of State Unveils New Mexico Travel Warnings

Puerto Vallarta – Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19, indicating a medium level of COVID-19 in the country

While there are travel restrictions in other parts of Mexico, Puerto Vallarta does not have any travel restrictions due to criminal activity and homicide as other cities in Mexico do.

Puerto Vallarta has largely remained uninvolved in cartel conflicts but this does not mean you should let your guard down and not use the common sense Gawd gave you. 

Puerto Vallarta Safety vs. the U.S. Safety

Mexico is statistically much safer than the United States.

So why is the U.S. State Dept. sending out Travel Alerts, calling Mexico “A Failed State”, and saying that ALL parts of the country (including popular tourist resorts like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun) are now unsafe for travel?

There has been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico. But very little of it notes that Mexico is a HUGE country with thirty-one states (+ the Distrito Federal).

They also fail to mention that most of that violence is drug traffic-related, or that you could count the number of tourists who are affected by it on one hand.

Did you know that, according to the FBI, an estimated 15,241 persons were murdered in the U.S. in 2009 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, and almost all of them were involved in illicit drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border to/from the U.S?

Imagine 111 people out of the nearly 8 million visitors (about 1 million of whom make Mexico their full-time home). Do you know who else had 111 murders in one year?

Well, Boston for starters. Then there was Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Indianapolis. Is the State Dept. advising tourists to stay away from those places?

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens died in Puerto Rico, but did anybody raise a red flag about that? The State Department can’t issue a Travel Warning, because it is not a foreign country

How big is your own city when compared to Mexico? Here are the annual numbers of MURDERS, given by MSA (or Metropolitan Statistical Area)

  • Atlanta – 325
  • Baltimore – 298
  • Boston – 111
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth – 310
  • Detroit – 447
  • Houston – 462 
  • Indianapolis – 111
  • Jacksonville, FL – 120
  • Kansas City – 163 
  • Las Vegas – 133 
  • Los Angeles – 68 
  • Miami-Boca Raton – 377
  • New Orleans – 252 
  • New York City – 778
  • Orlando – 111
  • Philadelphia – 436 
  • Phoenix – 302 
  • San Francisco – 392 
  • St. Louis – 210 
  • Washington, DC – 325 

To put things in perspective, consider that the murder rate in Mexico’s Yucatan State is 2 per 100,000.

That is about the same as Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Or Evansville, Indiana. Mexico City’s murder rate is 8 per 100,000, despite being the second-largest city on the planet. That is on par with Albuquerque.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safer than Cancun?

Both Puerto Vallarta and Cancun are relatively safe but Puerto Vallarta has less crime than Cancun. 

Cancun has made headlines in recent years for spiking murder rates and other unfortunate statistics. However, the government there has taken steps to improve safety, especially in tourist areas.

You’ll likely see multiple levels of police roaming the beaches around resorts to protect travelers. 

Puerto Vallarta has a strong police presence as well but has far less recorded crime.

While Puerto Vallarta has less crime you should stay aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables secure. Tourist-targeting pickpockets and scammers are common in Cancun, Puerto Vallarta, and other Mexican cities.

Cartel Violence

One of the biggest concerns that people ask me when they are considering visiting Puerto Vallarta is the issue of cartel violence.

I completely understand why I get asked this question so often, given the headlines that have been in the news recently, but the reality is that such incidents are still relatively rare and isolated.

The vast majority of visitors to Puerto Vallarta experience a safe and relaxing vacation, free from any security concerns.

While it is true that certain areas of Mexico have been impacted by drug-related violence, Puerto Vallarta has not been one of them.

In fact, as I stated earlier it is considered one of the safest tourist destinations in the country.

Of course, you should still exercise common sense precautions, such as avoiding secluded or poorly lit areas at night and not flashing valuables in public.

But as long as you use your best judgment and stick to well-known tourist areas, you should feel safe and secure in Puerto Vallarta.

So, to answer the question “Is Puerto Vallarta safe?” The answer is a resounding yes, for the vast majority of travelers.

While it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and stay vigilant, the beautiful beaches, warm climate, and welcoming locals make it a destination well worth visiting.

Puerto Vallarta Crime Rate

While Mexico has a reputation for high levels of violence and crime the good news is that Puerto Vallarta is a relatively safe destination compared to many other Mexican cities.

The city has seen a decrease in crime rates in recent years, with a decrease of 50% in homicides between 2018 and 2019.

While there have been isolated incidents of violent crime in Puerto Vallarta, they have mainly involved criminal groups and have not been targeted towards tourists or visitors.

In fact, most crimes in the city are related to petty theft and are preventable by taking common-sense precautions.

Overall, while Puerto Vallarta has experienced some crime, it is not as rampant as some might fear.

The city is a popular tourist destination and is well-equipped to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for visitors.

By taking some basic safety measures, you can feel secure and make the most of your vacation.

Is it Safe to Cruise to Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is one of the many stops for cruise ships. If you are planning to go on a cruise and Puerto Vallarta is one of your stops, safety is likely a top concern for you and your family.

The good news is that the safety level in Puerto Vallarta is quite high. As a result, it is generally safe to cruise to Puerto Vallarta.

Cruise ships usually dock in a well-monitored area of the city, and the authorities keep an eye on everything that happens there.

Most cruise passengers feel comfortable exploring the city on their own, or by taking a shore excursion offered by the cruise line.

These shore excursions provide a range of fun and safe activities to do while in Puerto Vallarta. Some popular options include guided city tours, beach trips, and zip-lining adventures.

Just simply be aware of your surroundings and avoid isolated areas or areas with low visibility. Additionally, be wary of pickpockets and keep an eye on your belongings.

Overall, Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination for cruise passengers.

Is It Safe To Drink the Tap Water in Puerto Vallarta

While Puerto Vallarta has a modern water treatment plant that provides clean water to the city, it is not recommended to drink tap water.

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled or purified.

Most hotels and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta serve bottled water, and it is widely available for purchase in grocery stores and supermarkets.

I also recommended that you avoid adding ice cubes to your drinks if you are not sure if the water used to make them is safe. It’s better to be cautious and drink bottled water instead.

In addition to drinking water, I also suggest brushing your teeth with bottled water and avoiding swallowing any tap water while showering.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Solo Female Travelers

If you are a solo traveler looking for a safe destination to explore on your own, Puerto Vallarta is an amazing coastal city to visit with no shortage of activities to keep you entertained.

From amazing places to snorkel to day trips to quaint towns around the area, to tequila tasting, shopping, and everything in between.

You will have plenty to keep you busy and you’ll be surrounded by so many friendly people that you will not even notice you are traveling alone.

I’ve traveled to Mexico solo countless times and I’ve never experienced any violence or felt like my safety was in jeopardy.

Here are some of my tips on how to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Puerto Vallarta:

1. Stay in well-lit areas at night: It’s best to avoid walking alone at night, especially in areas that are poorly lit. Stick to busy streets or take a taxi instead.

2. Dress conservatively: In general, it’s best to dress modestly while traveling in Mexico. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or flashy jewelry that may attract unwanted attention.

3. Avoid walking alone on the beach: While the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are beautiful, it’s not recommended to walk alone on the beach at night. Stick to the more populated areas during the evening.

4. Use common sense: As with any destination, use your instincts and common sense. Don’t accept drinks from strangers and be wary of overly friendly locals.

Don’t let fear stop you from experiencing all the amazing sights and activities that Puerto Vallarta has to offer!

Dressing in Mexico

When it comes to dressing in Mexico, it’s advisable for women to consider local customs and cultural norms. While there is no specific dress code for women, dressing respectfully is generally appreciated.

I suggest clothing that covers shoulders, chest, and legs can help avoid unwanted attention when visiting cultural sites.

It’s also important to be mindful of the weather and choose breathable fabrics suitable for the climate.

As for safety while traveling, it’s recommended to use common sense precautions such as keeping valuable belongings secure, being aware of your surroundings, and using reputable transportation options.

If you’re looking for travel safety essentials, you can check out my Amazon store for a selection of must-have items that can enhance your safety and security while exploring Mexico.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Black People

Puerto Vallarta is a safe and welcoming place for Black travelers. While there may be occasional incidents of racism or discrimination, these are rare and not reflective of the overall attitude towards Black people in the city.

I personally have never experienced racism in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta has a growing and vibrant ex-pat community, which includes Black Americans and other Black travelers who have chosen to make Puerto Vallarta home.

If you are a Black traveler planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, it is always a good idea to exercise caution and common sense, just as you would in any unfamiliar city.

How to Deal with Police Extortion in Puerto Vallarta

There is even a special force of male and female “Tourist Police”. Recognizable by their uniforms of white shirts, shorts, and blue caps or sometimes with a Policia Municipal in a blue uniform.

The members of this force all speak English, so if you need any help, even just directions, they are there to serve you. Note they keep changing uniforms but the labels are the same – “Policía Turística”

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room

We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops south of the border. With stories ranging from extortion to kidnapping, the police in Mexico and the rest of Latin America do not have the best reputation.

Police extortion of tourists detained for minor offenses is often a problem and there have been some grotesque incidents. The authorities cracked down hard, however, and dismissed hundreds of officers, including some top officials. They claim the problem is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, you will be asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and possibly proof of insurance. You will also be told what you did wrong.

 Of course, in the U.S. we would then be issued a ticket that requires us to pay a fine or appear in court at a later date.

If it is a minor infraction don’t bribe them, even so, it is possible that they ask for some money, the amount depends on the seriousness of the infraction, if you passed a red light it is better if they only give you the traffic ticket

If you drive without a license, the car must be impounded and the fine is higher, in that case, I suggest you offer $ 200 pesos (if you look Mexican) if you are blond with blue eyes maybe about $500 pesos

If you are stopped drinking alcohol in the street, the fine is $ 1500 pesos or 24 hours of jail, you will probably have to pay your full fine

Those are the most common crimes for which a police officer can pull you over, obviously, if you steal or kill, the amount will be considerably higher

The key is to remain calm and accept your mistake and when it is inevitable that they take you to jail then subtly offer a bribe, it is like a negotiation, start with a low amount and they will go up to agree on an amount.

The strategy you Should NOT use to Deal with Corrupt Mexican Police

 Don’t be a tough guy or gal

This is the worst thing that you can do.  If you act tough and get angry and make threats, the officer will simply arrest you for being disorderly or assaulting him or her, etc.

This is a very big no-no. Towing your car is technically something that the officer can’t do, even though they will threaten it, but if you give them enough of a desire to cause you harm they will absolutely find a way to make it happen.

While most officers will not do anything illegal beyond soliciting bribes for traffic violations, they most certainly can act above the law when they really want to.

Don’t give them a reason to want to, because you will not win. Having your car towed (and potentially never seeing it again) is a lot more expensive than paying him one hundred bucks.

Safest Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is home to over 300,000 residents who live full-time in this seaside paradise. Just like the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta offers an array of neighborhoods to live in.

Each one has its own characteristics and charm and there are five main neighborhoods that is safe in Puerto Vallarta.

  • El Centro – Locally known as El Centro, Puerto Vallarta downtown is probably one of the most popular areas for both tourists and locals.
  • 5 de Diciembre -Nestled between El Centro and the Hotel Zone, you will find a neighborhood called 5 de Diciembre. This place is quieter than downtown but close enough to keep you in the hustle and bustle when you need to.
  • Zona Romantica – The Zona Romantica, or Romantic Zone, is a place that combines luxury, beauty, heritage, delicious gastronomy, and true Mexican culture. Here you will find more boutique hotels and boutique restaurants and shops, versus resorts and larger hotel chains.
  • Marina Vallarta -Perhaps the fanciest city in town, Marina Vallarta is where the cruise ships dock. It is a posh area and developed for boat lovers. It features one of the best golf courses in the world and is home to large supermarket chains like Walmart.
  • Fluvial Vallarta – This area is an up-and-coming neighborhood for tourists and new ex-pats. While it is still developing, it already promises chain restaurants and stores such as Costco, Starbucks, and big movie theaters.

Safety Tips for Getting Around Puerto Vallarta

Buses in Puerto Vallarta are used by locals and travelers. They are a safe and cheap way to get around.

No matter where you’re waiting, a bus servicing any given route should come by at least every 15 minutes, and at less than US 0.50 for a ride, the price can’t be beaten.

Taxis are of course more expensive than buses in Puerto Vallarta but they are faster and more convenient than taking the bus.

Taxis in Puerto Vallarta aren’t metered so make sure you agree on a fare before hopping in to avoid getting ripped off by a taxi driver.

In Mexico, tipping taxi drivers is not expected, but drivers will of course appreciate tips, this is not the norm in Puerto Vallarta.

Almost all taxi drivers speak basic English but don’t assume this will always be the case.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The recent deaths of six Americans from carbon monoxide poisoning in two separate incidents are putting a spotlight on the risks of staying in an Airbnb or hotel that might not have the appropriate safety measures in place. 

Three guests staying at an apartment in Mexico City booked through Airbnb are believed to have died from carbon monoxide poisoning last month, Bloomberg reported.

Families of three Americans who died from carbon monoxide poisoning in a rented residence in Mexico City ahead of Dia de Los Muertos – or Day of the Dead – celebrations identified them as two New Orleans teachers and the owner of a Virginia Beach-based candle business.

Another group of American tourists in May died of the same cause at a Sandals Resort in the Bahamas. 

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, weakness, chest pain, and confusion, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More than 400 people die in the U.S. from accidental CO poisoning each year, and another 50,000 people visit the emergency department with carbon monoxide poisoning. 

20 Tips to Stay Safe in Puerto Vallarta

Although a Puerto Vallarta travel advisory is in effect, it’s important to remember that tourists flock to Mexico every year without incident.

Puerto Vallarta safety is high on the Mexican government’s crime initiative because it’s imperative to keep tourists safe in order to preserve our tourist dollars but you must also do your part when traveling to Mexico.

Traveling anywhere requires a little bit of safety precaution. So, remember to enlist these general rules during your vacation and you will not have to continually ask is it safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta.

Here are some precautions that you can take in order to make sure your trip goes as planned and check out my must-have items to stay in Mexico.

  1. Keep Your Nose Clean: As mentioned above, much of the criminal activity in Mexico revolves around the drug trade and sex trade. Although many Americans go south of the border to have a little fun remember the last thing you want is to end up in a Mexican Jail. 
  2. When Driving, Stick to Main Roads, and Daytime Travel: One of the most popular methods to extort money and protect cartel turf is through carjacks or roadblock ambushes. Avoid back roads and nighttime driving and hire taxis and driving services through the hotel where you’re staying.
  3. Stay Informed: Keep up-to-date about safety news through a few methods. First of all, talk with your travel agent and/or hotel concierge about safety updates, and where to go. They’ll have the most current read on the situation. As an American Citizen, you should also consider signing up for STEP, the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program. This will sign you up for travel alerts, put you on the consulate and Embassy radar, and make it easier to work things out if there’s an incident. 
  4. Leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with someone at home.
  5. Keep your valuables locked up when you leave the hotel.
  6. Learn the language as much as possible (This is not just for safety, but also for courtesy, which can actually keep you safer too!)  Remember the old saying you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? 
  7. Trust people who are invested long-term in making your stay a good one, like booking agents and hotel staff, and be on your guard with one-off opportunities.
  8. Research your destination: Make sure you are up to date on the current travel warnings. 
  9. Keep windows shut and doors locked in a car: especially at traffic lights
  10. Use first-class bus companies– these bus companies take toll roads that have security checks on passengers as they board.
  11. Don’t walk around by yourself late at night: You are asking for trouble.
  12. Be careful taking money out of the ATM: these are good spots to rob people. 
  13. Use a money belt: Keep the thieves at bay.
  14. Don’t get scammed: If someone is asking you for your personal information will are likely scamming.
  15. Don’t wear flashy jewelry – looking like you are balling out of control will get you robbed. Leave your LV and Gucci in the States. 
  16. Ask for a hotel concierge: The hotel staff will be able to provide full tips about where to eat and what attractions you must see.
  17. Avoid getting DRUNK: you need to know where you are at all times.
  18. Don’t try to buy drugs: Don’t ask about buying drugs and don’t even think about buying drugs.
  19. DON’T travel at night: Most crime occurs at night.
  20. Only use well-known tour operators: Most of the cheaper tour operators will not have up-to-date equipment and experienced guides.

Beach Safety In Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is an internationally well-known beach destination due to its warm waters, exotic natural beauty, and top-notch facilities that blend in with its warm hospitality.

There are plenty of beaches to discover and to choose as your favorite, each of them with a particular enchantment, some of them are accessible only by boat, hidden and surrounded by magical sceneries, others with plenty of life going around them

Finally, while I understand you are in Mexico and “dranking” is at the top of your to-do list remember the heat and too much alcohol do not mix well and can lead to massive dehydration.

Avoid swimming at the beach when a black warning flag is posted. Cover your child with sunscreen or protective clothing before heading to the beach.

There are two main beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Playa Camarones (Camarones Beach) and Los Muertos Beach (or Playa de Los Muertos), the first beach is along the northern part of downtown and the second beach is in the “Romantic Zone” or Old Vallarta,  south of the Cuale River.

Wear Sunscreen in Puerto Vallarta

You didn’t fly to Mexico to stay inside but please beware that Mexican rays are intense and can lead to a severe burn or sun poisoning, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

The sun in Puerto Vallarta is pretty strong and high in damaging UV rays. Stay hydrated and limit the amount of sun you get based on your skin type.

• Staying in the shade as much as possible.
• Protecting skin with clothing.
• Applying sunscreen to protect skin from harmful rays.
• Wearing a hat preferably with at least 2-3 inches brim all around.
• Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from UV rays.

Excessive Drinking 

The Mexican authorities do not tolerate excessive drinking and rowdy behavior and here are a few laws a tourist may not be aware of when vacationing in Mexico;

  • Foreigners must have a valid tourist card or a resident visa to be in Mexico; it is illegal to overstay your visa.
  • Vehicle insurance is mandatory in Mexico if you are renting a car you need insurance with liability coverage.  Consider purchasing a policy that includes legal representation and the cost of the bail bonds from a service provider who is available 24 hours a day.
  • Many tourists come to Mexico to indulge and take in the nightlife, but did you know it is illegal to be drunk and disorderly in public, even in Mexico?
  • It seems logical but drunk driving is a serious crime in Mexico; foreigners do not get any special privileges regarding drinking and driving, and if you cause an accident you will end up in jail.
  • Under Mexican law, possession and trafficking of any illegal drug is a federal offense; you may be fined or imprisoned.

Eating Too Much Puerto Vallarta

Vacations are often synonymous with overindulgence – whether it’s eating too much delicious food, water, the sun, a party, or even rest.

This is why it is called a vacation. And when you are in Puerto Vallarta – you are bound to overindulge in all of the above. But when it’s over, it’s back to reality.

Puerto Vallarta offers variety in its cuisines and budget. Take your time, it’s a vacation, not an eating marathon.

• Packing a few healthy snacks with you.
• Eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
• Avoid ordering the “fancy drinks” available at pool bars. Packed with calories!
• Take a run or head to the hotel gym every morning before heading out sightseeing.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Families? 

Mexico is safe but if you are traveling with small kids the beach resort areas of Puerto Vallarta and other popular Mexican cities are popular vacation destinations for families with young children. 

These areas provide you with the opportunity to introduce your kids to a new culture, new food, and a different way of life.

Is it Safe to Drink the Water in Puerto Vallarta?

Not only has Puerto Vallarta’s water been rated as perfectly safe for human consumption with a certificate of purity for 17 consecutive years, but it is also one of only two vacation destinations in the country to achieve this important distinction.

Moreover, the city is well known for its attention to the quality of drinking water as a part of local culture, and major hotels and other accommodations often have their own dedicated filtration systems on top of the municipal filtration system.

Best Time to Visit Puerto Vallarta

The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable.

During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you’re interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March.

Just prepare yourself for the area’s most astronomical travel fares.

What Not To Miss in Puerto Vallarta

There are many great activities for those spending just a day in PV.

  • Explore the beautiful Malecón the boardwalk that runs parallel to Banderas Bay.
  • Los Arcos or the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe – are two of the most iconic images of the city.
  •  Botanical Gardens of Vallarta 
  • The Northern seaside town of Bucerías.
  • Signing up for one of the best Puerto Vallarta tours 

Millions of people visit Mexico each year and 99% of travelers do not run into any trouble but the 1% that makes the news is all that you hear about and you began worrying about Puerto Vallarta crime for absolutely no reason.

If you are the victim of a crime or travel scam please contact the local police department.

Mexico Travel Warning


  • U.S. Embassy
  • Paseo de la Reforma 305
    Colonia Cuauhtemoc
    Mexico, D.F., Mexico C.P.
  •  Telephone
  • 011-52-55-5080-2000
  •  Emergency
  • American Citizen Services: 01 800 681 9374 (toll-free in Mexico) / 81 4160 5512 (from within Mexico) / 844 528 6611 (toll-free in the U.S.)
  •  Fax
  • 011-52-55-5080-2201
  •  Email
  • ACSMexicoCity@state.gov
  •  Website
  • U.S. Embassy Mexico City

Mexico Travel Insurance

I think most people have questions about where to go for medical care in an emergency. First, I should note that if you’re on spring break, chances are slim that you’ll be needing emergency care.

Still, better safe than sorry! The good news is that some of the most beautiful cities in Mexico—like Cancun and Playa del Carmen—also happen to be home to some of the best hospitals and clinics in Latin America.

I can’t say this enough but please get insurance when traveling to Mexico! Even if you are only going on a short trip, you should always travel with insurance.

Have fun while visiting Mexico,  but take it from someone who has racked up thousands of bucks on an insurance claim before, you need it.

Make sure to get your insurance before you head off on an adventure!  I highly recommend Travelex Insurance.

Are Mexico Resorts Safe

There have been incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, which have left some potential visitors with questions and doubts. 

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly when inhaled in high concentrations.

Common sources of carbon monoxide include faulty fuel-burning appliances, such as gas heaters, furnaces, and water heaters. In recent resort incidents, carbon monoxide poisoning deaths have been linked to faulty ventilation systems or poorly maintained equipment.

The Risks at Mexico Resorts: While incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning are rare, they have occurred at some Mexico resorts in the past.

In 2010, a tragedy at a resort in Playa del Carmen resulted in the deaths of several vacationers due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This incident raised concerns and highlighted the importance of awareness and precautionary measures.

Staying Safe at Mexico Resorts:

  1. Research and Choose Reputable Resorts: Before booking your stay, research the resort’s safety record, reviews, and certifications. Look for resorts that prioritize guest safety, regularly inspect their facilities, and maintain proper ventilation systems.
  2. Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector or inquire whether the resort provides them in guest rooms. These devices will alert you to the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide and provide an early warning in case of a leak.
  3. Familiarize Yourself with Resort Safety Measures: Upon arrival, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the resort’s emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, fire exits, and safety guidelines. Ensure you know how to report any concerns about gas appliances or ventilation to the appropriate resort staff.
  4. Be Mindful of Your Surroundings: While in your room, be cautious of any signs of potential carbon monoxide leaks. If you experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, or confusion, it could be an indication of carbon monoxide poisoning. Immediately exit the room, alert the resort staff, and seek medical attention.

Safest Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta offers a myriad of luxurious accommodations for discerning travelers seeking an indulgent escape. In this blog post, we present a curated list of the most opulent hotels in Puerto Vallarta, where refined elegance meets world-class hospitality.

  1. The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort: Immerse yourself in refined luxury at The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. Nestled within a private peninsula, this exquisite beachfront property boasts stunning ocean views, lavish suites, and a world-renowned Remède Spa. Indulge in exceptional dining experiences, take a dip in the infinity pools, or tee off at the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses for an unforgettable stay.
  2. Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita: Perched on the pristine shores of the Riviera Nayarit, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita exudes elegance and tranquility. With its lush gardens, infinity-edge pools, and beautifully appointed villas, this luxury resort offers an idyllic escape. Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities, including snorkeling, paddle boarding, and exploring the nearby Marietas Islands.
  3. Casa Velas: Located in the exclusive Marina Vallarta area, Casa Velas is an adults-only, all-inclusive boutique hotel that radiates sophistication and charm. This secluded retreat provides a serene ambiance, spacious suites with private plunge pools, and access to the private Ocean Club beach club. Indulge in gourmet dining experiences and pamper yourself at the award-winning Spa Casa Velas.
  4. Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit: Discover a world of refined luxury at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. This AAA Five Diamond resort boasts spacious suites with panoramic ocean views, world-class restaurants offering culinary delights, and an extensive spa and wellness center. Whether lounging by the pool, enjoying the golden beach, or experiencing their renowned Kids’ and Teens’ Club, this resort caters to every guest’s desires.
  5. Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita: For those seeking unparalleled seclusion and exclusivity, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita is the epitome of a hidden paradise. Nestled within a lush jungle and perched on a pristine coastline, this eco-luxury resort offers private villas with infinity pools, personalized service, and a deep connection with nature. Indulge in gourmet dining, and spa treatments, and explore the surrounding rainforests for an unforgettable experience.

Conclusion: Is Puerto Vallarta Safe

Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Yes, if you stay abreast of all Mexico travel warnings, exercise common sense, and pay attention to news about safety in the city you are visiting I don’t think you will have any issues.

Keep in mind that bad things can anywhere not just in Mexico but I am sure there are crimes taking place right in your very own neighborhood. 

No matter where you go in Mexico, follow the common-sense rules that are listed above like drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your expensive watches and rings at home. 

Mexico is safe to visit so long as you stay out of trouble, take precautions, don’t buy drugs, and ladies do not allow men to buy you a cocktail and I don’t care how cute he is.  BUY YOUR OWN COCKTAILS!

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Travel Guide


Is Cancun Safe

Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico

Safest Cities in Mexico for Solo Travelers

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  1. I have been in Puerto Vallarta off and on for most of the last 18 months. I have never felt unsafe or intimidated by the Mexican Naval members riding their jeeps and fully armed. I appreciate that they are helping out. No one can convince me that this beach paradise is more dangerous than many US cities. I strive to be alert, but personally I have not had any situations that put me in fear. I believe this is more of a political front than an actual danger. Thanks for addressing today’s “travel alert”! Obviously if less visitors come, it will hurt the local economy. I have not found nicer people in any country I have visited in my 49 years of traveling the world!

  2. Hell no it’s not safe in Puerto Vallarta! My son died there on March 10th 2022. His death was ruled an accident. But the fact is, if he wasn’t there. he woud have lived. It took 3 weeks to get his body back to Sacramento. I will never visit Mexico again. Tourists BEWARE!!!!

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