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Is Puerto Vallarta Dangerous? What You Need to Know about the Popular Tourist Town

NEWS | Published on 05/03/2019
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As you envision your Puerto Vallarta vacation, hammocks strung up between palm trees and icy margaritas dance through your dreams. However, many travelers have questions about safety in Mexico. No one wants their vacation in paradise sidelined by anxiety or fears about safety in Puerto Vallarta. Thankfully, travel warnings for the city are low and following a few simple guidelines will put your mind at ease so that you can relax and enjoy your days on the beach.


The US Department of State regularly updates its travel warnings based on current events and worldwide trends. While there are no official travel warnings for Puerto Vallarta or the state of Jalisco, the US government recommends citizens exercise caution in the state capital, Guadalajara, due to occasional instances of criminal activity. However, Puerto Vallarta is much smaller than Guadalajara, limiting the amount of big-city problems that filter in. Heeding these Puerto Vallarta warnings will help you experience the safety that government officials have noted in the coastal town.

There are some Puerto Vallarta dangerous areas to avoid, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the local area. For the most part, the tourist zone along the beach and main road are well patrolled by police officers, and you’ll feel safe walking around the traditional Romantic Zone or along the Malecon where plenty of other people are out and about. As you go further inland from the beach, you’ll encounter more of the Puerto Vallarta dangerous streets where local crime may take place. However, most of this is limited to local break-ins and the occasional drunken brawl late at night. Most of this is never aimed at tourists, but you never want to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. One of the Puerto Vallarta warnings to help you stay away from local crime is to stick to the tourist areas along the main road unless you’re with a trusted tour company, especially late at night.

Because local law enforcement works tirelessly to ensure safety in Puerto Vallarta, you’ll likely see officers standing at busy intersections and driving around town. At night, they often drive with their flashing lights on, making people aware of their presence. This gives a feeling of comfort to those who have questions about safety in Mexico and a warning to those who are out and up to no good. If you do run into a Puerto Vallarta dangerous situation, call 911 to speak to authorities, just as you would in the US.

Keeping up to date with news about safety in Puerto Vallarta isn’t something just for locals to do. Reading news about safety will let you know if there’s been an increase in local crime, new travel warnings, or even natural disasters that could sink your travel plans. While most of the local news is in Spanish, a quick Google search will highlight any recent articles about the city’s crime and weather.

One group of people who will likely have questions about safety in Mexico are members of the LGBT community. If you’ve spent any time in Puerto Vallarta, you have probably noticed it is a very gay-friendly city, with pride parades, drag shows, and LGBT inclusive signs in many restaurants. The city has become one of the hottest destinations in Mexico for LGBT travelers, and the city welcomes visitors regardless of gender, sexuality, religion, or race.

No matter who you are or where you are, always be aware of your surroundings when you’re in an unfamiliar city. If you ever start to feel uncomfortable or get lost, duck into a nearby restaurant or Oxxo convenience store to gather yourself and figure out where to go. Avoid being targeted by pickpockets by stowing flashy jewelry or designer bags in your resort before going out. Guard your possessions at the beach or even bury them just beneath the sand under your towel before jumping into the ocean. These tips will help you avoid danger and theft as you travel in Puerto Vallarta or anywhere else in the world.


While there are no official Puerto Vallarta warnings from the US government, any place can become dangerous in today’s world. Stay up to date on news about safety in town, and check with your hotel’s concierge before traveling to an unfamiliar area of Puerto Vallarta. Practicing common sense and following these safety tips will keep you out of harm's way so that you’re mind is free to focus on soaking up the gorgeous views of paradise and spending time with those you love on vacation.

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