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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Crime Rate & Travel Warnings

Puerto Vallarta is considered one of the safest places for international tourists in Mexico, with a crime rate of 37.01. The US State Department has issued advisories urging US citizens to reconsider or avoid travel to Jalisco state, where Puerto Vallarta is located, due to increased crime and kidnappings.

However, many residents and tourists feel safe in the city and have no worries about being mugged, attacked, or robbed. While tourists should exercise caution, Puerto Vallarta is generally considered a safe destination for international travelers.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Puerto Vallarta is generally considered a safe travel destination, though visitors should take normal precautions as in any tourist area. Violent crime rates are lower than many other parts of Mexico, but petty theft does occur, especially in crowded downtown areas.

Use common sense, avoid flashing valuables, don’t leave belongings unattended on the beach, and stick to main streets at night. As always, monitor travel advisories for any current warnings. Overall, Puerto Vallarta sees millions of visitors annually and incidents impacting tourists directly are rare. Still, being smart and aware of your surroundings is encouraged.

Like any city, Puerto Vallarta has some areas that are safer than others. The main tourist areas and resorts are generally well-lit and have a visible police presence at night.

Is puerto vallarta safe at night?

Is puerto vallarta safe at night?

  • Downtown (the Malecon area) is quite active at night with lots of restaurants, bars, and nightlife. It’s considered safe to walk around there, but be aware of pickpocketing. Don’t walk alone on isolated beaches or poorly lit side streets.
  • Petty crime like pickpocketing and purse snatching can happen, especially if you are overly intoxicated or flashing signs of wealth. Be prudent taking out cash from ATMs at night.
  • After dark, it’s best to take radio taxis instead of hailing cabs on the street. Avoid unlicensed taxis. Ask your hotel to call a trusted company.
  • Puerto Vallarta sees millions of tourists annually and violent crime against visitors is rare. But use good judgment and don’t go to isolated areas alone or get excessively drunk.
  • If partying, have a plan for getting safely back to your lodging at night via taxi or other transport. Don’t wander around unfamiliar areas alone and drunk late at night.

Puerto Vallarta Crime Rate?

Puerto Vallarta’s crime rate is a complex topic with various factors to consider. While headlines often paint Mexico as dangerous, it’s crucial to understand the specifics and compare Puerto Vallarta to other destinations for a clearer picture.

Here’s a breakdown of the crime rate in Puerto Vallarta:

  • Overall Crime Index: According to Numbeo, a crowd-sourced database, Puerto Vallarta’s crime index sits around 35.70, which is considered low on a global scale. For comparison, major US cities like Miami (58/100) and Los Angeles (50/100) have higher crime indexes.

Crime Rate Comparison Chart

Crime Rate Comparison Chart

  • Specific Crime Rates: Petty theft, pickpocketing, and scams are the most common crimes tourists encounter in Puerto Vallarta. Violent crime is rare in tourist areas, though cartel-related violence can occur in other parts of Mexico.
  • Safety Comparisons: Compared to other Mexican tourist destinations, Puerto Vallarta boasts a lower crime rate than Cancun (55.73) and Acapulco (48.22).

It’s important to remember:

  • Crime statistics can be subjective and vary depending on sources and methodologies.
  • Focusing solely on crime rates doesn’t paint the whole picture. Puerto Vallarta enjoys a vibrant culture, stunning beaches, and friendly locals, attracting millions of tourists annually.
  • Taking precautions like staying in well-lit areas, being aware of your surroundings, and using reputable transportation can significantly reduce your risk of encountering any crime.

Puerto Vallarta Tourism Board website: https://visitpuertovallarta.com/

Is Solo Travel in Puerto Vallarta Safe?

Is Solo Travel in Puerto Vallarta Safe

Good News:

  • Puerto Vallarta is known for its welcoming and friendly atmosphere towards solo travelers, especially women.
  • The tourist areas are well-lit and patrolled, with a low crime rate compared to other Mexican destinations.
  • Many hotels and tours cater specifically to solo travelers, offering a chance to meet like-minded people.

Things to Keep in Mind:

  • Petty theft and scams are common, especially in crowded areas. 
  • Exercise caution regarding your possessions and refrain from openly showcasing valuable items.
  • Certain areas might be less safe at night, especially deserted streets or non-touristy neighborhoods. Stick to well-lit and populated areas.
  • Exercise caution when it comes to accepting beverages from unfamiliar individuals or leaving your drink unattended. Your safety is paramount
  • Use trusted transportation like authorized taxis or ride-sharing services, especially at night.
  • Inform your hotel or a trusted contact about your plans and check-in times, especially if venturing into less familiar areas.
  • Trust your gut and don’t hesitate to avoid situations that feel uncomfortable or unsafe.

Additional Tips for Solo Travelers:

  • Learn some basic Spanish phrases to communicate effectively with locals.
  • Download offline maps and crucial apps for navigation and communication to ensure seamless travel experiences without relying on constant internet connectivity
  • Purchase travel insurance for medical emergencies and trip disruptions.
  • Join online travel communities or forums to connect with other solo travelers and get recommendations.
  • Consider staying in a hostel or guest house to meet fellow travelers and share experiences.

Solo Female Travel in Puerto Vallarta ?

Solo Female Travel in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, with its sun-kissed beaches, vibrant culture, and friendly locals, beckons solo female travelers seeking adventure and discovery. While safety is always paramount, Puerto Vallarta offers a generally safe environment for women embarking on their solo escapades. Here’s a guide to navigating your adventure with confidence:

Safe Zones and Precautions:

  • Stick to tourist areas: The Malecón boardwalk, Zona Romantica, and Old Town are well-lit and patrolled, offering a welcoming atmosphere.
  • Choose reputable accommodation: Opt for hotels with good security measures and positive reviews from solo female travelers.
  • Be mindful at night: Limit solo ventures in dimly lit areas or non-touristy neighborhoods after dark. Consider joining group tours or activities for evening outings.
  • Stay vigilant with belongings: Pickpocketing can occur, so keep valuables secure in a money belt or hidden pouch. Avoid displaying expensive jewelry or electronics openly.
  • Embrace technology: Download offline maps and communication apps for easier navigation and connection.

Connecting and Exploring:

  • Join group tours and activities: This is a fantastic way to meet other travelers, explore hidden gems, and learn about the local culture.
  • Dine solo: Enjoy the freedom of exploring Puerto Vallarta’s culinary scene at your own pace. Many restaurants welcome solo diners.
  • Take a Spanish class: Learning basic phrases can enhance your experience and communication with locals.
  • Visit local markets and galleries: Immerse yourself in the vibrant colors and textures of Puerto Vallarta’s artistic spirit.
  • Relax on the beach: Pamper yourself with a day under the sun on the pristine beaches, enjoying the serene beauty of the Pacific Ocean.

Additional Tips:

  • Trust your gut: If a situation feels off, don’t hesitate to remove yourself or seek help from local authorities or your hotel staff.
  • Inform your accommodation: Share your plans and expected return times with the hotel reception, especially if venturing out solo.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP): This free service from the US Department of State provides safety updates and emergency assistance.
  • Consider travel insurance: Ensure you have coverage for medical emergencies and trip disruptions for peace of mind.


Travel Scams to Watch out for in Puerto Vallarta ?

Travel Scams to Watch out for in Puerto Vallarta 


Though a stunning coastal destination, Puerto Vallarta has its share of petty theft and travel scams. Be wary of false offers of help, high pressure sales tactics, pickpockets, shortchanging, card skimmers, and other ploys to part you from your cash or belongings.Remain vigilant and rely on your instincts to prevent falling prey to potential risks or threats.

The Mustard Scam

This involves someone spilling mustard or another substance on you and then offering to help clean it off. As they wipe the stain, they will steal any valuables they find on your person like jewelry or cash. Be wary of anyone who gets too close to you, especially if they seem overly helpful.

Airport Scams

Beware of people offering to help with your bags or transportation at the airport. They may offer to call you a taxi but instead drive you to an ATM and pressure you to withdraw cash. Only use official taxis or transfers arranged by your hotel. 

Ensure constant vigilance over your luggage, safeguarding against potential loss or mishandling by keeping a watchful eye at all times.

High pressure salespeople will approach you about tour promotions or free gifts, but it’s just a ruse to get you to a timeshare presentation. Be firm and say no if not interested, as these can last hours.

ATM Scams

Only use ATMs inside banks or hotels, avoiding ones on the street. Scammers can attach skimming devices to steal your card information. Also cover the keypad as you enter your PIN.

Gas Pump Scam

Some gas stations rig pumps to charge more than what’s displayed. Pay attention to the meter and make sure it resets to zero before fueling. Also check your receipt to ensure you were charged the correct amount.

The best defense is to be aware of your surroundings, trust your instincts, and don’t be afraid to firmly say no to any offers that seem suspicious. Enjoy your time in Puerto Vallarta.

Costco or Walmart pickpocketing

Big box stores like Costco and Walmart are prime targets for pickpockets, especially in the checkout lines. Be vigilant about your belongings and don’t carry more cash than needed when shopping. Keep valuables in front pockets or a concealed money belt.

Cash transactions

When possible, pay with credit/debit cards which offer more fraud protection. If you must pay cash, clearly count bills and change received. Scammers may try to shortchange you, especially in busy markets. Refuse torn or excessively worn bills too.

Card skimmers

In addition to ATMs, pay attention to gas stations and restaurants where your card leaves your sight. Check for any loose or suspicious devices where you insert your card. Pay inside rather than at the pump if concerned. Monitor account activity closely afterward too.

Staying one step ahead of scammers requires both situational awareness and some healthy skepticism. But don’t let fear ruin your experience. Just use good judgment and enjoy this beautiful destination.


Diseases in Puerto Vallarta ?

Diseases in Puerto Vallarta Food poisoning – Be careful with food hygiene, especially with raw fruits/vegetables and uncooked meat/fish. Only drink sealed bottled water.

  • Traveler’s diarrhea – Caused by contaminated food/water. Can be avoided by being prudent with what you eat and drink.
  • Mosquito-borne illnesses – Zika virus, dengue fever, chikungunya are risks. Use mosquito repellent and protective clothing.
  • Respiratory illnesses – Puerto Vallarta’s air quality can aggravate respiratory conditions like asthma. Wear a face mask if susceptible.
  • Sunburn/heat stroke – Use sunscreen and limit sun exposure during peak hours. Ensure proper hydration and take breaks in shaded areas to maintain well-being and prevent exhaustion
  • Motion sickness – Puerto Vallarta’s winding, mountainous roads can trigger this. Prepare with medication if prone to it.
  • Injuries – Common from water activities, hiking, or excessive alcohol consumption. Take safety precautions for adventurous pursuits.

Seeking medical care quickly for any illness or injury is advised. Consider travel insurance too. With some vigilance, you can stay healthy and enjoy your time in Puerto Vallarta.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Insurance?


Puerto Vallarta Travel Insurance


Securing comprehensive travel insurance should be a priority when planning any trip to Puerto Vallarta. This picturesque coastal destination offers plenty of adventures, but also potential health risks and travel disruptions. Having coverage provides peace of mind if the unforeseen occurs.

When comparing providers, look for policies that include generous emergency medical benefits and medical evacuation coverage. Given Puerto Vallarta’s limited healthcare facilities, you’ll want the option to be transported to a well-equipped facility in case of a serious illness or injury. Also confirm there are no major exclusions for common activities like water sports or hiking.

To maximize value, purchase your policy shortly after paying for initial trip expenses. Carefully review the fine print to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered. Bring printed documents and phone numbers with you in case you need to make a claim during your travels.

The right travel insurance takes the worry out of vacationing in Puerto Vallarta. Do your homework to find an optimal policy that fits your particular trip plans and budget. Then you can relax and immerse yourself fully in all this vibrant destination has to offer.


Getting Help in Puerto Vallarta 

 

 Getting Help in Puerto Vallarta 

While Puerto Vallarta is a haven for relaxation and adventure, it’s always wise to be prepared for the unexpected. This revised information offers details on medical care, emergency services, and handy contact numbers to ensure a smooth and worry-free trip:

Emergency Services:

  • Dial 911: Same as in the US and Canada, dial 911 for immediate medical or police assistance.
  • Hospitals: Several top-notch hospitals are available, including:
    • CMQ Hospital Puerto Vallarta: (+52 322 223 1919) – Renowned for its excellent facilities and multilingual staff.
    • Hospital Joya Marina Vallarta: (+52 322 226 1010) – A modern and well-equipped option with a focus on patient comfort.
  • Urgent Care: For non-life-threatening situations, walk-in clinics like Hospital CMQ’s City Center and Premiere locations provide prompt and convenient care.

Dental Emergencies:

  • Dental Tourism: Puerto Vallarta boasts reputable and affordable dental clinics, making it a popular destination for dental tourism.
  • Emergency Clinics: If a dental emergency strikes, consider:
    • Mexdental Puerto Vallarta Dentist network: (+52 333 143 4467) – Network of experienced dentists offering a range of services.
    • Clinica Dental Plaza Marina Puerto Vallarta: (+52 322 221 0165) – Conveniently located and known for its gentle and skillful approach.

Important Contacts:

  • Consular Agencies: In case of passport issues, lost documents, or other emergencies, reach out to your respective agency:
    • U.S. Consular Agency: (+52 333 268 2100)
    • Consular Agency of Canada: (+52 322 293 0098)
  • Vallarta Tourism Center: For tourist-related assistance and information, this organization can be your one-stop shop: (+52 322 221 2676)

 Unforgettable Stays in Puerto Vallarta

 

 Unforgettable Stays in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta, a vibrant tapestry of culture, beaches, and bustling nightlife, offers a plethora of choices when it comes to accommodation. While most areas are relatively safe, focusing on Zona Romantica, Nuevo Vallarta, or the Hotel Zone will ensure a delightful and secure experience.

Zona Romantica: For the bohemian soul seeking vibrant nights, cultural eats, and shopping sprees, Zona Romantica is your haven. Immerse yourself in the colorful streets, savor authentic flavors, and lose yourself in the captivating energy.

Our Picks:

  • Casa Nicole Boutique Hotel: A luxurious blend of Mexican tiles and contemporary chic, offering delectable cuisine and pampering amenities. (Starts at $225 USD/night)
  • Posada de Roger: Immerse yourself in true Mexican charm with tropical gardens, adobe architecture, and Fredy’s Tucan, a local culinary gem. Minutes from the Malecón boardwalk and a rooftop pool await. (Starts at $80 USD/night)

Nuevo Vallarta: Craving a resort paradise with laid-back beach vibes? Nuevo Vallarta beckons with luxurious amenities and stunning ocean views.

Our Picks:

  • Villa del Palmar Flamingos Beach Resort: Indulge in a lagoon-style pool, spa treatments, and poolside bars. Spacious suites with kitchenettes, balconies, and breathtaking ocean views guarantee a blissful stay. (Starts at $326 USD/night)
  • Marina Banderas Suites Hotel Boutique: Step into a charming 70s throwback with colorful decor and a dockside restaurant serving up Mexican classics. Fully-equipped kitchenettes offer convenience in stylishly furnished suites. (Starts at $80 USD/night)

Hotel Zone: If luxury shopping and fine dining are your priorities, the Hotel Zone presents a world of opulent resorts and lively entertainment.

Our Picks:

  • Fiesta Americana Puerto Vallarta: This all-inclusive haven caters to families, couples, and solo travelers with a golf course, spa, fine dining, and lagoon-style pools. (Starts at $900 USD/night)
  • Fiesta Inn Puerto Vallarta Isla: Party on a budget at this modern hotel in La Isla shopping center. Enjoy a 360° lounge, gym, and convenience store – all at an unbeatable price. (Starts at $103 USD/night)


Other Activities to do While You’re in Puerto Vallarta

 

Other Activities to do While You’re in Puerto Vallarta


Take a day trip to the Marietas Islands – these uninhabited islands are great for snorkeling, swimming, and spotting wildlife. Access is by boat tour.

  • Walk the Malecon boardwalk – this iconic seaside promenade stretches for miles and is lively with restaurants, street performers, and ocean views.
  • Check out the downtown area – wander the cobblestone streets and historic plazas to shop, people watch, and admire the architecture.

Visit Mismaloya Beach – less crowded than others, it’s popular for swimming, boating, and beachside restaurants.

  • Explore the Botanical Gardens – lush gardens feature over 2,000 species of Mexican plants, plus sculptures and fountains.
  • Take a canopy/zip line tour – soar over the jungle for an adrenaline rush and amazing perspective of the area.
  • Enjoy water sports – try surfing, paddle boarding, jet skiing, or snorkeling in Banderas Bay.
  • Go whale watching (in season) – catch a glimpse of humpback whales that migrate here to breed and give birth.
  • Indulge in the food scene – taco stands, gourmet restaurants, and fresh seafood abound. Don’t miss the churros.

With so much natural beauty and culture, you’ll never run out of things to do in Puerto Vallarta. Enjoy this incredible destination.


Renting a Car in Mexico

Renting a Car in Mexico

As an avid Mexico traveler, I’ve learned that having your own set of wheels truly opens up this diverse country. Relying on buses, tours and taxis can be limiting and frustrating when you want flexibility to venture off the beaten path.

That’s why I now always rent a car when visiting Mexico’s alluring beach locales or colorful colonial towns. Online brokers like Discover Cars make it easy to compare rates across major agencies and book a comfortable vehicle at an affordable price. Their full insurance coverage provides peace of mind on Mexico’s roads too.

Just be sure your valid driver’s license uses the Roman alphabet. An International Driving Permit works for other scripts. Drivers only need to be 18, but those 25+ often qualify for the best deals.

Driving in Mexico is pretty straightforward, especially on the modern toll roads. Just watch for speed bumps in towns and possible livestock on rural backroads! With your own set of wheels, you can truly immerse yourself in Mexico’s rich landscapes, cultures and flavors at your own pace.

FAQ’s

Is Puerto Vallarta Safer Than Cancun

With regards to somewhere safe and secure, Puerto Vallarta is the unmistakable victor. For a really long time, Puerto Vallarta has been considered quite possibly of the most inviting city in Mexico for a wide range of guests, and it has a low crime percentage.

While Cancun is as yet thought to be a protected spot to visit, it has a higher crime percentage than Puerto Vallarta.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Crime Rate

While Puerto Vallarta consistently ranks among Mexico’s safest tourist destinations, it’s important to exercise common travel sense. While serious crime is uncommon in popular tourist areas, petty theft can occur.

Unlike the often-exaggerated narrative about broader Mexico, Puerto Vallarta’s focus on tourism fosters a strong emphasis on visitor safety within its renowned beaches, vibrant culture, and diverse attractions. Remember, responsible travel practices like staying alert in crowded areas and avoiding isolated streets at night, apply everywhere, including Puerto Vallarta.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel to right now?

Puerto Vallarta is generally considered safe for travelers. As with any destination, it’s important to take normal safety precautions like avoiding deserted areas at night, not displaying valuables, and staying vigilant of your surroundings. Puerto Vallarta sees far less drug and gang violence compared to some other parts of Mexico.

Is Puerto Vallarta safer than Cancun?

Yes, Puerto Vallarta is generally considered safer than Cancun. Cancun has faced issues with drug and gang violence and safety concerns, especially in certain areas outside the main hotel zone. Puerto Vallarta does not have the same levels of crime or violence. Both cities are popular tourist destinations but Puerto Vallarta provides a safer overall environment.

Is it safe for a woman to travel to Puerto Vallarta?

Yes, it is generally safe for women to travel to Puerto Vallarta. As when visiting any new place, women travelers should remain alert and avoid deserted areas at night. Using registered taxis is recommended. Many women travel solo to Puerto Vallarta without incident. Following the same precautions as in any major tourist city can help ensure women travelers stay safe.

Is it safe to take a taxi in Puerto Vallarta?

It is relatively safe to take registered taxis in Puerto Vallarta. Look for taxis with a company name, logo and contact information clearly displayed. Calling for a radio taxi instead of hailing one on the street is recommended for added safety. Avoid taking unmarked taxis. Ask your hotel to arrange a taxi if you have any concerns. Using registered taxis with obvious identification is the safest option.

So, Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?

The high season from November to April is considered the best and safest time to visit. The weather is ideal, and there are more tourists and police around. The low season sees fewer crowds and services

What is the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?

Tap water in Puerto Vallarta is generally not safe to drink. It’s recommended to drink bottled water only. Ice at restaurants is usually fine.

What is the safest way to travel to Puerto Vallarta?

Flying is the safest and most convenient way to get to Puerto Vallarta. The airport is close to the city. Some choose to drive or bus from other parts of Mexico which has higher safety risks.

Is Puerto Vallarta family-friendly?

Puerto Vallarta is very family-friendly, with kid-oriented activities and many all-inclusive resorts. The Malecon promenade and public beaches are lively but safe for kids. As always, supervise children closely.

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