Sitting on the Pacific Coast of Mexico in the state of Jalisco, Puerto Vallarta is the prime spot for the seaside, beach-ready resort on the Mexican west coast. Here be top restaurants, a picturesque old town, LGBT friendly beaches and establishments – and a whole lot of sea!
Being in Mexico, there’s the worry that Puerto Vallarta isn’t going to be safe, or not up to basic safety standards. This worry is reinforced by the fact that Puerto Vallarta does suffer from some level of crime.
This is exactly the reason that we have decided to create this epic safety guide to Puerto Vallarta. We have packed in a whole lot of expert knowledge, insider information and pro traveller tips that are going to keep your trip to this coastal city all sorts of awesome.
We’re all about smart travel. Safety isn’t just how you should act in a city, it’s how to use the transport system, where to stay as a solo traveller; how to travel as a solo female traveller, etc. Whether you want to know whether it’s a safe place for you to visit, or you just want to know a few tips, we’ve got it sorted!
Whilst COVD 19 has not gone away, the world is opening up again to travellers. Most governments advise against travel to Mexico and if you do visit, you may be subjected to quarantine upon returning home.
For the most up-to-date safety information and what you should be doing to help, please consult the WHO and your local government.
- How Safe is Puerto Vallarta? (Our take)
- Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
- Is it Safe to Visit Puerto Vallarta Right Now?
- Puerto Vallarta Travel Insurance
- 20 Top Safety Tips for Traveling to Puerto Vallarta
- Keeping your money safe in Puerto Vallarta
- Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel alone?
- Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo female travellers?
- Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel for families?
- Is it safe to drive in Puerto Vallarta?
- Is Uber safe in Puerto Vallarta?
- Are taxis safe in Puerto Vallarta?
- Is public transportation in Puerto Vallarta safe?
- Is the food in Puerto Vallarta safe?
- Can you drink the water in Puerto Vallarta?
- Is Puerto Vallarta safe to live?
- How is healthcare in Puerto Vallarta?
- Final thoughts on the safety of Puerto Vallarta
How Safe is Puerto Vallarta? (Our take)
Being a beach destination, Puerto Vallarta definitely has a lot of coastlines where you can spend your days chilling out or adventuring along the shore. It’s a fun, friendly place to visit.
The area surrounding Puerto Vallarta hasn’t seen the same levels of cartel violence that the rest of Mexico seems to be facing. In addition, it’s an open and relaxed place with an LGBT-friendly vibe and a chilled atmosphere.
That said, there are minor annoyances and dangers to worry about here, pickpockets being one of them.
Any crime you may come across can easily be avoided by some common sense though. Crime here tends to be on the petty side.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit? (The facts.)
Puerto Vallarta attracts a ton of tourists each year – it’s a fun place, after all!
In 2017 its international airport welcomed 4.76 million visitors. The airport boasts 41 international routes, which attracts people from all over the world.
Tourism has grown so much in fact that the city plans to build a new airport in 2020 to deal with the increase in visitor numbers.
Not only that, but the cruise industry is growing here, too. In 2018, the port saw 137 cruise ships dock up: that’s 328,000 passengers. So it’s safe to say that Puerto Vallarta is more than used to people rocking up in town.
The town plans to attract more tourists every year and is constantly renovating hotels and attractions to make it, well, better.
Crime rates are lower than much of Mexico; Puerto Vallarta is one of the main tourist destinations in the country, other than the Riviera Maya. This town has also never had any travel restrictions put on it by countries like the US.
The tourism board said in a statement, “The vast majority of crimes in Mexico do not occur in areas frequented by international tourists.” So there you have it, folks.
Discover Broke Backpacker Travel Secrets!
Pop your email address in below and we’ll send you your copy of the Backpacker Bible for free – learn how to travel on $10 a day!
Is it Safe to Visit Puerto Vallarta Right Now?
At the moment, Puerto Vallarta has low crime rates – lower even than Miami and Las Vegas. Violent crime isn’t so much of an issue, but there are some other things to watch out for.
The Pacific Coast can become pretty volatile in hurricane season, which runs from June to November. This is something to be aware of if you’re travelling to the area.
Another thing to consider: safety when swimming. Tides, currents, even things like jellyfish, are all things to watch out for. It goes without saying, but paying attention to flags on the beaches is a must.
It’s basically a pretty safe destination. There may be occurrences of bag snatching and pickpocketing, but other than that, the town is a pretty peaceful place. Crime-wise anyway.
Do you need Travel Insurance for your trip? Even if you’re only going for a few days, that’s more than enough time to get smote by wrathful angels. Have fun in X, but take it from us, overseas medical care and canceled flights can be seriously expensive – insurance can, therefore, be a life-saver.
Travel mishaps can and do happen and it is well worth thinking about insurance before you leave home.
We have used World Nomads for years now and I have personally made several claims. Why not get a quote from them yourself?
Do be sure to read the terms and conditions to make sure that the policy covers your needs.
Getting an estimate from World Nomads is simple – just click the button or image below, fill out the necessary info, and you’re on your way!
Puerto Vallarta may well be one of the “safer” areas of Mexico you could choose to travel to, but then again – it’s still Mexico and you’re still backpacking in Mexico. Things like petty theft aren’t non-existent and you’ll still have to apply travel common sense when you’re wandering about. To help you keep even safer when you’re visiting this fun beachside destination, we’ve put together some of our best travel tips so you can have an awesome time here.
- Understand local culture – a little bit of Spanish will get you a long way. Or not just that, but being polite about Mexico is nice too.
- Careful at the beach – don’t swim too far out and be wary of waves that come out of nowhere.
- Don’t go swimming under the influence – of anything. It seems like a great idea (we’ve been there) but trust us: it’s not.
- Ignore taxi (and other) touts at the airport – just say ‘no thank you’ and keep walking. It won’t be the best deal, even though they’re insisting it is.
- Don’t buy the tourist tat in town – silver-plated stuff will be sold at a premium price. Don’t buy, it’s not worth the money.
- Same goes for beach touts – if you feel like buying it, fine, but we’re just saying, it ain’t worth what you pay.
- The town can be surprisingly hilly – especially if you’re heading up to ziplines (they’re a thing here). Steps and rails aren’t always in place – different safety standards and all that.
- Don’t walk around with flashy stuff on the show – looking overly rich (and like a tourist) will single you out as a potential target; try to dress down.
- Keep your bag closed and close to you – snatching of stuff does happen here, so keep it close.
- Limit the amount of money and cards you carry – having everything in one place is a recipe for disaster. If you want to bring a bit of cash with you, wear a money belt.
- Careful of getting money out at an ATM – you never know who’s watching.
- Don’t drink too much – it’s a party place, of course, but getting totally smashed could put you in a dangerous situation, even if you’re with friends or family.
- Don’t spend all your time on your phone – a good way to a) not be aware of your surroundings, b) get your phone snatched.
- If you’re not confident, stay in touristed areas – wandering off the beaten path might be dodgy.
- Be aware of your surroundings – walking around like you’re in a theme park is not the way to go anywhere, let alone here
- Get a sim card – we can’t even begin to explain the benefits of having a smartphone with data. For real.
- Cover up against mosquitoes – they’re nasty at the best of times, but here they can carry dengue fever and zika virus. Use repellent and cover-up, especially at dusk, which is the time of day they love the most.
There you have it. Not too bad, is it? Whilst Puerto Vallarta is pretty safe, and there’s not a lot to worry about, it goes without saying that being anywhere in the world without your regular dose of common sense is going to be the best way to put yourself in danger – or at least a dodgy situation. Being aware of where you are, what other people are doing around you, and trusting your gut, will go a long way.
Some General Safety Tips from the OG Broke Backpacker
Keeping your money safe in Puerto Vallarta
Losing money sucks and it can happen pretty much anywhere in the world. If it doesn’t put you out of pocket for a day, then it might actually stop your trip in its tracks. You may lose it yourself, but it might be stolen from you, too.
Puerto Vallarta isn’t exactly known for its crime, but it still happens. Being in such a “safe” place can put your guard down, which means that it may be easier to catch you unaware. The best thing, then, is to wear a money belt!
You should always have emergency cash hidden on you – pick up this awesome security belt with its hidden pocket before you travel, it’s perfect for hiding money, a passport photocopy.
We’re all about money belts. If you aren’t all about it, too, well, we’re here to say: you should be! So where should you start looking for one? Right here. We’re saving you time and hassle and straight-up recommending the Active Roots Security Belt.
It won’t cost you a fortune, it is unlikely to break on you, plus it’s so simple (our favourite point) – no crazy pockets here.
All you have to do is put your stash of cash in the handy zip pocket of the belt – which literally just looks like a belt – and then, boom. You’re ready for the day. Wearing a money belt, especially one as simple as this one, means you’re going to be able to walk around with peace of mind that you’ve got nothing in your pockets, and that you’re not wearing some obvious, bulging money belt under your clothes. Check out our in-depth review here.
If you need a little more room for your passport and other travel valuables, have a look at a full-size money belt that tucks under your clothes instead.
If neither of those options appeals to your refined fashion sense, don’t compromise! Opt for an infinity scarf with a hidden zipper pocket.
Solo travel is amazing. There are definitely a few different ways to see the world, but doing it by yourself means doing it at your own pace, challenging yourself, meeting new people, and getting to actually grow as a person. It’s not always awesome, but it’s mostly cool.
You can get lonely, jaded, bored, these things happen. Puerto Vallarta is a pretty fun and safe place, but it doesn’t mean it won’t wear you down being here, so here are our very best tips for solo travellers in Puerto Vallarta so you can have a blast and stay sane as you do so!
- Get yourself some awesome accommodation. Since you’re a solo traveller, we’d recommend booking yourself into a sociable hostel. Read reviews of other solo travellers and you’ll be able to make an informed decision about where you choose to stay in Puerto Vallarta.
- Put yourself out there. Booking yourself into a social place means you get to make friends people – it’s a good thing. But it won’t happen automatically. You’ve gotta put yourself out there. So sit in the common areas, get on the pub crawls and walking tours of the town, and get chatting to people. Having people to talk to is a good way to keep off the ‘solo travel blues’.
- Even if you’re by yourself, this is a great town to just grab a drink at a small bar by yourself. It’s easy to get chatting to other people here. Head to the Downtown and Southside areas: both social places where it’s pretty easy to meet other people.
- And if you don’t drink, it’s still easy to get to know other people here. Simply stroll along the beach, sit and have a coffee at one of the beachside restaurants, strike up a conversation with someone. Go for it.
- Plan your route home if you’re going out for the night. Getting ultra drunk is probably not a good idea. You could very easily get yourself into a stupid (i.e. dodgy/dangerous) situation if you’re totally and utterly wasted, or you could simply get lost on your way home.
- Dress down for town wanderings. There will be a lot of people dressed in their vacation clothes, which is fine – if you’re on the beach, we would say. Still, we reckon you should dress down for town wanderings.
- Travel as light as possible. Trust us – it really, really, really isn’t fun lugging multiple, heavy bags around a hot resort town, especially when everyone around you isn’t doing that. Try and keep it to one bag and remember: you don’t need to pack everything you own. Plus, if you’ve got more than one bag, it’s just more stuff you have to keep an eye on.
- Let people know what you’re up to. We’re talking about people back at home. Keep your friends and family informed of what you’re doing, where you are. Calling someone up for a quick chat isn’t that hard, is it? Even a Facebook update is enough to let people know your whereabouts; even that is a lot safer than going off-grid.
Being a solo traveller in Puerto Vallarta is actually a lot of fun. There are loads of people to meet, a ton of activities to get involved with, food to eat, restaurants and cafes to visit, bars to drink at… Here it’s easy to stick to your own schedule and do what you want to do. Remember: travel at your own pace. For a first-time solo travel trip, we’d say Puerto Vallarta is actually a pretty good one. Party if you want, chill if you want – it’s all good!
Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo female travellers?
Travelling to Puerto Vallarta by yourself is actually a super cool thing to do if you’re a solo female traveller. It’s a safe and fun place – especially good for a first-time solo trip; it’s the perfect place to push yourself just that little bit outside of your comfort zone.
Being female, it’s not always as simple a decision as just jumping on a plane. Not only are there actual risks for you to worry about, but other people worry about you too! So to help you get the best out of your Puerto Vallarta trip, here are our top tips for solo female travellers.
- Do some networking before you do jump on that plane. Check Facebook groups (Girls Love Travel is a good one) or check out Instagram, search hashtags like #girlsabroad or #citizenfemme (there are loads more) and look to see if other solo female travellers are going to be in Puerto Vallarta when you are. Or if not, message and see if they’ve got any tips for you!
- Accommodation. Get advice on where’s the best place to stay for females in Puerto Vallarta, look at reviews from other solo female travellers and also message other solo female travellers for recommendations. Not only is this good for safety and security, but you (probably) don’t want to be staying at some couples’ resort hotel if you’re by yourself, right? Do your research.
- Meet people. This can be done by hanging around the hostel’s social spaces, around the pool at a hotel, or by booking yourself on a tour. Your accommodation might arrange one, or you can search for the recommended ones in a guidebook or online. This is an awesome way to meet other travellers.
- If you want to head out at night time drinking, it’s probably best you go with a companion. A friend you’ve made in your female-only dorm, a new mate from a neighbouring hostel… going with someone just means you’ll get less hassle from men whilst you’re out.
- When you are out at a bar or restaurants don’t leave your drink unattended. Drink spiking occurs all around the world and it’s always good to keep an eye on your drinks – and food. Better safe than sorry.
- Dress a little more conservatively than you’d dress at home. If you don’t want unwanted attention, it’ll help, as a solo female traveller. Having a sarong, or similar, in your bag that you can use to throw on is good if you suddenly feel underdressed or uncomfortable. Covering up a little more also helps against mosquitoes, so there you go.
- Keep in touch with people back home. Be flexible with your plans, of course, but also don’t forget to tell people back at home – flatmate, parent(s), sibling – what your itinerary is.
- Don’t be freaked out by going out and eating alone at restaurants. This can actually be a fun thing to do; you can always sit at the bar of a restaurant and eat (rather than taking up a whole table). Take a book for the company if you want – who cares!
- Don’t feel like you have to get off the beaten path and really “into” travelling. We’re saying this especially if this is your first-time travel trip, but it’s fine to stick to touristed areas – you’re still in a different country with a different culture. In fact, touristed areas are the safer areas of towns (generally) anyway.
There are tons of ways to store valuables and goods while traveling but a travel scarf has to be the least obtrusive and the most classy.
The Active Roots Zipper Scarf is your run-of-the-mill infinity scarf but with a hidden pocket that’s big and sturdy enough for a night’s cash, your phone, a passport and (hell with it) some snacks too!
Puerto Vallarta is a cool place to visit. It’s fun, it’s pretty “easy” to travel and get around, it’s pretty, it’s got beaches, and there are lots of people to meet. That’s why we reckon it’s an AWESOME idea if you’re looking for somewhere to visit as a first-time solo female traveller!
There won’t be a lot of the usual hassle and catcalling you MAY get in other areas of Mexico. There’s more of a liberal mindset here: Puerto Vallarta is actually an LGBT-friendly destination. It goes without saying that it’s open-minded to females travelling around by themselves.
However, it’s STILL important to have common sense. It may be safe, but you should still trust your gut and NOT do things you wouldn’t do at home. Putting yourself at risk is easily done. That doesn’t mean you can’t push the boat out a lil’ bit, but it’s all about smart travel.
Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel for families?
There’s a whole load of stuff to do and see in Puerto Vallarta for families. There are a ton of child-friendly attractions for all ages, for one thing, and then there’s the fact that Mexican society is all about families. You should get a warm welcome at most restaurants and cafes, and accommodation here.
If you stay at a resort hotel there will be kids’ clubs, family rooms, and even all-inclusive meals, so you won’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat.
The most you’ll have to worry about is covering up from the heat and the mosquitoes. It’s often hot and humid so aside from the usual stuff like slathering on sunscreen and wearing sunhats, you should probably book a place to stay that’s got its own swimming pool so you’ve got somewhere to cool off in. Insect repellent is a smart idea to keep mosquitoes away.
Swimming in the sea does have its risks for small children, just make sure you keep an eye on what they’re doing and where they are. Beaches like Playa de los Muertos are family-oriented, but there are some party-party establishments nearby that you probably steer clear of – not exactly family-friendly!
There’s fun stuff to do here, one of which is ziplining. You can also book tours, usually easily done through the hotel you’re staying at.
Puerto Vallarta is an awesome place to immerse you and your family in Mexican culture where you won’t have to worry much at all about safety or crime levels.
Walk along the Malecon – a boardwalk near the beach with plenty of local life and street vendors, as well as restaurants, too. Twenty minutes from here is El Pitillal, which is a decent local area where your kids can play in the street; no safety worries or tourist traps insight.
Generally, however, Puerto Vallarta is a safe place to travel with families – and all-round cool place to take your kids!
Is it safe to drive in Puerto Vallarta?
Driving in Puerto Vallarta isn’t really worth it if you’re just there for a resort-type holiday by the sea.
That said, hiring a car does open up the surrounding area for some fun road trips. You’ll be able to travel at your own pace and with an extra degree of freedom – and without too much hassle, too.
Thanks to the geography of the place, it’s pretty easy to navigate. The sea is on one side, the mountains are on the other.
There are some things that you should watch out for though; this is still Mexico, and it’s not known for being the safest place to drive in the world.
Things like people using their hazard lights all the time without much of an inkling of why they’re using them; speedy drivers in general; people jumping red lights; erratic maneuvers… That’s par for the course here.
The most confusing thing you’ll probably face is one-way streets which you’ll find around Puerto Vallarta and Banderas Bay. These aren’t always marked and sometimes you can get stuck with someone coming the other way.
If you’re going along a highway, expect to see cows and pedestrians walking along the side of the road. Needless to say, you’ll have to be aware all the time.
Wearing a seatbelt is the law. Even if locals aren’t doing it, you definitely should. You also can’t use your phone whilst driving (it’s dangerous anyway), and then there’s driving under the influence: not only is it stupid, but it’s super dangerous and you could go to prison if caught.
You might see the transport police driving along the highways outside of town. Usually, they’ll just be monitoring traffic. Not too much to worry about.
The claim is there is a “zero tolerance” policy when it comes to police asking for bribes. If it does happen, you can report it to the police (of course).
Basically, it’s safe to drive in Puerto Vallarta. It’s a nice way to get to see the surrounding area. Keep a cool head, be aware of what’s going on around you, don’t get involved in any road rage, and you should be fine!
Is Uber safe in Puerto Vallarta?
Uber is safe in Puerto Vallarta. And a lot of people prefer to use Uber in Puerto Vallarta as opposed to taxis.
These are easy to get hold of, cheap and less hassle-y (i.e. you don’t have to worry about haggling for prices). Just all-round easier to use than taxis.
Ubers in Puerto Vallarta are often more dependable than taxis. They’re also often nicer cars, too, and tend to be less erratic drivers, making the trips altogether less scary.
So, yeah. Ubers are safe in Puerto Vallarta. The only thing is that you can’t get Ubers from the airport; for that, you’ll have to rely on taxis.
Are taxis safe in Puerto Vallarta?
Taxis are actually pretty safe in Puerto Vallarta – and of course they’re going to more expensive than public transport – but do be aware that will have to (probably) haggle for the fare, so make sure you can haggle like a pro.
It’s important to know how much a certain journey should cost – roughly, anyway – before you hop in a taxi. Ask at your hotel or look it up in your guidebook. This is because the taxis in Puerto Vallarta aren’t metered. Usually, the driver will have a rate sheet in the car; ask the driver to show it to you if it’s not on display.
Taxi drivers usually speak a small amount of English, enough that you’ll be able to tell them where you want to go. But don’t expect it.
Sometimes taxi drivers will often try to take you somewhere “recommended” or that the place you want to go to is “closed”. Why? Because he’s most likely got some sort of commission thing going on with the establishment he wants to take you to. If a driver offers, decline.
Now… airport taxis. Inside the arrivals terminal itself, you’ll be able to buy a ticket for a licensed taxi. This will be more expensive than a standard taxi, but then you’ll be guaranteed to get an actual licensed taxi. Top tip: if a taxi driver helps you with your luggage, you should tip them – but only if they help you with your luggage.
How do you tell the difference between a licensed and an unlicensed taxi? The taxis in Puerto Vallarta itself are yellow and will have the license displayed. Hail a cab, pretty straightforward, or head to a taxi rank; these will be outside big hotels and popular destinations.
It’s not advised to use large denominations of cash in taxis. Often this will honestly be too large for the drivers to give you change for, but other times they might just try to bamboozle you with shortchanging in the rush of getting out the car. Carry small bills and make your life so much easier.
Is public transportation in Puerto Vallarta safe?
The public transport in Puerto Vallarta is made up of two things and two things only: bus and boat.
If you want to get around town cheaply, then, by all means, hop on the local bus. These run from 5 AM till 11 PM cost around 7.50 pesos for any distance, and ply major routes around town. You can get them from all over the place. One big hub is Plaza Lazaro Cardenas. The buses often run on loops and will be available roughly every five minutes.
You can also jump on a bus to take you to other areas. The white and orange Boca De Tomatlan buses will take you south along the coastal highway through Mismaloya and beyond. There is also a long-distance bus terminal that will take you longer distances.
Some things you should know about catching the bus…
- Make sure you have the correct change to give the driver
- It’s normal, if you’re travelling as a couple, that the female boards first and then the male pays both fares
- The fare is for one route and is non-transferable; you can’t get a return ticket
- When you sit on the bus, make sure not to sit in the two seats behind the driver; these are priority seats
- If you’re travelling as a big group, you shouldn’t mess around! What we mean is, try your best get on quickly; again, the last person who gets on pays – speeds up the process and shows courtesy to other passengers
- Hold onto that ticket! Inspectors get on and off buses, randomly, to check tickets
The other way to get around Puerto Vallarta are the water taxis. These serve routes that run to the stunning sandy beaches on the southside.
Usually, these depart from Playa de Los Muertos pier. They stop off at a load of other big, beachside destinations, like Playa de las Animas, Quimixto and Yelapa. They depart every hour between 10 AM and 4:30 PM.
When you do grab a boat, make sure that it’s not overcrowded. And wearing a lifejacket is probably a good idea. Plus you should cover up or wear a ton of sunscreen; the wind of going along makes it feel less hot, but you’re in the sun with no shade the whole time on the back of a boat. The perfect recipe for some gnarly sunburn.
Other than that, the public transport is safe in Puerto Vallarta. Go ahead!
When moving from place to place, you shouldn’t store travel documents in a bag, even if it’s under your seat or overhead.
A full-sized money belt that stays tucked under your clothes keeps your documents and cash organized during your travels and assures nothing critical gets left behind or stolen.
Is the food in Puerto Vallarta safe?
Being in Mexico, eating your way around Puerto Vallarta means tucking into a load of tasty Mexican food! This is obviously a good thing. Mexican food is amazing. Puerto Vallarta is actually a pretty top destination when it comes to all you foodies out there, too.
Even so, Mexico doesn’t always have the best reputation when it comes to food hygiene. We think you’ll probably be ok in Puerto Vallarta, but still – it pays to be smart. So here are some tips to keep you healthy and full up with only the best food when you’re here!
- Don’t just stick to resort food. In fact, it’s resort food that’s going to be more likely to make you ill than anywhere else; the resort buffet is notorious for giving people a touch of TD (travellers’ diarrhoea), so it’s best avoided. Instead, head out and get some real food in town.
- Don’t be afraid of food stalls. As long as you can see that the food is being cooked fresh and hot, then it should be fine. Anything that looks like it’s been sitting there all day, and there’s not a lot of heat going on, you should avoid.
- Go to places that have a queue of locals. Things like taco carts and local restaurants will be known for their tastiness, so if you see a line – or notice a busy restaurant – and you’re hungry, go for it. Locals aren’t likely to bother themselves with going somewhere that makes them ill, or isn’t delicious, are they?
- Do your research on local delicacies to try out. Things like birria (meat in a spicy sauce served with tortillas) are super tasty and definitely worth a try. Other classic Mexican dishes like tamales are done in a local style and should be looked for, too. Knowing what you want to eat will save you from choosing something you weren’t expecting on a menu.
- Heading outside the resort doesn’t automatically mean authentic. Steer clear of tourist traps and crappy chain restaurants. You’re in Mexico: go where Mexicans eat! Anywhere with touts trying to get you in probably won’t be serving up the best food going, and will have moneymaking higher on their agenda than food hygiene.
- There are some amazing family-owned restaurants to try, too. Beachside restaurants like La Palapa don’t just serve up great food but come complete with sparkly sea views, too.
- Be careful with fish and seafood in Puerto Vallarta. Being by the coast, there’s obviously a lot of it. Just be careful with it. This is the worst thing to get an upset stomach (food poisoning) from. If it smells a bit weird before you start eating, don’t bother with it; if it tastes weird whilst you’re eating it, stop. Order something else.
- Go easy with spicy food. In general, knowing your limits is probably a good idea. Just because it’s tasty, you don’t have to wolf down everything that’s on your plate. Overeating can make your stomach pretty upset too!
- If you’re extra worried, then maybe you should consider steering clear of salads and pre-peeled fruit. Make sure you can wash and peel fruit yourself. It’s not likely to make you ill, but “freshly washed” lettuce and other salad items could be a bit dodgy.
- Wash your hands, wash your hands, wash your hands. Honestly, this is the most simple thing when it comes to keeping yourself safe from germs that could make you ill getting all over your food. You’ve been on the beach, in the sea, who knows what sort of germs and dirt are lingering on your hands? Wash ’em and save your stomach from discomfort.
A steady flow of celebrity holidaymakers promotes a combo of international chefs and great ingredients for some pretty tasty dishes. There’s a mix of local Mexican food and interesting modern takes on dishes. Often for amazing prices as well. You’ll be in food heaven.
But not all restaurants and food stands are created equal. There will be some real bad places that you’ll want to avoid. Do your research, check Google reviews and TripAdvisor for the best places to eat in Puerto Vallarta and you’ll have an amazing time eating by the sea.
Can you drink the water in Puerto Vallarta?
The water in Puerto Vallarta is said to be safe to drink.
The local government has apparently invested a fair chunk of money in a “state of the art” water treatment system so that everybody can have nice, fresh, clean drinking water.
So yes, you can drink the water in Puerto Vallarta.
BUT – some areas and buildings have old pipes. Even though the water has been treated nicely, the pipes will be leaking in not-so-nice stuff into the water. If in doubt, ask your hotel or accommodation if the water is ok to drink.
If you’re paranoid, stick to filtered water (most accommodation will have this somewhere, in the lobby probably). So bring a refillable water bottle and make sure to fill up before you hit the sunny beaches – avoid getting dehydrated. If you decide to do so, we’ve put together a list of the best travel water bottles to help you out.
Single-use plastic bottles are a huge threat to Marine Life – Be a part of the solution and travel with a filter water bottle.
The GRAYL GEOPRESS water bottle is the ONLY all-in-one filter water bottle setup you’ll need. Whether you need to purify the water from a hostel sink in Kathmandu or a stream trickle in the Andes, the Geopress has got you covered.
Read our full review of the GRAYL GEOPRESS!
Is Puerto Vallarta safe to live?
Puerto Vallarta is a busy resort town and is a safe place to live in. It’s as popular with visitors as it is with expats who now call the place home – and we can honestly see why.
There’s a strong sense of local community and family in the area, which is something of a Mexican trait in general anyway.
It’s a friendly town and a safe one, too. That doesn’t mean that you should always be letting down your guard, though. Crime still exists, but crime levels are low – especially compared with the rest of Mexico.
As with all things related to moving to a new country, doing your research is an important part. One thing you could do is head to the Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need Or Want To Know, a Facebook group with over 49 thousand members. Ask your questions here and you will surely get answers!
It’s pretty easy to choose where to base yourself in Puerto Vallarta. The town is divided up into 5 areas, some of which are – naturally – more expensive than others.
There’s the pricey Marina area, with its golf courses and yachts; Centro with its busy boardwalk; then there’s the laid-back and traditional (and very stylish) Old Town complete with cobbled streets, boutiques and LGBT-friendly establishments. The hills surrounding the town are where you will find the luxury villas, some of which have been built by famous architects.
The best thing about Puerto Vallarta is that it has a pretty nice climate all year round. One thing to note, however, is that it does get very hot during some months; so much so that some people even leave during this time and return around mid-to-late September.
Basically, life in Puerto Vallarta is good. People who live by themselves feel safe. It’s everything people want to enjoy about Mexico, minus the crime, gangs, and violence that are often reported of the country. Good weather, good food, good history, good architecture, good beaches, good people – good times!
How is healthcare in Puerto Vallarta?
So you want to know about healthcare in Puerto Vallarta? Well, you’ll be happy to know that it’s actually pretty good. This is an international resort town and because of that, there are a lot of top doctors who live and work here.
It’s a place that’s got a surprising amount of good clinics and hospitals for such a small city. Often, if you do have something wrong with you and you need to see someone, English is widely spoken.
If you need treatment at a hospital, there are a few decent options. For example, Hospital San Javier Marina, in the Hotel Zone, has an emergency room, is open 24-hours, boasts top facilities and equipment; it’s pretty much the best one. That said, all hospitals are pretty good and all have ambulances that can pick you up in an emergency.
There are also privately-run clinics. These are good for everyday ailments or illnesses, like sprained ankles, stomach aches and that kind of thing. You’ll be able to walk (or hop) in and be seen without having to make an appointment and be seen without too much of a wait.
For things like medication, or advice on something maybe medical that you’re just not sure about, there is a load of pharmacies you could visit. Big, reliable chain pharmacies like Farmacia Guadalajara will be able to help you out.
Ask the staff at your hotel, hostel or guesthouse and they will be able to direct you to the nearest (or best) clinic or hospital.
Price-wise, healthcare in Puerto Vallarta is pretty affordable. Even so: have your travel insurance with you if you make a scheduled stop at a hospital or clinic. And make sure private care is covered by your insurance; it sometimes isn’t!
Final thoughts on the safety of Puerto Vallarta
Yes, Puerto Vallarta is in Mexico. Yes, it may have a bit of petty crime here and there – pickpockets and stuff. And yes, there may be a bit of a party thing going on here. What it doesn’t have is the same levels of crime that Mexico, on the whole, has. What it also doesn’t have is the seedy atmosphere that could come with a coastal party town in a developing country. Puerto Vallarta is a genuinely nice place!
Like we said earlier, this is the sort of place you come to and think, “oh yeah, this is why people want to come to Mexico…” It isn’t dangerous here. You won’t feel unsafe. Even as an LGBT traveller, you’re going to be pretty mindblown at what an inclusive and welcoming place this is for the LGBT community. By extension, solo travellers of all kinds won’t feel alone here. It’s a friendly, fun place.
We already said that, too. Basically what we mean about Puerto Vallarta is this: it’s safe. The only way you’re going to potentially get into any trouble is by doing something stupid, like getting crazy drunk and feeling like it’s a good idea to jump into a pool from your balcony, or going swimming in the sea whilst off your head, or some other sketchy situation with sketchy people. The key thing to remember: keep your wits about you and don’t endanger yourself.
And have you thought about getting Travel Insurance for your trip? You can get a quote from World Nomads by clicking on the link below.
Disclaimer: Safety conditions change all over the world on a daily basis. We do our best to advise but this info may already be out of date. Do your own research. Enjoy your travels!
“Find out how YOU can support the site. We work hard to put out the best backpacker resources on the web, for free! It’s all about helping out our tribe of awesome backpacker readers [that’s you!]. Please visit the link to find out how you can help keep the site going 🙂
For the sake of transparency, some of the links in our content are affiliate links. This means that if you book your accommodation, buy a book or sort your insurance, we earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only link to stuff I’ve actually used and never endorse products or services that are not up to scratch. Thanks for your support.