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Puerto Vallarta Safety 2024: How Safe is Puerto Vallarta for Travel?

Susan Laurent
Last Updated on
by Susan Laurent

Before you book your trip to Puerto Vallarta, there’s something very important to talk about — your safety!

Puerto Vallarta sits on the shores of Mexico’s Pacific coast, in the state of Jalisco — which, according to the U.S. Government, is a state you need to “Reconsider Visiting.”

In Jalisco, crime and violence go hand in hand, and several incidents involving cartels have harmed innocent tourists and citizens.

But how dangerous is Puerto Vallarta in particular?

In this guide, we’ll expose it all — Puerto Vallarta’s crime rates, COVID-19 epidemic, carbon monoxide poisoning, natural disasters, beach pollution, etc.

Puerto Vallarta

Your safety is our utmost priority, so let’s begin.


Are you planning a last minute trip to Puerto Vallarta? We’ve put together all the resources you’ll need for a fun & safe travel:

🛌  Best & Safest Places to Stay in Puerto Vallarta:

👉 Hotel Luxury Patio Azul – Outdoor swimming pool, Bar, Free WiFi
👉 Sheraton Buganvilias Resort – Airport shuttle, Free WiFi, Beachfront
👉 Grand Park Royal – 3 swimming pools, Beachfront, Free parking
👉 Krystal Grand – Fitness centre, Room service, Bar

⛱️ Fun Activities & Tours in Puerto Vallarta:

👉 Extreme Zip Line Adventure
👉 Puerto Vallarta Original Canopy Tour, Ziplining, Tequila and Speed Boat Ride
👉 Outdoor Zip line Adventure

🚗 Best & Safest Puerto Vallarta Transportation Services:

👉 Airport Pickup Service – Welcome Pickups
👉 Rent a Car – DiscoverCars

🙏 Stay Safe While Travelling:

👉 Safetywing (for medical insurance)
👉 VisitorsCoverage (for trip insurance)

Unveiling the Reality: A Comprehensive Look at Puerto Vallarta Crime Rates

Puerto Vallarta has a crime rating of 35.23.

If we compare it to other Mexican hotspots, Puerto Vallarta has one of the lowest rates of all. For instance, Cabo San Lucas has a crime rate of 44.50, whereas the beautiful Cancun has a crime rate of 56.16.

Nevertheless, serious crimes are prevalent, as seen in the 2011 crime report.

Puerto Vallarta is also a city in Mexico’s 11th most violent state, Jalisco.

What’s more, Jalisco is the base point for one of the deadliest Mexican cartels — the Jalisco New Generation Cartel, meaning most criminal activity in the state and its cities is mainly cartel-related.

This is why the U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory cautiously guiding tourists to “Reconsider Traveling” to the state of Jalisco.

So if you’re looking for an alternative where you can be worry-free, you’ll have to stick to other, safer destinations, like the beautiful island of Cozumel.

COVID-19 Safety

The state of Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta sits, has a daily average of 70 positive cases, which is a relatively small number considering the state’s size.

Tourists aren’t required to wear masks in Puerto Vallarta’s restaurants, hotels, or other public places. However, they may need to wear a mask while using public transportation or flying if airline regulations mandate it.

When you arrive in Puerto Vallarta, your temperature may be taken, and you may be sent to a medical institution if you exhibit symptoms.

If you experience some of the symptoms while in Puerto Vallarta and want to get immediately tested, private PCR testing costs around 950 and 4500 MXN ($53 and $250), and viral antigen testing costs between 200 to 1000 MXN ($11 and $55).

To avoid the spread of COVID-19, continue practicing social distancing, frequently wash your hands, use alcohol-based hand sanitizer, cough or sneeze in the inside portion of your elbow, don’t travel, and most importantly, get treatment.

Perils of Nature: The Risk of Natural Disasters in Puerto Vallarta

A view shows swollen Cuale river waters after that Hurricane Nora pounds Mexico coast with heavy rains and strong winds in Puerto Vallarta, in Jalisco state, Mexico August 29, 2021. REUTERS/Alfonso Lepe

Two natural disasters generally threaten Puerto Vallarta: hurricanes and earthquakes. Let’s learn more about them.

Hurricane Information and Precautions

The hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta runs from June to November. The peak probability for hurricanes is between August and October.

The most recent hurricane that struck Puerto Vallarta was Hurricane Roslyn in October 2022. Roslyn was a category 3 hurricane that brought heavy rain, high waves, and flooded streets.

Another category 4 hurricane, Hurricane Kenna, hit Puerto Vallarta in October 2002. The hurricane flooded streets, homes, and hotels along the beach, ripped down trees and electrical lines, and forced many residents to evacuate their homes.

It’s crucial to know that although these natural calamities happen, Puerto Vallarta isn’t frequently affected by hurricanes or tropical storms. It’s, nonetheless, vital to monitor weather forecasts.

Visit the National Hurricane Service for the most recent updates regarding hurricanes in Mexico and Puerto Vallarta.

Earthquake Information and Precautions

Mexico is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, a region recognized for its tectonic activity.

Fortunately, there are no big earthquakes with destructive potential in Puerto Vallarta. However, the city occasionally experiences tremors of a lighter magnitude.

The earthquakes that sometimes occur are of magnitudes 2, 3, and 4. According to the magnitude earthquake scale, these tremors are felt but cause minor damage.

An earthquake last hit Puerto Vallarta on 18 June 2023 with a magnitude of 3.6. There was another a couple of days prior, on June 14, 2023,  with a magnitude of 3.8.

For the latest earthquakes hitting Puerto Vallarta, visit the VolcanoDiscovery website or download the  911 CDMX app to your smartphone.

Breathing Safely in Puerto Vallarta: Carbon Monoxide Awareness and Prevention

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning occurs when a person inhales too much of the toxic carbon monoxide gas.

The gas has no smell, color, or taste, and our senses cannot detect it until we suffer some of its symptoms. The symptoms include feeling dizzy or disoriented, having a headache, losing consciousness, or having chest discomfort, among others.

The main sources of carbon monoxide gas leaks are faulty kerosene and gas space heaters, chimneys and furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves, fireplaces, gas stoves, generators, etc.

Once these house appliances leak the toxic CO, the level of oxygen carried in our bloodstream and into critical organs like the heart and brain becomes severely restricted. Prolonged inhalation of CO can cause paralysis, brain damage, or be fatal.

Puerto Vallarta hasn’t suffered any cases of CO poisoning. However, there have been three reported incidents in Mexico City, and a Juarez study found that a substantial percentage of households have harmful levels of CO.

As a result, health experts advise installing carbon monoxide detectors within ten feet of each bedroom in residences, hotel rooms, and rental properties. Additionally, if one is not provided by the rental property, travelers should bring their own CO detectors.

Serenity by the Shore: The Safety of Puerto Vallarta Beaches

If you ignore the U.S. government warning and decide to go to Puerto Vallarta at your own risk, you should know that its beaches are clean, safe, and eco-friendly.

The city has been awarded the prestigious Blue Flag status, recognized as a mark of excellence in terms of cleanliness, environmental care, and safety.

Eight beaches earned the Blue Flag status, including Palmares, Camarones, Sheraton, Oro, Garza Blanca, Amapas, Conchas Chinas I, and Conchas Chinas II.

Puerto Vallarta uses an additional set of multi-colored flags about the conditions for swimming and dangerous marine life. There are a total of five flags, which are as follows:

  • Black — Do not swim; deadly currents
  • Red — Avoid swimming; dangerous currents
  • Yellow — Semi-safe; swim with caution
  • White — Dangerous marine life; swim with caution
  • Green — Safe to swim

While it’s absolutely amazing that Puerto Vallarta’s beaches have been recognized for cleanliness and safety, remember that you’re in the Jalisco New Generation base point, and danger can strike at any time.

So to stay safe, carefully consider other coastal destinations that are just as beautiful, eco-friendly, and bacteria-free as Puerto Vallarta but are much safer — for instance, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.

Puerto Vallarta Weather Patterns: What to Expect?

Puerto Vallarta has two seasons: wet and dry.

The dry season occurs in November and ends in May. This period is characterized by extremely clear skies, shimmery sun, and almost no rain. The temperatures revolve around 73°F (23°C), with the maximum reaching 86°F (30°C). The hottest months are November and May, and the driest are February, March, and April.

Puerto Vallarta’s wet season lasts from June through October. The city sees more rainfall, higher humidity, and scorching temperatures during these months. The wettest months are July, August, and September, whereas October is the least rainy. All months have scorching weather, with August slightly hotter than the rest. The average temperature in the wet season is around 82°F (28°C), and a maximum of 90°F (32°C).

Weather Overview in Puerto Vallarta


The summer season in Puerto Vallarta begins in June and ends in August. The daily average temperature is around 83°F (28°C). On days when it’s warmest, the temperature in Puerto Vallarta can exceed 90°F (32°C). Summer nights are nice, with temperatures about 77°F (24°C).


The autumn season in Puerto Vallarta lasts from September to November. The standard daily temperature can rise to 82°F (27°C), with the highest possible high of 90°F (32°C). The temperature at nighttime is 70°F (20°C).


Puerto Vallarta’s winter season lasts from December through February. The average daytime temperature is approximately 71°F (21°C), with a peak temperature of 82°F (27°C). Winter nights are typically around 62°F (16°C).


Puerto Vallarta’s spring season lasts from March until May. The daily average temperature is 73°F (23°C), while on days when it’s hottest, Puerto Vallarta can reach 85°F (29°C). Spring nights are pleasant, with temperatures of 66°F (18°C).

When Is the Best Time to Visit Puerto Vallarta?

This wouldn’t be much of a safety guide if we actually encouraged you to travel to Puerto Vallarta, given that the US government advises tourists to reconsider visiting this place.

So, in terms of safety, there’s no suitable time to visit Puerto Vallarta. The situation could possibly improve in the near future, but until then, it’s advisable to heed the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory.

If you’re wondering when is the best time to visit this city once it’s safer, December through May are the ideal months. This is the time of year when there’s the least chance of rain, the skies are clear, and the nights are perfectly serene. This period is also an excellent time to go whale watching.

Exploring Puerto Vallarta Solo or With a Family: Is It a Good Idea?

With all of the crime spree around Puerto Vallarta, visiting the city alone or with your family is not a good idea.

For those currently in Puerto Vallarta or eagerly planning a vacation at their own risk, here are some tips and tricks for staying safe.

Essential tips for staying safe:

  • Learn basic Spanish
  • Purchase a Mexican SIM card
  • Uber is the most reliable transportation service
  • Avoid street taxis. They may scam you
  • Use Google Maps to find the nearest police station
  • Book in reputable hotels with a solid reputation
  • Always keep some pesos on hand
  • Don’t wander at night, especially in isolated areas
  • Don’t venture too far from your lodging
  • Never initiate a conflict
  • Never drink tap water
  • Know the emergency numbers: 911 (police), 066 (ambulance), 080 (fire services)
  • Thieves usually target public transit, ATMs, and the beach — be extremely cautious of your belongings in these areas

Tips for traveling alone:

  • Keep in touch with a friend or family member at all times
  • Keep it “low-key” and avoid going out frequently so that people don’t notice you’re alone
  • Make no friends with strangers
  • Never give out personal information to anyone
  • Dress modestly
  • Stay away from catcallers
  • Avoid places that are densely populated with clubs and bars
  • Drink responsibly to maintain control over what is going on around you
  • Kindly refuse illegal substances
  • Be wary of anyone putting a narcotic in your drink

Tips for traveling with your family:

  • Stay in your hotel as much as possible for the benefit of your family’s protection
  • Renting a car is safer and more dependable than constantly calling a taxi
  • You should not drink and drive
  • Keep an eye on your children at all times, especially on the beach
  • Make sure that the family is never separated
  • Pack a first-aid kit
  • Visit well-known eateries and reserve hotels that offer family-friendly activities
  • Don’t stay too late in bars and restaurants


This concludes our carefully crafted guide on Puerto Vallarta safety for 2023 — fingers crossed that this beautiful destination will be safe to visit soon.

Please heed the U.S. government’s travel advisory until then and think twice before visiting this location! It’s just not worth the danger with all the cartel presence and crime currently happening there.

You deserve a vacation where you always feel comfortable and not constantly on guard against potential threats. Stress and vacation don’t go hand in hand! So, stay safe, and leave Puerto Vallarta for another time.

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
  1. From 2010 to 2019 a group of my friends spent the last 2 weeks of May in PV. I began joining them in 2014. We would have between 8 and 15 guys each year and we stayed in the Zona Romantica near Playa de los Muertos and during this time the city’s well known Restaurant Week and Gay Pride Week fell. My friends who had gone from the start in 2010 explained the cartels presence as insuring our safety because anyone who effed with a tourist would have to deal with the cartel. Over that period there were zero incidents to anyone in our group despite us routinely walking everywhere until 4 am or later, often quite liquored up. While I don’t endorse cartels and I am aware of the many issues surrounding them I have rarely felt safer anyplace I’ve traveled. How has this changed in PV or throughout Jalisco?

  2. Do you realize, you say PV’s crime is LOWER than Cabo and Cancun – then in closing you urge readers to reconsider PV and GO TO CABO AND CANCUN instead!

    “So to stay safe, carefully consider other coastal destinations that are just as beautiful, eco-friendly, and bacteria-free as Puerto Vallarta but are much safer — for instance, Cancun and Cabo San Lucas.”

    I have been coming to PV for 25 years. I know live here full time. I moved here from Chicago where you heard about crimes daily in the news! The gun violence is so many US states is out of control! To my knowledge, I have heard of no gun shootings, no violence, no rape. Guns are basically illegal here and very few people own a gun. Private gun ownership is limited to the type and caliber permitted by law and allowed only within one’s place of residence. Open and concealed arms carry in Mexico are grounds for immediate arrest!

    Once in a while a house break in maybe. And the occasional late night purse or phone being stole off a restaurant table near the street. or someone being “mugged” late late at night who is out alone. But again, MUCH LESS than in Chicago, Miami or Anaheim California! I have read car theft is a problem here? But I have only read that. I don’t know anyone here who that has affected.

    I realize that State has issues with the cartel. I do believe PV is not affected by any of this.

    1. Hi Derrick, thank you for reading and appreciate your comments. Please keep in mind that the crime rates are valid, but the type of crime also needs to be considered. Many popular destinations around the world attract high rates of petty or property crime. This drives up overall crime rates. We are focused on providing useful travel safety information and thus need to present the whole story when it comes to types of crimes and how much danger travelers will face.

      Our information is also not comparative or trying to “punish” certain areas and “reward” others. This article has its own purpose of those interested in potential travel there. Thus, it’s of no relevance to talk about another area in the world and a comparative analysis of crime between them.

      We appreciate your first-hand experiences that you shared about Puerto Vallarta. I also edited your website’s address because you had a typo, in case our readers would like to visit you. All the best.

  3. I lived in PV 2019 2023. Lots of crime goes unreported. Many locals and tourists don’t report anything to the police; therefore, the crime numbers are not accurate – they are higher. Thefts of cell phones, purses being snatched, police extortion is common. There is also a big PR machine trying to convince everyone “how safe PV is”. Most visitors will have a safe visit, but PV is far from some perfect utopia.

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