Is Puerto Vallarta Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most secure and popular tourist destinations in Mexico, according to confirmed reports.

Zona Romantica and the Malecón are popular destinations for both locals and foreign visitors, and the beaches here are considerably safer than those in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

Yet, Puerto Vallarta lacks many all-inclusive resorts, in contrast to well-liked family vacation spots like those in Quintana Roo. 

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February 16 – Four people were injured in a confrontation in Puerto Vallarta between the National Guard and armed civilians

According to local authorities, four people were injured in an armed confrontation between civilians and members of the National Guard.

As per local media, the confrontation took place in the town of La Desembocada, whereupon security forces were mobilized to the area.

The government announced in a statement on Facebook that these actions took place in the towns of El Ranchito and La Desembocada.

It was reported that at least four people were injured, including two national guardsmen, according to reporter Evaristo Tenorio from Fuerza Informativa Azteca de Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located.

Channel 13 of Guadalajara reported through its social networks that two members of the National Guard were wounded in their feet, while a couple of civilians were wounded in the arm and abdomen. Some versions say that perpetrators have been arrested, but it’s yet to be confirmed.

Areas to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta

Avoid going to far-away neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta, particularly if you’re not familiar with the area. You’ll feel safe strolling around the traditional Romantic Zone or along the Malecon where lots of people are out and about. The tourist area along the beach and main street is largely well-patrolled by law enforcement personnel.

You’ll come across more of Puerto Vallarta’s potentially dangerous streets—where local crime may occur—as you head inland from the beach. But most of the crime is limited to neighborhood break-ins.

Official Travel Advisories

U.S. Travel Advisory

The U.S. Department of State has classified travel to the state of Jalisco as “Reconsider Travel.” However, it does not include popular tourist spots like Puerto Vallarta. Although gang violence may occur in other regions of Jalisco, the greatest danger is being abducted or becoming an innocent bystander target amid a territorial dispute.

Travel to Jalisco State, which includes the tourist destinations of Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Puerto Vallarta (including the neighboring Riviera Nayarit), Chapala, and Ajijic, is unrestricted for US government employees.

Canada Travel Advisory

As a blank statement, the Canadian government advises its citizens to exercise a heightened level of caution when traveling to Mexico due to elevated levels of criminal activity and kidnapping. However, it does not issue specific advisories against traveling to Jalisco, unlike Guerrero and other Mexican regions.

Common Scams

Vacation Packages: Many travelers report being swindled when purchasing vacation packages to Puerto Vallarta. To avoid falling victim to this scam, ensure that the company you are booking through is legitimate. You can verify the registration of the business in Mexico here.

Airport Scams: Upon exiting customs, travelers encounter a large sliding door where numerous individuals await, aiming to exploit unsuspecting visitors. They may approach you, falsely claiming to be your prearranged transportation. If you have scheduled airport pick-up, wait for them outside the airport, as this is the designated area for such services.

Overcharging for Local Buses: Typically, local buses in Puerto Vallarta charge around $10 pesos per person. However, upon boarding, ticket collectors may quote a significantly higher price. Verify the fare with other passengers and pay accordingly to avoid overpayment.

Taxi Scams: Since most taxis lack meters, it’s essential to agree on a fare before starting your trip. Negotiate the price in advance, ensuring clarity on the cost per person and destination. Always haggle, as initial prices tend to be inflated. Alternatively, consider using Uber, particularly for airport transfers, as it offers transparent pricing.

Timeshare Scams: Timeshare representatives may entice you with promises of free beverages, tequila, or tours in exchange for a short-term commitment. However, these presentations often extend far beyond the promised duration, trapping attendees in lengthy and coercive sales pitches. Politely decline such offers to avoid becoming ensnared in unwanted commitments.

Safety tips for Puerto Vallarta

  • Avoid wearing lavish jewelry or luxurious attires. 
  • Make sure your wallet or purse is firmly fastened to your body.
  • Pay attention to your surroundings, particularly when using an ATM.
  • Store your valuables in a hotel safe or locked up. Avoid carrying them around.
  • Take a picture or scan a copy of your passport.
  • For those who decide to drive outside the city, the main toll roads are the best option.
  • Never stroll by yourself at night.
  • Provide your itinerary and contact details so that loved ones can get in touch with you while you’re away.
  • When using Uber, make sure the names and license plates are correct.
  • Avoid interacting with drug dealers or purchasing drugs.