Is Puerto Vallarta safe?
Puerto Vallarta is a Mexican town in the region of Jalisco.
It has incredible beaches on the Pacific coastline, with a lot of tourists traveling here for its resorts.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?
Puerto Vallarta has all the appeal of tourist-centric Mexican towns such as Cancun, but with a large urban area with a lot of history.
This is where thousands of tourists flock in the summer to soak up some rays and have a relaxing time.
Puerto Vallarta prides itself on its immaculate Mexican cuisine and annual Day of the Dead celebrations.
The landscape of the area, with an urban tinge to the rolling hills set behind the glorious coastline is best described as the reason thousands of people visit.
However, most travelers are worried about their vicinity to the dangerous areas of Mexico. If you compare Puerto Vallarta vs Cancun you’ll notice that many people choose Cancun for this reason.
Since Mexico itself is still ruled in a few areas by the cartels, there are parts of Mexico that the US and UK governments advise not to travel to.
Is it Safe to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?
It’s incredibly safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta since thousands of tourists visit every year.
It has a reputation for being the ideal holiday spot for the LGBT community.
One thing many travel professionals in the industry have had to deal with in recent years is the huge influx of fake news or misleading statistics regarding safety in Mexico.
This includes sensational headlines or crime reports that don’t provide the full context of the situation.
The irony of this is that most visitors to this region describe the area as safer than most American cities.
The most dangerous risks when traveling to Puerto Vallarta would be a simple petty crime that’s found in most countries.
It’s a touristy location to travel to, so the emphasis on safety and the upkeep on security is already better than most of Mexico.
Safety Facts about Jalisco
Let’s now look at some safety facts about Mexico and the Jalisco region:
- According to the UK Government, major tourist destinations: Cabo San Lucas, Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Puerto Vallarta and Nuevo Vallarta have mostly not seen the levels of drug-related violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico.
- Also according to the UK Government, over 576,971 British nationals visited Mexico in 2017 with most visits being trouble-free.
- The intentional homicide rate of Jalisco is 14th on the list of Mexican states.
- Jalisco is the fourth most densely populated state in Mexico, with approximately 8,000,000 inhabitants.
- The largest urban area in Jalisco is Guadalajara, which has the largest crime rate in the region.
- Regions such as the Tequila region and the coastline towns attract tens of millions of visitors a year.
As you can imagine places like Puerto Vallarta are visited by thousands of new people every month.
Traveling Alone to Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta is perfectly safe to travel alone. Use your common sense when taking excursions outside of resort hotel areas.
Don’t expect complete safety during the late hours, and stick to the confines of the bayside.
It definitely helps if you know some Spanish conversation basics since Mexicans very much appreciate English speakers who learn it as a second language.
Booking excursions, hotels and bus rides will be a lot easier if you did speak Spanish.
Backpacking Puerto Vallarta Safety
Backpacking across Mexico can be tricky since most of the bordering regions with other countries have a difficult reputation.
However, Jalisco is very safe compared with the rest of Mexico.
Mexico is an amazing country to navigate, but you definitely need to look up which regions should be avoided when backpacking.
Travel Safety in Puerto Vallarta
I would suggest that any backpackers that find themselves in Puerto Vallarta wanting to travel north or south, find a coach service like Ado.
That way you can easily arrive in Mexico City and travel around from that starting point.
This region of Mexico is quite safe, but it still smarts if you exercise the right precautions.
Don’t take Puerto Vallarta lightly just because it’s a safe area. Tourists are targeted in all locations around the globe, so keep on the lookout for petty crime.
Vallarta is extremely welcoming, but almost too many people. This is one of the reasons why it’s worth comparing Puerto Vallarta vs Cabo San Lucas for those looking for a more chilled experience.
Puerto Vallarta Travel Safety Tips
The homelessness rate in Puerto Vallarta is quite high, based on the number of Mexican citizens flocking here looking for work.
Here are some tips to help you on your journey:
- Make sure to use trusted and accredited hotels/hostels. Then once you’ve booked your room, book taxis or buses through the hotel.
- Keep dummy wallets for pickpockets and keep your money hidden away. Bras, money belts or secret bag compartments will do.
- There is still a risk of contracting Zika virus. Visit Travel health Pro For more information on this.
- Make sure to take sunscreen. The ocean breeze may fool you, but this is a part of Mexico that still has a dry heat.
- Don’t accept offers of drugs. Not only is it illegal, but it’s dangerous. You’re funding the cartels which means they’ll keep taking over parts of Mexico.
- Don’t leave any valuables unattended while you swim. Run-and-grab thefts by people lurking in the woods are a common occurrence.
- If you are a person that suffers from typical culture shock symptoms see our tips on adapting to new surroundings on this blog.
- Don’t go where there are few other people in the vicinity; this includes camping in secluded places. A simple rule: if there are families around, you’re probably safe.
- If you want to take expensive equipment such as cameras or smartphones, keep them hidden, locked away and on your person. A PacSafe backpack works best for this.
- Be wary of attempts at credit-card fraud. Either use cards for emergencies only or take cash out at trusted atm’s either in shopping centers. Ask where you’re staying for the nearest safe atm.
When it comes to credit card scams. One method is when the cashier swipes your card twice (once for the transaction and once for nefarious purposes). Try to carry only small amounts out of cash with you.
Puerto Vallarta is serviced by three municipal bus unions that provide coverage for most of the greater Puerto Vallarta area (e.g. Ixtapa, Mismaloya, Pitillal).
Most of the residents commute and travel around by municipal bus. Owning a car in this area isn’t rare, but cars are hardly used for commuting.
They are typically used for family outings and shopping trips. This is mainly because parking in Puerto Vallarta is scarce.
Travel Insurance for Puerto Vallarta
I always recommend backpackers and travelers (no matter who you are) use World Nomads Insurance for fully comprehensive cover.
If you are due to travel soon, you can get a Get A Free Quote by clicking the link or the image above and filling out your details – that way you’ll get instant cover from the exact date that you choose.
On many occasions World Nomads has provided me with reliable insurance cover for travel in Latin America and the rest of the world.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?
Puerto Vallarta, along with the rest of Jalisco, is an amazing holiday destination.
The birthplace of tequila, with stunning ocean views and cultural events taking place all the time.
It would be a shame to miss out on such a great holiday opportunity if you’re put off by the misleading headlines produced by the media.
Millions of tourists, a portion of whom are LGBT, love Puerto Vallarta and would gladly visit again.
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