If you are interested in a honeymoon or romantic all-inclusive vacation in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta is probably on your list to consider. One of Mexico’s top destinations for watersports, beach resorts, culture, and nightlife, Puerto Vallarta is a romantic and fun place to visit.
However, you may wonder, is Puerto Vallarta dangerous for tourists? In this article we will tell you everything you need to know about whether Puerto Vallarta is safe to visit. We will cover the current crime rate, neighborhoods to avoid, and how Puerto Vallarta compares to other beach resort towns in Mexico so you can decide if it is the right choice for your trip.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit in 2023?
Located in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta started as a humble fishing village on the Pacific Ocean’s Bay of Banderas. Due to its tropical climate, pristine beaches, and rich culture, Puerto Vallarta has become one of Mexico’s top resort areas.
While many tourists go to Cabo or Cancun, Puerto Vallarta is great for destination weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways. The beach resort city continues to get an influx of visitors as well as ex-pats who are looking for a relaxing place to settle down.
So, is Puerto Vallarta safe? Yes, Puerto Vallarta is safe for tourists. You will find it is an accepting place with friendly locals who are proud to show you their city.
Of course, it’s important to have common sense when visiting any unfamiliar area. Always be aware of your surroundings, don’t carry a lot of cash or wear expensive jewelry, and don’t travel to unknown areas alone.
By following these simple travel tips, you will find that Puerto Vallarta has a beautiful culture with friendly locals. If you are still unsure if Puerto Vallarta is safe for tourists, let’s take a look at the crime rate.
Crime Rate in Puerto Vallarta
The crime rate in Puerto Vallarta is low, with a rating of 38 out of 100. Most crimes are related to petty theft, bribery, and drug-related activity. Many Canadian and U.S. citizens have relocated to Puerto Vallarta for these reasons.
Often, tourists are scared to visit Mexico because they see news headlines about kidnappings, murders, and other cartel activity. The truth is, this makes up a very small part of the crime rate in Puerto Vallarta. You are much more likely to have your phone stolen when it’s left unattended than be a victim of organized crime.
Since Puerto Vallarta is a popular tourist destination, scams and petty thefts are more common than other types of crime. Being aware of the scams and keeping your belongings close to you will mitigate the risk of being a victim.
Is It Safe to Leave the Resorts in Puerto Vallarta?
If you want to leave your Puerto Vallarta resort to explore the Malecon (waterfront boardwalk), downtown, or other popular areas, you can do so without worry. As mentioned earlier, just be sure to bring your common sense with you. In addition to keeping aware of your surroundings and traveling in pairs or groups, you should also avoid unmarked taxis.
A big mistake many travelers make is letting their guards down. Don’t get distracted, and be careful when drinking alcohol. Being intoxicated makes you a prime target for being taken advantage of. Of course, you can have a good time when outside of your resort, but pace yourself. Stay with your partner or travel companion, drink water in between alcoholic drinks, and don’t leave your stuff unattended. Keep your eyes on your drink at all times.
These simple tips can go a long way to ensure you get back to your resort safely.
What Are the Safest Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta?
There are several safe neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta, but here are our top picks.
If you are looking for a safe and fun neighborhood to explore, then stick near the Malecon waterfront and Romantic Zone (Zona Romantica) in Puerto Vallarta. These areas have a lot of people out and about.
There is also a lot of fantastic nightlife in the Romantic Zone. You will find bars and live music, as well as people strolling the Malecon. This is a safe area for those who are looking for something to do day or night.
Marina Vallarta is located on the north side of Puerto Vallarta and is another safe neighborhood to check out. You will find a developed area with resorts, beach condos, and hotels here. Marina Vallarta is also close to the airport if you aren’t staying very long.
You will also find the best golf course in the city in this neighborhood. The only downfall is that if you are looking to indulge in the local culture, you won’t find much here. Marina Vallarta is mainly for families looking to relax on the beach.
Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera)
As the name suggests, Zona Hotelera is a strip of resorts and hotels near the beach. You will find a lot of tourists in this area, but that also means it is safe to visit. There isn’t a lot to do here, but you will find beautiful beaches and shopping malls.
Conchas Chinas is a good choice if you are looking for a safe neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta with a romantic getaway vibe. Situated on a mountain bend, Conchas Chinas offers some of the best sunset views of Banderas Bay. You may also get get to spot whales if you visit during whale-watching season.
Conchas Chinas is very hilly, and there aren’t a lot of restaurant options. However, the breathtaking views may make it worth it.
What Are the Most Dangerous Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta?
Since Puerto Vallarta has such a low crime rate, neighborhoods don’t pop up as dangerous. However, the farther you go inland, the more prone you are to be affected by dangerous activities.
To be safe, stay near the tourist areas and avoid back streets or less busy areas, especially at night. If you are renting a car, refrain from driving in areas that you are unfamiliar with. A good idea is to ask the staff at your resort if there are any local areas you should avoid.
If you want to relocate to Puerto Vallarta, we recommend joining a Facebook group or forum for pertinent information on where to live. You will be able to find information there about neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta that you won’t find other places.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
Puerto Vallarta is a safe place for solo female travelers, even if it’s your first time. Puerto Vallarta is a good city to get your feet wet when it comes to solo travel. Of course, you should still take caution and follow general safety tips.
Stick to crowded areas when exploring, beware of scams, and travel with others whenever possible. If you go out to bars, don’t accept drinks from strangers and keep your eyes on your drink at all times. Remember always to trust your gut; if something doesn’t feel right, it’s best to leave.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for the LGBTQ Community?
Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest places in the world for the LGBTQ community to visit. In fact, Puerto Vallarta was recognized as one of the most welcoming and respectful cities by the Global Travel Industry News.
What Should I Avoid in Puerto Vallarta?
As we mentioned, some things to avoid in Puerto Vallarta are back streets, unmarked taxis, scams, and accepting drinks from strangers. Other things to avoid are visiting between June and October when flooding and hurricanes are likely.
In addition, you should avoid drinking tap water when visiting Puerto Vallarta and other parts of Mexico. It’s best to stick to bottled water even for brushing your teeth and washing fruits and veggies.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safer Than Cancun?
While both Puerto Vallarta and Cancun are safe places for tourists to visit, Cancun has recently had an increase in crime. A majority of the crime is cartel-related but still affects tourists.
Currently, Cancun’s crime rate is around 60, which is quite a bit higher than Puerto Vallarta. Cancun is still a great honeymoon or vacation destination, but at the moment Puerto Vallarta is safer than Cancun.
Is It Safe to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?
In conclusion, yes, it is safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta. Overall, Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest tourist destinations in Mexico.
If you want to consider other beach vacation spots in Mexico, you may want to check out our articles Cozumel Honeymoons: All You Need to Know to Plan the Perfect Honeymoon in Cozumel, Mexico, Cancun vs. Cozumel: Which Is Best for Your Mexico Honeymoon or Vacation?, and Best Mexico Overwater Bungalows.