Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Tourists?

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November 29, 2023
5 min read

Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful and vibrant city located on the Pacific coast of Mexico. With its stunning beaches, bustling nightlife, and rich cultural heritage, it's no wonder why millions of tourists flock to this destination every year.

However, as with any popular tourist destination, there are always concerns about safety and security. In recent years, Puerto Vallarta has been in the spotlight for its perceived issues with crime and violence.

But is Puerto Vallarta really as dangerous as people make it out to be? As someone who has traveled extensively throughout Mexico, I can confidently say that the answer is no.

Puerto Vallarta as a Tourist Destination

Puerto Vallarta has plenty to offer travelers of all ages and interests. Whether you're looking to relax on the beach, explore historical landmarks, or indulge in delicious local cuisine, there's something for everyone here. You can read more in our following article on the top things to do in Puerto Vallarta.

Some of the top attractions in Puerto Vallarta include the Malecon boardwalk, where you can take a stroll along the ocean while enjoying street performers and vendors selling handmade crafts. For adventure seekers looking for some adrenaline-pumping activities like ziplining or ATV rides through lush jungles overlooking breathtaking views over the ocean.

Safety Concerns

Despite all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer visitors from around the world, many people express concerns about safety when traveling here. These concerns are not without merit - like any city with a large population there have been incidents of crime reported over time - but they have been often exaggerated by certain media outlets who tend to sensationalize events for clicks or ratings. 

It's important not to let these exaggerated reports scare you away from visiting this beautiful destination because if proper precautions are taken most travelers will find themselves having an enjoyable experience without any issues at all!

Find out more about the coastal town with our guide to Puerto Vallarta.

The Truth about Crime in Puerto Vallarta

As with any tourist destination, there are always concerns about crime and safety. However, when it comes to Puerto Vallarta, the media tends to blow things out of proportion. The reality is that the city is generally safe for tourists, with crime rates comparable to other popular destinations such as Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.

Statistics on Crime Rates in Puerto Vallarta Compared to Other Tourist Destinations

According to data from the US State Department, Puerto Vallarta has lower crime rates than many major US cities such as New Orleans, Detroit, and Baltimore. In fact, tourists are more likely to fall victim to petty crimes such as pickpocketing or theft than violent crimes in Puerto Vallarta.

When compared to other popular Mexican tourist destinations such as Cancun and Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta's crime rates are also relatively low. The city has a lower homicide rate per capita than both Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.

Common Types of Crimes that Occur in Puerto Vallarta

Like any city in the world, there are certain types of crimes that occur more frequently in Puerto Vallarta. However, most of these crimes tend to be non-violent and geared towards taking advantage of tourists rather than targeting them specifically. Common types of crimes include pickpocketing on crowded beaches or busy streets, theft from hotel rooms or rental cars left unattended on public streets.

It's important for you to remain vigilant against these types of incidents by keeping your valuables secure and being mindful of your surroundings. Overall, while it's important to exercise caution when visiting any foreign destination - including Puerto Vallarta - you should not let sensationalized media reports deter you from experiencing all that this vibrant city has to offer.

Safety Measures taken by Local Authorities and Businesses

After some extensive research, it's clear that the local authorities and businesses in Puerto Vallarta take safety very seriously. Most hotels, resorts and restaurants have implemented their own security measures to ensure the safety of their guests. From security cameras to private guards, these establishments go above and beyond to keep their customers secure.

Security measures implemented by hotels and resorts

Hotels and resorts in Puerto Vallarta are known for having strict security measures in place. Many of them have gated entrances with private security guards that only allow access to registered guests. Inside the hotel or resort property, there are usually surveillance cameras placed strategically around common areas such as lobbies, hallways or pools.

Presence of police and military forces in the city

In addition to private security measures taken by businesses themselves, there is also a strong presence of police and military forces throughout Puerto Vallarta. The police force is dedicated specifically for tourism safety so they work closely with business owners by patrolling streets regularly. Furthermore, military forces are also deployed throughout the city as an added layer of protection against criminal activity.

They can be seen stationed at popular tourist spots such as beaches or markets where petty theft often occurs. Overall, it's safe to say that local authorities and businesses in Puerto Vallarta take safety very seriously which should give travelers peace of mind when visiting this beautiful city.

Navigating Puerto Vallarta Safely as a Tourist

While Puerto Vallarta has a reputation for being relatively safe compared to other Mexican cities, it is still important for tourists to exercise caution. Whether exploring the city on foot or by car, there are key tips to keep in mind to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.

Tips for Staying Safe While Exploring the City on Foot

One of the best ways to experience Puerto Vallarta is by walking around and taking in all the sights and sounds. However, it is important to be aware of your surroundings and take precautions to stay safe:

  • Stick to well-lit areas and avoid walking alone at night.
  • Avoid wearing flashy jewelry or carrying expensive items that might attract thieves.
  • If you feel uncomfortable or threatened, trust your instincts and find a public place with other people around.

Recommendations for Avoiding Scams and Thefts

Tourists are often targeted by scammers looking to make a quick buck. Here are some common scams to watch out for:

  • The fake police officer scam: Someone claiming to be a police officer will stop you on the street and ask to see your identification.

They may even threaten arrest if you do not comply. It is important to remember that real police officers will always carry proper identification.

  • The overpriced taxi ride: Some taxi drivers may try to charge you an inflated price for your ride. Make sure they use their meter or agree on a price before starting your journey.
  • The pickpocket: Pickpockets can strike anywhere at any time, so it is important to keep your valuables close at all times. Consider using a money belt or keeping your wallet and phone in your front pocket.

By following these simple tips, you can enjoy all that Puerto Vallarta has to offer without putting your safety at risk.

Off-the-beaten-path Activities: Hidden Gems in Puerto Vallarta

Experience the Magic of Secluded Beaches

If you're looking for an unforgettable beach experience, look no further than the secluded beaches around Puerto Vallarta. These hidden gems offer a peaceful retreat from the bustling crowds of more popular locations.

Imagine lying on a pristine white sand beach with crystal blue waters lapping at your feet, all while surrounded by stunning natural scenery. Some of our favorite secluded beaches include Playa Las Animas, Playa Quimixto, and Playa Majahuitas.

Visit Lesser-Known Cultural Sites

While many tourists flock to well-known cultural attractions such as the Malecon boardwalk and the Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe, there are plenty of lesser-known sites that offer an equally enriching experience. For example, take a stroll through Gringo Gulch and admire the charming colonial architecture that lines its streets.

Puerto Vallarta may have its safety concerns like any other city in Mexico or around the world but it's important not to let them overshadow all that this wonderful destination has to offer. From stunning secluded beaches to hidden waterfalls and cultural sites off the beaten path, there is so much to discover in Puerto Vallarta beyond its bustling tourist areas.

So why not take a chance and explore all that this charming city has to offer? With the right precautions and common sense, you can have a truly unforgettable experience that will stay with you for years to come.

So is Puerto Vallarta Jalisco Safe?

After extensive research, it's clear that Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination for travelers. I can say I never felt threatened while visiting the city and the statistics support this.

While there are concerns about crime in the city, statistics show that Puerto Vallarta has lower crime rates than popular tourist destinations like Cancun and Cabo San Lucas. Additionally, local authorities and businesses have taken significant measures to ensure the safety of residents and visitors.

Despite any concerns or negative opinions that may exist about Puerto Vallarta's safety, I encourage people to visit this beautiful city with confidence. With its stunning beaches, rich culture, and mouth-watering cuisine, there's no shortage of reasons to add Puerto Vallarta to your travel bucket list. Read more on the Puerto Vallarta Airport and how to navigate your way to the city.


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Written by:

I consider myself a world-travelling nomad and a foodie at heart. Born in Germany and raised in East Tennessee, my passion for exploration has taken me all over the planet - exploring unfamiliar lands and cultures is what truly inspires my soul!
I live outside of Doha and consider myself an inside expert on all things Qatar. I love exploring all the country has to offer and look forward to giving you valuable insights of where I call home!
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