Is it safe to travel to Mexico and Puerto Vallarta?
This is what the US State Department has to say about travel to Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco (Guadalajara). They tend to be extremely cautious (sometimes a bit absurdly so) when it comes to their travel warnings, maybe they are scared of being sued or something like that... On their most recent Official Mexico publication regarding Jalisco. the state that includes Guadalajara and PV, they say:
“There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Riviera Nayarit (including Puerto Vallarta), Chapala, and Ajijic.” (Travel Advisory December 17, 2019)
It is important that readers understand that the violence you might hear of in Mexico-USA border towns and cities is not at all representative of what happens in the rest of Mexico, especially tourist destinations like Pto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas or Cancun and that the main area of conflict is some 1200 and 700 miles away (Tijuana, Ciudad Juárez, and Laredo). It's like thinking that the whole of the USA is as violent and dangerous as Detroit, Chicago, Washington DC or New Orleans.
PV's Tourism Board hired a leading global investigative and security firm, Thomas Dale and Associates, in 2011 to review safety levels in the city, this year the company followed up with a 2012 report.
The city of Puerto Vallarta has approximately the same population as Anaheim, California (ie. Disneyland), which also has a high number of visitors to many attractions and numerous hotels. Anaheim and PV are both located on the Pacific Coast and are vacation destinations. This offers a credible and clear comparison for both cities and the real vs. the perceived risk:
The company mentions vulnerabilities, such as the surrounding areas that are used for hiking, bird watching, photography and other sports and activities, increase your risk of unforeseen events, both natural and man-made, as was the case of the group of 22 tourists in El Nogalito (1.5 hour drive from Vallarta) that were robbed in Feb. 2012, there were no injuries. The reports mention that Methamphetamine will be the future drug issue and has to be contained.
TDA also mentions positive trends and actions that have helped improve the local safety, for example, the city has twice the national average of policemen required by the Mexican Federal Government. Another worthwhile program is the Taxi Safe alert system, read more here.
TDA mentions that Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest destinations for international visitors and is also very safe and preferred by expats too, something that is also backed up by the numbers provided by SECTUR, which mention that occupation in 2017 has been up around 20% compared with 2011.
Consumers and media have given the city numerous awards.
So then, is Puerto Vallarta safe? Yes, without a doubt!
The numbers back it up, more than 5 million happy visitors in 2019 and with a projected 20% increase in cruise ship passenger arrivals for 2020, even after a record-breaking year in 2019. Studies support this too and, furthermore, the fact that no official travel warnings include the city also drives the point home.
But don't take our word for it, use some of the resources we offer below and read for yourself.
Have a great trip to Puerto Vallarta!
Those looking for information safety and crime in Nuevo Vallarta, considering this travel destination is 6 miles North of the PV Airport, any rules that apply for Puerto Vallarta, apply for that destination too.
- Compare Mexico & USA on crime stats: http://www.nationmaster.com/compare/Mexico/United-States/Crime
- Consumer Affairs April 2013: http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news/is-it-still-safe-to-go-to-mexico-040113.html
- Crime, the USA vs. Mexico: http://www.mexicoonmymind.com/crime-usa-vs-mexico
- Crime in Mexico: Is Puerto Vallarta unsafe for travelers?
- Foreign Travel Advice México, UK.Gov
- How safe is Mexico? http://howsafeismexico.com
- In the Capital - More likely to get murdered in Washington DC, than Mexico City.
- Is Mexico Safe: A great blog with useful information on safety in all of Mexico.
- Retiring to Mexico, is it safe? AbroadDreams.com
- Travel Market Report (Feb 21, 2019)
- US citizens safer in Mexico than at home - Lonely Planet
- US Department of State Travel Warnings for Mexico
- World Nomads (Feb 11, 2019)