Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico and probably one of the first and still thriving. Mountains, history, delicious food, cruise trips, Mexican hospitality, water sports, nightlife, and much more; the city’s got everything any traveler can desire. But is Puerto Vallarta safe? I am sure you wonder any time you travel to a new destination, especially in Mexico.
In this post I will tell you all about Puerto Vallarta Safety and how you can travel safely in this amazing destination.
How safe is Puerto Vallarta?
If you want a short answer to that question: relatively safe. If you compare crime statistics, Puerto Vallarta is safer than most US cities, including Miami and Las Vegas.
Due to its fun atmosphere, the city is visited by millions of tourists every year. Almost all of them face no issues with crime in this city. When crime does happen, it’s either petty crime or scams rather than violent crime.
As long as you take some basic precautions and practice common sense, you’ll be extremely safe in Puerto Vallarta. These precautions are the same ones you usually need to take in your home country; but if you’d like some specific safety tips, I’ve mentioned 15 safety tips below.
The pandemic is very much still ongoing, and you should practice all necessary measures to keep yourself (and others) safe. Luckily, almost all hotels in Puerto Vallarta follow all necessary protocols so you won’t face a problem in this regard. But make sure you check that before booking.
You may also like: Is Mexico safe?
15 safety tips for traveling to Puerto Vallarta
- As long as the pandemic is around, we have to take the necessary precautions. So wear a mask and follow all necessary social distancing protocols.
- Get a good health insurance as soon as possible. If you’re already in Mexico, you can still purchase health insurance. Healthcare in Mexico is really expensive, and you don’t want to be without insurance if you get sick.I normally use Safetywing or WorldNomads. Both are great but serve different kinds of needs. So make sure you read through what’s included and not.
- Never leave your precious belongings unattended. Even if it’s for a couple of minutes to go to the restroom.
- Don’t take your valuables to the beach with you if you’re alone and have nobody else to look after them. Store them in the safe inside your hotel room.
- Try not to stay at a hostel. They’re cheap but they usually don’t have enough security. Hotels might be more expensive but they’ll offer you peace of mind that your valuables are safe. Also nowadays in pandemic times, it’s not the safest thing to do to sleep in a dorm room with other 10 strangers. I wouldn’t do it anyway but if that’s your travel style I would reconsider that.
- You should convert your currency as soon as you arrive in Mexico but not at the airport. Bank or casa de Cambio will give you the best rates. carrying Mexican pesos with you will save you a lot of hassles and money when it comes to buying local food and souvenirs at the market and in Puerto Vallarta, you will want to do that. Read why in my post on Puerto Vallarta travel tips.
- Be careful if someone comes up to you when you’re walking around and tries to be overly friendly; maybe they’ll offer to show you around or buy you lunch. Getting robbed at gunpoint is extremely rare but they’ll try to pull a scam or pickpocket you.
- Try to blend in as much as possible. That includes not flashing any bling. If you get noticed wearing any valuables, you’ll be much more likely to get mugged.
- If you’re renting a car, which is always advisable, try to drive only during the day. This applies especially if you’re traveling between towns and intend on driving on the highway.
- Don’t put all your money in one place. This includes carrying all of it with you or storing all of it in your hotel room. Store most of your money in your hotel room safe, and go out only with what you need for the day.
- Always be aware of your surroundings. This includes keeping track of where you are and where you’re going. Sightseeing is fun, but don’t wander aimlessly, especially at night.
- Trust your instincts. If the area you’re in feels deserted or you get an uncomfortable feeling hanging out with someone, hightail it out of there.
- Be careful when going around at night, especially if you’re traveling alone. Always take a uber from point A to point B when it’s dark. Stick to touristy areas and avoid secluded streets.
- Stay clear of drugs. That includes both using them and/or buying them. Puerto Vallarta is extremely safe. But when violent crimes do happen, they’re usually drug-related.
- Drinking is generally not a good idea, especially if you’re alone. But if abstaining isn’t an option for you, then try to drink in moderation. Don’t get wasted unless you’re in a group of people you implicitly trust. Also, don’t drink and swim; whether it’s at the beach or your hotel.
Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel alone?
Definitely. As mentioned earlier, Puerto Vallarta is a very safe place; safer than most US cities. So you don’t need to be worried about traveling to the city alone.
That being said, you should always use your common sense. A lot of people, when they travel to a destination, take it as an opportunity to do everything they’ve ever wanted; even if it’s something they wouldn’t do at home. In your home city, would you walk in a secluded area alone when you’re drunk at night? Obviously not. So don’t do things like that in Mexico and you’ll be fine.
Don’t have wild parties or get wasted while drinking (avoid drinking in the first place if you’re alone). Don’t flash your valuables and be mindful of them.
Lastly, make sure you stay at a hotel with security and, preferably, a safe in your room where you can store your valuables. Don’t go for the cheapest accommodation possible. Your safety is not worth compromising over.
What are the safest places to visit in Puerto Vallarta?
The Romantic Zone
Those of you visiting Puerto Vallarta on your honeymoon should definitely visit this area. It’s the best place for LGBTQ+ people to stay in the city, as it’s widely considered the most gay-friendly place in Mexico. It’s a very colourful area, with cobbled streets and plenty of restaurants within walking distance. You’ll also get close access to the beach.
The whole romantic zone has a lot of culture and energy, there are tons to do here and you’ll have a blast in the area. Taxis and Uber are very easily available at all times of the day, in case you’re staying in another area.
Downtown Puerto Vallarta
Downtown Puerto Vallarta is a short walk away from the Romantic Zone. It’s a very safe area to be, even at night (as long as you practice common sense). There are a few hotels and lots of restaurants here. The Downtown will get you access to a lot of the city’s beautiful beaches as well as its attractions, like The Malecon, Municipal Market, Cuale River Island, and much more.
The Hotel Zone
This is where you’ll find most of the hotels and the all-inclusive resorts in the city. It’s a lot more touristy than the Romantic Zone. You’ll find taxis everywhere and easily available at all hours, which is useful for getting around the city. It’s an upscale and expensive area, which makes it very safe for tourists. There are a lot of beautiful, white-sand beaches and Galerias Vallarta Shopping Mall will get you access to almost anything you might need to shop around for.
The Marina attracts a lot of tourists that visit the city. It’s located 5 minutes from the Puerto Vallarta airport and is at a 15-minute drive north from Downton Puerto Vallarta. If you’re interested in taking boats or cruises for excursions, this is likely the area you’ll go to. There are a lot of hotels here as well, as the area has a master-planned resort community.
While this area is technically not in Puerto Vallarta, it’s close enough to considered part of the tourist zone. If all you want is to get away from the hustle and bustle of a busy city; you want a nice quiet place and you don’t plan to leave the hotel for very long, Nuevo Vallarta is the best place for you to stay in. It’s basically a hotel zone with mainly top luxury hotels. You’ll get lots of beaches, restaurants, and delicious food.
Is it safe to visit outside the hotels in Puerto Vallarta?
Yes, it’s completely safe to visit outside the hotels when you’re in the city. Most of the crime that happens in the city is easily avoidable as long as you’re careful and practice common sense.
During the day, you can explore the city as you wish. Just be careful to leave your valuables in your hotel room safe, and only carry enough cash to last you the day. You can even take public transportation, although I don’t recommend it.
At night, be careful of deserted areas and streets. Don’t rely on public transportation when it’s dark, and try not to drive. Use only registered taxis to get from point A to point B.
Is Puerto Vallarta safe for female travelers?
Puerto Vallarta is extremely safe for female travelers, even if you’re traveling alone. If you’re not used to traveling alone, it’s one of the best cities to push yourself out of your comfort zone. There are some extra precautions you should take if you’re a solo female traveler. I’ll list a few of these below.
- Try to partner up with other solo female travelers. Puerto Vallarta gets a lot of tourists from all over the world so it’ll be quite easy for you to find someone.
- Look for the best place to stay in the city. Choose a hotel with great security and location.
- Be careful when drinking. If you plan on drinking at night, do so with a female companion.
- Keep an eye on your drinks and don’t leave them unattended, even for a minute. Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
- Only rely on UBER at night to go anywhere. Don’t walk through secluded areas and deserted streets on your own.
Puerto Vallarta Safety FAQs
Q. What’s the safest way to get to Puerto Vallarta?
You can get a direct flight to Puerto Vallarta airport and, from there, you can take a taxi to your hotel. If you’re staying at an upscale hotel, you can notify it of your reservation 1 day before your flight and they’ll send a car to pick you up.
Q. Is Puerto Vallarta a good location for families?
Yes! Whether you’re just visiting the city on a romantic excursion with your partner or planning a trip with your kids, it’s an awesome place to be in. There’s plenty to do and see for everyone and your whole family will have a blast here.
Q. What’s the best area to stay in Puerto Vallarta?
The best area for you depends on what you’re looking to get out of your trip. If you’re there on your honeymoon and want exposure to lots of local culture, the Romantic Zone will be the best. If you’re looking for all-inclusive resorts for your whole family, you’ll find those in the Hotel Zone and Marina Vallarta.
Q. What should I know before going to Puerto Vallarta?
Here are 5 things you should know before you book a flight to Puerto Vallarta.
1. Keep pesos with you. Shops accept USD but at a horrible rate exchange
2. Always insist on bottled water, even in case of ice cubes and food.
3. Use sunscreen.
4. Learn some Spanish. While it’s not strictly needed, you’ll find it useful to ask for directions and acquire local knowledge. It also never hurts to make a few local friends.
5. Make copies of all the important documents (like your passport) and carry them with you. Store the originals in your hotel room safe.