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U.S. Issues Travel Warning for Mexico Ahead of Spring Break

The warning is asking travelers to “travel smart” and “be informed."

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

marako85/Getty Images

The United States is warning travelers heading to Mexico to be aware of their surroundings ahead of the spring break holiday season.

The warning , which was issued this week by the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico, reminds travelers to “travel smart” and “be informed” as “thousands of U.S. citizens visit Mexico during spring break” each year. The embassy continued that “while the vast majority travel safely,” visitors should be aware of issues with crime, drugs, unregulated alcohol, drownings, and more. 

“Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations. Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations,” the embassy warned. “U.S. citizens should exercise increased caution in the downtown areas of popular spring break locations including Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, and Tulum, especially after dark.”

The warning also reminded American travelers that drug possession and use is illegal in Mexico, including medical marijuana. It also advised that unregulated alcohol may be contaminated, that counterfeit medication is common, and that guns are illegal in Mexico.

When it comes to the country’s popular beaches, the embassy reminded travelers some beaches may have strong rip tides and “may lack lifeguards, warnings, or signs of unsafe conditions.”

The U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Mexico issued a similar spring break warning last year .

The U.S. Department of State classifies different states in Mexico under different warning levels. While travelers can “exercise normal precautions” when traveling to the Campeche and Yucatan states, the State Department warns them to “exercise increased caution” when heading to places like Baja California Sur (where Los Cabos is), Mexico City, and Quintana Roo (where Cancun is) due to crime.

The State Department also asks American travelers to “reconsider” going to the state of Jalisco, which is home to popular destination Puerto Vallarta , due to the danger of crime and kidnapping.

The State Department recommends Americans who do travel to Mexico keep people at home informed of their travel plans and enroll in the department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to both receive alerts and make it easier to locate them if an emergency occurs.

Travelers heading to international destinations can view all current travel advisories on the State Department's website at  travel.state.gov .

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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Mexico : Safety by City

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Nestled along Mexico’s Pacific Coast in the Jalisco State, Puerto Vallarta is renowned for its stunning beaches, exceptional nightlife scene, and enthralling water sports.

The cobblestone center of the city is home to a range of bars and restaurants, boutique shops, and the ornate Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe church.

El Malecon is a coastal promenade that also boasts a high number of nightclubs, lounges, and bars, but also contemporary sculptures for visitors to enjoy outdoor art.

Although Puerto Vallarta experiences millions of visitors each year, many continue to be hesitant due to potential safety risks.

However, Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest cities in Mexico regarding the crime rate.

While petty theft does occur, violent crime is almost non-existent, unless you go looking for it.

The streets are protected by the Mexican National Guard 24/7/365, who roam the streets on foot.

Before visiting, it is important to understand the warnings and dangers of the area, the safest places to visit, the places to avoid, safety tips, and other useful information.

Keep reading to learn more!

  • Warnings & Dangers in Puerto Vallarta

OVERALL RISK: LOW

As a picturesque vacation spot with countless tourists visiting throughout the year, there are elevated levels of security scattered around the town. That means you have plenty of opportunities to relax at this destination but never take your guard down as that is always asking for trouble. While the overall safety risk is low, take all precautionary measures to minimize the possibility of an issue.

TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK: MEDIUM

While Puerto Vallarta is a walkable destination, if you choose to ride on public transportation, be incredibly vigilant and cautious since this is one of the main places pickpockets operate. When in need of a taxi, always call an Uber or dependable taxi driver that the hotel has called for you instead of hailing random cars in the street. Remember, most taxis in Mexico don’t have a meter so they can charge whatever they want unless they are a reputable company. The transport and taxis risk is medium.

PICKPOCKETS RISK: MEDIUM

Bag snatching and pickpockets are very common issues in Puerto Vallarta, especially in crowded and public places like airports and bus and train stations. Always keep your purse in front of your body and wallets in the front pocket. If you have any valuables, keep them in a security deposit box within your hotel. The pickpockets' risk is therefore medium.

NATURAL DISASTERS RISK: MEDIUM

The natural disasters risk is medium for tourists because hurricanes, flooding, earthquakes, and fire do happen randomly. Your risk of encountering a fire in a major hotel is low, but it happens. Hurricanes and flooding can also be avoided by going before or after a hurricane and the rainy season.

MUGGING RISK: LOW

While pickpockets and bag snatching are a problem, the mugging and kidnapping risk is low. While they have occurred before, it is incredibly rare for this to happen because of the high levels of security. To be extra careful, always avoid deserted and empty areas and streets.

TERRORISM RISK: LOW

While there haven’t been terrorist attacks in the Puerto Vallarta area for decades, they should never be ruled out. The risk is low but always remain vigilant and be aware of your surroundings. Also, always mark the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate on Google Maps in case an issue arises.

SCAMS RISK: HIGH

Unfortunately, the risk of getting scammed is high in Puerto Vallarta as you will encounter individuals trying to trick scam you into paying them. Since this is a major tourist destination, the probability of this occurring is higher than in a sleepy fishing village. While visiting, just be vigilant, decline drinks at nightspots sent over by strangers, negotiate everything in advance, and double-check all information provided.

WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK: LOW

Countless women have traveled to Puerto Vallarta without any issues. While the women travelers' risk is low, solo women may experience being cat-called on the street with offensive comments or whistling being directed at them. Fortunately, that is the extent of the harassment but if this occurs, ignore the attention, and move away from the catcallers.

TAP WATER RISK: HIGH

Like in all other Mexican cities and towns, the risk of getting sick from tap water is high. Mexico doesn’t have the same health and safety checks, and infrastructure as the United States so the tap water is consequently polluted. Therefore, in the hot summer months, always remain hydrated by drinking bottled water, not tap water. You can purchase gallon jugs or large packs of single bottled waters at the local market for cheap.

  • Safest Places to Visit in Puerto Vallarta

There are many safe places to visit in Puerto Vallarta, including:

Downtown is close to the Romantic Zone and very safe, even at night, if you use common sense.

There are several hotels and many restaurants in this location, plus a variety of local attractions.

Marina Vallarta

The Marina area attracts many tourists because it is located only five minutes from the airport and a 15-minute drive from downtown.

If you wish to book cruises or boats for excursions, this is the place to do it.

Many hotels are within a master-planned community.

Nuevo Vallarta

Although this is not within the city limits, Nuevo Vallarta is close enough to be within the tourist zone.

This location is a hotel zone with top luxury hotels, delicious food, restaurants, and beaches, all of which are incredibly safe.

The Hotel Zone

The Hotel Zone is where you will find the most all-inclusive resorts and hotels.

It’s much more touristy than other areas and you will find reputable taxis around the clock.

It’s considered an expensive and upscale area, which means it’s highly safe for tourists.

There are many white-sand beaches, and the Gallerias Vallarta Shopping Mall will have whatever you need for your trip.

The Romantic Zone

The Romantic Zone boasts energy and culture, with so much to do in the area.

Uber and taxis are readily available around-the-clock.

  • Places to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta

While the city is safe throughout the day and mostly at night, there are a few places to void.

Don’t walk the Colonias East of the Libramento at night alone.

Luckily, there really is no reason to be there as a tourist.

Also, if you get turned around, never walk along the highway, especially at night, call a taxi instead.

In general, remain within the touristy areas to avoid any confrontations or issues at night.

While Puerto Vallarta is heavily secured by the national guard in tourist areas, their reach doesn’t extend into the suburban and poor neighborhoods.

  • Safety Tips for Traveling to Puerto Vallarta

Be Careful of Overfriendly Individuals

If someone approaches you from behind and attempts to be overly friendly, offering to show you around town or buy you lunch, respectfully decline.

While being robbed at gunpoint is a rare occurrence, they could try to pickpocket or scam you another way.

Blend in as Much as Possible

Since you are a tourist, you will look like a tourist to locals.

However, don’t be overly obnoxious by flashing money or expensive items.

If you are noticed wearing any valuables, you could become the victim of a crime.

Mexico is a poor country where citizens are trying to put food on the table, so flashing expensive items around town makes you a target.

Convert all Currency Upon Arrival

The second you arrive in Mexico, convert your currency, but not at the airport.

The Casa de Cambio or a bank will give you the best currency exchange rates.

Although the U.S. dollar is widely accepted, it will save you many headaches when purchasing local food and souvenirs when having Pesos.

Don’t Stay at a Hostel

Although hostels may be appealing because they are inexpensive, they do not have good security.

Hotels will be more expensive, but they’ll give you peace of mind that you and your belongings are safe.

Also, during the COVID-19 Pandemic, sleeping in a dorm with ten strangers is not a promising idea anywhere.

Drive During the Day

If you choose to rent a car, which is an advisable means of transportation, only drive during the day.

This is especially important when driving on the highway between towns and cities.

At night, you could be the victim of a highway or backroad robbery, so it is best to take this precaution.

Get Good Health Insurance

Before arrival, always sign up for excellent health insurance.

If you are currently in Mexico, you can also purchase health insurance through the government.

Healthcare in Mexico is incredibly expensive, so you don’t want high bills if you get sick.

Never Leave Belongings Unattended

Even if you are taking a few minutes to go to the restaurant, never leave your belongings unattended.

This is relevant to bars, restaurants, shops, markets, or the beach.

Never Take Valuables to the Beach

If you are alone, don’t take any valuables to the beach.

Store them safely inside your hotel room.

If you have an expensive camera and want to take a dip in the water but nobody to look after it, you can’t leave it on the beach while you are splashing around.

Spread Your Money Out

Never put all your money, credit cards, and debit cards in a single place.

This means, don’t carry everything at once outside of your hotel room.

Instead, store most of your money and cards in the hotel room safe and only take what you need for the day.

By separating your money and cards, in case you are the victim of a pickpocketer, you have backup options.

Take All Pandemic Precautions

As the COVID-19 Pandemic continues to rage throughout the world, take all necessary precautions and look for changing requirements leading up to and while on your trip.

Wear a mask and follow all social distancing protocols.

  • So... How Safe Is Puerto Vallarta Really?

Generally, Puerto Vallarta is a safe city, but never think it is a crime-free zone and let your guard down, it still has many dangers.

To ensure your safety, tourists are advised to remain in populated and touristy areas and avoid poor neighborhoods.

If for some reason you need to go to an off-the-beaten-path neighborhood, visit during the day.

With, the locals of Puerto Vallarta being heavily reliant on income from the touristic economy, so many have become antagonistic against those criminals who jeopardize this way of life.

Also, since the touristy areas are heavily secured, an added layer of safety is provided for visitors.

Although Puerto Vallarta isn’t known for its violent crime, you must be aware that there have been reports of vicious beatings at Mexican resorts by solo travelers so always be vigilant and keep your wits.

You have several lodging areas: the city proper, the coast on the outskirts of the city, and an all-inclusive resort.

All three are safe locations except wandering around the city at night is not advisable.

  • How Does Puerto Vallarta Compare?
  • Useful Information

For U.S. citizens traveling to Mexico, visas are not required if staying for under 180-days. However, upon arrival, always ensure your passport is stamped by Mexican customs officials to show proof of arrival in case you have any official issues. Also, since every visitor is provided a traveler’s permit to roam around the country, you may be required to complete an online FMM form before arrival or at the airport.

The national currency of the country is the Mexican Peso, which provides a beneficial exchange rate to American visitors. Despite this being the currency, the U.S. dollar is also widely accepted because of the strength of the currency compared to the Peso. While ATMs are widely available in Puerto Vallarta, it is always advisable to withdraw money from official government buildings like banks or at the airport, as opposed to a random ATM on a shady backstreet.

Puerto Vallarta boasts a tropical climate with beautiful weather and two seasons: a wet period from June to October and a dry period from November to May. During the dry season, you can expect slightly cooler temperatures than the wet season but that certainly doesn’t mean you should pack a winter jacket!

The closest airport servicing the city is Licenciado Gustavo Diaz Ordaz International Airport, which is in Puerto Vallarta. You have several options to get from the airport to the city. While there are many ways to get from the airport to downtown, the best option is a reputable taxi or Uber which takes around 11 minutes and costs between $19 and $24.

Travel Insurance

Given that travel is incredibly uncertain now due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, travel insurance is necessary for visitors of Puerto Vallarta. Having this insurance will protect your belongings, family, and overall trip if there is an issue before or during your visit. Travel insurance is also highly recommended when renting an automobile, even if for a single day.

Puerto Vallarta Weather Averages (Temperatures)

  • Average High/Low Temperature

Mexico - Safety by City

Explore puerto vallarta.

  • 6 Sunny Beaches in Puerto Vallarta to Tickle Your Feet
  • Where to Next?

Puerto Viejo

14 Reviews on Puerto Vallarta

Love puerto vallarta.

Been coming to Puerto Vallarta for 35 years. Best in the West!

Do you drive down? If I drive with my RV is there RV parks?

l’ve driven from the Arizona border with my Calif. plated car. ln certain cities, l could count on being stopped by the local police for phony problems. l have never been stopped since l bought my Jalisco platted car. l would never drive an RV down…..too may problems and the RV would say “Gringo with money here.” l’d investigate the price of having it shipped down. About 5 yrs. ago l was quoted $500 to ship my car from Calif. to PV. Yes, there is one RV park here.

Excellent well developed. Enjoyable board walking specially early morning hours when not crowded. Watching Brown Pelicans diving for fish is natures best

I always feel safe walking around PV. We stay a month at a time in the romantic zone, never ever a problem. I even feel safe at night without my husband.

Safer here than where you live

I’ve been coming here for 30 years. I’ve been horseback riding in the mountains and have walked the back streets at night. I’ve never had a problem. That said, there are pickpockets about. One of our group was pickpocketed from her purse several years ago while downtown. They got what they thought was a wallet but was actually a birth control vinyl case. Apropos when you think about it.

In short, I feel safer here than in most cities in the United States. People are friendly and family-oriented. If you come, get out of the city and see the countryside. Remember Xtapa is a 20min bus ride away (silver) and the fishing is fantastic.

Paradise on Earth

I have vacationed in Puerto Vallarta so many times, I’ve lost count. It is my favourite place on earth, & yes it’s safe to say it’s “paradise”. I have had the privilege of meeting so many lovely people. My bestie & I have mostly stayed in the hotel zone, but for the past 2 yrs we’ve stayed right down on the Malecon. There were two occasions that I stayed in Puerto Vallarta for a week by myself. I must say, I was very comfortable, & had no worries at all, but during the times alone, I did not venture out at night. Preferrably, I’d rather vacation with a friend.There are so many restaurants from which to choose, & they’ve all provided delicious meals, AND the prices can’t be beat! I’m hoping this whole Covid-19 fiasco clears soon or it becomes safe for us to travel to P.V. for Christmas/New Year vacation. I can’t recommend PV highly enough. As mentioned, it’s ‘paradise’.

In February, 2020, I was hit by a taxi on the sidewalk on calle Allende. I felt a crunch on my head and that is all I remember. The driver, according to witnesses, got out and looked at me and then took off. I had moved to PV permanently and walked every day. The police filed a report and said they sent a letter to the taxi driver to come in. A worthless attorney wasted my money saying the license number was no longer in the system. The DA has not followed through, no surprises there. PA is lawless and dangerous

We’re can i get a rental car at Puerto Vallarta

i’ve heard horror stories about folks that rented vehicles here and got dinged for every miniscule scratch. Parking, other than a few garages is difficult. Much easier to just grab a taxi. The average fare is $3-5 USD. l am in a wheelchair and have never had a problem using the taxis here. In fact, l once lost my keys in a taxi and they were returned a few days later. My friend, who lost his cell in an uber, never got it back.

Somewhere they’re.

My favorite vacation spot

I love PV!!! I find the people friendly and honest. One caution, beware of the Time Share hawkers. I left my cell in a taxi, and it was returned, I left my cell in an uber it was returned. I have never felt threatened in PV I have been going every year for 30 years!

Fantastic Place to Vacation

Felt 100 times safer in PV than several cities in US. Have had incredible times and memories from visiting PV. Beautiful people, beautiful geography, and love the old town cobblestone streets, sights and sounds! Of course traveling anywhere has risks, but PV is safest area I have experienced when vacationing.

Stayed near the Malecon in the Zona Romantica August 2023. Such a safe place, lots to do, great atmosphere, prices were quite affordable. When you are on the beach though (los Muertos), be prepared to be offered non-stop cotton candy, shrimp, mariachi, you name it! But in my view it adds to the charm, would go back in a heartbeat!

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Article Contents

  • Puerto Vallarta : Safety by City
  • Overall Risk
  • Transport & Taxis Risk
  • Pickpockets Risk
  • Natural Disasters Risk
  • Mugging Risk
  • Terrorism Risk
  • Women Travelers Risk
  • Tap Water Risk
  • Weather Averages (Temperatures)
  • User Reviews
  • Share Your Experience

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mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

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

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.

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 .

Navigating the New Normal: Ensuring COVID-19 Safety in Puerto Vallarta

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

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

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?

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

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.

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Susan Laurent

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?

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.

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.

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.

Hi Missy, thank you so much for adding your personal experiences to our content here. We appreciate you reading and value you providing these insights.

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Travel Mexico Solo

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe in 2024? Here’s What You Need to Know

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WONDERING IF PUERTO VALLARTA IS SAFE RIGHT NOW?

You’re in the right place! I’ve lived in Mexico since 2018 and have traveled to 23 states in the country, most as a solo female traveler, so I know the country well.

By the end of this article, you’re no longer going to be wondering Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel to? — You’re going to feel confident in knowing the answer.

When planning your trip to Puerto Vallarta, safety is likely the #1 issue on your mind. Given how Mexico is portrayed in the mainstream media, you might think the worst.

However, MILLIONS of people visit Puerto Vallarta each year, and it’s generally regarded as one of the most beautiful cities in the world — so what’s the truth about Puerto Vallarta travel safety?

Don’t worry; this article explains it all. So let’s dive in and start by addressing the #1 question I get asked by readers: Is Puerto Vallarta safe right now for travel?

Is there a U.S. State Department travel advisory for Puerto Vallarta right now? 

The U.S. State Department has given travelers the green light to travel to Puerto Vallarta — and every year, this beach town welcomes about  5-6 million visitors .

For the most accurate answer, visit the U.S. State Department website here to see if they have any current Puerto Vallarta travel warnings.

This site is the best way to stay up-to-date with the most accurate information possible, so always head to the source for your answer.

On their site, they evaluate Mexico’s travel safety state-by-state. Puerto Vallarta is in the state of Jalisco, so when looking for travel advisories, look at Jalisco specifically. 

There is also a specific section that highlights some tips you should consider before your trip, including enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and make locating you in an emergency easier.

Puerto Vallarta Mexico Travel Warnings

US state department Mexico travel warnings

On the U.S. State Department site , you’ll see each of the 32 Mexico states ranked in one of these four categories:

  • 🛑 Level 4: Do Not Travel
  • ⚠️ Level 3: Reconsider Travel
  • ⚠️/✅ Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling
  • ✅ Level 1: Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling

So just how safe is Puerto Vallarta Mexico? The travel warning for Puerto Vallarta is generally at Level 2 , as is all of Jalisco state.

For perspective, some other Level 2 travel destinations include the UK, Belgium, Italy, and Belize.

Now ask yourself: Am I scared to travel to Italy? How about Belgium? Or the UK? Of course not — and you might have even laughed at those questions.

So, what’s the verdict on Puerto Vallarta travel safety?

As with any major tourist town, you will need to exercise some level of caution in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico — but nothing major.

If you remain aware of yourself, your surroundings, and your belongings, you can easily have a safe Puerto Vallarta trip like the many other visitors just like you.

What are the Puerto Vallarta crime rates?

Wondering, How dangerous is Puerto Vallarta? You may have noticed that Puerto Vallarta doesn’t rank as 100% safe — but it is quite close.

puerto vallarta crime rate | Is Puerto Vallarta safe?

Overall, Puerto Vallarta has very little crime, which is why most visitors enjoy safe Puerto Vallarta travel, and return year after year.

In fact, it is considered one of the safest resort and beach towns in Mexico , so you won’t need any extreme Mexico safety pro tips to stay safe.

Still, Puerto Vallarta is plagued by the same petty crimes common in any major tourism destination in the world.

These mostly include pickpocketing, cell phone theft, and purse snatching — though all of those are rare.

It’s not that being a victim of any crime isn’t terrible, but the point here is that the risk of violent crime in Puerto Vallarta is very minimal.

For such a big city in Mexico, though, Puerto Vallarta’s crime rate is low, so the probability of a crime happening to you here is also low.

⚠️  the best advice I can offer for Puerto Vallarta safety

Of course, this is still a tourist town, so remain vigilant.

Most common safety advice applies here: stay in well-traveled areas, be cautious with valuables, and avoid isolated spots after dark.

A bonus is that the local authorities are vigilant and work hard to maintain a welcoming and safe tourist environment. 

Remember, no place on Earth is 100% safe — not Iceland or New Zealand (two of the world’s safest countries according to the Global Peace Index), not your hometown, and not even your home (sadly).

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for travelers right now?

As a general rule, Mexico’s tourist cities are safe to visit, so yes, Puerto Vallarta is considered safe for travelers now.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

As tourism is the #1 driving force in Mexico’s economy, the top Mexico travel destinations are generally safe for visitors.

The Mexican government is invested in keeping them this way, so visitors return year after year.

⚠️ To dive deeply into this topic, head to Is Mexico Safe to Visit? 25 Mexico Travel Safety Tips .

Statistically speaking, travelers are safe in Puerto Vallarta and most of Mexico, despite media sensationalism.

Of course, you need to stay in safe areas (more info on safe Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods to come).

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo travelers?

For the most part, yes, Puerto Vallarta is considered safe for solo travelers — and I have actually visited the town on my own.

woman in blue dress in front of the colonial church in puerto vallarta mexico

As a solo female traveler, I got a lot of pushback from friends and family when I came to Mexico alone in 2018. 

Fast forward a few years, and I found Mexico so safe and amazing that I moved to Mexico permanently (but that’s another story for another article).

⚠️ To dive deeply into this topic, head to Is Mexico Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

Statistically speaking, solo travelers are safe in Puerto Vallarta and most of Mexico, despite media sensationalism.

Though EVERYONE will warn you about solo travel in Mexico, the key is to consider the source.

Are these other solo female travelers who understand what you’re about to do? Have these people even been to Mexico? Most likely, they haven’t.

If they have, was this trip in the 1990s? Well, Mexico was MUCH more dangerous back then, just as NYC was more dangerous in the 1970s versus today.

Personally, I’ve found most people who make blanket statements have never even been to Mexico 🤷‍♀️ Go figure!

Ultimately, my answers to Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel alone? , Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo female travellers? , and, Is Puerto Vallarta safe for Americans? — are yes.

As an American who has visited Puerto Vallarta by myself, it would be weird if I didn’t answer yes.

Of course, it’s just as safe for visitors coming from any country (not just the United States), so long as you follow the safety for tourists tips in this article.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for families?

Yes — Puerto Vallarta is considered safe for family travel, even for multigenerational families with young children and older relatives.

malecon in puerto vallarta, beachfront walkway

Puerto Vallarta is famous for its beautiful, sandy beaches, and of course, most of the best things to do in Puerto Vallarta involve the beach, the Pacific Ocean, or Banderas Bay.

One of Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations, the city sees countless families yearly. Most of them have a nice time and don’t encounter a single problem.

So, Is it safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta Mexico as a family? I would say yes — but as with any popular travel destination, you need to make safety a priority.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe at night?

Like any popular tourist destination, Puerto Vallarta has safer and more bustling areas at night, as well as spots where caution is more warranted.

the westin resort puerto vallarta beach at sunset

Downtown Puerto Vallarta, particularly along the Malecon (Boardwalk) and in areas like Olas Altas, remains lively until late.

These neighborhoods are filled with diners and partygoers enjoying the local cuisine and nightlife.

The presence of tourists and locals alike, along with regular patrols by friendly local police, helps keep these areas secure. 

It’s wise to practice common safety precautions like these: stick to well-lit, busier streets, avoid showing off expensive belongings, and use recommended transport options such as secured taxis or ride-sharing services, especially late at night.

As with any city, staying aware of your environment and keeping up-to-date with local safety recommendations are essential to ensure a pleasant experience. 

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for expats?

One of the most popular places to retire in Mexico, Puerto Vallarta can be a safe and incredible expat spot if you take certain precautions and adapt to local conditions.

playa de los muertos puerto vallarta mexico beach

Crime rates in Puerto Vallarta are relatively low compared to other major cities, especially violent crime.

However, like anywhere, expats should take common-sense precautions to protect themselves and their property.

This includes securing their homes, being cautious with personal belongings, especially in crowded places, and using safe transportation.

The local authorities are active in maintaining safety and security, and there is a noticeable police presence in areas popular with tourists and expats. 

An added bonus? The local community is generally friendly and helpful, which adds an extra layer of security as neighbors often look out for one another.

Like tourists, Puerto Vallarta is generally considered safe for expats in Mexico — but you can join the Puerto Vallarta: Everything You Need Or Want To Know Facebook group to get current info from people who live there.

That isn’t the only group. Many different Facebook groups exist, like this Living in Puerto Vallarta or this Canadians in Puerto Vallarta group.

So, Is Puerto Vallarta safe to live? Well, many people in these groups have moved to Puerto Vallarta and absolutely love it.

Crime in Puerto Vallarta Mexico 

police in mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico’s beloved beach resort city, combines charming local culture with breathtaking natural beauty.

As the most populous city in the state of Jalisco , there will be some crime — particularly given its popularity with tourists.

Tourism is a critical component of Puerto Vallarta’s economy, and with increased tourist foot traffic comes more tourist-targeted petty crimes, such as pickpocketing and minor scams, especially in bustling areas like the beaches and markets.

Local and federal governments are proactive about maintaining safety, recognizing that the well-being of tourists and locals alike is important. 

During peak tourist seasons and major local festivals , security measures noticeably increase.

Authorities enhance their presence significantly, especially in tourist-frequented zones such as the Romantic Zone, the boardwalks, and other popular gathering spots.

This elevated police visibility ensures Puerto Vallarta’s streets and public areas remain appealing and secure for everyone.

If you’re questioning whether traveling to Puerto Vallarta is safe, it’s a legitimate concern — travel safety is always an important consideration. 

⚠️ Note: The Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) is a great place to find Mexico Crime and Safety Reports . It has current articles about crime in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico travel warnings.

What are Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods to avoid?

Most tourist areas in Puerto Vallarta are safe, but some sources recommend avoiding Ixtapa, El Pitillal, Valle Dorado, Altavela, San Jose, and Mezcalez , especially at night.

However, others say there are no neighborhoods to avoid in Puerto Vallarta.

As you can see, this is a matter of opinion, so here are a few other places to avoid in Puerto Vallarta that some (but not all) people might mention:

Although close to the bustling downtown and undergoing some gentrification, Colonia 5 de Diciembre has parts lacking sufficient street lighting and police presence.

According to some, this can make Colonia 5 de Diciembre less secure after dark, though plenty of expats and locals live here and love this area.

Additionally, neighborhoods like Colonia López Mateos and Colonia Villas del Puerto , which are more residential and not frequented by tourists, may not have the same level of security.

Tourists should stay within well-populated and well-lit areas, especially in the evening, to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

What are some common scams in Puerto Vallarta?

While Puerto Vallarta is the perfect beach getaway, staying alert to certain travel scams is important. 

Here are five scams you need to watch out for: 1) Timeshare trap, 2) Airport Ambush, 3) Bait-and-Switch Menu, 4) Taxi Scam, and 5) ATM rigging — which are expanded upon below.

While Puerto Vallarta is home to many honest, hard-working, and wonderful people, this wouldn’t be the Ultimate Guide to Safety in Puerto Vallarta if we didn’t discuss scams.

While I’ll still argue that Puerto Vallarta is safe to visit, you must be aware of these five scams so you know how to avoid them.

🌴 The Timeshare Scam at the Airport

Immediately after landing, charismatic timeshare representatives may greet you offering tempting incentives like free drinks or excursions for attending a sales pitch.

These sessions are often marketed as brief, two-hour commitments but can stretch into the entire day, filled with high-pressure sales tactics.

How to Avoid: Firmly decline any offers right from the start. Keep your interaction minimal, avoid eye contact, and walk confidently past these reps. 

Remember, your polite but stern “no, gracias” is your best defense against losing a vacation day to a timeshare presentation.

🛄 Airport Arrival Ambush Scam 

Once you pass through customs, you’ll encounter a sea of people claiming to offer the best deals on transportation and lodging. 

Another thing they do is that they might lie to you about being the person you’re looking for.

This overwhelming reception aims to capitalize on travelers’ confusion and fatigue. 

How to Avoid: Stay focused and not engage with solicitors inside the airport.

Keep walking until you reach the official exit, where genuine pre-arranged transport services and representatives are legally allowed to meet travelers. 

Verify the identity of your contact by having them confirm your booking details rather than providing them yourself.

📜 The Bait-and-Switch Menu Scam

In some restaurants, you may encounter a deceptive pricing tactic.

With this, the menu at your table shows reasonable prices, but after enjoying your meal, the bill arrives with significantly higher rates. 

When you request to see the menu again, it mysteriously shows different, higher prices than the first menu you were originally given.

This scam can be alarming, and is designed to confuse and overcharge unsuspecting diners. 

How to Avoid: To prevent this, take a quick photo of the menu and prices when you first sit down.

This proves the original prices if there’s an attempt to overcharge you. While not as common as it used to be, especially in tourist-favored areas, it can still happen. 

🚕 Street Taxi Overcharge Scam 

Hailing a taxi on the street in Puerto Vallarta often involves negotiating, as many cabs do not use meters.

This can lead to inflated fare quotes, especially if you appear unfamiliar with local rates. 

How to Avoid: Before traveling, research typical taxi fares in the area to have a benchmark for negotiating.

Always agree on a fare BEFORE getting into the cab, and consider sharing taxis with fellow travelers to reduce costs further. 

For a hassle-free experience, use Uber or another reputable ride-sharing service, which offers fixed fares and the convenience of cashless payment.

🏧 The ATM Rigging Scam

Walking the sunny streets of Puerto Vallarta, you might need to withdraw some cash for your adventures. 

Be wary of ATMs that seem out of place or poorly maintained—these might be rigged to steal your information.

Scammers cleverly install skimming devices on these ATMs to capture your card details and PIN.

How to Avoid: Always use ATMs inside banks or other secure locations.

Check for any unusual attachments on the ATM’s card slot or keypad, and always cover your hand when entering your PIN to block hidden cameras. 

By sticking to reputable banking ATMs, you can safeguard your financial information and enjoy a hassle-free vacation.

Drug Cartels in Puerto Vallarta 

Wondering, Is Puerto Vallarta safe from cartels?

Unfortunately, the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) has a presence in Puerto Vallarta, affecting various aspects of life and business in the city. 

The cartel is involved in extensive illegal activities, including drug trafficking, money laundering, and extortion.

This involvement has led to the cartel’s substantial influence over local businesses, including nightclubs, bars, and restaurants.

They are known to launder money and demand extortion payments from business owners.

The strategic location of Puerto Vallarta makes it a valuable asset for the CJNG, not only for its tourism market, but also as a key point for drug trafficking routes, particularly for synthetic drugs like fentanyl. 

The city’s role is compounded by its connectivity to major ports and proximity to drug processing labs in the surrounding areas.

Despite these challenges, the impact on tourists is often indirect, with Puerto Vallarta remaining a popular destination. 

Local authorities and businesses continue to operate with an emphasis on tourist safety.

However, visitors are advised to remain aware of their surroundings, especially concerning the security measures and local advisories during their stay.

Was there a Puerto Vallarta cartel shooting?

In 2022, there was a shooting incident in Puerto Vallarta that involved cartel activity.

This incident occurred in the Marina Vallarta area and resulted in the death of a cartel leader known as El Chopa. 

The confrontation occurred during the afternoon and was part of a broader clash between the National Guard and organized crime elements in the area​.

The presence of cartels has led to increased security measures, including a reinforced military presence aimed at protecting residents and tourists.​ 

Puerto Vallarta vs Cancun: What’s better for travelers?

the westin resort puerto vallarta beach

Both of these Mexico resort towns , famous for their stunning beaches and beyond, are similar.

Usually, I just tell people to go to the one you can get a direct flight to because direct flights make the destination better.

Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, two of the top Mexico travel destinations, are renowned for their nightlife, extensive beaches and all-inclusive resorts.

They offer well-established tourism infrastructures that make it easy for travelers to arrive, relax, and enjoy.

They are prime spots for Mexico Spring Break festivities, attracting crowds looking for a party atmosphere.

Puerto Vallarta, located on the Pacific Ocean, is known for its beautiful beaches and is a great spot for water sports like jet skiing and parasailing.

However, the ocean currents and waves can be stronger here, making swimming conditions variable depending on the beach.

On the other hand, Cancun , is famed for its crystal-clear Caribbean Sea waters, which are generally calmer and more swimmer-friendly on most beaches.

It also offers unique experiences like snorkeling in cenotes and exploring nearby Mayan Ruins . 

Both are located right on the ocean, so they’re susceptible to hurricanes, tropical storms, and thunderstorms.

You’ll want to stay up-to-date on the latest news before your trip, and be aware that the Atlantic Hurricane Season runs from June 1-November 30 each year.

Is Puerto Vallarta safer than Cancun?

They usually rank about the same regarding warnings from the U.S. State Department, with them both at Level 2 out of 4.

fishing boats in puerto vallarta mexico

A Level 2 warning signifies a higher risk of petty crime; unsurprising in any town with many tourists.

While big cities like Cancun and Mexico City have the worst reputation for criminal activity and crime, there’s crime in all Mexico tourist towns (including Puerto Vallarta) — and all of the world’s biggest tourist destinations.

As you’ve seen above, some areas in Puerto Vallarta and several parts of the city’s municipality aren’t generally considered safe.

Puerto Vallarta Safety vs. U.S. Safety in Major Cities

Before we close out this section on Puerto Vallarta travel safety, I wanted to offer you some perspective on U.S. vs Mexico crime statistics.

If you live in a major U.S. city (or some cities in Canada), you likely live with the same levels of crime Puerto Vallarta has — and you also likely aren’t scared of your home.

Like any country, Mexico has both safe and unsafe places travelers should avoid. Just as you avoid the unsafe parts of your own country, you’ll do that in Mexico too.

As many might have expected, several of the world’s most violent cities are in Mexico. (⚠️ Note: Puerto Vallarta isn’t on that list.)

You might not have expected that four cities in the U.S. also make the list (St. Louis, Baltimore, Detroit, and New Orleans).

Though these rank as three of the least-safe cities in the United States , they also have plenty of safe areas hundreds of thousands of visitors enjoy each year.

Is it safe to rent a car in Puerto Vallarta?

Renting a car in Puerto Vallarta and driving in Mexico (in most areas, anyway) is generally considered safe.

car rental companies in mexico

It can be a practical option for exploring more remote areas and beaches at your own pace — however, it’s important to choose a reputable rental agency. 

These agencies often offer comprehensive insurance, which is crucial, as Mexican law requires specific insurance that your regular policy may not cover.

Familiarize yourself with local driving laws and road conditions . While the main roads and tourist areas are usually well-maintained, side roads can be less developed.

Always be cautious and avoid driving late at night in less familiar areas, as navigation can be challenging, and it’s best to avoid potential hazards.

With the right precautions, renting a car can offer a liberating way to see the area’s sights.

Do I need to rent a car in Puerto Vallarta?

Whether you need to rent a car in Puerto Vallarta depends on your travel preferences and itinerary . 

seahorse sculpture in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta offers plenty to see and do, with its beautiful beaches, culture, and delicious cuisine all within easy reach.

The city is well-connected with taxis, buses, and ride-sharing services, making it convenient to explore without a car.

However, renting a car could offer more flexibility and convenience if you venture outside the city.

🚘 Rent a Car for Day Trips

beach in san pancho, nayarit mexico

I recommend renting a car to explore nearby attractions such as Sayulita , Punta Mita, Nuevo Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit , or the other picturesque beaches along the Pacific Coast. 

Yes, these destinations are reachable by public transportation or organized tours, but having a car allows you to explore at your own pace and discover hidden gems.

Consider your travel priorities and the places you want to visit in Puerto Vallarta.

You may not need a car if you’re primarily interested in exploring the city and its immediate surroundings.

But if you want to explore the wider region, renting a car could be a great idea. 

How to Get Around in Puerto Vallarta

Getting around in Puerto Vallarta offers several convenient options depending on your preferences for comfort, adventure, and budget:

Public Buses

puerto vallarta to sayulita bus | is sayulita safe

Puerto Vallarta’s local bus system is an affordable way to navigate the city. The buses cover extensive routes, including popular tourist areas and local neighborhoods.

It’s a great way to immerse yourself in the local culture, though the buses can be crowded and warm.

Puerto Vallarta Taxis

Taxis are readily available throughout Puerto Vallarta. They are not metered, so agreeing on the fare before getting in is advisable to avoid surprises.

Prices are reasonable, but confirming the cost upfront keeps things clear.

Uber and Other Ride- S hare Services

Uber is available in Puerto Vallarta and can be a more comfortable alternative to taxis.

Ridesharing offers the convenience of app-based booking, which provides fare estimates and the ability to track your route, adding an extra layer of security and ease.

mexico car rentals

Renting a car is a viable option for those who prefer having their own vehicle. This allows for more freedom to explore distant attractions at your own pace.

Proper insurance is important. Also familiarize yourself with local driving styles and regulations.

Walking Around

puerto vallarta rio cuale market

Walking is a pleasant and practical way to explore areas like the Downtown and the Romantic Zone.

Many attractions are close to each other, and strolling along the Malecon provides beautiful ocean views and access to numerous shops and restaurants.

Each mode of transportation offers a unique way to experience Puerto Vallarta, from the independence of driving yourself to the authenticity of hopping on a local bus.

Choose based on what will make your stay most enjoyable and convenient.

Is there Uber in Puerto Vallarta?

Yes — Uber is available in Puerto Vallarta and has become a favored mode of transportation for locals and tourists.

It offers a practical and often more secure alternative to traditional taxis and public transport, particularly if you’re unfamiliar with the area or the local language.

Uber in Puerto Vallarta includes a range of service levels, from budget-friendly rides to more premium options, catering to a variety of preferences and needs.

🚖 Puerto Vallarta Airport Pickup

Wondering, Can Uber pick you up from the airport in Puerto Vallarta? Legally no, but some will risk it, so let’s go with “not really” as the answer.

While Uber can pick you up from the Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (Puerto Vallarta Airport), they can’t get you curbside.

Instead, you’ll need to walk outside of the airport to the other side of the road to get the Uber, which can only pick up passengers across the bridge from the airport exits.

To get there, you’ll have to cross the pedestrian bridge above the street, and wait for your driver behind the bus station.

This is where having an international data plan or Mexican SIM card comes in handy because you won’t have WiFi once you leave the airport.

Is there Lyft in Puerto Vallarta?

No — Lyft does not operate in Puerto Vallarta or anywhere in Mexico. The ride-sharing service remains unavailable outside the United States.

In Puerto Vallarta, Uber and Didi are the prominent ride-sharing choices, along with other options like InDriver and Cabify, which provide similar services.

These are easily accessible via their respective mobile apps, ensuring convenience for users.

Are taxis safe in Puerto Vallarta?

Official taxis in Puerto Vallarta are regarded as safe, but it’s important to use caution and follow some guidelines to ensure safety.

sitio de taxi mexico city (taxi rank)

🚖 Use Sitio Taxis

These are taxis from authorized stands known as “sitios,” which are the official taxi ranks (or official taxi stands).

They are considered safer because they are regulated and their drivers are registered. You can find these stands in many parts of the city.

⛔️ Avoid Hailing Taxis on the Street

Street taxis, while convenient, can sometimes be riskier for visitors — even if you see locals do it.

There’s a higher chance of encountering an unregistered taxi that might not adhere to the same safety standards as sitio taxis (official taxis).

📍 Know Your Route

Having a general sense of your destination and the route can help prevent being taken on a longer, more expensive path. You can also follow along with GPS on the drive.

📲 Ride-Sharing Apps

Many residents and visitors (like me) prefer ride-sharing apps like Uber for added security.

These services provide additional layers of safety, such as driver details and the ability to share ride status with friends or family.

💍 Keep Valuables Hidden

Like any major city, keep your valuables secure and out of sight, especially when traveling in a taxi.

What should I actually be careful of in Puerto Vallarta?

While you must stay aware of your surroundings, your belongings, yourself, and whomever else you’re traveling with while in Puerto Vallarta — the chances of you being the victim of a crime are low.

However, some things you might not be thinking about can impact your overall Puerto Vallarta vacation.

When it comes to Puerto Vallarta security, here are the four things you need to be aware of:   

1. Drinking Water Safety in Puerto Vallarta

Wondering, Can you drink tap water in Puerto Vallarta? No — it is not safe to drink the water!

In fact, if there’s one Mexico travel tip you must remember, it’s don’t drink the water in Mexico, or you can get sick .

Tap water in Mexico isn’t considered safe for human consumption — not for locals or visitors, so please don’t drink tap water in Puerto Vallarta (or any city in Mexico).

You will have to boil tap water to make purified water, constantly buy bottled water, or come prepared with this Water-To-Go Bottle that has a built-in filter.

As someone who lives in Mexico and travels often, I own and use Water-To-Go bottles.

I’ve partnered with the company to offer you 15% off your purchase with code SOLO15 → Shop now !

2. Dehydration 

They say the daytime weather in Puerto Vallarta ranges from hot to really hot.

The average daytime temperatures during the summer months, from June to September, often hover around the mid-80s to low-90s Fahrenheit (29-35° Celsius). 

However, it’s not uncommon for temperatures to occasionally reach the mid to upper 90°s F (29-35° C) or even higher, especially during heatwaves.

3. Sunburns

sunscreen on a woman's back in the shape of the sun

Sunburns can ruin a vacation, so wear eco-friendly sunscreen , and a sun hat all day. Also, this sun after-care lotion is great to put on at night.

Of course, you’ll want to also make sure to drink plenty of filtered water from this Water-To-Go bottle — Use code SOLO15 for 15% OFF your entire purchase.

4. Drinking too Much

As you probably already know, the combo of booze + sun only makes things worse — so if you plan to party hard, I recommend Liquid IV .

This hydration multiplier replenishes your electrolytes and is an Amazon best-seller with 100,000+ positive reviews. 

Note: I would also add hand sanitizer to the list to free yourself from germs during your vacation. 

5. Strong Currents on Puerto Vallarta Beaches

red flag on beach warning you not to swim

Planning on swimming in Puerto Vallarta? I’m sure you probably are!

While most travelers are more concerned with not getting their phone taken (understandable) they forget other things that can cause serious harm — like the ocean. 

The strength of currents can vary depending on factors such as the time of year, weather conditions, and the beach’s geographical features. 

Before swimming at a beach in Puerto Vallarta, checking local conditions and any posted signage regarding water safety is always a good idea. 

6. Spiked Drinks 

person holding a mojito in mexico

One serious concern in nightlife and resort areas in Puerto Vallarta is the risk of having your drink spiked.

This can lead to theft, assault, or worse, as perpetrators use this method to incapacitate their targets.

⚠️ In Short: Stay alert with your beverages! Always keep your drink with you and never accept drinks from strangers or leave them unattended.

It’s safest to watch your drink being made and to order directly from the bartender. 

If you feel unwell or suspect something is wrong with your drink, seek help immediately from venue staff or friends. 

10 Quick Puerto Vallarta Safety Tips

Is Puerto Vallarta Mexico safe? Want to know the secret to staying safe on vacation in Puerto Vallarta?

The secret is that there is no secret. Want even more good news? Safe travel is 100% possible in Puerto Vallarta

Travel safety generally involves common-sense precautions, so you’re as safe traveling in Puerto Vallarta as anywhere else.

1 . Get Travel Insurance for Mexico

travel insurance for mexico

If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that life (and travel plans) can change instantly. For all the unexpected things that come up in travel, you’ll want travel insurance.

From canceled flights to lost luggage and getting sick — you’ll regret not having it should something go awry.

⚠️ I use SafetyWing Travel Insurance for myself.

They offer great coverage and AMAZING rates, with plans that start at about $35 per month for everything listed above and then some! 

While most travelers don’t need a full month of coverage, they’re still cheaper than nearly every other insurance provider (including World Nomads).

2. Get a Mexico SIM Card

Telcel Mexico Prepaid SIM Card with 2GB Data and Unlimited Calls and SMS

With a local SIM , you can check in with loved ones back home, post to social media, make travel plans, access apps like Google Translate and Google Maps when needed, and much more.

Also, make sure your phone is charged and carry this portable charger .

When traveling to Puerto Vallarta, you’ll use your phone for SO MUCH — like calling an Uber, using the translator app, accessing your bank, and emergencies.

3. Take group tours in Puerto Vallarta

two women on Islas Marietas hidden beach in mexico

Puerto Vallarta tours like these are a great way to meet people and enjoy much more fun activities in groups.

Some of the most popular and best tours in Puerto Vallarta include:

  • Food and Mixology Tour: Tequila, Tacos, and Mexican Cocktails
  • Private Tour: Puerto Vallarta ATV Adventure
  • Marietas Islands Snorkel Tour & Hidden Beach

With these, you’re in the safety of a group and with a local tour leader who knows Puerto Vallarta well.

4. Leave your valuables at home

Want to make sure your valuables are still with you after you’re done traveling?

The best way to do this is to leave them at home so they’ll be waiting for you when you return.

While Puerto Vallarta is a great place to explore everything and anything, it is such a big city with so much happening that you might just lose something. 

Also, expensive laptops, DSLR cameras , designer clothes, designer sunglasses and flashy jewelry, often draw the wrong attention.

5. Listen to your intuition

If your inner voice (AKA intuition ) is telling you NO about a person or a place — please listen!

If someone is giving you the creeps, get away from them ASAP. Personally, I don’t even worry about making a polite exit, I just get from them as fast as possible.

6. Be careful after dark

Although I’m not saying you must return to your Puerto Vallarta hotel before dark, be sure you plan to get back to it at night.

With both Uber in Puerto Vallarta and taxis in Puerto Vallarta, this isn’t hard.

One last tip is to choose a well-lit, busy location to wait for your ride, such as a restaurant lobby or storefront.

7. Keep personal info private

Just because someone asks you a question, doesn’t mean you have to answer it in a way that divulges too much.

While most people mean well, you don’t need to tell a stranger where you’re staying and your full Puerto Vallarta itinerary simply because they ask for it.

In this case, you might say “I’m not sure what my plans are yet,” and leave it at that.

8. Never accept a drink from a stranger

I repeat: Never take drinks from strangers, even if they seem nice (and they’re really cute). Beyond this, never leave your drink unattended with a stranger, either.

These may be the most important of all Puerto Vallarta dangerous things on this list — so please take heed.

9. Don’t keep all your money in one place

Keep some money in your pocket or even a side pocket in your purse or backpack so you don’t have to take out your entire wallet whenever you need to buy something.

⚠️ Need somewhere to hide a bit of money? Check out this cool bra pocket and this money belt with a hidden compartment.

Also, don’t carry too much cash on you at any given day. Having $1,000-2,000 pesos per day (about $55-120 USD) will suffice for most people.

When storing extra cash, your passport, jewelry, a credit card you won’t be using, make sure to utilize the safe in your hotel room.

After all, this stuff is much better off in a safe where it’s, you know, safe!

10. Ask friendly locals for advice

No one knows their town like a local — and no one can tell you how safe it is to visit certain areas like a local can.

They’re tapped into the current situation and can offer invaluable insights to help you understand how safe Puerto Vallarta is.

If you’re unsure about crime Puerto Vallarta has, chat up a friendly barista, bartender, server, hotel staff or tour operator to see if they can offer insights.

If talking to strangers isn’t your thing, consider joining Puerto Vallarta Facebook groups to get current safety tips and info from expats in Puerto Vallarta (of which most are U.S. citizens).

Of course, you can also consult an expert source like the US State Department (or the equivalent in your home country) for travel restrictions and safety precautions. 

Should I get Mexico travel insurance?

Legally, you don’t need travel insurance for Mexico. However, the answer to the question Should I buy travel insurance for Mexico? — is a resounding YES.

medical travel insurance for mexico

If 2020 taught us anything, nothing is certain, and life can change completely from one moment to the next.

Even before the You-Know-What in 2020, if there’s one certainty about travel, it’s that something will always go wrong.

Just as you insure your home, car, and possessions, you can also insure your health, luggage, and belongings while traveling to Mexico.

For peace of mind, travel insurance is a must — and as a customer myself, I believe  SafetyWing  offers the best health insurance for travel to Mexico.

WHAT ARE THE BEST MEXICO TRAVEL INSURANCE COMPANIES?

There are two; both are great for different reasons. I personally use SafetyWing Insurance , and have since 2022.

SafetyWing is perfect for Mexican digital nomads doing long-term travel, and it’s also the cheapest Mexican travel insurance I know of.

The second is World Nomads , one of the biggest names in travel insurance.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Guide & FAQ

Where is puerto vallarta located.

Puerto Vallarta is located in Jalisco state, on the Pacific Coast of Mexico, about 200 miles west of Guadalajara , the second biggest city in Mexico.

Though many think it’s in Central America, Mexico is actually on the continent of North America.

📍Puerto Vallarta Map

As you can see on the Puerto Vallarta map above, the city sits between the Bay of Banderas and Sierra Madre Mountains.

Also in the state, you’ll find several Jalisco pueblos magicos , Mexico’s magical towns.

These unique towns all make great day trips from Puerto Vallarta: Tequila (where the infamous beverage is produced), Tlaquepaque , Ajijic and San Sebastian del Oeste .

How do I get to Puerto Vallarta?

The Puerto Vallarta International Airport (Code: PVR) is only about 25 minutes from the main areas of Downtown and the Zona Romantica.

renting a car in Puerto Vallarta Airport

You can often find direct flights with inexpensive airfare to Puerto Vallarta from many cities in the United States and Canada.

Ready to book your flights to Puerto Vallarta? Head to Skyscanner to see what’s available — then book your Puerto Vallarta Airport Transfer here .

There are several U.S. airlines that fly to Puerto Vallarta through major cities including Atlanta, Dallas-Fort Worth, Chicago, LA and many more.

If you can’t find a direct flight, you can connect via one of the airports near Puerto Vallarta, like Mexico City Airport (code: MEX) or Guadalajara Airport (code: GDL).

You can also go the Cancun to Puerto Vallarta route through Cancun International Airport (code: CUN).

🚗 CAR RENTAL IN PUERTO VALLARTA Airport

If you’re looking for a car rental in Puerto Vallarta, the airport is the best and most convenient place to rent from.

Discover Cars , the company I always use when renting a car in Mexico, has several Puerto Vallarta airport car rental options for you to choose from.

What’s the best time to visit Puerto Vallarta?

As with most  Mexico beach towns , the best time of year to visit Puerto Vallarta is  winter  so that you get the best weather, and avoid the rainy season.

beach in puerto vallarta mexico

It is also the busiest time to visit, with December the busiest month for tourism during the year, so if you prefer a quieter time, opt for the fall season.

🌡️ Puerto Vallarta Weather

puerto vallarta weather chart

If you’re looking for a more festive, party atmosphere, the best time to go to Puerto Vallarta is either December or March-April, during Spring Break .

For those hoping to see the whales migrating, Puerto Vallarta’s whale watching season runs from December-March, a good time for nature lovers.

What do I pack for Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico has a tropical climate — so think bathing suits, sundresses, shorts, sandals, sun hats and sunglasses.

As you can see by the weather chart above, this part of Mexico is hot and humid for most of the year, so definitely pack this Water-To-Go Bottle .

Mosquitoes are also an issue, so don’t forget your eco-friendly bug spray , and bring reef-safe sunscreen so you practice responsible tourism in Mexico.

If you’re planning to drink a lot, these Anti-Hangover Pills are a lifesaver (you can thank me later).

🧳 FREE Printable Packing List for Mexico

Need more Puerto Vallarta packing tips? Wondering exactly what to pack for Puerto Vallarta and all of Mexico?

Head to this Ultimate Packing List for Mexico to download your FREE printable packing list for Mexico.

This multi-page Mexico packing checklist covers everything you’ll want to bring, and more importantly, what not to bring to Mexico.

What are the best Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods?

cabanas at the westin resort puerto vallarta beach

Wondering where to stay in Puerto Vallarta? Looking for the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta?

This city has a few neighborhoods that offer great accommodations to all types of travelers.

The prettiest one of all is the Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone, also called Viejo Vallarta or Old Town), located just across the river from Centro (Downtown).

For visitors who want to be where all the action is, these are the best places to stay in Puerto Vallarta.

The final options, perfect for those seeking posh accommodations in 5 Star resorts in Puerto Vallarta, there’s Marina Vallarta and the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone).

⛳️ Looking for a Puerto Vallarta golf course? Casa Velas has an on-site course, as well as a spa, restaurant and more.

Romantic Zone & Old Town

colorful homes in puerto vallarta mexico

If you’ve seen photos of the charming, colorful streets of Puerto Vallarta, those are in the Zona Romantica (Romantic Zone) and Viejo Vallarta (Old Town).

These two Puerto Vallarta neighborhoods are among the oldest parts of the city — and still retain much of that vintage charm — and have some of the best options for hotels in Puerto Vallarta.

The Romantic Zone and Old Town (Downtown) are separated by the Río Cuale (Cuale River), and situated along the Puerto Vallarta Malecon beachfront walkway.

This whole area is walkable, and full of unique things to do and see, amazing beach clubs, shops, cafes, restaurants, bars, live music and more.

Marina Vallarta & Zona Hoteler a

large all inclusive resort hotel on the beach with elaborate pool area surrounded by palm trees | things to do in puerto vallarta mexico

Want to stay in the best resorts in Puerto Vallarta? Look no further than these two neighborhoods, Zona Hotelera and Marina Vallarta.

They’re both located right next to the airport, so they’re easy to get to, and they have all the best resorts in Puerto Vallarta .

Just a little further south, the Zona Hotelera (Hotel Zone) is where you’ll find the bungalows, boutique hotels and the biggest resorts with all the amenities you could ever want.

If you’re looking for the best all-inclusive resorts in Puerto Vallarta, this is the place you’re looking for.

Marina Vallarta , as the name might have cued you in on, is located on the marina.

There are two places Puerto Vallarta boat tours leave from, Muertos Pier and this marina, which is also where the cruise ships dock.

Is Puerto Vallarta worth visiting?

Yes — Puerto Vallarta is one of the best resort towns in Mexico . However, there’s so much more beyond just beaches that makes Puerto Vallarta worth visiting.

humpback whale breaching in mexico

Besides beautiful beaches, Puerto Vallarta has Old World charm — famously immortalized in the 1964 film,  The Night of The Iguana , with Richard Burton.

You can stay in the home he and Elizabeth Taylor once owned, the  Casa Kimberly Boutique Hotel , or visit it on the  Old Town Hollywood Tour .

With the beaches along with the Bahía Banderas to one side, and the Sierra Madre mountain range on the other, this town will appeal to beach goers and adrenaline junkies alike.

For some adventure travel in Puerto Vallarta, there are ATV Jungle Tours and Zip Line Excursions .

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? My Final Thoughts

puerto vallarta beach | is puerta vallarta safe?

With the beaches along with the Bahía Banderas (Bay of Banderas) to one side, and the Sierra Madre mountain range on the other, this town appeals to beach goers and adrenaline junkies alike. 

With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and friendly locals, Puerto Vallarta offers travelers an inviting and secure environment. 

While I can’t state categorically that Puerto Vallarta is safe for everyone, nor can I declare it completely unsafe because it has been safe for me on my trips.

What I can confirm is that for the vast majority of visitors, Puerto Vallarta is indeed safe, and I personally never hesitate to visit.

If you prioritize travel safety in Puerto Vallarta, your chances of enjoying a secure trip increase.

For travelers exercising good “travel common sense,” yes, Puerto Vallarta can be a safe destination.

That doesn’t mean that bad things don’t happen in Puerto Vallarta — they do.

However, by staying vigilant about your surroundings and personal security, you can visit Puerto Vallarta without a hitch, just like millions of others do each year.

Mexico Travel Planning Guide

Should i buy mexico travel insurance.

YES — With basic coverage averaging just $5-10 USD per day, enjoy peace of mind with a plan from Travel Insurance Master , one of the biggest names in travel insurance. ( Read more )

Can you drink the water in Mexico?

No — You’ll want to buy this Water-To-Go Bottle , which filters your drinking water so you don’t get sick from drinking water in Mexico.

Also, it helps keep you hydrated while traveling Mexico. ( Read more )

Is it safe to rent a car in Mexico?

Yes — Renting a car in Mexico is one of the best ways to see the country! I always rent with Discover Cars , which checks international companies and local Mexican companies, so you get the best rates. ( Read more )

Will my phone work in Mexico?

Maybe — It depends on your company, so check with your provider. If you don’t have free Mexico service, buy a Telcel SIM Card . As Mexico’s largest carrier, Telcel has the best coverage of any Mexico SIM Cards. ( Read more )

What’s the best way to book my Mexico accommodations?

For Mexico hotels, Booking.com is the best site , but for hostels, use Hostel World . If you’re considering a Mexico Airbnb, don’t forget to check VRBO , which is often cheaper than Airbnb.

What do I pack for Mexico?

Head to the Ultimate Mexico Packing List + FREE Checklist Download to get all the info you need on packing for Mexico.

What’s the best site to buy Mexico flights?

For finding cheap Mexico flights, I recommend using Skyscanner .

Do I need a visa for Mexico?

Likely Not — U.S., Canadian and European Passport holders don’t need a visa for Mexico; but check here to see if you need a Mexico travel visa. Most travelers will get a 180-Day FMM Tourist Visa passport stamp a upon arrival.

U.S. State Department warns to avoid parts of Mexico over ongoing violence, kidnappings

A woman and two girls run along the water edge on a beach, with more people and small boats visible behind them.

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The State Department is urging U.S. citizens to avoid travel to parts of Mexico over fears of kidnappings and other crime across multiple states, renewing warnings as tourists make travel plans for spring break season.

The department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued multiple advisories in the last several weeks over the ongoing violence in Mexico. Cartel violence erupted in Culiacan in early January after authorities arrested Ovidio Guzmán , a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

A State Department spokesperson said the safety and security of U.S. citizens is the department’s highest priority, adding that officials are aiming to provide relevant information for people to make travel plans. Rather than issue a nationwide risk assessment for Mexico, the department provides a state-by-state summary .

State Department officials urged U.S. citizens to not travel to the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas over crime concerns.

A Red Cross worker closes the door of an ambulance carrying two Americans found alive after their abduction in Mexico last week, in Matamoros, Tuesday, March 7, 2023. Two of four Americans whose abduction in Mexico was captured in a video that showed them caught in a cartel shootout have been found dead, officials said Tuesday. The two surviving Americans were taken to the border near Brownsville, Texas, in a convoy of Mexican ambulances and SUVs. (AP Photo)

World & Nation

2 kidnapped Americans found dead in Mexico; 2 others rescued and returned to the U.S.

Mexico kidnapping: Two Americans are killed and two are rescued after being caught in crossfire in a violent border city. It has sparked international tension.

March 7, 2023

The six states have received the strongest warning from the Bureau of Consular Affairs, which cited shootings between gangs that injured or killed bystanders, and kidnappings in which tourists and lawful permanent residents or “green card” holders were targeted.

The Bureau of Consular Affairs issued its last countrywide advisory on Mexico in October and subsequent advisories on individual Mexican states in recent weeks. Officials advise U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora due to crime and kidnapping.

An undated image of Elliot Blair, 33, who died Jan. 14, 2023 in Rosarito Beach while celebrating his first wedding anniversary with his wife Kim.

Lawyer who died in Mexico had 40 skull fractures, pathologist says. ‘Someone did this to him’

The Orange County public defender who died while on vacation in a popular tourist area of Mexico last month sustained dozens of skull fractures, the family’s lawyer says.

Feb. 10, 2023

Last month, Orange County public defender Elliot Blair died while on vacation at a resort in Rosarito in the state of Baja California. His family believes the 33-year-old was killed under mysterious circumstances, while Mexican officials have called his death an accident.

U.S. officials also ask tourists to exercise increased caution when traveling in 17 Mexican states, including Quintana Roo, which is home to the popular tourist destination Cancun. There have been disputes in the state between Uber and Cabify drivers and taxi unions, which have turned violent and injured U.S. tourists, according to the U.S. Embassy and consulates in Mexico.

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U.S. says avocado inspections may resume in troubled Mexican state, opening way for imports

June 21, 2024

Yeneska Garcia, a Venezuelan migrant, cries into her hands as she eats at the Peace Oasis of the Holy Spirit Amparito shelter in Villahermosa, Mexico, Friday, June 7, 2024. Since the 23-year-old fled Venezuela in January, she trekked days through the jungles of The Darien Gap, narrowly survived being kidnapped by Mexican cartels and waited months for an asylum appointment with the U.S. that never came through. (AP Photo/Felix Marquez)

Mexico’s tactic to cut immigration to the U.S.? Wear out migrants

June 13, 2024

Eagle Pass, Texas, Thursday, September 21, 2023 - Migrants gather behind razor wire after crossing the Rio Grande into Eagle Pass. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

‘Dehumanizing’: Mexico’s president lashes out over Texas immigration law

March 20, 2024

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mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Nathan Solis is a Metro reporter covering breaking news at the Los Angeles Times. He previously worked for Courthouse News Service, where he wrote both breaking news and enterprise stories ranging from criminal justice to homelessness and politics. Before that, Solis was at the Redding Record Searchlight as a multimedia journalist, where he anchored coverage of the destructive 2017 fires in Northern California. Earlier in his career, he worked for Eastsider L.A.

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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Crime Rate & Travel Warnings

Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding areas such as Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, or Sayulita have become some of the most popular beach destinations in Mexico. If you’re planning a trip here, you might wonder: Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Is there a high crime rate? Are there health and hygiene protocols in place?

Those are all perfectly valid things to ask!

Below we’ll cover some important safety and travel topics, and hopefully this information will help put your mind at ease if you are considering traveling safely to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

Common Travel Scams

Vallarta travel warnings & advisories, ocean water quality, contact information, is puerto vallarta safe.

You’ve read the headlines, you’ve watched the news, you’ve seen the movies, but we’re here to tell you the truth: Is it a good idea to visit Mexico? Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel to?

While the perception is that Mexico is a dangerous place to visit, it’s a massive country with vastly different regions. Puerto Vallarta is a very safe destination for international travelers, although tourists should obviously exercise caution, just as they would in their own countries.

Keep reading to learn about the crime rate, general safety tips, cartel news, and common scams to watch out for.

Puerto Vallarta Crime Rate

When comparing the crime rate in Puerto Vallarta with other cities, you’ll notice that it is very safe… even safer than many cities in the US (see comparison table below). In addition, Puerto Vallarta is very LGBT-friendly with a very laid-back atmosphere.

Puerto Vallarta regularly contracts leading international firms specialized in tourism security to conduct a comprehensive Tourist Threat Vulnerability Assessment (2011, 2012, and 2014). The resulting appraisal discovered the following:

“The most common offense in Puerto Vallarta is public drunkenness and the most common serious crime is residential burglary, followed by auto theft. Carjackings are rare since Law Enforcement can close both North and Southbound traffic very quickly. Police maps indicate most serious crimes occur outside the tourist zones. Tour guides report the most common crimes suffered by tourists are usually common theft due to inattentive events i.e. misplacement of personal items or insecure backpacks.” – Thomas Dale and Associates

Corruption & Bribery

Puerto Vallarta’s main problem seems to be corruption and bribery. According to Numbeo, Puerto Vallarta’s corruption index is 63.96 / 100. If you are visiting our city, please do not ever try to bribe the cops. Paying a police officer directly is against the law, and it amounts to soliciting bribery. There is no legal way to pay a spot fine, and fines can only be paid at the office. Simply accept the ticket, and the cop will ask for a document as a guarantee; e.g. your driver’s license or the car’s license plate. Once you go to pay the ticket at the office, this document will be returned. It really is not a complicated process.

Safety Tips & Precautions

Puerto Vallarta is a relatively small and quiet city (population: ~250,000) where you rarely hear about violent crimes. You will occasionally hear about petty theft or home robberies, but travelers have very little to worry about as long as they use common sense and follow a few simple safety guidelines:

Before your Travels

  • Leave your travel itinerary and contact information with friends and family.
  • Check medical insurance to ensure you are covered during your trip, or get travel insurance .
  • Make a list of relevant hospitals and U.S. Embassies in the area.
  • Register your travels with the U.S. Department of State here .
  • Have emergency numbers and maps already downloaded on your phone.

While Visiting Puerto Vallarta

  • Call 911 in case of an emergency.
  • Try to keep a low profile . Do not flash cash around and do not wear fancy jewelry. Don’t make yourself an easy target for theft. Use common sense, just as you would back home.
  • When pulling out cash at an ATM, be mindful of anything that may look suspicious near the vicinity of the cash machine. If anything looks fishy, simply find another ATM.
  • Keep your valuables in a safe (if possible).
  • When driving outside the city, avoid isolated roads and use toll road highways when possible.
  • When walking around town at night, try to stay in well-lit areas.
  • We’re hearing more and more about the mustard scam . Someone squirts mustard or some awful goop on you and then points it out and offers to help you clean it off. While you’re distracted they’ll grab your wallet and take off before you even notice it is gone.
  • Don’t pay with dollars at stores or restaurants since they’ll probably be giving you a  bad exchange rate . Instead, learn how to get pesos from an ATM without paying huge fees !
  • There have been reports of fraudulent rental listings and classified ads on places like Facebook or Craigslist. Make sure you are booking from one of the popular booking platforms (with buyer protection rights), or from a professional host that has proven history and guest reviews.
  • To  avoid bank card cloning  or skimming, never allow your cards out of your sight. If your card has a “chip & pin” method, ask your waiter to bring the payment terminal to your table and cover your hand as you enter your PIN. If the terminal is not portable take your card to the cashier to pay. This is very normal.

Cartel & Drug Violence

Violent crimes in Mexico started to increase back in 2006 when the government decided to crack down on the cartels. Fighting over trafficking routes comprises a lot of Mexico’s crime and murder, but the cartels started to realize that tourists are a big market for the consumption of drugs, which makes them high revenue generators. This is what drove up the violence in tourist destinations such as Cancun, Mazatlan, or Los Cabos. Acapulco was once a world-renowned tourist hotspot but it turned into one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Just to be clear, drugs are highly illegal in Mexico. Even if someone offers to sell you some on the beach or on the street, just say NO. If you purchase any, you are supporting the cartels financially with your own money. Please support our community and do not help fund violent crime in our country. Plus, foreigners charged with drug possession can be kept in a Mexican prison for months before their cases finally go to court.

The latest crime news in Puerto Vallarta was in December 2020 when the cartel was allegedly linked to the shooting and assassination of the former governor of Jalisco, Aristóteles Sandoval while he was vacationing at a popular beach resort. It was one of the highest-profile political killings in Mexico in recent memory. We have definitely noticed an ‘ increased presence of Mexican security forces ‘, a few clashes with the military, and even a case where suspected drug cartel gunmen abducted two off-duty female soldiers at gunpoint. That being said, the Puerto Vallarta crime rate continues to be very low and the Puerto Vallarta area has remained safe over the years.

Make sure to check the Mexico Travel Advisory page of the U.S. State Department to check for the latest news and travel safety information, as it changes frequently. According to their latest travel advisory, Mexico is considered:

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The crime and violence rates referenced in the travel advisory are for broad regions while the incidence of this activity tends to be highly concentrated in areas which are not frequented by travelers. Visitors who use common sense and travel in areas frequented by other tourists are safe and have enjoyable visits. Tim Mullen, President of Apple Vacations

The  Government of Canada  is another great source. Whereas the U.S. Department of State provides travel warnings for every specific region of Mexico, the Government of Canada offers more general warnings with advice on areas to avoid.

Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is great for covering things like:

  • Medical emergency insurance: Your health plan back home may provide zero or very little coverage in Mexico. This type of insurance may reimburse you for medical expenses you incur because of an illness or accident that occurs during your trip.
  • Trip cancellation insurance: This covers non-refundable expenses such as tours, excursions, hotels, etc. For example, if a storm hits your vacation destination and forces you to cancel the trip, this insurance can cover 100% of the non-refundable trip expenses that you prepaid. It also covers cancellation due to diagnosed illness before traveling.
  • Quarantine accommodations: Get coverage for accomodations if you have to quarantine at your destination.
  • Trip interruption coverage: This is in case you need to cut your trip short and return home sooner than expected. These benefits apply if you or a traveling companion become ill or injured during a trip, for example.

We personally use InsureMyTrip since they are the largest unbiased travel insurance site that allows you to compare prices across dozens of providers and filter for only the specific coverage options you want. Every program is different and it’s important to review the terms of the insurance policy to determine if the plan is right for your needs. To get a quick estimate, click the button below:

Health & Hygiene

There is a lot of misinformation out there and really it’s about making sure you have all the information so that you can make the right decision for yourself and your family.

General Health Protocols

Puerto Vallarta took the health and hygiene protocols very seriously from the very start to ensure the safety of its citizens and visitors. Puerto Vallarta was actually one of the first cities to obtain the Safe Travels seal issued by the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) for complying with the hygiene and sanitation standards.

The state of Jalisco actually made the use of masks mandatory for the service industry. Staff at restaurants around town will always be wearing masks , and hotels are operating at a limited capacity. Every restaurant is required to administer hand sanitizer and to take the temperature of every customer before entering.

At most hotels, pool chairs are disinfected between each use, public areas are frequently sanitized, and plastic barriers are set up at counters where guests and employees interact.

All the major grocery chains are all checking temperatures as you enter the shopping centers and they make sure everyone has a mask on.

It is pretty easy to follow all the health and hygiene protocols. Wear masks whenever you are indoors without good airflow. Carry hand sanitizer around with you, but most businesses will require a temperature check and will dispense hand sanitizer.

Can you drink the tap water in Puerto Vallarta? It has actually been rated as perfectly safe for human consumption with a certificate of purity for 30 consecutive years. Soraya Topete Camacho , the head of the city’s water quality & testing, said “The population can rest assured that they are receiving quality water. At the national level, we are the only city with 30 consecutive years complying.”

“Touristically, our drinking water quality is something that we need to show off and promote. Many other tourist destinations would love to have drinking water of this quality. It is a great achievement, it gives us pride and a tremendous promotional tool for the city.” – SEAPAL (Puerto Vallarta’s Potable Water, Drainage, and Sewerage Services)

The local government invested a decent amount of money into a state-of-the-art water treatment system so that everybody can have clean drinking water. So yes, you can probably drink the tap water in Puerto Vallarta, just be aware that some areas and buildings may have old pipes. If in doubt, ask your hotel or accommodation if the water is ok to drink.

Puerto Vallarta has the coveted  Blue Flag status , an international certification that recognizes excellence in security, environmental management, and quality of beaches & marinas. The ocean water is also regularly tested by the Mexican government agency, COFEPRIS.

Emergency Information

Though no one wants to think that they will have an emergency while traveling abroad, it happens. We highly recommend registering your travel dates with your consulate. This is easy to do and can be done online. US citizens can go to the Smart Traveler Enrollment website and Canadians can go to the Registration of Canadians Abroad . British Nationals traveling to Mexico can find important information on the Mexico Foreign Travel Advice website.

Creating an Emergency Card

In the case of an emergency, it makes everything much easier if you have all your important information compiled in one place. We suggest creating an emergency card with all the following information and share it with your family and friends (and maybe even have a copy of it in your wallet or purse):

  • Medication allergies and a list of medications you take.
  • Blood type.
  • Emergency contact information (preferably a blood relative). Include name, relationship, phone number, address, and email address.
  • Your insurance information.
  • Dial 911 in case of an emergency
  • CMQ Hospital Puerto Vallarta: +52 322 223 1919
  • Hospital CMQ Riviera Nayarit (Bucerias): +52 329 298 0717
  • Hospital Joya Riviera (Nuevo Vallarta): +52 322 226 8181
  • Hospital Joya Marina Vallarta: +52 322 226 1010
  • +52 333 268 2100
  • Paseo de los Cocoteros #85, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit
  • +52 322 293 0098
  • Plaza Peninsula, Blvrd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2485, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  • +52 322 221 2676

According to Numbeo’s Level of Crime Index, Puerto Vallarta has a crime rate of 38/100, which is considered low. In comparison, Maui is 58/100 and Miami is 58/100.

While the perception is that Mexico is a dangerous place to visit, it’s a massive country with vastly different regions. The cartel violence that makes headlines is concentrated far away from our little beach town. Puerto Vallarta is a very safe destination for international travelers, although tourists should obviously exercise caution, just as they would in their own countries.

Puerto Vallarta is a relatively small and quiet city where you rarely hear about violent crimes. You will occasionally hear about petty theft or home robberies, but tourists have very little to worry about as long as they use common sense and follow a few simple safety guidelines.

Make sure to check the Mexico Travel Advisory page of the U.S. State Department to check for the latest news and travel safety information, as it changes frequently. The  Government of Canada  is another great source. Whereas the U.S. Department of State provides travel warnings for every specific region of Mexico, the Government of Canada offers more general warnings with advice on areas to avoid.

Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you click and make a qualifying purchase.

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Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico? Here’s What You Need to Know.

A spate of incidents, including a kidnapping and the death of two Americans near the border, have prompted travel warnings from the U.S. government.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

By Elisabeth Malkin and Isabella Kwai

Two Americans found dead after they were attacked and kidnapped near the border. Airports shuttered amid gang violence in Sinaloa. Turmoil among taxi drivers in Cancún.

A number of recent security incidents have raised concerns about the risks of traveling to Mexico, where more than 20 million tourists flew last year to visit the country’s beaches, cities and archaeological sites, or to obtain health care .

Ahead of the spring break holiday, a popular time for American tourists to visit the country, the U.S. Embassy issued a travel alert , urging visitors to exercise caution by avoiding dangerous situations and drinking responsibly, among other recommendations. “Crime, including violent crime, can occur anywhere in Mexico, including in popular tourist destinations,” the alert said. And the State Department has warned tourists to steer clear of six states, including the state of Tamaulipas, where the recent kidnapping occurred — and to exercise increased precautions in other popular destinations like Playa del Carmen, Cancún, Tulum and Mexico City.

An overwhelming majority of visitors enjoy a safe vacation in Mexico, and tourists are largely sheltered from the violence that grips local communities. But the attack and kidnapping of four Americans in the border city of Matamoros, two of whom were later found dead, along with recent disorder in Cancún and violence in early January that forced the closure of three airports in northwest Mexico, is prompting questions about whether the country’s broader unrest is spilling into other destinations.

What happened on the border?

On March 3, four Americans from South Carolina traveling in a white minivan crossed the border from Brownsville, Texas, into the city of Matamoros, in the Mexican state of Tamaulipas. One of the Americans was scheduled for cosmetic surgery.

Soon after the Americans crossed the border, gunmen fired on their vehicle and then abducted the group in a pickup truck. Officials later said that two of the group were found dead at a rural location alongside the other two, who had survived.

The Americans were attacked as a result of “confusion,” according to Irving Barrios, the state prosecutor in Tamaulipas. Matamoros has a long history of violence and highway shootouts, though that reputation has partially subsided in recent years. Then, in late February, one gang moved into the city to wrest control of drug sales from another, said Eduardo Guerrero, the director of Lantia Intelligence , a security consulting company in Mexico City.

“There are places in the country where the situation can change abruptly from one week to another,” he said. While the motives in the attack remain unclear, the Americans had “very bad luck,” Mr. Guerrero said, because they likely stumbled into a battle between the two gangs.

What happened earlier this year in Cancún?

Uber has been challenging the taxi unions for the right to operate in Cancún and won a court decision in its favor on Jan. 11. The ruling infuriated the powerful unions, which are believed to have links to local organized crime figures and former governors. Taxi drivers then began harassing and threatening Uber drivers.

The conflict generated widespread attention after a video of taxi drivers forcing a Russian-speaking family out of their rideshare car went viral, and after unions blocked the main road leading to Cancún’s hotel zone. That prompted the U.S. Embassy in Mexico to issue a security alert .

Mr. Guerrero said that the authorities will try to negotiate some kind of compromise, but there was a probability of more violence ahead.

Have authorities curbed violence that might affect tourists?

As a rule, criminals in Mexico are careful not to kill tourists, Mr. Guerrero explained, because doing so “can set in motion a persecution that can last years,” the consequences of which can be “very dissuasive,” he said.

But the rule doesn’t always hold. And in two popular destinations for foreign tourists — Los Cabos , at the tip of the Baja California peninsula, and the Caribbean coast — local and state officials have recently sought help from the United States to take on organized crime that threatened to drive off tourists.

A spasm of violence at the end of 2021 and early 2022 rattled the tourist industry along the Riviera Maya, the 80-mile strip of Caribbean resorts south of Cancún. Two visitors were killed in crossfire between local gangs in Tulum; a gunfight on a beach in Puerto Morelos sent tourists running for cover into a nearby hotel; a hit man gained entry to a luxury hotel in Playa del Carmen and killed two Canadian tourists believed to have links to organized crime.

The federal government sent National Guard units to patrol the beaches, and Quintana Roo state authorities asked U.S. law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Drug Enforcement Administration, to provide intelligence, Mr. Guerrero said. Local authorities, flush with tourism revenues, invested in the police, which is typically the weakest link in Mexican law enforcement.

The joint approach led to a lull in gangland gun battles in Quintana Roo’s tourist areas, and experts say that drug sales to meet foreign demand no longer take place on the street, although they are continuing more discreetly.

The success in tamping down drug violence in Quintana Roo follows a similar improvement in Los Cabos a couple of years ago when U.S. authorities also collaborated with local officials in the state of Baja California Sur. The murder rate soared in Los Cabos in 2017 amid cartel wars, and although tourists were not targeted, that year police chased gunmen into the lobby of a luxury hotel in San José del Cabo, and a cooler containing two heads was left in a tourist area.

What about tourist areas in other states?

Even in states where crime is very high, tourist areas have generally been spared. San Miguel de Allende, a haven for U.S. retirees, is an island of relative peace in a state, Guanajuato, that has been riddled with cartel violence .

The Pacific Coast state of Jalisco, home to the resort of Puerto Vallarta, picturesque tequila country and the cultural and gastronomic attractions of the state capital, Guadalajara , is also the center of operations of the extremely violent Jalisco New Generation Cartel . The cartel’s focus of violence is in the countryside; Puerto Vallarta and the beaches to its north, including the exclusive peninsula of Punta Mita and the surfers’ hangout of Sayulita, are all booming — and, despite drug sales, the cartel’s control seems to limit open conflict.

Mexico City has become a magnet for digital nomads and shorter term visitors , and concerns about violence there have receded. The city’s police force has been successful in reducing violent crime, particularly homicides, and the number of killings has been cut almost in half over the past three years.

Are there any other safety concerns?

Street crime is still a problem almost everywhere, especially in bigger cities and crowded spaces. Kidnapping and carjacking are a risk in certain regions and many businesses that cater to tourists operate under extortion threats. While tourists may not be aware of underlying criminal forces, their power sometimes spills out into the open in spectacular shows of violence.

The attack in Matamoros is only the most recent example. Mexican border cities, which have long endured waves of violence, are not typically tourist destinations, although Americans often cross the border to visit family, seek out cheaper health care or dine at restaurants.

Three airports in the state of Sinaloa, including the beach destination Mazatlán, were closed on Jan. 5 amid gang violence after Mexican security forces arrested Ovidio Guzmán López, a son of Joaquín Guzmán Loera, the crime lord known as El Chapo, who is serving a life sentence in the United States. A stray bullet fired by cartel gunmen shooting at a Mexican military plane as it landed at the airport in the state capital, Culiacán, clipped an Aeromexico plane preparing to take off for Mexico City. Nobody was hurt and the plane returned to the terminal.

In August, gunmen positioned burning cars and buses to block roads around Guadalajara in response to a military raid on a meeting of criminal bosses. In October, a local politician was shot and killed in an upscale steakhouse in suburban Guadalajara as terrified diners crawled to safety.

Pierre de Hail, the president of Janus Group Mexico, a risk management company in Monterrey, is skeptical that security has improved. “There is too much random risk,” he said. “It’s all about being in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

What precautions should tourists take?

Mr. de Hail recommends researching the resort and news from the area you’re visiting. The U.S. State Department provides state-by-state information about travel risks in Mexico. As of early March, the department had issued its strongest possible warning — Level 4: Do Not Travel — for six states, including Tamaulipas and Sinaloa. Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur are at Level 2, indicating that visitors should exercise increased caution. (By comparison, the same Level 2 advisory is applied to France and Spain.)

The Matamoros incident shows how violence can flare up in places that have been quiet recently. Mr. Guerrero suggests searching on the internet before traveling for news of recent outbreaks.

Mr. de Hail also suggests buying travel insurance in case of a medical emergency or theft, and recommends that tourists keep a low profile to avoid attracting attention, he said, warning that it is easy to misread situations.

As anywhere, common sense should prevail, Mr. de Hail said: Don’t wear expensive watches or jewelry, and avoid dark and deserted places. He recommends making a copy of your passport, remaining alert while walking home at night and not leaving your drinks unattended. “I have had numerous cases of people asking for help because they were extorted coming back from bars,” he said.

He added: “If you’re staying in a place that has a report of strikes or demonstrations, don’t go there. You’re a fish out of water.”

Follow New York Times Travel on Instagram , Twitter and Facebook . And sign up for our weekly Travel Dispatch newsletter to receive expert tips on traveling smarter and inspiration for your next vacation. Dreaming up a future getaway or just armchair traveling? Check out our 52 Places to Go in 2023 .

Isabella Kwai is a Times reporter based in London, covering breaking news and other trends. More about Isabella Kwai

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Americans Warned to Reconsider Travel to Puerto Vallarta & Beyond

Americans Warned to Reconsider Travel to Puerto Vallarta & Beyond

Tourists are no longer able to avoid the increased violence between rival gangs.

The State Department is urging U.S. citizens to reconsider or even avoid travel to parts of Mexico — including Jalisco state, home to top queer destination Puerto Vallarta — over increased crime and kidnappings in the region. As travelers make plans for spring break, the federal department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs has issued multiple advisories over the ongoing violence in Mexico.

Cartel violence erupted in Culiacan in early January after authorities arrested Ovidio Guzmán, a leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel and son of imprisoned drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán.

Rather than issue a nationwide risk assessment for Mexico, the department reviewed each state, issuing its strongest warning, for Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas over crime concerns.

Urging U.S. citizens not to travel to those Mexican states, the Bureau of Consular Affairs cited recent shootings between rival gangs that have injured or killed bystanders, as well as kidnappings targeting tourists and “green card” holders.

Officials advise U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, and Sonora due to crime and kidnapping.

Regarding Jalisco, which is home to popular LGBTQ + destinations Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara, and Riviera Nayarit, the advisory notes, “Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and [legal permanent residents] have been victims of kidnapping.”

At least some of the increased violence in tourism hotspots can be traced to the appetites of the travelers themselves: demand for drugs has brought competing cartels to the region .

In January, Orange County public defender Elliot Blair died under suspicious circumstances while vacationing in Rosarito in Baja California. His family believes the 33-year-old was murdered, but local authorities have called his death an accident.

  • 4 Americans Missing After Being Assaulted and Kidnapped in Mexico ›
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Home » North America » Puerto Vallarta

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Travel NOW? (Insider Tips 2024)

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. Top restaurants, a picturesque old town, and a whole lot of sea! They even welcome the LGBTQ+ community plus a self titled Romantic Zone . 

Being in Mexico, there’s worry that Puerto Vallarta isn’t going to be safe, or not up to safety standards. In the fact, Puerto Vallarta does suffer from some level of crime. 

This is exactly why we have this FOOLPROOF safety guide to Puerto Vallarta. With a whole lot of expert knowledge, insider information, and pro traveller tips , your trip to this coastal city will be just as awesome as the millions of other visitors who visit Puerto Vallarta safely.

We’re all about smart travel and common sense. Safety isn’t just how you should act in a city, it’s how to use the transport system and where to stay as a solo traveler; how to travel as a solo female traveler and staying safe at night. 

So is Puerto Vallarta safe to visit right now? Or so you just want a few tips? Well, we’ve got it sorted!

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

The Broke Backpacker is supported by you . Clicking through our links may earn us a small affiliate commission, and that's what allows us to keep producing free content 🙂 Learn more .

There is no such thing as a perfect safety guide, as things change quickly. The question of “Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?” will ALWAYS have a different answer depending on who you ask.

The information in this safety guide was accurate at the time of writing. If you use our guide, do your own research, and practice common sense, you will probably have a wonderful and safe trip to Puerto Vallarta.

If you see any outdated information, we would really appreciate it if you could reach out in the comments below. Otherwise, stay safe friends!

Updated December 2023

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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Visit Right Now? 

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Yes, Puerto Vallarta is a safe place to visit right now. According to Gobierno de Mexico tourism , around 1,687,618 tourists visited Puerto Vallarta on 2022 with mostly having a problem free experiences.

The town plans to attract more tourists every year and is constantly renovating hotels and attractions to make it, well, better. That being said, you’ll still need to know some ins and outs here. So let me give you a rundown. 

The puerto vallarta crime rate is pretty low. If you’re going travelling in Mexico , this is one of the best destinations to choose for safety. 

Violent crime and cartels are usually people’s biggest worry in Mexico. Though, unless you’re actively looking for trouble, it’s very unlikely it will come to you. 

Besides petty theft, like pickpocketing, bag snatching, and common travel scams, tourists are very rarely affected in Puerto Vallarta. If you apply your usual travel common sense, you should be fine. 

The Puerto Vallarta crime rate is lower than much of Mexico; it’s 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.

street-style-puerto-vallarta

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 traveling 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 pay attention to flags on the beaches.

Overall, you have very few worries while visiting Puerto Vallarta. It’s even safer than Mexico City, Playa Del Carmen, and Los Cabos. So it is a good choice for a safe trip to Mexico .

Check out our detailed  where to stay guide for Puerto Vallarta  so you can start your trip right!

Like most places in Mexico, the Puerto Vallarta safe zones are generally tourist destinations. Tourism is important here, the country, and many people that live here, need the tourism industry to survive. So the Mexico security forces are working hard to ensure that the visitors are safe.

That being said, these neighbourhoods in Puerto Vallarta are more susceptible to petty theft. So visiting these tourist areas in Puerto Vallarta is safe, but pay particular attention to your valuables. While you’re away from home, still use common sense and exercise a little extra precaution.

Here are some of the safest places to stay in Puerto Vallarta:

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

  • Marina Vallarta – This was one of the early tourist destinations developed especially for international tourists coming to visit Mexico. Since then, they haven’t stopped coming. Mexico works hard to maintain this area of Puerto Vallarta as a safe destination – so you’ll have very few worries here.
  • Hotel Zone (Zona Hotelera) – The all-inclusive resorts along Mexico’s pacific coast are the claim to fame for the Hotel Zone in Puerto Vallarta (for obvious reasons). There are boutique hotels and shopping centers here to delve into. It’s ideal for family vacations being one of the safest neighborhoods with many tourists and a low crime rate.
  • Romantic Zone (Zone Romantica) – As the name suggests, this is the lovey-dovey area of Puerto Vallarta, safe and, even more: it’s LGBTQ community friendly too. The Romantic Zone is one of the tourist areas where you’ll find fantastic food, art, and rich culture that Mexico is famous for. 
  • Nuevo Vallarta – Technically a state over in Nayarit, Nuevo Vallarta in Banderas Bay is undoubtedly one of the safest neighborhoods to stay in the area. It’s a popular choice for American tourists with friendly locals and a huge range of biodiversity on Mexico’s pacific coast.

Places to Avoid in Puerto Vallarta

Although, as a whole, Puerto Vallarta is pretty safe, there are always some places that are better avoided. The state of Jalisco as a whole does have reconsider travel warnings from the USA for American tourists. Though Puerto Vallarta, as well as other popular tourist destinations like Guadalajara Metropolitan Area and Riviera Nayarit, are not included in this – so you’re good to go!

The Puerto Vallarta crime rate varies across the state a lot. As a general rule, the further away from the tourist areas you go, the higher the rate of violent crime is. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Though – please note – tourists have very little to see in these areas anyway. You really won’t miss anything anyway. 

  • Anywhere at night outside of the tourist zones – If you’re moving between areas or heading back to your accommodation, just take a taxi. 
  • Inland neighbourhoods – Away from the coast and outside of the safest areas like the Romantic Zone and Marina Vallarta start to get more dangerous and the risk of violent crime increases.

Keeping Your Money Safe in Puerto Vallarta

One of the most common things to happen to you whilst travelling is losing your money. And let’s face it: the most annoying way for this to actually occur is when it’s stolen from you.

Petty crime is pretty much a problem all over the world.

The best solution? Get a money belt.

Active Roots Security Belt

Stash your cash safely with this money belt. It will keep your valuables safely concealed, no matter where you go.

It looks exactly like a normal belt  except for a SECRET interior pocket perfectly designed to hide a wad of cash, a passport photocopy or anything else you may wish to hide. Never get caught with your pants down again! (Unless you want to…)

Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is one of the “safer” areas of Mexico to travel to. But then again – it’s still Mexico. 

Things like petty theft exist and you always have to apply travel common sense and general safety tips. To help you out, we’ve put together some of our best travel tips for Puerto Vallarta so you can have an awesome time here.

  • Understand local culture – Speaking Spanish will go a long way. Being polite about Mexico is nice too.
  • Careful at the beach – don’t swim too far out and be wary of big waves and undercurrents.
  • Don’t swim under the influence – of anything. People die this way.
  • Always keep an emergency stash of cash – Never keep all your cards/ currency in one place. And hide it all from thieves with a hidden money belt .
  • Ignore taxi (and other) touts at the airport – just say ‘no gracias’ and keep walking. It’s best to hire taxis through your hotel.
  • The town is 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.
  • Stay in a vacation rental – vacation rentals such as VRBOs in Puerto Vallarta vet out hosts and guests, and offer 24 hour support when you need it. This helps travellers find a safe place to stay. You can also find vacation homes in gated communities and with security by filtering your search.
  • Don’t look rich – it singles you out as a potential target; try to dress down.
  • Keep your bag closed and close – pickpocketing does happen here.
  • Limit the amount of money and cards you carry – having everything in one place is a recipe for disaster.
  • Take a good medical kit with you – you never know when you might need it!
  • Careful when using ATMs – you never know who’s watching.
  • Don’t drink too much – have fun but keep your wits about you.
  • Be aware of your surroundings – walking around like you’re in a theme park is not the way to go anywhere, let alone here.

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Puerto Vallarta

Yes, you can travel solo to Puerto Vallarta safely !

Puerto Vallarta is a fun and safe place to travel alone. But travelling this way can sometimes wear you down. So here are our very best tips for solo travelers in Puerto Vallarta so you can have a blast and stay sane as you do so.

  • Make friends – There’s safety in numbers plus it cures any solo travel blues.
  • Do things alone – don’t get stuck in a rut. Head out to Downtown and grab a drink. Push yourself to be social. If you don’t drink, go grab a coffee or eat at the beachside restaurants. 
  • Choose quality accommodation – There’s no shortage of good hostels in Puerto Vallarta for solo travelers.
  • Plan your route home – especially if you’re heading back after dark. 
  • Don’t get too drunk – for obvious reasons. 
  • Travel light – More baggage means more burdens. Plus, it’s more stuff to potentially lose. 
  • 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 and where you are. 
  • Know your limits – you don’t need to prove nothing to no one. Know when it’s time to call it a day.

Being a solo traveler 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

Yes, Puerto Vallarta is safe for solo female travelers .

Though, like everywhere, there are actual risks. So to help you out fof your Puerto Vallarta trip, here are our top tips for solo female travelers.

  • Trust your spidey senses! – if your gut says something is wrong then it probably is. 
  • Check out good hostels for women – read reviews, make friends with other solo female travelers, and share experiences and tips. Use female-only dorms if you prefer.
  • Don’t leave your drink or food unattended – Drink spiking occurs.
  • Dress a little more conservatively – Mexico is still pretty conservative on the whole. I love strong women breaking boundaries but unfortunately I’d recommend that as a solo female traveler, you needn’t attract unwanted attention. 
  • Don’t feel like you have to get off the beaten path – We’re saying this especially if this is your first solo trip: it’s fine to stick to touristed areas. In fact, touristed areas are the safer areas of towns (generally) anyway .
  • You don’t have to be polite – or answer questions, or tell the truth. Saying “no” is always okay!
  • If someone does bother you, LET EVERYONE KNOW! – Should it loud and make a fuss.

Travelling to Puerto Vallarta is actually super cool as a solo female traveler. It’s a safe and fun place; it’s the perfect place to push yourself outside of your comfort zone a little bit.

Puerto Vallarta is ideal to visit as a first-time solo female traveler too. There won’t be a lot of the usual hassle you MAY get in other areas when you visit Mexico. There’s more of a liberal mindset here.

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.

Marina Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta

Marina Vallarta

You’ll want to stay in this area if you plan on doing lots of excursions on the water as this is where most of the tours depart.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel for families

Yes, there’s a whole load of stuff to do and see in Puerto Vallarta for families, with child-friendly attractions for all ages. Mexican society is all about families; you’ll get a warm welcome here. Puerto Vallarta is an awesome place to immerse your family in Mexican culture where you won’t have to worry much about safety or crime levels.

If you stay at a resort hotel there will be kids’ clubs and family rooms. There’s fun stuff to do, one of which is ziplining. You can also book tours, easily done through your hotel.

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.

The most you’ll have to worry about is covering up from the sun and heat. The sun takes no prisoners here so make sure you max out on sun protection . Booking a place with a swimming pool is great so you’ve got somewhere to cool off in. 

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 can steer clear of – not exactly family-friendly!

Remember to protect your family from mosquitos too. Insect repellent is essential to keep mosquitoes away . 

Generally, however, Puerto Vallarta is a safe place to travel with families – and all-round cool place to take your kids!

Driving in Puerto Vallarta is pretty straight forward . It’s easy to navigate: the sea is on one side, the mountains, the other. You will need an international driver’s license. 

Renting a car opens up the area for fun road trips. Though, Mexico is far from the safest place to drive with road accidents being one of the leading causes of death . 

The drivers around Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, and Banderas Bay are far from cautious. Pay extra attention to other drivers and pedestrians. Please be extra vigilant and AVOID nighttime driving. 

You can hire taxis easy enough. Ask your accommodation where your nearest taxi rank. Avoid hailing them off the street: using unofficial taxis is risky (more information coming on this). 

Better yet, Uber is safe in Puerto Vallarta . They’re usually cheaper and much safer than normal taxis. 

Now… airport taxis. Inside the arrivals terminal, you can find licensed taxis. This is more expensive, but you’re guaranteed a licensed taxi. 

The public transport is safe in in Puerto Vallarta and is made up of two things: bus and boat.

If you want to get around town cheaply, hop on the local bus. You can get them all over the place. 

Is public transportation in Puerto Vallarta safe

The buses run on loops roughly every five minutes. For long-distance journeys, make sure to only use first class bus companies. 

The other way to get around Puerto Vallarta are water taxis. These serve routes that run to the southside beaches. Usually, these depart from Playa de Los Muertos . 

When you grab a boat, make sure that it’s not overcrowded – and wear the lifejacket. No, lifejackets have always been cool. Cover up or wear a ton of sunscreen; these boats are the perfect recipe for some gnarly sunburn.

Scammers are active in tourist zones in Puerto Vallarta. So be prepared to expect all your standard travel scams and common sense will help with most of them. I’m going to give you a heads up on some of the most common scams. 

Taxi scams – these guys never stop. The most common scam is simply overcharging tourists. Ask your accommodation how much you should be paying roughly. 

Sometimes taxi drivers try and take you on a tour (sometimes without asking) then charge you for it. Only use official taxis and agree a price before getting in. Official taxis are yellow and have the license displayed.

Don’t use large bills in taxis. This could honestly be too large for the drivers to give you change, but other times they might try to bamboozle you with shortchange. 

Mustard scam – or basically a distraction scam: someone spills some kinda sauce on you and a friendly stranger comes to your aid. A perfect way to quickly raid your pockets and be gone before you notice. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Police bribes – 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).

Airport scams – sellers will over massively overprice services at the airport. You can politely decline: “no, gracias”. Try and organise your transport, services, and tours before you arrive in Puerto Vallarta or find reputable (and well-reviewed) companies. 

Basically, tourists without a care in the world are easy targets for scammers. If someone seems overly friendly or too close in your personal space, that’s a red flag.

Everyone’s packing list is going to look a little different, but here are a few things I would never want to travel to Puerto Vallarta without…

nomatic_laundry_bag

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Gifts for backpackers

A decent head torch could save your life. If you want to explore caves, unlit temples, or simply find your way to the bathroom during a blackout, a headtorch is a must.

Yesim eSIM

Yesim stands as a premier eSIM service provider, catering specifically to the mobile internet needs of travellers.

GEAR-Monoply-Game

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Pacsafe belt

This is a regular looking belt with a concealed pocket on the inside – you can hide up to twenty notes inside and wear it through airport scanners without it setting them off.

Before you go on any type of trip, the best way to cover yourself is by getting insurance. When you’re planning to visit Puerto Vallarta, make sure that you get good travel insurance for Mexico – that covers the type of trip you want to have.

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing .

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

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Here are some quick answers to common questions about safety in Puerto Vallarta.

What should I avoid in Puerto Vallarta?

These are the things you need to avoid in Puerto Vallarta: – Avoid swimming out too far on the beach. – Don’t look too much like a tourist or incredibly wealthy. – Avoid carrying valuables. – Don’t walk around staring at your phone. – Don’t walk outside of tourist zones at night!

Is Puerto Vallarta safe to live in?

Yes, Puerto Vallarta is a safe place to live in. It’s as popular with visitors as it is with expats who now call the place home. There’s a strong sense of local community and family which attracts many new neighbors.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe from cartels?

Yes. Officially, there is no active cartel in Puerto Vallarta – and we recommend not looking for one. Stay as far away as possible from anything dodgy that might be related to drugs or cartel work.

Is the water in Puerto Vallarta safe to drink?

Yes, they say you can drink the water in Puerto Vallarta. There is a “state of the art” water treatment system. Although , some areas and buildings have old pipes. Ask your accommodation if you should avoid drinking tap water where you are staying. If so, stick to bottled water.

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 comes with typical coastal party towns. 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. By extension, solo travelers in Mexico won’t feel alone here. It’s a friendly, fun place.

We already said that, too. Basically what we mean is this: Puerto Vallarta is safe! The only way you’re going to potentially get into any trouble is by doing something stupid, like getting crazy drunk and being reckless; going swimming in the sea whilst off your head, or some other sketchy situation. 

The key thing to remember: keep your wits about you and don’t endanger yourself. With that, there’s no reason why you won’t have an unbelievably incredible vacation in Puerto Vallarta!

Final thoughts on the safety of Puerto Vallarta

Looking for more info on traveling to Puerto Vallarta?

  • Let me help you choose where to stay in Puerto Vallarta
  • Swing by one of these fabulous festivals
  • Don’t forget to add an epic national park to your itinerary
  • Check out my favorite Airbnbs in the centre of all the action
  • Plan the rest of your trip with our fantastic backpacking Mexico travel guide!

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!

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Claire Martin

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You can take an Uber from the airport. As you exit the terminal bear left and then left again at end of building. You will come to a pedestrian bridge over the highway to a small bus/taxi stand. 5 minute walk max. Uber can pick up there as it is not airport property. I believe there is a sign marking Uber pick up area.

I am trying to reply to Christiane. I live in Zapopan y quiero hablar contigo sobre el tercer viaje a PV si puedes porfa.

Thank you for this informative, common sense article. I know several people who have moved to Puerto Vallerta, one who assures me I will never want to come back to States. I’m a itching to go.

Thank you so very much. This was quite an informative review. I just want to offer a suggestion regarding rides from the airport. Since Ubers are not allowed at the airport, an alternative suggestion is to pre-book a transfer to your accommodation before arriving in Puerto Vallarta. I arrange for clients always, and it saves time and unnecessary headaches if you know your driver, and where to find him or her.

This is my weird scary bus trip to P V (Puerto Vallarta). This was my third trip to PV and unfortunately it would involve conversation about organ trafficking and having my drink spiked at a very nice Italian Restaurant on the malecon. After leaving the restaurant I don’t remember a lot of stuff that happened. When I got to Guadalajara, someone took me to the hospital. They wanted to do an x ray of my head an MRI and give me a rape kit, just in case I’d been assured. They were also concerned about my memory loss. I tried to explain that the memory loss happened after I left the restaurant, but no one is listening to me. This country can be so fustrating at times. Their were other weird things that happened during that trip. It’s been two years now, and I still don’t remember a lot of that trip. Will I go back to PV??? NO NO not ever NO!!!!

Regarding safety as a solo female in Puerto Valarta: I had traveled to Puerto Valarta twice before with no problems. One important lesson is to make sure you ask if the amount you are paying is in Pesos or US Dollars. The third time I traveled to PV, there was a strange vibe something was off. I always stay at the same hotel. As I walked along the malecon, one of the waiters stop me to chat. I took the bus to PV. He said that we had met on the plane asking about my stay. Then he asked if I was “healthy” alarm bells in my head go off. All I can think about is organ trafficking. All I say, is that I have to go. The other thing that happened was I wanted to go to an Italian restaurant that had great reviews and since I wanted to have a glass of wine with dinner I didn’t take anything for my panic attacks. I get to the restaurant around 8 o’clock and decided to order the 5 course tasting meal. Instead of wine I order a mojito. The meal was fabulous but, the mojito had a wierd taste so I only drank half sure wish I had ordered the wine instead. I flag a taxi to my hotel. I tell the person at the desk that I want to take the first bus back to Guadalajara (I live there). This is were it gets very strange, I don’t remember anything after that, it’s like someone has taken a huge piece of my memory out of my brain. The next thing I remember is holding on to the sink in the in suite bathroom. Some one is pounding on my door telling me I have to leave since the room has already been rented. I don’t remember taking the taxi to the bus station or getting on the bus. Once I get home I immediately go to bed. I wake up fine and everything is ok, I feel safe and present. I believe my drink was spiked. I had bruises and contusions all over the lower part of my body. Will I solo travel back to PV, NO not now not ever. There were other wierd things that happened during my stay there. I don’t know, maybe this stay was just a fluke but every time I think about going back to PV, I begin to feel a little bit panic. This was my experience so someone else’s could be different. Anyway I liked reading your blog post. It was “super helpful”. So thanks

Thank you!!! Super Helpful. Wondering if I should book the tours or just take water taxi. Thanks again

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Mexico Traveler View

Travel health notices, vaccines and medicines, non-vaccine-preventable diseases, stay healthy and safe.

  • Packing List

After Your Trip

Map - Mexico

Be aware of current health issues in Mexico. Learn how to protect yourself.

Level 1 Practice Usual Precautions

  • Global Dengue June 25, 2024 Dengue is a year-round risk in many parts of the world, with outbreaks commonly occurring every 2–5 years. Travelers to risk areas should prevent mosquito bites. Destination List: Afghanistan, Argentina, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Ecuador, including the Galápagos Islands, Ethiopia, Fiji, French Guiana (France), Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Indonesia, Laos, Mali, Martinique (France), Mauritius, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Samoa, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Uruguay
  • Salmonella Newport in Mexico May 30, 2024 Some travelers who have spent time in Mexico have been infected with multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella Newport.
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever in Mexico March 12, 2024 There have been reports of Rocky Mountain spotted fever (RMSF) in people traveling to the United States from Tecate, in the state of Baja California, Mexico.

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Check the vaccines and medicines list and visit your doctor at least a month before your trip to get vaccines or medicines you may need. If you or your doctor need help finding a location that provides certain vaccines or medicines, visit the Find a Clinic page.

Routine vaccines

Recommendations.

Make sure you are up-to-date on all routine vaccines before every trip. Some of these vaccines include

  • Chickenpox (Varicella)
  • Diphtheria-Tetanus-Pertussis
  • Flu (influenza)
  • Measles-Mumps-Rubella (MMR)

Immunization schedules

All eligible travelers should be up to date with their COVID-19 vaccines. Please see  Your COVID-19 Vaccination  for more information. 

COVID-19 vaccine

Chikungunya

There has been evidence of chikungunya virus transmission in Mexico within the last 5 years. Chikungunya vaccination may be considered for the following travelers:

  • People aged 65 years or older, especially those with underlying medical conditions, who may spend at least 2 weeks (cumulative time) in indoor or outdoor areas where mosquitoes are present in Mexico, OR
  • People planning to stay in Mexico for a cumulative period of 6 months or more

Chikungunya - CDC Yellow Book

Hepatitis A

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers one year old or older going to Mexico.

Infants 6 to 11 months old should also be vaccinated against Hepatitis A. The dose does not count toward the routine 2-dose series.

Travelers allergic to a vaccine component or who are younger than 6 months should receive a single dose of immune globulin, which provides effective protection for up to 2 months depending on dosage given.

Unvaccinated travelers who are over 40 years old, immunocompromised, or have chronic medical conditions planning to depart to a risk area in less than 2 weeks should get the initial dose of vaccine and at the same appointment receive immune globulin.

Hepatitis A - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep A

Hepatitis B

Recommended for unvaccinated travelers younger than 60 years old traveling to Mexico. Unvaccinated travelers 60 years and older may get vaccinated before traveling to Mexico.

Hepatitis B - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Hep B

CDC recommends that travelers going to certain areas of Mexico take prescription medicine to prevent malaria. Depending on the medicine you take, you will need to start taking this medicine multiple days before your trip, as well as during and after your trip. Talk to your doctor about which malaria medication you should take.

Find  country-specific information  about malaria.

Malaria - CDC Yellow Book

Considerations when choosing a drug for malaria prophylaxis (CDC Yellow Book)

Malaria information for Mexico.

Cases of measles are on the rise worldwide. Travelers are at risk of measles if they have not been fully vaccinated at least two weeks prior to departure, or have not had measles in the past, and travel internationally to areas where measles is spreading.

All international travelers should be fully vaccinated against measles with the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine, including an early dose for infants 6–11 months, according to  CDC’s measles vaccination recommendations for international travel .

Measles (Rubeola) - CDC Yellow Book

Dogs infected with rabies are sometimes found in Mexico.

Rabies is also commonly found in some terrestrial wildlife species.

If rabies exposures occur while in Mexico, rabies vaccines are typically available throughout most of the country.

Rabies pre-exposure vaccination considerations include whether travelers 1) will be performing occupational or recreational activities that increase risk for exposure to potentially rabid animals and 2) might have difficulty getting prompt access to safe post-exposure prophylaxis.

Please consult with a healthcare provider to determine whether you should receive pre-exposure vaccination before travel.

For more information, see country rabies status assessments .

Rabies - CDC Yellow Book

Recommended for most travelers, especially those staying with friends or relatives or visiting smaller cities or rural areas.

Typhoid - CDC Yellow Book

Dosing info - Typhoid

Avoid contaminated water

Leptospirosis

How most people get sick (most common modes of transmission)

  • Touching urine or other body fluids from an animal infected with leptospirosis
  • Swimming or wading in urine-contaminated fresh water, or contact with urine-contaminated mud
  • Drinking water or eating food contaminated with animal urine
  • Avoid contaminated water and soil
  • Avoid floodwater

Clinical Guidance

Avoid bug bites, chagas disease (american trypanosomiasis).

  • Accidentally rub feces (poop) of the triatomine bug into the bug bite, other breaks in the skin, your eyes, or mouth
  • From pregnant woman to her baby, contaminated blood products (transfusions), or contaminated food or drink.
  • Avoid Bug Bites

Chagas disease

  • Mosquito bite

Leishmaniasis

  • Sand fly bite
  • An infected pregnant woman can spread it to her unborn baby

Airborne & droplet

Avian/bird flu.

  • Being around, touching, or working with infected poultry, such as visiting poultry farms or live-animal markets
  • Avoid domestic and wild poultry
  • Breathing in air or accidentally eating food contaminated with the urine, droppings, or saliva of infected rodents
  • Bite from an infected rodent
  • Less commonly, being around someone sick with hantavirus (only occurs with Andes virus)
  • Avoid rodents and areas where they live
  • Avoid sick people

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • Breathe in TB bacteria that is in the air from an infected and contagious person coughing, speaking, or singing.

Learn actions you can take to stay healthy and safe on your trip. Vaccines cannot protect you from many diseases in Mexico, so your behaviors are important.

Eat and drink safely

Food and water standards around the world vary based on the destination. Standards may also differ within a country and risk may change depending on activity type (e.g., hiking versus business trip). You can learn more about safe food and drink choices when traveling by accessing the resources below.

  • Choose Safe Food and Drinks When Traveling
  • Water Treatment Options When Hiking, Camping or Traveling
  • Global Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH)
  • Avoid Contaminated Water During Travel

You can also visit the Department of State Country Information Pages for additional information about food and water safety.

Prevent bug bites

Bugs (like mosquitoes, ticks, and fleas) can spread a number of diseases in Mexico. Many of these diseases cannot be prevented with a vaccine or medicine. You can reduce your risk by taking steps to prevent bug bites.

What can I do to prevent bug bites?

  • Cover exposed skin by wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hats.
  • Use an appropriate insect repellent (see below).
  • Use permethrin-treated clothing and gear (such as boots, pants, socks, and tents). Do not use permethrin directly on skin.
  • Stay and sleep in air-conditioned or screened rooms.
  • Use a bed net if the area where you are sleeping is exposed to the outdoors.

What type of insect repellent should I use?

  • FOR PROTECTION AGAINST TICKS AND MOSQUITOES: Use a repellent that contains 20% or more DEET for protection that lasts up to several hours.
  • Picaridin (also known as KBR 3023, Bayrepel, and icaridin)
  • Oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE) or para-menthane-diol (PMD)
  • 2-undecanone
  • Always use insect repellent as directed.

What should I do if I am bitten by bugs?

  • Avoid scratching bug bites, and apply hydrocortisone cream or calamine lotion to reduce the itching.
  • Check your entire body for ticks after outdoor activity. Be sure to remove ticks properly.

What can I do to avoid bed bugs?

Although bed bugs do not carry disease, they are an annoyance. See our information page about avoiding bug bites for some easy tips to avoid them. For more information on bed bugs, see Bed Bugs .

For more detailed information on avoiding bug bites, see Avoid Bug Bites .

Some diseases in Mexico—such as dengue, Zika, leishmaniasis, and Chagas disease—are spread by bugs and cannot be prevented with a vaccine. Follow the insect avoidance measures described above to prevent these and other illnesses.

Stay safe outdoors

If your travel plans in Mexico include outdoor activities, take these steps to stay safe and healthy during your trip.

  • Stay alert to changing weather conditions and adjust your plans if conditions become unsafe.
  • Prepare for activities by wearing the right clothes and packing protective items, such as bug spray, sunscreen, and a basic first aid kit.
  • Consider learning basic first aid and CPR before travel. Bring a travel health kit with items appropriate for your activities.
  • If you are outside for many hours in heat, eat salty snacks and drink water to stay hydrated and replace salt lost through sweating.
  • Protect yourself from UV radiation : use sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15, wear protective clothing, and seek shade during the hottest time of day (10 a.m.–4 p.m.).
  • Be especially careful during summer months and at high elevation. Because sunlight reflects off snow, sand, and water, sun exposure may be increased during activities like skiing, swimming, and sailing.
  • Very cold temperatures can be dangerous. Dress in layers and cover heads, hands, and feet properly if you are visiting a cold location.

Stay safe around water

  • Swim only in designated swimming areas. Obey lifeguards and warning flags on beaches.
  • Practice safe boating—follow all boating safety laws, do not drink alcohol if driving a boat, and always wear a life jacket.
  • Do not dive into shallow water.
  • Do not swim in freshwater in developing areas or where sanitation is poor.
  • Avoid swallowing water when swimming. Untreated water can carry germs that make you sick.
  • To prevent infections, wear shoes on beaches where there may be animal waste.

Leptospirosis, a bacterial infection that can be spread in fresh water, is found in Mexico. Avoid swimming in fresh, unchlorinated water, such as lakes, ponds, or rivers.

Keep away from animals

Most animals avoid people, but they may attack if they feel threatened, are protecting their young or territory, or if they are injured or ill. Animal bites and scratches can lead to serious diseases such as rabies.

Follow these tips to protect yourself:

  • Do not touch or feed any animals you do not know.
  • Do not allow animals to lick open wounds, and do not get animal saliva in your eyes or mouth.
  • Avoid rodents and their urine and feces.
  • Traveling pets should be supervised closely and not allowed to come in contact with local animals.
  • If you wake in a room with a bat, seek medical care immediately. Bat bites may be hard to see.

All animals can pose a threat, but be extra careful around dogs, bats, monkeys, sea animals such as jellyfish, and snakes. If you are bitten or scratched by an animal, immediately:

  • Wash the wound with soap and clean water.
  • Go to a doctor right away.
  • Tell your doctor about your injury when you get back to the United States.

Consider buying medical evacuation insurance. Rabies is a deadly disease that must be treated quickly, and treatment may not be available in some countries.

Reduce your exposure to germs

Follow these tips to avoid getting sick or spreading illness to others while traveling:

  • Wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • If soap and water aren’t available, clean hands with hand sanitizer (containing at least 60% alcohol).
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you need to touch your face, make sure your hands are clean.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.
  • Try to avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • If you are sick, stay home or in your hotel room, unless you need medical care.

Avoid sharing body fluids

Diseases can be spread through body fluids, such as saliva, blood, vomit, and semen.

Protect yourself:

  • Use latex condoms correctly.
  • Do not inject drugs.
  • Limit alcohol consumption. People take more risks when intoxicated.
  • Do not share needles or any devices that can break the skin. That includes needles for tattoos, piercings, and acupuncture.
  • If you receive medical or dental care, make sure the equipment is disinfected or sanitized.

Know how to get medical care while traveling

Plan for how you will get health care during your trip, should the need arise:

  • Carry a list of local doctors and hospitals at your destination.
  • Review your health insurance plan to determine what medical services it would cover during your trip. Consider purchasing travel health and medical evacuation insurance.
  • Carry a card that identifies, in the local language, your blood type, chronic conditions or serious allergies, and the generic names of any medications you take.
  • Some prescription drugs may be illegal in other countries. Call Mexico’s embassy to verify that all of your prescription(s) are legal to bring with you.
  • Bring all the medicines (including over-the-counter medicines) you think you might need during your trip, including extra in case of travel delays. Ask your doctor to help you get prescriptions filled early if you need to.

Many foreign hospitals and clinics are accredited by the Joint Commission International. A list of accredited facilities is available at their website ( www.jointcommissioninternational.org ).

In some countries, medicine (prescription and over-the-counter) may be substandard or counterfeit. Bring the medicines you will need from the United States to avoid having to buy them at your destination.

Malaria is a risk in some parts of Mexico. If you are going to a risk area, fill your malaria prescription before you leave, and take enough with you for the entire length of your trip. Follow your doctor’s instructions for taking the pills; some need to be started before you leave.

Select safe transportation

Motor vehicle crashes are the #1 killer of healthy US citizens in foreign countries.

In many places cars, buses, large trucks, rickshaws, bikes, people on foot, and even animals share the same lanes of traffic, increasing the risk for crashes.

Be smart when you are traveling on foot.

  • Use sidewalks and marked crosswalks.
  • Pay attention to the traffic around you, especially in crowded areas.
  • Remember, people on foot do not always have the right of way in other countries.

Riding/Driving

Choose a safe vehicle.

  • Choose official taxis or public transportation, such as trains and buses.
  • Ride only in cars that have seatbelts.
  • Avoid overcrowded, overloaded, top-heavy buses and minivans.
  • Avoid riding on motorcycles or motorbikes, especially motorbike taxis. (Many crashes are caused by inexperienced motorbike drivers.)
  • Choose newer vehicles—they may have more safety features, such as airbags, and be more reliable.
  • Choose larger vehicles, which may provide more protection in crashes.

Think about the driver.

  • Do not drive after drinking alcohol or ride with someone who has been drinking.
  • Consider hiring a licensed, trained driver familiar with the area.
  • Arrange payment before departing.

Follow basic safety tips.

  • Wear a seatbelt at all times.
  • Sit in the back seat of cars and taxis.
  • When on motorbikes or bicycles, always wear a helmet. (Bring a helmet from home, if needed.)
  • Avoid driving at night; street lighting in certain parts of Mexico may be poor.
  • Do not use a cell phone or text while driving (illegal in many countries).
  • Travel during daylight hours only, especially in rural areas.
  • If you choose to drive a vehicle in Mexico, learn the local traffic laws and have the proper paperwork.
  • Get any driving permits and insurance you may need. Get an International Driving Permit (IDP). Carry the IDP and a US-issued driver's license at all times.
  • Check with your auto insurance policy's international coverage, and get more coverage if needed. Make sure you have liability insurance.
  • Avoid using local, unscheduled aircraft.
  • If possible, fly on larger planes (more than 30 seats); larger airplanes are more likely to have regular safety inspections.
  • Try to schedule flights during daylight hours and in good weather.

Medical Evacuation Insurance

If you are seriously injured, emergency care may not be available or may not meet US standards. Trauma care centers are uncommon outside urban areas. Having medical evacuation insurance can be helpful for these reasons.

Helpful Resources

Road Safety Overseas (Information from the US Department of State): Includes tips on driving in other countries, International Driving Permits, auto insurance, and other resources.

The Association for International Road Travel has country-specific Road Travel Reports available for most countries for a minimal fee.

For information traffic safety and road conditions in Mexico, see Travel and Transportation on US Department of State's country-specific information for Mexico .

Maintain personal security

Use the same common sense traveling overseas that you would at home, and always stay alert and aware of your surroundings.

Before you leave

  • Research your destination(s), including local laws, customs, and culture.
  • Monitor travel advisories and alerts and read travel tips from the US Department of State.
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) .
  • Leave a copy of your itinerary, contact information, credit cards, and passport with someone at home.
  • Pack as light as possible, and leave at home any item you could not replace.

While at your destination(s)

  • Carry contact information for the nearest US embassy or consulate .
  • Carry a photocopy of your passport and entry stamp; leave the actual passport securely in your hotel.
  • Follow all local laws and social customs.
  • Do not wear expensive clothing or jewelry.
  • Always keep hotel doors locked, and store valuables in secure areas.
  • If possible, choose hotel rooms between the 2nd and 6th floors.

To call for emergency services while in Mexico, dial 066, 060, or 080. Write these numbers down to carry with you during your trip.

Learn as much as you can about Mexico before you travel there. A good place to start is the country-specific information on Mexico from the US Department of State.

Americans in Mexico have been arrested for purchasing souvenirs that were, or looked like, antiques and that local customs authorities believed were national treasures. Familiarize yourself with any local regulations for antiques and follow these tips:

  • When you are considering purchasing an authentic antique or a reproduction, ask if you are allowed to export these items before you purchase them.
  • If you buy a reproduction, document on the customs form that it is a reproduction.
  • If you buy an authentic antique, obtain the necessary export permit (often from the national museum).

Healthy Travel Packing List

Use the Healthy Travel Packing List for Mexico for a list of health-related items to consider packing for your trip. Talk to your doctor about which items are most important for you.

Why does CDC recommend packing these health-related items?

It’s best to be prepared to prevent and treat common illnesses and injuries. Some supplies and medicines may be difficult to find at your destination, may have different names, or may have different ingredients than what you normally use.

If you are not feeling well after your trip, you may need to see a doctor. If you need help finding a travel medicine specialist, see Find a Clinic . Be sure to tell your doctor about your travel, including where you went and what you did on your trip. Also tell your doctor if you were bitten or scratched by an animal while traveling.

If your doctor prescribed antimalarial medicine for your trip, keep taking the rest of your pills after you return home. If you stop taking your medicine too soon, you could still get sick.

Malaria is always a serious disease and may be a deadly illness. If you become ill with a fever either while traveling in a malaria-risk area or after you return home (for up to 1 year), you should seek immediate medical attention and should tell the doctor about your travel history.

For more information on what to do if you are sick after your trip, see Getting Sick after Travel .

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Travel Advisory August 22, 2023

Mexico - see state summaries.

Reissued after periodic review with general security updates, and the removal of obsolete COVID-19 page links.

Country Summary: Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.

U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel. State-specific restrictions are included in the individual state advisories below. U.S. government employees may not travel between cities after dark, may not hail taxis on the street, and must rely on dispatched vehicles, including app-based services like Uber, and regulated taxi stands. U.S. government employees should avoid traveling alone, especially in remote areas. U.S. government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, except daytime travel within Baja California and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.

Read the  country information page  for additional information on travel to Mexico.

Do Not Travel To:

  • Colima state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Guerrero state  due to  crime .
  • Michoacan state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Sinaloa state due to  crime  and  kidnapping
  • Tamaulipas state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping.
  • Zacatecas  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Reconsider Travel To:

  • Baja California  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Chihuahua state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Durango state  due to  crime .
  • Guanajuato state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Jalisco state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Morelos state  due to  crime .
  • Sonora state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .

Exercise Increased Caution When Traveling To:

  • Aguascalientes  state due to  crime .
  • Baja California Sur state  due to  crime .
  • Chiapas state  due to  crime .
  • Coahuila state  due to  crime .
  • Hidalgo state  due to  crime .
  • Mexico City  due to  crime .
  • Mexico State  due to  crime .
  • Nayarit state  due to  crime.
  • Nuevo Leon  state due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Oaxaca state  due to  crime .
  • Puebla state  due to  crime  and  kidnapping .
  • Queretaro state  due to  crime .
  • Quintana Roo state  due to  crime .
  • San Luis Potosi state  due to  crime and kidnapping .
  • Tabasco state  due to  crime .
  • Tlaxcala state due to  crime .
  • Veracruz state  due to  crime .

Exercise Normal Precautions When Traveling To:

  • Campeche state
  • Yucatan state

Visit our website for  Travel to High-Risk Areas .

If you decide to travel to Mexico:

  • Keep traveling companions and family back home informed of your travel plans. If separating from your travel group, send a friend your GPS location. If taking a taxi alone, take a photo of the taxi number and/or license plate and text it to a friend.
  • Use toll roads when possible and avoid driving alone or at night. In many states, police presence and emergency services are extremely limited outside the state capital or major cities.
  • Exercise increased caution when visiting local bars, nightclubs, and casinos.
  • Do not display signs of wealth, such as wearing expensive watches or jewelry.
  • Be extra vigilant when visiting banks or ATMs.
  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Follow the Department of State on  Facebook  and  Twitter .
  • Follow the U.S. Embassy on Facebook and Twitter .
  • Review the  Country Security Report  for Mexico.
  • Mariners planning travel to Mexico should check for U.S. maritime  advisories  and  alerts , which include instructions on reporting suspicious activities and attacks to Mexican naval authorities.
  • Prepare a contingency plan for emergency situations. Review the  Traveler’s Checklist .
  • Visit the CDC page for the latest travel health information related to your travel. 

Aguascalientes state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Aguascalientes state.

Baja California state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes. Violent crime and gang activity are common. Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana. Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employees must adhere to the noted restrictions:

  • Mexicali Valley:  U.S. government employees should avoid the Mexicali Valley due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions.  The boundaries of the restricted area are: to the east, the Baja California/Arizona and Baja California/Sonora borders; to the south, from La Ventana (on Highway 5) due east to the Colorado River; to the west, Highway 5; and to the north, Boulevard Lazaro Cardenas/Highway 92/Highway 1 to Carretera Aeropuerto, from the intersection of Highway 1 and Carretera Aeropuerto due north to the Baja California/California border, and from that point eastward along the Baja California/California border.
  • Travelers may use Highways 2 and 2D to transit between Mexicali, Los Algodones, and San Luis Rio Colorado during daylight hours. Travelers may also use Highways 1 and 8 to transit to and from the Mexicali Airport during daylight hours.  Travel on Highway 5 is permissible during daylight hours.

There are no other travel restrictions for U.S. government employees in Baja California state. These include high-traffic tourism areas of border and coastal communities, such as  Tijuana ,  Ensenada , and  Rosarito .

Baja California Sur state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur state.

Campeche state – Exercise Normal Precautions

Exercise normal precautions.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Campeche state.

Chiapas state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Chiapas state.

Chihuahua state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Battles for territory between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens and U.S. government employees, including restaurants and malls during daylight hours. Bystanders have been injured or killed in shooting incidents. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

U.S. government employee travel is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Ciudad Juarez:  U.S. government employees may travel to the area of Ciudad Juarez bounded to the east by Bulevar Independencia; to the south by De los Montes Urales/Avenida Manuel J Clouthier/Carretera de Juárez; to the west by Via Juan Gabriel/Avenida de los Insurgentes/Calle Miguel Ahumada/Francisco Javier Mina/Melchor Ocampo; and to the north by the U.S.-Mexico border.  Direct travel to the Ciudad Juarez airport (officially called the Abraham González International Airport) and the factories located along Bulevar Independencia and Las Torres is permitted.  Travel to San Jerónimo is permitted only through the United States via the Santa Teresa U.S. Port of Entry; travel via Anapra is prohibited.

U.S. government employees may only travel from Ciudad Juarez to the city of Chihuahua during daylight hours via Federal Highway 45, with stops permitted only at the Guardia Nacional División Caminos station, the Umbral del Milenio overlook area, the border inspection station at KM 35, and the shops and restaurants on Federal Highway 45 in the city of Ahumada.

  • U.S. government employees may travel between Ciudad Juarez and Ascension via Highway 2.
  • Nuevo Casas Grandes Area (including Nuevo Casas Grandes, Casas Grandes, Mata Ortiz, Colonia Juárez, Colonia LeBaron, Paquimé and San Buenaventura):  U.S. government employees may travel to the Nuevo Casas Grandes area during daylight hours via Mexico Federal Highway 2, and subsequently Federal Highway 10, to Nuevo Casas Grandes.  Employees are permitted to stay overnight in the cities of Nuevo Casas Grandes and Casas Grandes only.
  • City of Chihuahua:  U.S. government employees may travel at any time to the area of the city of Chihuahua bounded to the north by Avenida Transformación; to the east by Avenida Tecnológico/Manuel Gómez Morín/Highway 16/Blvd.José Fuentes Mares; to the west by the city boundary; and to the south by Periférico Francisco R. Almada.
  • U.S. government employees may travel on Highways 45, 16, and 45D through the city of Chihuahua and to the Chihuahua airport (officially called the General Roberto Fierro Villalobos International Airport). 
  • U.S. government employees may travel to Santa Eulalia to the east of the city of Chihuahua, as well as to Juan Aldama via Highway 16 to the northeast.
  • U.S. government employees may travel south of the city of Chihuahua on Highway 45 to the southern boundary of Parral, including each town directly connected to Highway 45, including Lázaro Cárdenas, Pedro Meoqui, Santa Cruz de Rosales, Delicias, Camargo, Ciudad Jiménez, and Parral itself.
  • U.S. government employees may only travel on official business from the city of Chihuahua on Highway 16 to Ciudad Cuauhtémoc bounded by Highway 21 to the north and east, Highway 5 to the west, and Bulevar Jorge Castillo Cabrera to the south. 
  • Ojinaga:  U.S. government employees must travel to Ojinaga via U.S. Highway 67 and enter through the U.S. Port of Entry in Presidio, Texas.
  • Palomas:  U.S. government employees may travel to Palomas via U.S. highways through the U.S. Port of Entry in Columbus, New Mexico, or via Highway 2 in Mexico.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Chihuahua, including  Copper Canyon .

Coahuila state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur in parts of Coahuila state. 

U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Zaragoza, Morelos, Allende, Nava, Jimenez, Villa Union, Guerrero, and Hidalgo municipalities : U.S. government employees may not travel to these municipalities.
  • Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña:  U.S. government employees must travel directly from the United States and observe a curfew from midnight to 6:00 a.m. in both cities.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Coahuila state.

Colima state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.  

Violent crime and gang activity are widespread. Most homicides are targeted assassinations against members of criminal organizations. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.  

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with noted restrictions: 

  • Manzanillo:   U.S. government employee travel is limited to the tourist and port areas of Manzanillo.  
  • Employees traveling to Manzanillo from Guadalajara must use Federal Toll Road 54D during daylight hours.  

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Colima state. 

Durango state – Reconsider Travel

Reconsider travel due to crime.

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Durango state.

  • West and south of Federal Highway 45:  U.S. government employees may not travel to this region of Durango state.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Durango state.

Guanajuato state – Reconsider Travel

Gang violence, often associated with the theft of petroleum and natural gas from the state oil company and other suppliers, occurs in Guanajuato, primarily in the south and central areas of the state.  Of particular concern is the high number of murders in the southern region of the state associated with cartel-related violence. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Areas south of Federal Highway 45D:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area south of and including Federal Highway 45D, Celaya, Salamanca, and Irapuato.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Guanajuato state, which includes tourist areas in:  San Miguel de Allende ,  Guanajuato City , and  surrounding areas.

Guerrero state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime.

Crime and violence are widespread. Armed groups operate independently of the government in many areas of Guerrero. Members of these groups frequently maintain roadblocks and may use violence towards travelers. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping in previous years.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following area with the noted restrictions:

  • Taxco:  U.S. government employees must use Federal Highway 95D, which passes through Cuernavaca, Morelos, and stay within downtown tourist areas of Taxco. Employees may visit Grutas de Cacahuamilpa National Park during the day with a licensed tour operator.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Guerrero, including to tourist areas in  Acapulco ,  Zihuatanejo , and  Ixtapa .

Hidalgo state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Hidalgo state.

Jalisco state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Jalisco state. In Guadalajara, territorial battles between criminal groups take place in tourist areas. Shooting incidents between criminal groups have injured or killed innocent bystanders. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Jalisco-Michoacan border and Federal Highway 110:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area between Federal Highway 110 and the Jalisco-Michoacan border, nor travel on Federal Highway 110 between Tuxpan, Jalisco, and the Michoacan border.
  • Federal Highway 80:  U.S. government employees may not travel on Federal Highway 80 south of Cocula.

There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Jalisco state which includes tourist areas in:  Guadalajara Metropolitan Area ,  Puerto Vallarta (including neighboring Riviera Nayarit) ,  Chapala , and  Ajijic .

Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico City. Use additional caution, particularly at night, outside of the frequented tourist areas where police and security patrol more routinely. Petty crime occurs frequently in both tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico City.

Mexico State (Estado de Mexico) – Exercise Increased Caution

Both violent and non-violent crime occur throughout Mexico State. Use additional caution in areas outside of the frequented tourist areas, although petty crime occurs frequently in tourist areas as well.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Mexico State.

Michoacan state – Do Not Travel

Do not travel due to crime and kidnapping.

Crime and violence are widespread in Michoacan state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

Travel for U.S. government employees is limited to the following areas with the noted restrictions:

  • Federal Highway 15D:   U.S. government employees may travel on Federal Highway 15D to transit the state between Mexico City and Guadalajara.
  • Morelia:  U.S. government employees may travel by air and by land using Federal Highways 43 or 48D from Federal Highway 15D.
  • Lazaro Cardenas:  U.S. government employees must travel by air only and limit activities to the city center or port areas.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of the state of Michoacan, including the portions of the  Monarch Butterfly Reserve  located in Michoacan.

Morelos state – Reconsider Travel

Violent crime and gang activity are common in parts of Morelos state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Morelos state.

Nayarit state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout Nayarit state.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Nayarit state.

Nuevo Leon state – Exercise Increased Caution

Exercise increased caution due to crime and kidnapping.

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Nuevo Leon state.

Oaxaca state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence occur throughout the state.

U.S. travelers are reminded that U.S. government employees must adhere to the following travel restrictions:

  • Isthmus region:  U.S. government employees may not travel to the area of Oaxaca bounded by Federal Highway 185D to the west, Federal Highway 190 to the north, and the Oaxaca-Chiapas border to the east.  This includes the cities of Juchitan de Zaragoza, Salina Cruz, and San Blas Atempa.  
  • Federal Highway 200 northwest of Pinotepa:  U.S. government employees may not use Federal Highway 200 between Pinotepa and the Oaxaca-Guerrero border.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees to other parts of Oaxaca state, which include tourist areas in:  Oaxaca City ,  Monte Alban ,  Puerto Escondido,  and  Huatulco .

Puebla state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Puebla state.

Queretaro state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Queretaro state.

Quintana Roo state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur in any location, at any time, including in popular tourist destinations.  Travelers should maintain a high level of situational awareness, avoid areas where illicit activities occur, and promptly depart from potentially dangerous situations. 

While not directed at tourists, shootings between rival gangs have injured innocent bystanders.  Additionally, U.S. citizens have been the victims of both non-violent and violent crimes in tourist and non-tourist areas.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Quintana Roo state. However, personnel are advised to exercise increased situational awareness after dark in downtown areas of Cancun, Tulum, and Playa del Carmen, and to remain in well-lit pedestrian streets and tourist zones.

San Luis Potosi state – Exercise Increased Caution

Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state.  U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in San Luis Potosi state.

Sinaloa state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime is widespread. Criminal organizations are based in and operating in Sinaloa. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Mazatlan:  U.S. government employees may travel to Mazatlan by air or sea only, are limited to the Zona Dorada and historic town center, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport and sea terminal.
  • Los Mochis and Topolobampo:  U.S. government employees may travel to Los Mochis and Topolobampo by air or sea only, are restricted to the city and the port, and must travel via direct routes between these destinations and the airport.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Sinaloa state.

Sonora state – Reconsider Travel

Sonora is a key location used by the international drug trade and human trafficking networks. Violent crime is widespread. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping. Travelers should maintain a heightened level of awareness of their surroundings in all their travels in Sonora.  Security incidents may occur in any area of Sonora.

  • Travel between Hermosillo and Nogales:  U.S. government employees may travel between the U.S. Ports of Entry in Nogales and Hermosillo during daylight hours via Federal Highway 15 only. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures. Travelers should exercise caution and avoid unnecessary stops as security incidents, including sporadic, armed carjackings, and shootings have been reported along this highway during daylight hours. Travelers should have a full tank of gas and inform friends or family members of their planned travel.
  • Nogales:  U.S. government employees may not travel in the triangular area north of Avenida Tecnologico, west of Bulevar Luis Donaldo Colosio (Periferico), nor east of Federal Highway 15D (Corredor Fiscal). U.S. government employees also may not travel in the residential and business areas to east of the railroad tracks along Plutarco Elias Calle (HWY 15) and Calle Ruiz Cortino, including the business area around the Morley pedestrian gate port-of-entry. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Nogales due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.  
  • Puerto Peñasco:  U.S. government employees may travel between Puerto Peñasco and the Lukeville-Sonoyta U.S. Port of Entry during daylight hours via Federal Highway 8 only. They may not travel on any other route to Puerto Peñasco. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in Puerto Peñasco. due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Triangular region near Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry:  U.S. government employees may not travel into or through the triangular region west of the Mariposa U.S. Port of Entry, east of Sonoyta, and north of Altar municipality.
  • San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea, and Agua Prieta : U.S. government employees may travel directly from the nearest U.S. Port of Entry to San Luis Rio Colorado, Cananea (via Douglas Port of Entry), and Agua Prieta, but may not go beyond the city limits. Travel is limited to daylight hours only. Travel between Nogales and Cananea via Imuris is not permitted. U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these cities due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.
  • Eastern and southern Sonora (including San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos):  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora east of Federal Highway 17, the road between Moctezuma and Sahuaripa, and State Highway 20 between Sahuaripa and the intersection with Federal Highway 16. U.S. government employees may travel to San Carlos Nuevo Guaymas and Alamos; travel to Alamos is only permitted by air and within city limits.  U.S. government employees may not travel to areas of Sonora south of Federal Highway 16 and east of Federal Highway 15 (south of Hermosillo), as well as all points south of Guaymas, including Empalme, Guaymas, Obregon, and Navojoa.  U.S. government employees may not use ANY taxi services, public buses, nor ride-share applications in these areas due to a lack of secure vetting and/or dispatching procedures and the danger of kidnapping and other violent crimes.

U.S. government employees may travel to other parts of Sonora state in compliance with the above restrictions, including tourist areas in: Hermosillo , Bahia de Kino , and Puerto Penasco .

Tabasco state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tabasco state.

Tamaulipas state – Do Not Travel

Organized crime activity – including gun battles, murder, armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, forced disappearances, extortion, and sexual assault – is common along the northern border and in Ciudad Victoria. Criminal groups target public and private passenger buses, as well as private automobiles traveling through Tamaulipas, often taking passengers and demanding ransom payments.

Heavily armed members of criminal groups often patrol areas of the state and operate with impunity particularly along the border region from Reynosa to Nuevo Laredo.  In these areas, local law enforcement has limited capacity to respond to incidents of crime. Law enforcement capacity is greater in the tri-city area of Tampico, Ciudad Madero, and Altamira, which has a lower rate of violent criminal activity compared to the rest of the state.

U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Matamoros and Nuevo Laredo:  U.S. government employees may only travel within a limited radius around and between the U.S. Consulates in Nuevo Laredo and Matamoros, their homes, the respective U.S. Ports of Entry, and limited downtown sites, subject to an overnight curfew.
  • Overland travel in Tamaulipas:  U.S. government employees may not travel between cities in Tamaulipas using interior Mexican highways. Travel between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey is limited to Federal Highway 85D during daylight hours with prior authorization.

U.S. government employees may not travel to other parts of Tamaulipas state.

Tlaxcala state – Exercise Increased Caution

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Tlaxcala state.

Veracruz state – Exercise Increased Caution

Violent crime and gang activity occur with increasing frequency in Veracruz, particularly in the center and south near Cordoba and Coatzacoalcos. While most gang-related violence is targeted, violence perpetrated by criminal organizations can affect bystanders. Impromptu roadblocks requiring payment to pass are common.

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Veracruz state.

Yucatan state – Exercise Normal Precautions

There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Yucatan state, which include tourist areas in:  Chichen Itza ,  Merida ,  Uxmal , and  Valladolid .

Zacatecas state – Do Not Travel

Violent crime, extortion, and gang activity are widespread in Zacatecas state. U.S. citizens and LPRs have been victims of kidnapping.

  • Zacatecas City : U.S. government employee travel is limited to Zacatecas City proper, and employees may not travel overland to Zacatecas City.
  • U.S. government employees may not travel to other areas of Zacatecas state.

Embassy Messages

View Alerts and Messages Archive

Quick Facts

Passport must be valid at time of entry

One page per stamp

Yes, if visiting for more than 180 days

See Travelers’ Health section

Embassies and Consulates

EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE FOR U.S. CITIZENS IN MEXICO From Mexico: 800-681-9374 or 55-8526-2561 From the United States: 1-844-528-6611

U.S. Citizen Services Inquiries: Contact Form

U.S. Embassy Mexico City

Paseo de la Reforma 305 Colonia Cuauhtémoc 06500 Ciudad de México

U.S. Consulate General Ciudad Juarez

Paseo de la Victoria #3650 Fracc. Partido Senecú 32543 Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua

U.S. Consulate General Guadalajara

Progreso 175 Colonia Americana 44160 Guadalajara, Jalisco

U.S. Consulate General Hermosillo

Monterey, Esqueda 141 El Centenario 83260 Hermosillo, Sonora

U.S. Consulate General Matamoros

Constitución No. 1 Colonia Jardín 87330 Matamoros, Tamaulipas

U.S. Consulate General Merida

Calle 60 No. 338-K x 29 y 31 Colonia Alcalá Martin 97050 Mérida, Yucatán

U.S. Consulate General Monterrey

Avenida Alfonso Reyes 150 Colonia Valle del Poniente 66196 Santa Catarina, Nuevo León

U.S. Consulate General Nogales

Calle San José s/n Fracc. Los Álamos 84065 Nogales, Sonora

U.S. Consulate General Nuevo Laredo

Paseo Colon 1901 Colonia Madero 88260 Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas

U.S. Consulate General Tijuana

Paseo de las Culturas s/n Mesa de Otay Delegación Centenario 22425 Tijuana, Baja California

Consular Agencies

Acapulco Hotel Continental Emporio Costera M. Alemán 121 – Office 14 39670 Acapulco, Guerrero Cancun

Blvd. Kukulcan Km 13 ZH Torre La Europea, Despacho 301 77500 Cancún, Quintana Roo

Los Cabos Las Tiendas de Palmilla L-B221, Km. 27.5 Carretera Transpeninsular 23406 San José del Cabo, Baja California Sur

Playa Gaviotas 202, Local 10 Zona Dorada 82110 Mazatlán, Sinaloa

Oaxaca Macedonio Alcalá 407, Office 20 68000 Oaxaca, Oaxaca

Piedras Negras Abasolo 211, Local 3, Centro 26000 Piedras Negras, Coahuila

Playa del Carmen Plaza Progreso, Local 33 Carretera Federal Puerto Juarez-Chetumal, Mz. 293 Lt. 1. 77710 Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo

Puerto Vallarta

Paradise Plaza, Paseo de los Cocoteros 85 Sur, Local L-7 63732 Nuevo Nayarit, Nayarit

San Miguel de Allende Plaza La Luciérnaga, Libramiento Jose Manuel Zavala 165, Locales 4 y 5 Colonia La Luciérnaga 37745 San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato

Destination Description

See the  State Department’s Fact Sheet on Mexico  for more information on U.S.-Mexico relations.

Entry, Exit and Visa Requirements

A valid passport book is required to enter Mexico by air, and those attempting to enter at an airport with a U.S. passport card only may be denied admission.

Review the Mexican government’s most current  entry, exit, and visa requirements  ( Spanish only ) or visit the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information.

For travelers entering Mexico by air only, Mexican immigration authorities implemented a process to replace the previous paper Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM with a Forma Migratoria Multiple Digital or FMMD.  The FMMD process is in place at all 66 international airports in Mexico.  Upon arrival at an airport, Mexican immigration authorities will determine a traveler’s authorized length of stay and either place a date stamp in the traveler’s passport or direct the traveler through a self-service electronic gate (E-Gate) that will generate a printed receipt with QR code. Air travelers who wish to download a record of their FMMD or find more information on the FMMD process may visit the National Migration Institute’s (INM) website .

Travelers entering Mexico by land should have a valid passport book or card.  If you enter Mexico by land and plan to travel beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles or 20 kilometers into Mexico), you must stop at an INM office to obtain an entry permit (Forma Migratoria Multiple or FMM), even if not explicitly directed to do so by Mexican officials.  INM may opt to allow tourists entry of up to 180 days without a visa or may limit authorized stays to shorter periods at their discretion; visitors should confirm the specific length of authorized stay written on the entry permit (FMM) or by the stamp in their passport. Mexican immigration authorities could ask you to present both your passport and entry permit if applicable at any point and may detain you while they review your immigration status if you are not carrying your passport and proof of legal status in Mexico, or if you have overstayed your authorized stay. Immigration check points are common in the interior of Mexico, including in popular tourist areas far from the border.  

You will also need a temporary vehicle import permit to bring a U.S.-registered vehicle beyond the border zone. These permits are processed through Banjercito and require a deposit that will be refunded once the vehicle leaves Mexico.  For more information, visit the  Banjercito  website ( Spanish only ).

Baja California, Baja California Sur, and Sonora have a “hassle-free” zone that allows cars traveling without an entry permit or car registration within the zone. 

Mexican authorities can impound a vehicle that enters the country without a valid U.S. registration, a vehicle driven by a Mexican national who is not resident in the United States, or a vehicle found beyond the border zone without the temporary import permit.

Mexican law permits Mexican immigration authorities to deny foreigners entry into Mexico if they have been charged with or convicted of a serious crime in Mexico or elsewhere.

Travelers bringing in goods beyond their personal effects worth $300.00 or more must declare those goods with Mexican customs (SAT) Mexican customs  ( Spanish only ) or risk having them confiscated. This also applies to used goods or clothing, including items for donation. U.S. citizens driving such items into Mexico without declaring them or without sufficient funds to pay duty fees are subject to having their vehicle seized by Mexican customs authorities. For further information about customs regulations, please read our  customs information page .

The U.S. Department of State is unaware of any HIV/AIDS entry restrictions for visitors to or foreign residents in Mexico.

A parent or legal guardian departing Mexico with minor children should carry a notarized consent letter from the other parent if traveling separately. INM requires at least one parent to complete a  SAM  ( Formato de Salida de Menores, Spanish only ) for all Mexican or foreign minors with Temporary Resident, Temporary Student Resident, or Permanent Resident status departing Mexico alone or with a third party.  Further information about the  prevention of international parental child abduction  is available on our website.

Find information on dual nationality , and customs regulations on our websites. Both Mexico and the United States allow dual nationality.

Safety and Security

Travelers are urged to review the  Mexico Travel Advisory  for information about safety and security concerns affecting the country on a state-by-state basis.

U.S. citizens traveling to and residing in Mexico should not expect public health and safety standards like those in the United States. Even where such standards exist, enforcement varies by location. Travelers should mitigate the risk of illness or injury by taking standard health and safety precautions.

The phone number to report emergencies in Mexico is “911.”  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Crime:  Crime in Mexico occurs at a high rate and can be violent, from random street crime to cartel-related attacks. Over the past year, Mission Mexico has assisted U.S. citizens who were victims of armed robbery, carjacking, extortion, homicide, kidnapping, pick-pocketing, and sexual assault. Increased levels of cartel-related violence have resulted in territorial disputes and targeted killings, injuring or killing innocent bystanders. Travelers who find themselves in an active shooter scenario should flee in the opposite direction, if possible, or drop to the ground, preferably behind a hard barrier.

Drivers on roads and highways may encounter government checkpoints, which often include National Guard or military personnel. State and local police also set up checkpoints in and around cities and along the highways to deter criminal activity and enforce traffic laws. In some parts of Mexico, criminal organizations and other non-governmental actors have been known to erect unauthorized checkpoints and have abducted or threatened violence against those who fail to stop and/or pay a “toll.” When approaching a checkpoint, regardless of whether it is official, cooperate and avoid any actions that may appear suspicious or aggressive.

While Mexican authorities endeavor to safeguard the country’s major resort areas and tourist destinations, those areas have not been immune to the types of violence and crime experienced elsewhere in Mexico. In some areas of Mexico, response time of local police is often slow. In addition, filing police reports can be time consuming. See our  Mexico Travel Advisory  for more information.

Demonstrations  occur frequently.  They may take place in response to political or economic issues, on politically significant holidays, and during international events.  Protesters in Mexico may block traffic on roads, including major thoroughfares, or take control of toll booths on highways.  Travelers who encounter protesters who demand unofficial tolls are generally allowed to pass upon payment.  U.S. citizens should avoid participating in demonstrations or other activities that might be deemed political by authorities, as Mexican law prohibits political activities by foreign citizens and such actions may result in detention or deportation.

  • Demonstrations can be unpredictable, avoid areas around protests and demonstrations.  
  • Past demonstrations have turned violent.
  • Check local media for updates and traffic advisories.  

International Financial Scams:  See the  Department of State  and the  FBI  pages for information.  

Internet romance and financial scams are prevalent in Mexico. Scams are often initiated through Internet postings/profiles or by unsolicited emails and letters. Scammers almost always pose as U.S. citizens who have no one else to turn to for help. Common scams include:   

  • Romance/Online dating 
  • Money transfers 
  • Lucrative sales 
  • Grandparent/Relative targeting 
  • Free Trip/Luggage 
  • Inheritance notices 
  • Bank overpayments 

Mexico’s consumer protection agency,  PROFECO  (Procuraduría Federal del Consumidor, Spanish only), can sometimes  provide assistance  (Spanish only) to victims of such scams. In addition, there have been allegations of banking fraud perpetrated by private bankers against U.S. citizens. U.S. citizens who believe they have been victims of fraud can file a police report  file a complaint  (Spanish only) with the Mexican banking regulatory agency, CONDUSEF  (Comision Nacional para la Proteccion y Defensa de los Usuarios de Servicios Financieros, Spanish only), or consult with an attorney.

Victims of Crime:  U.S. victims of sexual assault are encouraged to contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest Consulate for assistance.  Report emergencies to the local police at 911, report crimes already committed to the Ministerio Publico, and contact the Embassy or Consulate at +52-55-85262561.  Remember that local authorities are responsible for investigating and prosecuting crimes.

U.S. citizen victims of crime should contact the local authorities to file a Mexican police report before departing Mexico. In most instances, victims of crime will file reports with the Ministerio Publico (equivalent to the office of public prosecutor or district attorney in the United States) and not with police first responders. U.S. citizens should also inform the  U.S. Embassy or nearest consulat e . 

See our webpage on  help for U.S. victims of crime overseas .    We can:

  • help you find appropriate medical care,
  • assist you in reporting a crime to the police,
  • contact relatives or friends with your written consent,
  • provide general information regarding the victim’s role during the local investigation and following its conclusion, 
  • provide a list of local attorneys,
  • provide information on  victim’s compensation programs in the United States ,
  • provide an emergency loan for repatriation to the United States and/or limited medical support in cases of destitution,
  • help you find accommodation and arrange flights home,
  • replace a stolen or lost passport.

Domestic Violence:  U.S. citizen victims of domestic violence are encouraged to contact the  U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate  for assistance.

Kidnapping:  Mexico experiences very high rates of kidnapping.  If you believe you or your U.S. citizen or Lawful Permanent Resident (LPR) relative has been kidnapped, please contact the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately.

Robbery:  Mexico experiences robberies, typically in cities, in which abductors force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release. Perpetrators commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. To minimize the risk of such robberies:

  • Only use a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app.
  • Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand.

Extortion:  Extortion schemes are common in Mexico.  In a typical scheme known as a virtual kidnapping, criminals convince family members that a relative has been abducted, when, in fact, the person is safe but unreachable.  The purported abductors will often use threats to persuade victims to isolate themselves, making communication with family members less likely.  Unable to reach their loved ones, family members often consent to paying the “ransom” demand.  Criminals use various means to gather information about potential victims, including monitoring social media sites, eavesdropping on conversations, or using information taken from a stolen cell phone.  Some of these extortions have been conducted from Mexican prisons.  You can reduce the risk of falling victim to this type of extortion through the following:

  • Do not discuss travel plans, your room number, or any other personal information within earshot of strangers.
  • Do not divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone, especially when using hotel phones.
  • If you are threatened on the phone, hang up immediately.

Sexual Assault:  Rape and sexual assault are serious problems in some resort areas. Many of these incidents occur at night or during the early morning hours, in hotel rooms, on hotel grounds, or on deserted beaches. In some cases, assailants drug the drinks of victims before assaulting them. Pay attention to your surroundings and to who might have handled your drink.

Credit/Debit Card “Skimming:”  There have been instances of fraudulent charges or withdrawals from accounts due to “skimmed” cards. If you choose to use credit or debit cards, you should regularly check your account to ensure there are no unauthorized transactions. Travelers should limit the amount of cash they carry in public, exercise caution when withdrawing cash from ATMs, and avoid ATMs located in isolated or unlit areas.

Alcohol:  If you choose to drink alcohol, it is important to do so in moderation and to stop and seek medical attention if you begin to feel ill. There have been reports of individuals falling ill or blacking out after consuming unregulated alcohol. The Mexican Federal Commission for the Protection against Sanitary Risk,  COFEPRIS  ( Comision Federal para la Proteccion contra Riesgos Sanitarios, Spanish only ), is responsible for inspecting hotels, restaurants, and other establishments for health violations, including reports of unregulated alcohol. Please email COFEPRIS at  [email protected]  for more information or if you wish to file a report. You can file a report online (Spanish only) via the COFEPRIS website, by calling the COFEPRIS call center at 800 033 50 50 (from Mexico) or +52 (55) 5080-5425 (from the United States), or by scheduling an appointment  (Spanish only)  to visit a COFEPRIS office.

There have also been instances of criminals drugging drinks to rob or sexually assault victims. Additionally, if you feel you have been the victim of unregulated alcohol or another serious health violation, you should notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate . You may also contact the U.S. Department of State – Bureau of Consular Affairs in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries).

Drug Smuggling:  Mexican criminal organizations are engaged in a violent struggle to control trafficking routes. Criminal organizations smuggling drugs into the United States have targeted unsuspecting individuals who regularly cross the border. Frequent border crossers are advised to vary their routes and travel times and to closely monitor their vehicles to avoid being targeted.

Tourism:  In major cities and resort areas, the tourism industry is generally well-regulated.  Best practices and safety inspections are regularly enforced.  Hazardous areas and activities are identified with appropriate signage, and professional staff is typically on hand in support of organized activities.  In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is widely available throughout the country.  Outside of a major metropolitan center, it may take more time for first responders and medical professionals to stabilize a patient and/or provide life-saving assistance.  In smaller towns and areas less commonly frequented by foreign tourists, the tourism industry is unevenly regulated, and safety inspections for equipment and facilities do not commonly occur.  Hazardous areas/activities are not always identified with appropriate signage, and staff may not be trained or certified either by the host government or by recognized authorities in the field.  In the event of an injury, appropriate medical treatment is typically available only in or near major cities.  First responders are generally unable to access areas outside of major cities to provide urgent medical treatment.  U.S. citizens are encouraged to purchase medical evacuation insurance . 

Since 2016, Mexico has opened seven multilingual Centers for the Care and Protection of Tourists (CAPTA) and Tourist Assistance Centers (CATTAC) in Los Cabos, La Paz, Acapulco, Playa del Carmen, Mazatlan, Ciudad Madero, and Queretaro. These offices have proven helpful assisting U.S. citizen visitors in resolving disputes with merchants and government entities, filing criminal reports, securing needed services, and locating special needs accommodations. 

Local Laws & Special Circumstances

Criminal Penalties:  You are subject to local laws. If you violate local laws, even unknowingly, you may be expelled, arrested, or imprisoned. Individuals establishing a business or practicing a profession that requires additional permits or licensing should seek information from the competent local authorities prior to practicing or operating a business.

Furthermore, some laws are also prosecutable in the United States, regardless of local law. For examples, see our website on  crimes against minors abroad  and the  Department of Justice  website.

Arrest Notification:  If you are arrested or detained, ask police or prison officials to notify the U.S. Embassy or nearest consulate immediately. See our  webpage  for further information.

The Mexican government is required by international law to contact the U.S. Embassy or consulate promptly when a U.S. citizen is arrested if the arrestee so requests.  This requirement does not apply to dual nationals.  

Firearms and Other Weapons:  Weapons laws in Mexico vary by state, but it is generally illegal for travelers to carry weapons of any kind including firearms, knives, daggers, brass knuckles, as well as ammunition (even used shells). Illegal firearms trafficking from the United States to Mexico is a major concern, and the Department of State warns all U.S. citizens against taking any firearm or ammunition into Mexico. If you are caught entering Mexico with any type of weapon, including firearms or ammunitions, you likely will face severe penalties, including prison time. U.S.-issued permits allowing an individual to carry weapons are not valid in Mexico.  Visit the Department’s  Traveling Abroad with Firearms webpage .

Vessels entering Mexican waters with firearms or ammunition on board must have a permit previously issued by a Mexican embassy or consulate.

Drugs:  Drug possession and use, including medical marijuana, is illegal in Mexico and may result in a lengthy jail sentence or fines.  

Electronic Cigarettes (Vaping Devices):  It is illegal for travelers to bring electronic cigarettes (vaping devices) and all vaping solutions to Mexico. Customs will confiscate vaping devices and solutions and travelers could be fined or arrested. Avoid delays and possible sanctions by not taking these items to Mexico. 

Real Estate and Time Shares:  U.S. citizens should exercise caution when considering time-share investments or purchasing real estate and be aware of the aggressive tactics used by some sales representatives. Before initiating a real estate purchase or time-share investment, U.S. citizens should consult with a Mexican attorney to learn about important regulations and laws that govern real estate property.

Mountain Climbing and Hiking:  The Mexican government has declared the area around the Popocatepetl and the Colima volcanoes off limits. In remote rural areas, there can be limited cell phone coverage and internet connectivity, and it may be difficult for rescue teams and local authorities to reach climbers and hikers in distress.

Potential for Natural Disasters:  Mexico is in an active earthquake zone. Tsunamis may occur following significant earthquakes. Please visit our  disaster and crisis preparedness  webpage for more information. For additional information concerning disasters, see:

  • U.S. Embassy Mexico City website
  • Civil Protection  ( Proteccion Civil, Spanish only ) provides information from the Mexican Government about natural disaster preparedness
  • U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  provides general information about natural disaster preparedness
  • U.S. Geological Survey  provides updates on recent seismic and volcanic activity

Storm Season:  Tropical storms in the Gulf of Mexico or along the Caribbean and Pacific Coast between May and November can produce heavy winds and rain. Please visit our disaster and crisis preparedness  webpage for more information.

Spring Break:  Millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexican beach resorts each year, especially during “ spring break ” season. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. See the “Alcohol” section above to learn more about the risks associated with drinking, as well as reports of illnesses associated with the possible consumption of unregulated alcohol.

Resort Areas and Water Activities:  Beaches in Mexico may be dangerous due to strong currents, rip tides, and rogue waves. Warning notices and flags on beaches should be taken seriously. Not all hazardous beaches are clearly marked. If black or red warning flags are up, do not enter the water. Strong currents can lead to dangerous conditions for even the most experienced swimmers. U.S. citizens simply walking along the shore or wading have been swept out to sea by rogue waves, and some citizens have drowned or disappeared at Mexican beaches. Avoid the consumption of alcohol while engaging in water activities and do not swim alone. 

Boats used for excursions may not be covered by accident insurance and sometimes lack adequate life jackets, radios, and tools to make repairs.  Participation in adventure sports may not be covered by accident insurance and safety protections and regulations for these activities may differ from U.S. standards.  Visit  our website  and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about adventure travel.

Counterfeit and Pirated Goods:  Although counterfeit and pirated goods are prevalent in many countries, they may still be illegal according to local laws. You may also be subject to fines or forced to relinquish the goods if you bring them back to the United States. See the  U.S. Department of Justice website  for more information.

Faith-Based Travelers:  See the following webpages for details:

  • Faith-Based Travel Information
  • International Religious Freedom Report  – see country reports
  • Human Rights Report  – see country reports
  • Hajj Fact Sheet for Travelers
  • Best Practices for Volunteering Abroad

LGBTQI+ Travelers:  There are no legal restrictions on same-sex sexual relations or on the organization of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, or Intersex (LGBTQI+) events in Mexico. However, due to sporadic reports of violence targeting LGBTQI+ individuals, U.S. citizens should exercise discretion in identifying themselves publicly as LGBTQI+. See our LGBTQI+ Travel Information page and Section 6 of the  Department of State’s Human Rights Report for Mexico  for further details.

Travelers with Disabilities:   Mexican law prohibits discrimination against persons with physical, sensory, intellectual, or mental disabilities.  Social acceptance of persons with disabilities in public is not as prevalent as in the United States.  The most common types of accessibility may include accessible facilities, information, and communication/access to services/ease of movement or access.  Expect accessibility to be limited in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure in more rural and remote parts of the country, and more common in public transportation, lodging, communication/information, and general infrastructure in major cities.  U.S. citizens with disabilities should consult individual hotels and service providers in advance of travel to ensure they are accessible.

Students:  See our  Students Abroad  page and  FBI travel tips .

Women Travelers:  There were several reports of sexual assault or domestic violence involving U.S. citizen women over the past year. See our travel tips for  Women Travelers .

Excellent health facilities are available in Mexico City and other major cities. Ambulance services are widely available, but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards. Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi to a health provider. Mexican facilities often require payment “up front” before providing medical care, and most hospitals in Mexico do not accept U.S. health insurance. A list of doctors and hospitals is available on the U.S. Embassy or consulate website.

U.S. citizens have lodged complaints against some private hospitals in Cancun, the Riviera Maya, and Los Cabos to include exorbitant prices and inflexible collection measures.  Travelers should obtain complete information on billing, pricing, and proposed medical procedures before agreeing to any medical care in these locations.  Be aware that some resorts have exclusive agreements with medical providers and ambulance services, which may limit your choices in seeking emergency medical attention.  Some hospitals in tourist centers utilize sliding scales, deciding on rates for services based on negotiation and on the patient’s perceived ability to pay.  In some instances, providers have been known to determine the limits of a patient’s credit card or insurance, quickly reach that amount in services rendered, and subsequently discharge the patient or transfer them to a public hospital.

Visit the  U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  website for information on Medical Tourism.

For emergency services in Mexico, dial  911 .  Although there may be English-speaking operators available, it is best to seek the assistance of a Spanish speaker to place the call.

Ambulance services are: 

  • widely available in major cities but training and availability of emergency responders may be below U.S. standards,
  • not present in many remote and rural areas of the country,   
  • not equipped with state-of-the-art medical equipment.  
  • Injured or seriously ill travelers may prefer to take a taxi or private vehicle to the nearest major hospital rather than wait for an ambulance.  

We do not pay medical bills:  Be aware that U.S. Medicare/Medicaid does not apply overseas.  Most hospitals and doctors overseas do not accept U.S. health insurance.  

Medical Insurance:  Make sure your health insurance plan provides coverage overseas.  Most care providers overseas only accept cash payments. See  our webpage  for more information on insurance coverage overseas. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information on type of insurance you should consider before you travel overseas. 

We strongly recommend  supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation as well.

Always carry your prescription medication in original packaging, along with your doctor’s prescription.  Check the Mexican government’s Drug Schedule to ensure the medication is legal in Mexico. 

Vaccinations:  Be up-to-date on all  vaccinations  recommended by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Further health information :

  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC)

Air Quality: Visit AirNow Department of State for information on air quality at U.S. Embassies and Consulates.

The U.S. Embassy maintains a list of doctors and hospitals .  We do not endorse or recommend any specific medical provider or clinic. 

Medical Tourism and Elective Surgery: 

  • U.S. citizens have suffered serious complications or died during or after having cosmetic or other elective surgery.   
  • Medical tourism is a rapidly growing industry. People seeking health care overseas should understand that medical systems operate differently from those in the United States and are not subject to the same rules and regulations.  Anyone interested in traveling for medical purposes should consult with their local physician before traveling and visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information on Medical Tourism.  
  • We strongly recommend supplemental insurance  to cover medical evacuation in the event of unforeseen medical complications.  
  • Your legal options in case of malpractice are very limited in Mexico.  Several foreigners have successfully enlisted the support of  PROFECO  (Spanish only) in order to resolve disputes over medical services.
  • Although Mexico has many elective/cosmetic surgery facilities that are on par with those found in the United States, the quality of care varies widely.  If you plan to undergo surgery in Mexico, make sure that emergency medical facilities are available and professionals are accredited and qualified.  

Pharmaceuticals

  • Exercise caution when purchasing medication overseas.  Pharmaceuticals, both over the counter and requiring prescription in the United States, are often readily available for purchase with little controls.  Counterfeit medication is common and may prove to be ineffective, the wrong strength, or contain dangerous ingredients.  Medication should be purchased in consultation with a medical professional and from reputable establishments.  
  • The Drug Enforcement Agency reports counterfeit prescription pills are sold by criminals on both sides of the border. These pills are sometimes represented as OxyContin, Percocet, Xanax, and others, and may contain deadly doses of fentanyl. Counterfeit pills are readily advertised on social media and can be purchased at small, non-chain pharmacies in Mexico along the border and in tourist areas.  U.S. citizens have become seriously ill or died in Mexico after using synthetic drugs or adulterated prescription pills.
  • U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration are responsible for rules governing the transport of medication back to the United States.  Medication purchased abroad must meet their requirements to be legally brought back into the United States.  Medication should be for personal use and must be approved for usage in the United States.  Please visit the U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the Food and Drug Administration websites for more information.   
  • Visit the  Mexican Health Department  website (Spanish only) or contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information about obtaining a permit to import medicine into Mexico.
  • For a list of controlled substances in Mexico, visit the  COFEPRIS  website (Spanish only) and the  Mexican Drug Schedule  (Spanish only). U.S. citizens should carry a copy of their prescription or doctor’s letter, but it is still possible that they may be subject to arrest for arriving in Mexico with substances on these lists. Note that a medicine considered “over the counter” in some U.S. states may be a controlled substance in Mexico. For example, pseudoephedrine, the active ingredient in Sudafed, is considered a controlled substance in Mexico. For more information, contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C.

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Surrogacy  

  • If you are considering traveling to Mexico to have a child using assisted reproductive technology (ART) including surrogacy, visit the State Department’s ART and Surrogacy Abroad page for general information regarding U.S. citizenship for the child. 
  • Surrogacy in Mexico presents serious risks that must be considered before U.S. citizens begin the surrogacy process.
  • If you decide to pursue parenthood in Mexico via ART with a gestational mother, be prepared for possible long delays to document your child’s birth in Mexico and their U.S. citizenship by obtaining a U.S. passport. 
  • Ensure you understand Mexican law, which varies by state. The only four states with a legal framework for surrogacy do not permit foreigners and/or same-sex couples to use the procedure. In the other 28 states, surrogacy is largely unregulated.
  • In most states, Mexican courts may not enforce surrogacy agreements between non-Mexican or same-sex intending parents and a gestational mother should disputes arise, due to a lack of legal framework for surrogacy. The U.S. Embassy is aware of several cases where surrogacy agencies presented a partial, or false, interpretation of Mexican surrogacy laws.
  • In most Mexican states, the gestational mother is the child’s legal parent with full parental rights, and the gestational mother’s name is typically listed on the Mexican state-issued birth certificate. In certain states, a court may amend the birth certificate to remove the name of the gestational mother.
  • The U.S. Embassy is aware of cases of foreign nationals, including U.S. citizens, being arrested for attempting to circumvent local law related to surrogacy.

Carbon Monoxide

  • Many hotels and other lodgings are not equipped with carbon monoxide detectors, even if they contain sources of this potentially lethal gas. U.S. citizens have died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning throughout Mexico. If your lodging is not equipped with a carbon monoxide detector, consider traveling with a portable one.

Water Quality: 

  • In many areas in Mexico, tap water is not potable. Bottled water and beverages are safe, although you should be aware that many restaurants and hotels serve tap water unless bottled water is specifically requested. Be aware that ice for drinks might be made using tap water.

Altitude: 

  • Many cities in Mexico, such as Mexico City, are at high altitude, which can lead to altitude illness. Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about  Travel to High Altitudes .

Adventure Travel

  • Participation in adventure sports and activities may not be covered by accident insurance and safety protections and regulations for these activities may differ from U.S. standards.  Visit  our website  and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website  for more information about adventure travel.

General Health

The following diseases are prevalent:

  • Typhoid Fever
  • Travelers’ Diarrhea
  • Chikungunya
  • Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever
  • Parasitic Infections
  • Chronic Respiratory Disease
  • Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for more information about Resources for Travelers regarding specific issues in Mexico.   

Air Quality

  • Air pollution is a significant problem in several major cities in Mexico. Consider the impact seasonal smog and heavy particulate pollution may have on you and consult your doctor before traveling if necessary.

For further health information, go to:

  • U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention  (CDC)

  Private Residential Treatment Facilities: 

  • These facilities provide care to U.S. citizens throughout Mexico and include child behavior modification facilities, rehabilitation facilities, and assisted living centers. 
  • There is a wide range in standards for education, safety, health, sanitation, immigration, and residency.  Staff licensing may not be strictly enforced or meet the standards of similar facilities in the United States.  
  • The State Department has received reports of abuse, negligence, or mismanagement at some of these facilities. U.S. citizens should exercise due diligence and do extensive research before selecting a residential treatment facility.

Travel and Transportation

Road Conditions and Safety:  Motor vehicle accidents are a leading cause of U.S. citizen deaths in Mexico. If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“ cuota ”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels ( Spanish only ), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.  Generally, individuals involved in an accident who do not require immediate medical care should contact their insurance providers, who may come to the site to provide an immediate assessment.

Avoid driving on Mexican highways at night. Travel with a charged and functional cell phone capable of making calls in Mexico. Travelers should exercise caution at all times and should use toll (“ cuota ”) roads rather than the less secure free (“ libre ”) roads whenever possible. Do not hitchhike or accept rides from or offer rides to strangers anywhere in Mexico. Travelers encountering police or security checkpoints should comply with instructions.

Road conditions and maintenance across Mexico vary with many road surfaces needing repair. Travel in rural areas poses additional risks to include spotty cell phone coverage and delays in receiving roadside or medical assistance.

Vehicular traffic in Mexico City is subject to restriction Monday through Saturday, according to the license plate number, in order to reduce air pollution. For additional information, refer to the  Hoy No Circula website  ( Spanish only ) maintained by the Mexico City government. See our  Road Safety Page  for more information.  Also, visit  Mexico’s national tourist office website , MexOnline, and Mexico’s customs website  Importacion Temporal de Vehiculos  ( Spanish only ) for more information regarding travel and transportation.

Traffic Laws:   U.S. driver’s licenses are valid in Mexico. Mexican law requires that only owners drive their vehicles or that the owner be inside the vehicle. Failing to abide by this law may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

Mexican citizens who are not also U.S. citizens or LPRs may not operate U.S.-registered vehicles in Mexico. Mexican insurance is required for all vehicles, including rental vehicles. Drivers involved in accidents, even minor incidents, may be subject to arrest if they are found to be driving without proper insurance, regardless of whether they were at fault. Driving under the influence of alcohol, using a mobile device while driving, and driving through a yellow light are all illegal in Mexico.

If you drive your vehicle into Mexico beyond the immediate border area (approximately 12 miles into Mexico), you must apply for a temporary vehicle import permit with Mexican customs, Banjercito , or at some Mexican consulates in the United States. The permit requires the presentation of a valid passport and a monetary deposit that will be returned to you upon leaving Mexico before the expiration of the permit. Failing to apply for a temporary vehicle import permit may lead to impoundment and a fine equal to the value of the vehicle. 

Vehicles crossing into Mexico must have a valid license plate and registration sticker. Mexican authorities will often refuse to admit vehicles with temporary or paper license plates. Vehicles with expired registration or unauthorized plates will likely be confiscated and the operator could be charged with a fine equal to the value of the vehicle.

The Mission Mexico Vehicle Recovery Unit  assists with the return of stolen U.S. vehicles recovered by Mexican authorities.

If you have an emergency while driving, dial “911.” If you are driving on a toll highway (“cuota”) or any other major highway, you may contact the Green Angels (Spanish only), a fleet of trucks with bilingual crews, by dialing 078 from any phone in Mexico.  Generally, individuals involved in an accident who do not require immediate medical care should contact their insurance providers, who may come to the site to provide an immediate assessment.

Public Transportation/Taxis:  Security on public buses varies throughout the country but is considered a relatively safe transportation option in Mexico City and other major tourist centers. Passengers should protect their personal possessions at all times as theft is common. Intercity bus travel should be conducted during daylight hours in preferably first-class buses using toll roads.

Robberies and assaults on passengers in taxis not affiliated with a taxi stand (known as “libre” taxis) are common. Avoid taking any taxi not summoned by telephone or contacted in advance, including “libre” taxis. When in need of a taxi, telephone a radio taxi or “sitio” (regulated taxi stand) and ask the dispatcher for the driver’s name and the taxi’s license plate number. Application-based car services such as Uber and Cabify are available in many Mexican cities, and generally offer another safe alternative to taxis. Official complaints against Uber and other drivers do occur, however, and past disputes between these services and local taxi unions have occasionally turned violent, resulting in injuries to U.S. citizens in some instances.

See our Road Safety page for more information. 

Aviation Safety Oversight:  The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has assessed the Government of Mexico’s Civil Aviation Authority as not being in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards for oversight of Mexico’s air carrier operations. Further information may be found on the  FAA safety assessment page .

Maritime Travel:  Mariners planning travel to Mexico should also check for U.S. maritime advisories and alerts .  Information may also be posted to the  U.S. Coast Guard homeport website , and the NGA broadcast warnings .

If you enter by sea, review the Mexican boating permit requirements  prior to travel or contact the  Embassy of Mexico  in Washington, D.C., for more information.

Maritime Safety Oversight:  The Mexican maritime industry, including charter fishing and recreational vessels, is subject solely to Mexican safety regulations.  Travelers should be aware that Mexican equipment and vessels may not meet U.S. safety standards or be covered by any accident insurance.

For additional travel information

  • Enroll in the  Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP)  to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
  • Call us in Washington, D.C. at 1-888-407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1-202-501-4444 (from all other countries) from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).
  • See the  State Department’s travel website  for the  Worldwide Caution  and  Travel Advisories .
  • Follow us on  Twitter  and  Facebook .
  • See  traveling safely abroad  for useful travel tips.

Review information about International Parental Child Abduction in Mexico . For additional IPCA-related information, please see the International Child Abduction Prevention and Return Act ( ICAPRA ) report.

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Puerto Vallarta Mexico is the quintessential beach vacation destination. Verdant mountains and rustling palms provide the perfect backdrop for a day laying out on the warm sands of Mexico’s west coast, but with news about a Mexico travel warning making headlines, many are left wondering—is it safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta? Despite what you may hear on TV, there are no Puerto Vallarta travel warnings , and as you stroll the cobblestone streets and sink your teeth into the fresh seafood, you’ll quickly see for yourself how safe is Puerto Vallarta.

Are There Travel Warnings for Mexico?

This year, border closures and travel bans splashed across headlines, leaving many worried that a new Mexico travel warning would disrupt their vacation plans. If you’ve found yourself wondering “are there travel warnings for Mexico?”, you may need clarification. While the U.S. Department of State keeps updated information on international travel on their site, many didn’t realize that the latest Mexico travel advisory only applied to land border crossings, not to international air travel. Coastal destinations like Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Riviera Nayarit, Cancun, and the Islands of Loreto are welcoming flights from around the world, and if you read the official Mexico travel warning for these popular destinations, you’ll see that there is no need to change your itinerary. In fact, many of these cities, such as Puerto Vallarta, have earned the Safe Travels Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council, recognizing the ongoing efforts to enforce preventive measures against COVID and to keep the communities healthy while welcoming visitors. Rather than worrying “are there travel warnings for Mexico?”, book your stay at a resort that has received the Safe Travels stamp, such as Villa del Palmar Puerto Vallarta , and start packing for your upcoming trip. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Is it Safe to Travel to Puerto Vallarta?

Mexico is made up of 32 diversely beautiful states, many of which are listed in the Mexico travel advisory from the U.S. Department of State . The warning for the state of Jalisco notes that there are no Puerto Vallarta travel warnings: “There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Riviera Nayarit (including Puerto Vallarta), Chapala, and Ajijic.” The community of Puerto Vallarta Mexico is proud of the safety and warm hospitality it provides for international travelers and that won’t soon change. While those who have never visited the stunning shores of the city may wonder “Is Puerto Vallarta safe”, others who have strolled the beaches and hiked through the mountains know how safe Puerto Vallarta is for travelers. They’ve even left countless reviews attesting to that fact. 

How Safe is Puerto Vallarta, Surrounding Areas?

Much like other tourist destinations, the community is deeply invested in making guests feel welcome and their efforts have kept the city safe. If you’re wondering, is Puerto Vallarta safe, ask around, listen to reviews , and take the word of those who have vacationed in the destination recently. Here, friends and families mill about, enjoying the ocean views and dining on authentic Mexican food without a care in the world. The same goes for the surrounding areas of Puerto Vallarta, where tours often base their activities and travelers can be seen frolicking in the sun. These areas include many of the popular beachfront towns along the southern coast of the city and those to the north. 

How can I Stay Safe on my Mexico Vacation?

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Even though there are no Puerto Vallarta travel warnings , it’s important to use common sense and follow safety guidelines. While there are a variety of safety tips for beach vacations in Puerto Vallarta Mexico, one of the most important to remember right now is to make your plans based on the Safe Travel Stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council so that rather than wondering “Is it safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta?”, you can trust that your destination is doing everything they can to keep you healthy and secure during your vacation. In fact, many of these resorts have created their own Safe Stay Care Commitments , helping employees and guests feel more safe than ever.

Booking your vacation should be as stress free as possible, so if you find yourself wanting more information about your chosen destination or the place you’ll stay, do some research, listen to travelers who have ventured out this year, and make sound decisions about what is right for you and your family. Most importantly, however, remember to enjoy your vacation because you deserve it!

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Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Your 2024 Insider’s Guide

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for tourists in 2024? You might be concerned about safety if you are planning a trip to the popular Jalisco beach town of Puerto Vallarta for the first time but you needn’t be. 

This is one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico and it is visited by millions of international travelers every year, most of whom find that their trips are memorable for all the right reasons. Add to that the fact that the majority of people here speak English, there is a large expat community, and the local tourism board prioritises the security of visitors, and you have one of the easiest places to travel to in Mexico.

Still, it is understandable that you may be a little apprehensive if this is your first trip to Mexico/Latin America. After all, this part of the world often seems to be in the media for all the wrong reasons. 

In this guide, we are going to look at everything you need to know before planning your trip to Puerto Vallarta and how to keep safe once you arrive. I have been living in Mexico (Merida) for the last few years and have taken numerous trips to Puerto Vallarta, most recently spending 2 months in the city this summer because I almost moved there.

Rest assured, you are in good hands here. 😉 If after reading this post you still have any worries or concerns, you are welcome to connect with me on social media or by email. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Table of Contents

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe to Travel to in 2024? 

Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination to travel to but, like anywhere, staying safe means using your common sense and taking some basic precautions for your safety.

Statistically speaking, Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest places in Mexico. In a survey of several hundred Purto Vallarta residents , the vast majority said that they felt very safe in the city. They had no worries about being mugged, attacked, or robbed and many people felt comfortable walking alone, even at night. Mexico gets a bad rep.

However, it is important to note that the country is incredibly vast. It’s the 13th largest in the world after all! The safety situation differs dramatically from city to city, state to state. 

Puerto Vallarta is actually safer than a lot of US cities. While crime levels have been increasing across Mexico as a whole over the last few years, this has not affected Puerto Vallarta very much. 

Since tourism is such a major contributor to the Mexican economy, the tourism board and the government do everything that they can to keep tourist areas safe. Generally speaking, parts of Mexico that face massive struggles with crime are not places that tourists would want to venture to anyway. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Do some research when choosing where to stay

When booking your accommodation in Vallarta, it is a good idea to look at where the Airbnb/hotels you are considering are on the map, whether you have restaurants and nightlife options nearby, and what kind of attractions and things to do are in the area. Honestly, there are not really any areas of Vallarta that are “dangerous” per se.

Puerto Vallarta is not like Guadalajara or Mexico City where you have to be mindful of where you stay and where you walk so as not to accidentally wind up in a sketchy area. You can essentially walk freely around the entire downtown area and be perfectly safe. 

Even if you book the cheapest accommodation you can find and its location looks a bit far out, you aren’t going to be putting yourself in any danger. 

View from my balcony in Conchas Chinas on my first trip to Vallarta

Safest places to stay in Puerto Vallarta 

At a glance, some of the best and safest places to stay in Puerto Vallarta are:

  • Conchas Chinas
  • Zona Romantica  
  • Las Glorias
  • 5 De Diciembre/downtown Vallarta
  • Zona Hotalera  
  • El Pitillal (for a more local experience) 

Conchas Chinas is a great place to stay if you are looking to indulge in a little luxury. This upscale area is known as the “Beverly Hills” of Vallarta and is home to a beautiful secluded cove that seldom gets busy or attracts more than a few people. 

Most of the hotels here are located up in the steep streets and hills above town, meaning that they have breathtaking views of the Bahia de Banderas, with the Los Arcos rock formation in the distance, but going up and down the hills to get into town can be a bit of an annoying trek. 

The Zona Romantica is one of the best places to stay if you are looking for nightlife this is essentially the city’s LGBTQI+ district because there are so many gay-friendly hotels and gay bars, and the 5 de Diciembre area in downtown Vallarta is about as central as you can get. 

Versailles is something of a desirable postcode in Vallarta and its leafy streets are lined with chic cocktail bars, trendy brunch spots, and all manner of boutique stores. Nearby, Las Glorias offers some great affordable options a stone’s throw from Versaille, usually with a sea view. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Areas to avoid in Puerto Vallarta

The least desirable areas in Vallarta are perhaps Las Mojoneres and Ixtapa. However, they are definitely not dangerous by any means, they are just a little rough around the edges, and home to many people who unfortunately live below the poverty level.

Since poverty breeds crime and petty things like pickpocketing and bag snatching, etc, these are not areas where you want to wander around at night. 

Nuevo Vallarta

Is Buscerias and Nuevo Vallarta safe? 

Puerto Vallarta is a safe city and this safety extends to the wider region. Since a lot of foreigners are relocating to the area, and Vallarta is attracting more and more tourists year after year, accommodation prices are going up and more people are looking for hotels, short, medium and long-term rentals a little further afield. 

In essence, the wider region is becoming more gentrified and experiencing some sort of “Airbnb-ification” but the development of more tourist businesses, etc means these places are very safe and filled with other tourists. 

Las Juntas, Nuevo Vallarta, and the border areas of Nayarit are safe. There is a large expat community living around “Paradise Village” in Nuevo Vallarta and a lot of upscale eateries, gated communities, stores and coffee places. 

I even spent an entire month based in Mezcales (in the Valle Dorado district) as a solo female traveller and felt very safe there too, despite it being a very local, non-touristic area. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Exploring the region around Puerto Vallarta 

Puerto Vallarta is a great jump-off point for exploring wider Jalisco and Nayarit. Heading east along the coast, the Jalisco beaches of Mismaloya, Colomitos and Yelapa are gorgeous, safe, and home to some very upscale resorts and hotels. 

Heading west, Bucerias, Punta Mita and Sayulita in Nayarit are safe with common sense and popular with tourists. If you are seeking more culture during your trip, you can also travel along the Carretera 544 to the charming villages of San Sebastian del Oeste , Mascota and Yerbabuena.

There were previously travel warnings in place for Jalisco Highway 70 but they were removed this year, and this is a very scenic route for continuing onwards to Talpa de Allende and eventually, Guadalajara. 

These small towns are safe and the people are very hospitable. You don’t see an awful lot of foreign travellers, bar the occasional day trippers from Puerto Vallarta, but that doesn’t mean the area is not safe. 

If you are renting a car in Mexico, you can drive along “El Circuito Rural”. This is a 35km route through the towns of Yerbabuena, Santa Rosa, Cimarrón Chico de la Raicilla, Navidad, and Lake Juanacatlan.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe at night? 

The nightlife is one of the main draws of Puerto Vallarta for a lot of people. There is something for everyone here – from chic rooftop cocktail bars where exquisite mezcalitas, and margaritas and other drinks are rustled up by expert mixiologists, to cheap and cheerful beer and snack bars like Cerveceria Chaputlapec, to clubs like Mandala and La Santa. 

In the romantic zone and the main streets of downtown Vallarta, the streets are always brimming with life, even at night. You will be fine going from bar to bar here, but you should take an Uber if your hotel is a bit further afield, rather than walking down quiet, dimly lit side streets alone. 

Playa Camarones, Vallarta

Are the beaches in Puerto Vallarta safe? 

The beaches in Puerto Vallarta are mostly safe and since they are sheltered within the natural bay of Banderas, they are protected from most heavy winds and riptides, etc. Still, when you head to the beach, it pays to check and see if any flags are up to warn you of heavy winds, etc. 

Iglesia De San Miguel Arcangel, Pitillal

Check your government travel advice before you go 

It is a good idea to check your government travel advice before visiting anywhere for the first time and the same rings true of planning a first trip to Puerto Vallarta. The US Department of State provides a state-by-state breakdown into the safety situation in each of Mexico’s 32 states.

Although it can appear a little sternly worded, it provides good insight into the current situation in different parts of Mexico, the current entry requirements, visa requirements, etc.

Jalisco is safe for tourists , although it is currently recognised as a state that you should “reconsider travel to”. It is important to take this with a pinch of salt and acknowledge that if you are not travelling to dangerous parts of the state or getting involved with the cartel, you will not need to worry.

The UK government travel advice for Mexico is also periodically updated and can be found here.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo travellers?

Puerto Vallarta is a very safe place for solo travellers. Arguably when you travel alone anywhere, you have to be more alert and aware of your surroundings than you would when travelling in a group, but tons of travelers and Digital Nomads pass through here every week and many of them are solo. 

Rest assured, you wont stick out like a sore thumb or draw attention to yourself. Locals have seen people (of all genders and ages) on their own a thousand times before.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Meeting other travellers in Vallarta 

After living in Mexico for two years and travelling around the country extensively, I firmly believe that Puerto Vallarta is one of the best (maybe the best)  places to meet other travellers and be social. 

There are several different bars and cafes that frequently organise events for expats and locals. My favourite spot is a place called Cafe + Leche (Océano Pacífico 455-B, Palmar de Aramara) which locals joke as being the “gringo cafe” but is great because there are different things going on every night of the week that tend to attract an international crowd. 

(For example, on Monday nights, theres live jazz and blues music, on wednesday evenings, there are chess competitions, etc.) Even if you just rock up for a coffee on a random afternoon, chances are, you will meet another friendly traveller that will want to start a conversation with you. 

If you are here working remotely, there are tons of coworking spaces in the area and some of them also organise social events. Facebook groups are honestly one of the best ways to meet people, so you can consider posting in one of them when you arrive and seeing if anyone wants to hang out. 

You can also use the hangouts and events function on Couchsurfing if you use the app. (There is now a monthly subscription fee of $2.39 but its worth it to meet people in my opinion). 

Best Facebook groups in Vallarta 

  • Puerto Vallarta: Everything you need to know
  • Puerto Vallarta ❤️ Everything Y o u Need Or Want To know -Information Zone 🇲🇽
  • Living in Puerto Vallarta
  • Puerto Vallarta Conscious Community & Events
  • Puerto Vallarta: Everyone Helping Everyone
  • Veggie Vallarta 🌱 Vegan & Vegetarian Group
  • Puerto Vallarta Bears 🏳️‍🌈 🐻: Everything Gay You Need Or Want To Know

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Is Puerto Vallarta safe for solo female travellers?

Puerto Vallarta is safe for solo female travellers. (This entire website has been written by a solo female traveller in Mexico who has visited over 13 states solo and explored the country extensively).

You may get the occasional looks or catcalls while you were here, but in my experience, it was not as bad as you may expect for Mexico, and definitely happened less often than in Greece, Italy, and other parts of the world. It is generally better to ignore catcallers.

You never really know someones mental state, etc so it is better not to confront random strangers. Dont give these people the power to ruin your day.

Due to the hot, tropical climate and extreme humidity in Vallarta, you will find that most local and expat women walk around in shorts, skirts and sundresses most of the time. You can feel comfortable doing the same.

Do not get involved with drugs or illegal activity 

Generally speaking, if you dont go looking for trouble in Mexico, trouble wont go looking for you. It is better not to do drugs in Puerto Vallarta and get involved with them in any way, but unfortunately there are definitely a lot of people that come here for wild parties and in search of weed and harder drugs that they do at home. 

Doing or possessing even small amounts of drugs is illegal in Mexico but there often seems to be one rule for Mexicans and one rule for “gringos” and gringos often dont get into trouble or police look the other way because they bring the tourist money. Just dont do it. 

Half of the problem with the cartels making their way into tourist areas in Mexico is because tourists drive up the demand by seeking out drugs, and criminal organisations are fighting over the territory because they want to be the ones to supply it. That is exactly what has happened in Cancun and the Riviera Maya in recent years.

Pitillal in the days before hurricane Lidia 2023

Hurricanes in Puerto Vallarta 

Hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico’s Pacific Coast runs from June to November, with the biggest risk for hurricanes being around August/September. Most of the time, this just means occasional storms heavy rains and fatal hurricanes are not common. 

Still, it pays to check what’s going on with the weather before your trip and if you are concerned, you might want to wait until November to travel. In early October 2023, category 4 hurricane Lidia rocked Puerto Vallarta and caused some flooding and damage to the downtown and the Malecon areas, blowing over trees, destroying buildings, and leaving people without water and power for days. 

Prior to that, hurricane Nora caused a lot of damage in the summer of 2021. 

A little shrine in downtown Vallarta

Earthquakes in Puerto Vallarta 

Mexico on the whole experiences a lot of seismic activity, although the worst of it is usually concentrated around Mexico City. Puerto Vallarta is situated on a fault line known as the “Vallarta Gap”. 

Two earthquakes rocked the city in October 2023, at magnitudes of 5.8 and 5.9 but there was no damage or fatalities. Although there have been a few shakes and tremors over the years, there has not been a major fatal earthquake here since 1985 when a magnitude 8.0 quake shook the region.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Is the cartel in Puerto Vallarta? 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG) exists across the state of Jalisco, including Puerto Vallarta. Still, they dont have as much of a presence here as they do in Guadalajara, and tourists are never the targets of violence or cartel activity. 

The chances of you being in the wrong place at the wrong time and caught up in some kind of violent clash between criminal groups are very, very slim. Puerto Vallarta, like other popular tourist destinations in Mexico, is protected by the presence of security personnel and police.

View from a rooftop in Las Glorias

Taking Ubers and taxis in Puerto Vallarta 

Taking Ubers are one of the best ways to get around in Puerto Vallarta and it might come as a shock to hear that in Mexico, Ubers are generally considered safer than street cabs. In some ways, this makes sense. 

After all, there is more accountability when you use a ridesharing app since you can see the driver’s name, vehicle info, and references and you simply don’t know whose car you are getting into when you get into a random street cab. 

Ubers are generally pretty affordable too and you can get from one side of the city to another for just a few dollars. Only licensed cabs are permitted to operate at the airport but you can get around this by walking a few blocks away from the airport and then ordering an Uber. 

(Nobody has ever hassled me or asked what I was doing but if they did, you could simply say you were waiting for a friend). Didi and Indrive are alternative, Mexican versions of Uber that are often cheaper, but you will likely have to change your phone location to Mexico to be able to download them. 

People will often warn you not to take street cabs in Mexico because of the risk of being scammed as a tourist or being a victim of express kidnapping. I have always tried to avoid them and take Ubers but I did take taxis from official ranks in PV a few times and felt safe. 

(Outside ranks in Mezcales, Las Glorias and Gallerias Mall). 

Mermaid sculptures along the Puerto Vallarta Malecon

Safety Tips for Visiting Puerto Vallarta

While the short answer to “Is Puerto Vallarta safe?” is yes, it is important to note that nowhere in the world is safe 100% of the time. Petty crimes, though rare, do happen from time to time. 

Most petty crime in Puerto Vallarta is opportunistic. For instance, someone grabbing your bag in a crowded marketplace, or someone taking your laptop if you leave it unattended on a coffee shop table. 

Some useful safety tips to keep in mind while in Puerto Vallarta are summarised below. A lot of these are good practices wherever in the world you choose to travel but are worth reiterating here. 

Puerto Vallarta safety tips

  • Consider purchasing a theft-proof backpack or moneybelt like those offered by Pacsafe to keep your belongings safe. They are slash-proof, waterproof and come with a TSA-approved locking system
  • Watch your personal belongings in crowded markets and areas and in busy places, walk with your backpack in front of you rather than slung over one shoulder
  • Take an Uber home at night rather than trying to walk
  • Watch your alcohol intake at bars and never leave drinks unattended. Even if you are at an event for expats, remember that you don’t truly know these people
  • Purchase comprehensive travel insurance with medical cover of at least $250,000 USD. You never know what is around the corner and today’s health isnt promised tomorrow.
  • Purchase an alarmed doorstop for your peace of mind if travelling alone – especially if you are staying at an Airbnb or a cheap hotel
  • If you do not have a US or Canadian sim card that includes Mexico in your plan, consider purchasing a Mexican sim card to stay connected during your trip
  • Travel with multiple bank cards and keep a spare, along with some emergency cash in your suitcase or hotel room safe in case you lose one
  • Be careful when withdrawing money from ATMs. Use ATMs in banks and malls as these are less likely to have been tampered with, and try to make withdrawals during the day in well-lit areas where possible. 

View from the plane window when flying out of Puerto Vallarta

Scams in Puerto Vallarta 

There are good and bad people everywhere in the world you may travel and Puerto Vallarta is no different. Fortunately, scams here are pretty rare but there are a few recurring tricks that fraudsters like to try out where they can. 

  • Timeshare scams – people trying to sell timeshares can be very pushy, persuasive, and convincing. Some are legit but many are fraudulent and are even backed by the cartel. Reports indicate that US travelers lost more than $40 billion USD due to timeshare scams in 2022. It is best to just say no.
  • Shortchanging and changing the price of things at the last minute – always check that the price on the bill is the price that you saw on the menu
  • Rental scams – With more and more expats moving to Puerto Vallarta, rental scams are becoming an increasing concern. There have been numerous instances of people paying over rent or a rental deposit to someone only to find that the individual didn’t even own the property they were showing and they have run off into the sunset with their money. 
  • Car rental scams – An issue when renting a car in Puerto Vallarta and elsewhere in Mexico is that car rental companies will sometimes insist that you purchase insurance through them and refuse to let you have the car if you say no, even if you have valid insurance elsewhere. Then, you wind up having to pay twice. So, always stick to reputable rental companies like Avis or Sixt.

Is Puerto Vallarta safe?

Take organized tours around Puerto Vallarta 

If you are anxious about your first trip to Puerto Vallarta, opting to take a guided tour or an excursion to the villages and beaches nearby can be a great way to get your bearings. Better yet, exploring with a Mexican local means that you have a Puerto Vallarta “expert” on hand to ask any burning questions that you might have.

Many reputable companies operate in the region. Even though public transport in the area is pretty good, tours are great because it means that you don’t have to worry about the logistics of your trip, how to get from A to B, etc. Many companies that take you to places like Saylita, Tequila, Yelapa, etc include pickup and drop-off at your hotel as well as lunch and admission to historical sites and attractions. A lot of them stop at places that are tricky to get to without your own vehicle and are a good way to meet other travelers if you are traveling alone. 

Best Puerto Vallarta tours for 2024 and beyond

A selection of reputable tours in and around Puerto Vallarta is detailed below. Book your spot in advance to avoid disappointment!

  • Yelapa waterfall and Majahuitas adventure
  • Sayulita/Punta Mita zip lines with ocean view
  • Puerto Vallarta: city tour, tequila and coffee factory tour
  • Las Caletas beach hideaway experience
  • Sayulita/Punta Mita horseback riding tour
  • Puerto Vallarta: night cruise and dinner show
  • Puerto Vallarta: luxury yacht and snorkelling tour 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Use the same common sense you would at home 

You will find it easy to stay safe in Puerto Vallarta if you use the same common sense that you would at home or anywhere else. For instance, don’t walk home alone at night, and don’t walk down quiet, isolated, sketchy-looking side streets. 

While there is nowhere particularly dangerous here, it is best not to venture off into random residential areas as it will be quieter and there will be fewer people around. Be wary of over-friendly strangers and if someone is bothering you, don’t hesitate to go into a shop and tell someone. 

Enjoying delicious tacos dorados at a Cocina Economica in El Pitillal

Food safety in Puerto Vallarta

If you travel to Puerto Vallarta without experimenting with Mexican food , sampling different street food dishes, and eating your body weight in tacos, frankly you haven’t been to Mexico. A lot of people worry about getting sick here but Mexico isnt synonymous with getting ill, and the local food culture is one of the highlights of exploring the country.

There are some great restaurants in Puerto Vallarta that serve everything from regional Jaliscan specialties to international fare and health foods. Experimenting with street food is always fun, and although there are often tianguis and pop-up taco stalls on virtually every street corner, a great place to check out is Vallarta Food Park (Food park, Blv, Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio No. 2450).

If you are apprehensive about what is safe to eat, look for stalls that have long lines outside of them. That is usually a pretty good indicator that somewhere serves quality food. 

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Is it safe to drink the water in Puerto Vallarta?

It is not safe to drink the water in Puerto Vallarta or anywhere in Mexico for that matter. Although it is purified at the source, there is a good probability of it getting contaminated with bacteria, dirt, etc en route to your tap.

Most hotels will provide you with a couple of complimentary bottles of water for each night of your stay, and then you can purchase cheap, multi-liter bottles from Oxxo and other convenience stores.

You don’t have to worry about having ice in your drinks or drinking beverages prepared with water because Mexican restaurants and businesses will always use mineral water by default and have ice delivered.

Crocodiles in Puerto Vallarta 

Honestly, the chances of going on vacation to Puerto Vallarta and encountering a crocodile are slim (thank God!) but it is important to note that there are crocodiles in some rivers and bodies of water here. 

Marina Vallarta is where a lot of the older, retired expats have apartments and there are some great restaurants and breakfast spots along the waterfront but you will also notice signs everywhere for crocodiles. This is absolutely not somewhere where you want to take a dip – especially not at night. 

Two American tourists were even attacked by a crocodile in the area in June this year. 

Boca de Tomate is an area renowned for being home to tons of crocodiles and where you need to be careful of going into the water, you can also assume that there are crocodiles living in most rivers in the city and its surroundings. (E.g. people often see them in Rio Ameca). 

Mosquitos in Puerto Vallarta and Jalisco

Mosquitos are a nightmare in Puerto Vallarta, especially during the warm, summer months. Repellent spray and bite-relief cream are both essential. 

It is not just a case of not wanting to walk around sporting golf-ball-sized welts. Mosquitos in Mexico also carry diseases like dengue and the Zika virus. Always use plenty of spray, especially at night.  

Plug-in repellents can be a lifesaver during the rainy season too, and you can buy them from Amazon (or at stores like Walmart once you arrive in Vallarta) for just a couple of dollars.

Stores in downtown Puerto Vallarta

Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Final thoughts

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most popular travel destinations in Mexico, as well as one of the safest. Don’t let fear or stereotypes deter you from discovering a really beautiful part of the world.

If you head to Mexico filled with anxiety and you are constantly worrying about safety in Puerto Vallarta, it will ruin your trip. Once you arrive, you will note that the situation on the ground is far better than anything you could have worried about. 

Have any further questions? Please do not hesitate to reach out to me and I will do my best to get back to you as soon as I can.

Safe travels! Buen Viaje! Melissa xo

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Melissa Douglas

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Safety and security, entry and exit requirements, laws and culture, natural disasters and climate, mexico - exercise a high degree of caution.

Exercise a high degree of caution in Mexico due to high levels of criminal activity and kidnapping.

Regional Advisory - Avoid non-essential travel

  • Chiapas, excluding the cities of Palenque via highway 186 from Villahermosa, San Cristobal de las Casas and Tuxtla Gutiérrez
  • Chihuahua, excluding Chihuahua City
  • Colima, excluding the city of Manzanillo if accessed by air
  • Guerrero, excluding the cities of Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo if accessed by air
  • Jalisco, within 50 km of the border with Michoacán state
  • the Lagunas de Zempoala National Park in Morelos
  • Michoacán, excluding the cities of Morelia and Patzcuaro
  • in Nayarit, within 20 km of the border with the states of Sinaloa and Durango
  • Nuevo León, excluding the city of Monterrey
  • Sinaloa, excluding the cities of Los Mochis and Mazatlán
  • Sonora, excluding the cities of Hermosillo, Guaymas/San Carlos and Puerto Peñasco
  • Tamaulipas, excluding the cities of Tampico and Recce
  • all Zacatecas, excluding Zacatecas City

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Levels of crime, particularly violent crime, are high throughout Mexico. Arrest and detention rates are low and don’t deter criminal activity.

Criminal groups, including drug cartels, are very active. ‎Clashes between cartels or gangs over territory, drugs and smuggling routes are common.

In some parts of the country, military, navy and federal police forces have been deployed to combat organized crime and improve security conditions. They maintain a visible presence by:

  • patrolling the streets
  • setting up roadblocks
  • conducting random vehicle checks  

If you plan on travelling to Mexico:

  • remain vigilant at all times
  • stay in tourist areas
  • be very cautious on major highways
  • avoid travelling at night
  • monitor local media closely

If you’re the victim of a crime, you must report it immediately to local authorities. No criminal investigation is possible without a formal complaint. Complaints must be made in person before leaving Mexico. You should hire a local lawyer to represent your interests and follow up on your case after you return to Canada. Failure to do may result in incomplete investigations or long delays in bringing cases to trial.

Violent crime

There are high rates of violent crime, such as homicides, kidnappings, carjacking and assaults, including in popular tourist destinations such as the Mayan Riviera (Cancún, Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos and Tulum), and Acapulco.

Criminal groups and drug cartels are present in tourist areas. Inter-gang and cartel fighting has taken place in restaurants, hotels and nightclubs frequented by tourists.

Innocent bystanders have been injured or killed. You may be in the wrong place at the wrong time and become a victim of violent crime.

Border areas often see higher criminal activity and violence, including in rural areas. Confrontations between organized criminal groups and Mexican authorities continue to pose a risk. Shootouts, attacks and illegal roadblocks may occur without warning.

You should travel to Mexico by air to avoid international land border crossings, particularly along the border with the United States, in the following cities:

  • Ciudad Juárez
  • Nuevo Laredo

If crossing an international land border:

  • remain extremely vigilant
  • use only official border crossings

Armed robbery

Armed robbery occurs. Foreigners have been targets of robberies that sometimes involve assault.

Robbers will follow a victim after they exchange or withdraw money at airports, currency exchange bureaus ( casas de cambio ) or ATMs.

  • Stay in hotels and resorts with good security
  • If you are threatened by robbers, stay calm and don’t resist
  • Avoid withdrawing or exchanging money in public areas of the airport

Canadian travellers have been physically and sexually assaulted. In some cases, hotel employees, taxi drivers and security personnel at popular tourist destinations were involved. In some cases, hotel staff are not helpful and try to dissuade victims from pursuing the incident with police.

  • Avoid walking after dark, especially alone
  • Avoid isolated or deserted areas
  • Avoid excessive alcohol consumption

Are you a victim of sexual violence? – Government of Canada and British Embassy Mexico City

Credit card and ATM fraud

Credit card and ATM fraud occurs in Mexico. When using debit or credit cards:

  • pay careful attention when others are handling your cards
  • use ATMs located in public areas or inside a bank or business
  • avoid using card readers with an irregular or unusual feature
  • cover the keypad with one hand when entering your PIN
  • check for any unauthorized transactions on your account statements

Overcharging

Some bars and nightclubs may try to charge exorbitant prices. Discussions about overcharging may lead to threats of violence and security guards may force you to pay. Avoid running a tab or leaving your credit card with bar or restaurant staff.

Overseas fraud

Police officers

Legitimate police officers have extorted money from tourists or arrested tourists for minor offences such as :

  • drinking alcohol on the street
  • urinating on public roads
  • traffic violations

They have requested immediate cash payment in exchange for their release. Travellers driving rental cars have been targeted.

If this occurs:

  • don’t hand over your money or your passport
  • ask for the officer’s name, badge and patrol car number
  • ask for a copy of the written fine, which is payable at a later date, or insist on going to the nearest police station

Virtual kidnappings

Extortion, including virtual kidnappings, is the third most common crime in Mexico. Criminals use a variety of tactics to gather information about potential victims for extortion purposes, including using social media sites or eavesdropping on conversations

In a virtual kidnapping, criminals contact the victim’s hotel room landline and threaten the victim to stay in their room. The criminals then instruct the victim to provide information needed for the caller to use to contact family and friends, to demand the immediate payment of ransom for their release.

  • Don't discuss travel plans, your room number or any other personal information around strangers
  • Never leave your cellphone unattended
  • Ensure your cellphone is password protected
  • Don't divulge personal business details to strangers in person or over the phone or on social media, especially when using hotel phones
  • If you're threatened on the phone or hear screams, hang up immediately
  • When you answer the phone, wait for the caller to speak. If the caller asks who is speaking, hang up immediately.
  • Don’t answer unrecognized or blocked phone numbers
  • Don’t answer hotel landlines

Kidnappings

Mexico has one of the highest kidnapping rates in the world. Kidnapping, including virtual and express kidnapping, is a serious security risk throughout Mexico.

Kidnappers target all classes. Canadian citizens and contractors working for Canadian businesses have been kidnapped, mostly in areas that are not under the control of police and security forces.

If you're kidnapped:

  • comply with the kidnappers’ requests
  • don’t attempt to resist

Express kidnappings

Express kidnappings occur in large urban areas. This is a method of kidnapping where criminals ask for a small and immediate ransom.

Thieves most commonly work in cooperation with, or pose as, taxi drivers. They force victims to use their debit or credit card to withdraw money from ATMs in exchange for their release.

  • Use only a reputable taxi company or a trusted ride-sharing app
  • Book taxis through your hotel or an authorized taxi stand ( sitio )

Petty theft

Petty crime, such as pickpocketing and purse snatching, is common in Mexico.

  • Be aware of your surroundings at all times, even in areas normally considered safe
  • Ensure that your belongings, including your passport and other travel documents, are secure at all times
  • Avoid showing signs of affluence, such as flashy jewellery, cell phones, headphones and designer bags
  • Carry only small amounts of money
  • Be cautious when withdrawing cash from ATMs

Home break-ins

Tourists staying in rental homes have been the victims of break-ins and burglaries. Whether you're staying in private or commercial accommodations, make sure you lock windows and doors securely.

Women’s safety

Women travelling alone may be subject to some forms of harassment and verbal abuse.

Some incidents of assault, rape and sexual assault against Canadian women have occurred, including at beach resorts and on public buses. 

  • Exercise caution when dealing with strangers or recent acquaintances
  • Be wary of rides or other invitations

Advice for women travellers

Spiked food and drinks

Never leave food or drinks unattended or in the care of strangers. Be wary of accepting snacks, beverages, gum or cigarettes from new acquaintances. These items may contain drugs that could put you at risk of sexual assault and robbery.

Unregulated alcohol

Some bars, restaurants and resorts have served counterfeit alcohol. Some travellers have reported getting sick or blacking out after drinking alcohol.

  • Be cautious if you choose to drink alcohol
  • Seek medical assistance if you begin to feel sick

Alcohol, drugs and travel

Height standards for balcony railings in Mexico can be considerably lower than those in Canada. Falls have resulted in deaths and injuries.

  • Exercise caution when standing close to balcony railings

Demonstrations

Demonstrations take place regularly throughout the country. Protests and roadblocks are common in:

  • Mexico City, including to and from the airport
  • the states of Chiapas, Guerrero, Michoacán and Oaxaca

Such incidents may last a long time, leading to shortages of fresh food, medicine and gasoline.

Even peaceful demonstrations can turn violent at any time. They can also lead to disruptions to traffic and public transportation.

  • Avoid areas where demonstrations and large gatherings are taking place
  • Follow the instructions of local authorities
  • Monitor local media for information on ongoing demonstrations

Mass gatherings (large-scale events)

Water activities

Coastal waters can be dangerous. Riptides are common. Several drownings occur each year.

Many beaches don’t offer warnings of dangerous conditions and they don’t always have lifeguards on duty.

Rescue services may not be consistent with international standards.

  • Consult local residents and tour operators for information on possible hazards and safe swimming areas
  • Always obey warning flags at beaches
  • Follow the instructions and warnings of local authorities

Water sports

Tour operators may not adhere to international standards. Many operators don’t conduct regular safety checks on their sporting and aquatic equipment.

Also, Canadians have been involved in accidents where operators of recreational vehicles, such as watercraft, have demanded compensation exceeding the value of the damage caused to the vehicle or equipment.

If you undertake water sports, such as diving:

  • choose a well-established and reputable company that has insurance
  • ensure that your travel insurance covers the recreational activities you choose
  • wear the appropriate safety equipment, such as helmets and life jackets
  • ensure that equipment is available and in good condition
  • don’t consume alcohol before the activity

If in doubt concerning the safety of the facilities or equipment, don’t use them.

Water safety abroad

Adventure tourism  

Outdoor activities, such as white water rafting, kayaking, scuba diving, snorkelling, bungee, zip lining, paragliding, hiking, mountain biking, etc and other adventure activities can be dangerous if unprepared. Trails are not always marked, and weather conditions can change rapidly, even during summer.  

Tour operators may not always adhere to international safety standards. 

If you intend to practice adventure tourism: 

  • consider hiring an experienced guide from a reputable company 
  • obtain detailed information on your activity and on the environment in which you will be setting out  
  • buy travel insurance that includes helicopter rescue and medical evacuation   
  • know the symptoms of acute altitude sickness, which can be fatal  
  • pay attention to the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, both of which can be fatal  
  • avoid venturing off marked trails  
  • ensure that you’re adequately equipped and bring sufficient water   
  • stay informed about weather and other conditions that may pose a hazard  
  • refrain from using facilities or equipment if you have doubts on their safety  
  • inform a family member or friend of your itinerary  

Road travel

Road conditions and road safety.

Road conditions and road safety can vary greatly throughout the country.

Road conditions can be dangerous due to:

  • sharp curves
  • poorly marked or hidden road signs
  • construction sites
  • roaming livestock
  • slow-moving or abandoned vehicles

Toll highways are typically safer and better maintained than secondary highways.

Mexican driving styles are very different from those in Canada. Many drivers don’t respect traffic laws, and police don’t strictly enforce these laws. Drivers often drive at excessive speeds and may be aggressive or reckless. Drinking and driving laws are not strictly enforced. Accidents causing fatalities are common. Police don’t regularly patrol the highways.

Roadblocks and checkpoints

Illegal roadblocks and demonstrations are common. Heavily armed gangs have attacked travellers on intercity highways. Criminals especially target sport utility vehicles and full-size pickup trucks for theft and carjacking.

The military searches for drugs and firearms at military checkpoints throughout the country.

  • Avoid road travel at night between cities throughout the country
  • Ensure that you only stop in major centres, at reputable hotels or at secure campsites
  • Keep your car doors locked and the windows closed, especially at traffic lights
  • Avoid hitchhiking which is not a common practice in Mexico
  • Don’t leave valuables in the vehicle
  • Rent cars that don’t have stickers or other advertisements for the rental company on them, as rental cars have been targets for robbery, sometimes using force
  • Ensure operators provide insurance and helmets if renting scooters
  • Travel on toll roads to lower the risk of targeted roadblocks and robberies
  • Never attempt to cross roadblocks, even if they appear unattended

Public transportation

Remain vigilant in airports, at bus stations, on buses and on the metro.

The Mexico City metro is often very crowded and a popular place for pickpocketing. There are metro cars dedicated to women and children during rush hours. They are located at the front of the trains.

The Metrobus in Mexico City, which has dedicated lanes and stops, is relatively safe. There are sections dedicated to women and children at the front of the buses.

The “colectivos” and “pesero” mini-buses that stop when hailed are frequently targeted for robbery.

When travelling to other cities, use bus companies that offer VIP or executive class transportation. These buses only travel on toll roads, which lower the risks of targeted roadblocks and robberies, and follow a speed limit.

Taxis and ridesharing services

Disputes between taxi and ridesharing application drivers may occur, especially in Quintana Roo. They may result in:

  • altercations

Although tourists have not been targeted, you may be caught up in these incidents and harassed or injured. 

In Mexico City, all government-authorized taxis have licence plates starting with “A” or “B.” Taxis from designated stands have both the logo of their company and the plate number stamped on the side of the car. Official taxis in Mexico City are pink and white. Users can validate the pink and white taxis on the CDMX app.

  • Avoid hailing taxis on the street
  • Don't share taxis with strangers

When arriving at an airport in Mexico, pre-pay the taxi fare at the airport (inside or outside the terminal) and ask to see the driver’s official identification. You can also use a ridesharing app to arrange for a pickup at certain airports. Not all airports in Mexico allow ridesharing service pickups.

If you use a trusted ridesharing app, confirm the driver’s identity and the licence plate before getting in the car.

Mi Taxi  – CDMX app (in Spanish)

Cruise ship travel

Plan carefully if you plan to take a cruise departing from or stopping in Mexico.

Advice for cruise travellers

Pirate attacks and armed robbery against ships occur in coastal waters of the Bay of Campeche. Mariners should take appropriate precautions.

Live piracy report  - International Maritime Bureau

We do not make assessments on the compliance of foreign domestic airlines with international safety standards.

Information about foreign domestic airlines

Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. The Government of Canada cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet your destination’s entry or exit requirements.

We have obtained the information on this page from the Mexican authorities. It can, however, change at any time.

Verify this information with the  Foreign Representatives in Canada .

Entry requirements vary depending on the type of passport you use for travel.

Before you travel, check with your transportation company about passport requirements. Its rules on passport validity may be more stringent than the country’s entry rules.

Regular Canadian passport

Your passport must be valid for the expected duration of your stay in Mexico.

Passport for official travel

Different entry rules may apply.

Official travel

Passport with “X” gender identifier

While the Government of Canada issues passports with an “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries. You might face entry restrictions in countries that do not recognize the “X” gender identifier. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Other travel documents

Different entry rules may apply when travelling with a temporary passport or an emergency travel document. Before you leave, check with the closest foreign representative for your destination.

Useful links

  • Foreign Representatives in Canada
  • Canadian passports

Tourist visa: not required Business visa: required Work visa: required Student visa: required

Required documents

To enter Mexico, you must present a valid passport and a duly completed tourist card (Multiple Immigration Form). Carry documents to prove the purpose of trip, such as hotel or tour booking confirmations, as immigration officers may request them.

Tourist card

You must obtain a tourist card to enter the country unless you stay in Mexico for less than 72 hours within the northern border zone. 

If you don’t obtain a tourist card upon arrival, you may face:

It is highly recommended to keep your digital tourist card, or tourist card if entered by land, with you at all times as proof of your legal stay in Mexico. You may be asked to show it to Mexican officials when exiting the country or if you are stopped on an immigration check point.

If you are stopped at an immigration check point and you are unable to prove your legal stay, you may be fined, detained or expelled from the country.

Entering by land

If entering Mexico by land, you must stop at the immigration office located at the border to obtain a tourist card, even if not explicitly directed by Mexican officials. Immigration officials will write down on your tourist card the number of days you are allowed to stay in Mexico.  

You may complete the tourist card form online before your arrival. However, you must print the form and present it to the migration official at the port of entry.

Multiple Immigration Form  - Government of Mexico

Entering by air

If entering Mexico by air, you are advised to download your tourist card issued by Mexican officials upon entry.

Depending on your airport of entry:

  • the immigration official will stamp your passport and note the number of days you are allowed to spend in Mexico or
  • you will go through an E-gate kiosk where you will scan your passport and self-register your entry in the country. Only use this option if you are entering Mexico as a tourist.

Once in the country, whether you entered via a E-gate or not, you will be able to access the digital tourist card online. You have 60 days to download it.

If you are unable to show your tourist card or digital tourist card upon departure, you will have to pay for a replacement at the immigration office of any international airport before boarding.

Make sure to plan sufficient time at the airport to obtain a new card in time for your flight.

Portal access for digital tourist card  - Government of Mexico

Length of stay

An immigration official will determine the number of days you can remain in Mexico and note it on your tourist card. The maximum length granted for a tourism-related trip is 180 days; the maximum number of days is not granted by default.

If you're seeking the maximum number of days, you may be required to:

  • explain the purpose of your trip to the immigration official
  • provide details about your trip (accommodations, funds, return flight, etc.)

You won’t be able to request an extension or change the condition of your stay from inside the country.

Canadians travelling to the northern border zone (within 21 kilometres of the U.S. border) for work don’t require a visa for stays of 72 hours or less.

If you require a business or work visa, you should take care of the process yourself. If a prospective employer is processing your visa for you:

  • obtain copies of all correspondence between the employer and Mexican immigration authorities
  • verify that these copies are stamped by the immigration authorities as proof that your papers are being processed
  • request a receipt from your employer for any document that you provide for purposes of obtaining the visa
  • avoid surrendering your passport to your employer

Volunteer, religious, research and eco-tourism activities

You may not be able to undertake volunteer, religious/missionary, research or certain forms of eco-tourism activities while visiting as a tourist. Contact the Mexican Embassy or closest Mexican consulate for information the type of visa required for these activities.

Tourism tax

Most visitors to Mexico must pay a tourism tax.

This fee is normally included in airline ticket prices. Visitors arriving by road or sea will have to pay this fee at any bank in Mexico. There is a bank representative at every port of entry. The bank receipt must be attached to the tourist card for submission at departure.

You don't have to pay this tax if:

  • you're entering by land for tourism purposes, and your stay will not exceed 7 days
  • you're travelling to the northern border zone for less than 72 hours
  • you're travelling to Mexico on a cruise ship

Dual citizenship

If entering and leaving Mexico as a dual citizen, you must identify yourself as a Mexican citizen. You must carry valid passports for both countries.

Laws about dual citizenship

Criminal records

Canadians with a criminal record or a warrant for arrest may be refused entry and returned to Canada or to a third country on the next available flight.

  • Children and travel

Learn more about travelling with children .

Yellow fever

Learn about potential entry requirements related to yellow fever (vaccines section).

Relevant Travel Health Notices

  • Global Measles Notice - 13 March, 2024
  • Zika virus: Advice for travellers - 31 August, 2023
  • COVID-19 and International Travel - 13 March, 2024
  • Dengue: Advice for travellers - 2 July, 2024

This section contains information on possible health risks and restrictions regularly found or ongoing in the destination. Follow this advice to lower your risk of becoming ill while travelling. Not all risks are listed below.

Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic preferably 6 weeks before you travel to get personalized health advice and recommendations.

Routine vaccines

Be sure that your  routine vaccinations , as per your province or territory , are up-to-date before travelling, regardless of your destination.

Some of these vaccinations include measles-mumps-rubella (MMR), diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis, polio, varicella (chickenpox), influenza and others.

Pre-travel vaccines and medications

You may be at risk for preventable diseases while travelling in this destination. Talk to a travel health professional about which medications or vaccines may be right for you, based on your destination and itinerary. 

Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.

Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.

  • There is no risk of yellow fever in this country.

Country Entry Requirement*

  • Proof of vaccination is not required to enter this country.

Recommendation

  • Vaccination is not recommended.

* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.

About Yellow Fever

Yellow Fever Vaccination Centres in Canada

There is a risk of hepatitis A in this destination. It is a disease of the liver. People can get hepatitis A if they ingest contaminated food or water, eat foods prepared by an infectious person, or if they have close physical contact (such as oral-anal sex) with an infectious person, although casual contact among people does not spread the virus.

Practise  safe food and water precautions and wash your hands often. Vaccination is recommended for all travellers to areas where hepatitis A is present.

Measles is a highly contagious viral disease. It can spread quickly from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

Anyone who is not protected against measles is at risk of being infected with it when travelling internationally.

Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are fully protected against measles.

  Hepatitis B is a risk in every destination. It is a viral liver disease that is easily transmitted from one person to another through exposure to blood and body fluids containing the hepatitis B virus.  Travellers who may be exposed to blood or other bodily fluids (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) are at higher risk of getting hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B vaccination is recommended for all travellers. Prevent hepatitis B infection by practicing safe sex, only using new and sterile drug equipment, and only getting tattoos and piercings in settings that follow public health regulations and standards.

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious viral disease. It can spread from person to person by direct contact and through droplets in the air.

It is recommended that all eligible travellers complete a COVID-19 vaccine series along with any additional recommended doses in Canada before travelling. Evidence shows that vaccines are very effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization and death from COVID-19. While vaccination provides better protection against serious illness, you may still be at risk of infection from the virus that causes COVID-19. Anyone who has not completed a vaccine series is at increased risk of being infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 and is at greater risk for severe disease when travelling internationally.

Before travelling, verify your destination’s COVID-19 vaccination entry/exit requirements. Regardless of where you are going, talk to a health care professional before travelling to make sure you are adequately protected against COVID-19.

 The best way to protect yourself from seasonal influenza (flu) is to get vaccinated every year. Get the flu shot at least 2 weeks before travelling.  

 The flu occurs worldwide. 

  •  In the Northern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs from November to   April.
  •  In the Southern Hemisphere, the flu season usually runs between April and   October.
  •  In the tropics, there is flu activity year round. 

The flu vaccine available in one hemisphere may only offer partial protection against the flu in the other hemisphere.

The flu virus spreads from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Clean your hands often and wear a mask if you have a fever or respiratory symptoms.

Malaria  is a serious and sometimes fatal disease that is caused by parasites spread through the bites of mosquitoes.   There is a risk of malaria in certain areas and/or during a certain time of year in this destination. 

Antimalarial medication may be recommended depending on your itinerary and the time of year you are travelling. Consult a health care professional or visit a travel health clinic before travelling to discuss your options. It is recommended to do this 6 weeks before travel, however, it is still a good idea any time before leaving.    Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times:  • Cover your skin and use an approved insect repellent on uncovered skin.  • Exclude mosquitoes from your living area with screening and/or closed, well-sealed doors and windows. • Use insecticide-treated bed nets if mosquitoes cannot be excluded from your living area.  • Wear permethrin-treated clothing.    If you develop symptoms similar to malaria when you are travelling or up to a year after you return home, see a health care professional immediately. Tell them where you have been travelling or living. 

In this destination, rabies is carried by dogs and some wildlife, including bats. Rabies is a deadly disease that spreads to humans primarily through bites or scratches from an infected animal. While travelling, take precautions , including keeping your distance from animals (including free-roaming dogs), and closely supervising children.

If you are bitten or scratched by an animal while travelling, immediately wash the wound with soap and clean water and see a health care professional. Rabies treatment is often available in this destination. 

Before travel, discuss rabies vaccination with a health care professional. It may be recommended for travellers who are at high risk of exposure (e.g., occupational risk such as veterinarians and wildlife workers, children, adventure travellers and spelunkers, and others in close contact with animals). 

Safe food and water precautions

Many illnesses can be caused by eating food or drinking beverages contaminated by bacteria, parasites, toxins, or viruses, or by swimming or bathing in contaminated water.

  • Learn more about food and water precautions to take to avoid getting sick by visiting our eat and drink safely abroad page. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
  • Avoid getting water into your eyes, mouth or nose when swimming or participating in activities in freshwater (streams, canals, lakes), particularly after flooding or heavy rain. Water may look clean but could still be polluted or contaminated.
  • Avoid inhaling or swallowing water while bathing, showering, or swimming in pools or hot tubs. 

Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.

Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.

The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Typhoid   is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among children, travellers going to rural areas, travellers visiting friends and relatives or those travelling for a long period of time.

Travellers visiting regions with a risk of typhoid, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation, should speak to a health care professional about vaccination.  

Salmonellosis is a common illness among travellers to this country. It can be spread through contaminated food or beverages, such as raw or undercooked poultry and eggs, as well as fruits or vegetables.

Practice safe food and water precautions . This includes only eating food that is properly cooked and still hot when served.

Pregnant women, children under 5 years of age, those over 60 years of age, and those with weakened immune systems are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill.

Cases of multidrug-resistant (MDR) Salmonella have been reported among Canadian travellers returning from Mexico. These strains of Salmonella do not respond to some of the recommended antibiotics if treatment is needed.

Most people recover on their own without medical treatment and from proper rehydration (drinking lots of fluids).

  • Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.

Travellers with severe symptoms should consult a health care professional as soon as possible.

Insect bite prevention

Many diseases are spread by the bites of infected insects such as mosquitoes, ticks, fleas or flies. When travelling to areas where infected insects may be present:

  • Use insect repellent (bug spray) on exposed skin
  • Cover up with light-coloured, loose clothes made of tightly woven materials such as nylon or polyester
  • Minimize exposure to insects
  • Use mosquito netting when sleeping outdoors or in buildings that are not fully enclosed

To learn more about how you can reduce your risk of infection and disease caused by bites, both at home and abroad, visit our insect bite prevention page.

Find out what types of insects are present where you’re travelling, when they’re most active, and the symptoms of the diseases they spread.

There is a risk of chikungunya in this country.  The risk may vary between regions of a country.  Chikungunya is a virus spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. Chikungunya can cause a viral disease that typically causes fever and pain in the joints. In some cases, the joint pain can be severe and last for months or years.

Protect yourself from mosquito bites at all times. There is no vaccine available for chikungunya.

  • In this country,   dengue  is a risk to travellers. It is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquito bites.
  • Dengue can cause flu-like symptoms. In some cases, it can lead to severe dengue, which can be fatal.
  • The level of risk of dengue changes seasonally, and varies from year to year. The level of risk also varies between regions in a country and can depend on the elevation in the region.
  • Mosquitoes carrying dengue typically bite during the daytime, particularly around sunrise and sunset.
  • Protect yourself from mosquito bites . There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue.

Zika virus is a risk in this country. 

Zika virus is primarily spread through the bite of an infected mosquito. It can also be sexually transmitted. Zika virus can cause serious birth defects.

During your trip:

  • Prevent mosquito bites at all times.
  • Use condoms correctly or avoid sexual contact, particularly if you are pregnant.

If you are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, you should discuss the potential risks of travelling to this destination with your health care provider. You may choose to avoid or postpone travel. 

For more information, see Zika virus: Pregnant or planning a pregnancy.

American trypanosomiasis (Chagas disease)   is a risk in this country. It is caused by a parasite spread by infected triatomine bugs. The infection can be inactive for decades, but humans can eventually develop complications causing disability and even death.

Risk is generally low for most travellers. Protect yourself from triatomine bugs, which are active at night, by using mosquito nets if staying in poorly-constructed housing. There is no vaccine available for Chagas disease.

Animal precautions

Some infections, such as rabies and influenza, can be shared between humans and animals. Certain types of activities may increase your chance of contact with animals, such as travelling in rural or forested areas, camping, hiking, and visiting wet markets (places where live animals are slaughtered and sold) or caves.

Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, livestock (pigs, cows), monkeys, snakes, rodents, birds, and bats, and to avoid eating undercooked wild game.

Closely supervise children, as they are more likely to come in contact with animals.

Human cases of avian influenza have been reported in this destination. Avian influenza   is a viral infection that can spread quickly and easily among birds and in rare cases it can infect mammals, including people. The risk is low for most travellers.

Avoid contact with birds, including wild, farm, and backyard birds (alive or dead) and surfaces that may have bird droppings on them. Ensure all poultry dishes, including eggs and wild game, are properly cooked.

Travellers with a higher risk of exposure include those: 

  • visiting live bird/animal markets or poultry farms
  • working with poultry (such as chickens, turkeys, domestic ducks)
  • hunting, de-feathering, field dressing and butchering wild birds and wild mammals
  • working with wild birds for activities such as research, conservation, or rehabilitation
  • working with wild mammals, especially those that eat wild birds (e.g., foxes)

All eligible people are encouraged to get the seasonal influenza shot, which will protect them against human influenza viruses. While the seasonal influenza shot does not prevent infection with avian influenza, it can reduce the chance of getting sick with human and avian influenza viruses at the same time.

Person-to-person infections

Stay home if you’re sick and practise proper cough and sneeze etiquette , which includes coughing or sneezing into a tissue or the bend of your arm, not your hand. Reduce your risk of colds, the flu and other illnesses by:

  •   washing your hands often
  • avoiding or limiting the amount of time spent in closed spaces, crowded places, or at large-scale events (concerts, sporting events, rallies)
  • avoiding close physical contact with people who may be showing symptoms of illness 

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) , HIV , and mpox are spread through blood and bodily fluids; use condoms, practise safe sex, and limit your number of sexual partners. Check with your local public health authority pre-travel to determine your eligibility for mpox vaccine.  

Medical services and facilities

The quality of care varies greatly throughout the country.

Good health care is available in private hospitals and clinics, but it’s generally expensive. Most private facilities won’t agree to deal directly with medical insurance companies and will require payment with a credit card in advance or a bank transfer/direct deposit.

Mental health services are extremely limited in Mexico, particularly outside of Mexico City. Services and treatment standards may differ substantially from those in Canada.

Medical evacuation can be very expensive and you may need it in case of serious illness or injury.

Make sure you get travel insurance that includes coverage for medical evacuation and hospital stays.

Travel health and safety

Medical tourism

Medical tourism is common in Mexico. Canadian travellers have had serious health complications following cosmetic or other elective surgeries abroad.

Before leaving for medical travel, you should do your research, especially on:

  • the health and financial risks
  • the medical facility where the procedure will be performed
  • language barriers, which can lead to misunderstandings about your medical care and conditions
  • travel insurance that includes coverage for the type of medical procedure you will be undergoing

You should discuss your medical plans with your primary healthcare provider in Canada before travelling. Most provincial and territorial health care programs are extremely limited in their coverage offered abroad.

  • Make sure that the healthcare providers you choose are authorized by the Mexican health authorities
  • Ask to see the credentials of the healthcare providers
  • Obtain a written agreement detailing the proposed treatment or procedure
  • Receiving medical care outside Canada
  • If you become sick or injured while travelling outside Canada or after your return
  • Medical tourism – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

If you take prescription medication, you’re responsible for determining their legality in Mexico. 

  • Bring sufficient quantities of your medication with you
  • Always keep your medication in the original container
  • Pack your medication in your carry-on luggage
  • Carry a copy of your prescriptions

Medication cannot be sent to Mexico from Canada via courier services.

Many types of medication—both over-the-counter and prescription—are readily available with little oversight. Counterfeit medication is common in certain parts of Mexico. If you need to purchase medication while in Mexico, make sure to get it from a reputable location.

Federal Commission for protection against sanitary risk  (in Spanish)

Air quality in Mexico City

In Mexico City, you may experience health problems caused by high altitude or by air pollution, which is at its peak during the winter months.

Consult your doctor before booking your trip if you have lung, heart or respiratory problems.

Death in Mexico

If you plan to retire or spend long periods of time in Mexico, or travel there for medical procedures, you should:

  • share your plans or wishes with relatives
  • make sure important documents can easily be located
  • make arrangements in case of your death while in the country
  • What if I Die in Mexico? – Fact sheet
  • Death Abroad Factsheet

Keep in Mind...

The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.

Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a   travel health kit , especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.

You must abide by local laws.

Penalties for breaking the law in Mexico can be more severe than in Canada, even for similar offences.

Foreign nationals are often held in pre-trial detention and there can be lengthy delays before a trial.

Many petty crimes (such as public urination, failure to pay a bill or disorderly behaviour) can result in a 72-hour detention by police. Paying a fine can secure an early release from detention.

Detention conditions are below the standards of Canadian prisons.

  • Overview of the criminal law system in Mexico
  • Arrest and detention

Penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs are severe. Convicted offenders can expect lengthy prison sentences.

Drugs, alcohol and travel

Smoking is prohibited in all public places except for clearly marked designated smoking areas. This includes but is not limited to:

  • restaurants

You may be fined if you’re caught smoking in public.

Electronic cigarettes

It’s illegal to bring electronic cigarettes/vaping devices and solutions into Mexico.

You could have these items confiscated by customs officials if you have them in your possession. You could also be fined or detained.

It is strictly prohibited to sell or distribute these devices and solutions in Mexico.

Imports and exports

The Mexican government strictly enforces its laws concerning possession, importation and trafficking of firearms.

Anyone entering Mexico with a firearm or ammunition without prior written authorization from Mexican authorities is subject to imprisonment.

It is also illegal to enter the country with certain types of knives.

Importing vehicles and boats

Mexico has very strict rules regarding the importation of foreign vehicles and boats.

You must enter Mexico with the proper import permit and insurance, since it cannot be obtained once you are in Mexico. You may face a fine and have your vehicle seized if you enter Mexico without the proper permit.

You must present a paper document of your vehicle registration to obtain a vehicle importation permit from the Mexican authorities. If you present a digital document of your vehicle registration, your vehicle may be refused entry into Mexico.   

  • Vehicle importation  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Temporary vehicle import application system  – Banjército
  • Travelling to Mexico by land  – Mexican Embassy in Canada

Cigarettes and alcohol

If you are older than 18, you are allowed to bring into Mexico up to:

  • 10 cigarette packs
  • 25 cigars or
  • 200 grams of tobacco
  • 3 litres of alcohol and
  • 6 litres of wine

If you bring more alcohol and cigarettes into Mexico than allowed, even if you declare your imported items, you will be subject to a high import fee. You will still be subject to a significant fee if you decide to relinquish your imported items

It’s illegal to possess archaeological artefacts or to export such items from Mexico.

  • Goods you can bring to Mexico as part of your personal luggage  – Government of Mexico
  • Goods you cannot bring into Mexico  – Government of Mexico
  • Agricultural product restrictions  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

Political activity

It’s illegal for foreigners to conduct political activity in Mexico, including participating in demonstrations.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers

Mexican law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Mexican society, particularly in rural areas.

2SLGBTQI+ travellers could be discriminated against based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression or sex characteristics. Transgender and gender non-conforming individuals are disproportionately targeted for violence and can face discrimination.

Travel and your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics

Dual citizenship is legally recognized in Mexico.

If you are a Canadian citizen, but also a citizen of Mexico, our ability to offer you consular services may be limited while you're there. You may also be subject to different entry/exit requirements .

Travellers with dual citizenship

International Child Abduction

The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is an international treaty. It can help parents with the return of children who have been removed to or retained in certain countries in violation of custody rights. The convention applies between Canada and Mexico.

If your child was wrongfully taken to, or is being held in Mexico, and if the applicable conditions are met, you may apply for the return of your child to the Mexican court.

If you are in this situation:

  • act as quickly as you can
  • contact the Central Authority for your province or territory of residence for information on starting an application under The Hague Convention
  • consult a lawyer in Canada and in Mexico to explore all the legal options for the return of your child
  • report the situation to the nearest Canadian government office abroad or to the Vulnerable Children's Consular Unit at Global Affairs Canada by calling the Emergency Watch and Response Centre

If your child was removed from a country other than Canada, consult a lawyer to determine if The Hague Convention applies.

Be aware that Canadian consular officials cannot interfere in private legal matters or in another country's judicial affairs.

  • List of Canadian Central Authorities for the Hague Convention
  • International Child Abductions: A guide for affected parents
  • The Hague Convention – Hague Conference on Private International Law
  • Canadian embassies and consulates by destination
  • Request emergency assistance

There are no clear procedures or regulations about surrogacy in Mexico.

If you're considering surrogacy, seek advice from legal professionals knowledgeable in Canadian and Mexican laws and citizenship procedures.

Identity documents

The names on your identity documents must be identical to those on your birth certificate to obtain official Mexican documents, such as marriage certificates, immigration documents or passports.

Middle names are often left off Canadian identity documents. This has caused significant difficulties for many Canadians. If you plan on residing in Mexico or dealing with the Mexican Civil Registry, obtain a Canadian passport that will meet Mexican requirements.

Identification

You should carry photo identification.

Authorities can ask you to show identification and a proof of your legal status in Mexico. They can demand to see your tourist card at any time. You must carry the original at all times. You must carry the original at all times, and should also carry a photocopy of the identification page of your passport.

Investments

If you plan on buying property, or making other investments in Mexico, seek legal advice in Canada and in Mexico. Do so before making commitments. Related disputes could take time and be costly to resolve.

Mexican real estate agents are not licensed or regulated.

  • Choose your own lawyer
  • Avoid hiring a lawyer recommended by a seller

Problems with timeshare arrangements occur.

Timeshare representatives may be very persistent. They use pressure tactics and offer free tours, meals, gifts or alcoholic beverages.

It's illegal for timeshare companies to ask you to sign a waiver that prevents you from cancelling a contract. You're legally entitled to cancel a timeshare contract without penalty within 5 working days. Contracts must be cancelled in writing directly with the timeshare company.

Before purchasing a timeshare:

  • gather as much information as possible
  • review carefully the contract; anything not included in the contract will not be honoured
  • provide your credit card only if you are sure you want to make the purchase
  • keep copies of all correspondence

If you suspect a fraud in the real estate procedures, contact the Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer immediately.

  • Federal Attorney’s Office of Consumer (PROFECO)  – Mexican Government (in Spanish)
  • Should I buy a timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada
  • Should I sell my timeshare in Mexico? - Embassy of Mexico in Canada

Rental accommodations

Rental agreements between two individuals in Mexico are considered a private matter and are not regulated by the government.

If you encounter difficulties with a rental agreement, you must obtain the services of a Mexican lawyer.

You should carry an international driving permit.

International Driving Permit

Auto insurance

Mexican liability insurance is mandatory. Canadian automobile insurance is not valid in Mexico.

You can obtain insurance at the Mexican border. You should obtain full coverage, including coverage for legal assistance.

Automobile insurance is much more expensive in Mexico than in Canada. Many local drivers don’t have any form of car insurance.

If you’re involved in an accident, and you don’t have Mexican liability insurance, you could be prevented from leaving the country until all parties agree that adequate financial satisfaction has been received. If you’re found to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of an accident, or if you don’t have a valid driver’s licence, your insurance will be considered invalid.

If you’re involved in a traffic accident, you may face serious legal problems, including imprisonment. You could be taken into custody until responsibility for the accident is determined and all fines are paid. You must report any accident you’re involved in to the police.

Driving restrictions in Mexico City

The Hoy No Circula (No Driving Today) program restricts some cars from driving in Mexico City and in some municipalities of the State of Mexico, from Monday to Saturday, from 5 am to 10 pm.

You will face driving restrictions depending on:

  • your car’s emission sticker
  • the last digit of your license plate
  • where your license plate was issued

Hoy No Circula program is strictly enforced. You may face heavy fines and temporary confiscation of your vehicle if you don’t comply. Consult the Hoy No Circula calendar before driving.

Electric and hybrid cars are exempted from these restrictions. Gas-fueled cars of a 2008 model or later may obtain a tourist pass valid for selected drive days.

  • Hoy no circula – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Tourist pass  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Ministry of Environment  – Government of (in Spanish)

Buying/selling a vehicle

You must be either a temporary or a permanent resident if you wish to buy a car in Mexico.

It’s illegal to sell your imported vehicle in Mexico. If you do, your vehicle may be seized and you may be subject to a fine and deportation.

The currency of Mexico is the Mexican peso.

In some parts of Mexico, particularly tourist destinations, hotels and other service providers may advertise prices in USD.

There is a limit to the amount of U.S. dollars that residents and foreigners can exchange in Mexico, depending on your immigration status. The rule doesn’t apply to Canadian dollars but some financial institutions, hotels and currency exchange bureaus don’t make the distinction.

When carrying more than US$10,000 or the equivalent in other currencies, cash, cheques, money orders or any other monetary instrument, you must declare the amount exceeding US$10,000. Failure to make this declaration is against Mexican law and often results in detention.

Hurricane Beryl

On July 5, 2024, Hurricane Beryl swept across the Yucatan Peninsula.

The storm brought excessive rainfall and violent winds. It caused flash flooding and landslides and disrupted the following essential services:

  • transportation
  • power distribution
  • water and food supply
  • telecommunications networks
  • emergency services
  • medical care

If you are in the affected area:

  • exercise caution
  • monitor local news and weather reports
  • follow the instructions of local authorities

Latest advisories – U.S. National Hurricane Centre

Climate change

Climate change is affecting Mexico. Extreme and unusual weather events are becoming more frequent and may affect your travel plans. Monitor local news to stay informed on the current situation.  

Mexico is subject to various natural disasters such as:

  • earthquakes  
  • extreme heat
  • floods  
  • forest fires 
  • hurricanes  
  • torrential rains  
  • tsunamis 
  • volcanic eruptions  
  • Secretary of Integrated Risk Management and Civil Protection  – Government of Mexico City (in Spanish)
  • National Center for Disaster Prevention  (CENAPRED) – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Get prepared

Hurricane season

Hurricanes usually occur from mid-May to the end of November. During this period, even small tropical storms can quickly develop into major hurricanes.

These severe storms can put you at risk and hamper the provision of essential services. You could face serious safety risks during a hurricane.

If you decide to travel to a coastal area during the hurricane season:

  • be prepared to change your travel plans on short notice, including cutting short or cancelling your trip
  • stay informed of the latest regional weather forecasts
  • carry emergency contact information for your airline or tour operator
  • follow the advice and instructions of local authorities
  • Tornadoes, cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons and monsoons
  • Large-scale emergencies abroad
  • Active storm tracking and hurricane watches and warnings – U.S. National Hurricane Center

Heat may be most severe during the hot season, from April and May in the south, and July to September along the Pacific Coast.

Know the symptoms of dehydration and heatstroke, which can both be fatal.

Sun and heat safety tips for travellers  

Flooding and landslides

Heavy rains can cause flooding and landslides. Roads may become impassable and infrastructure damaged.

Earthquakes and tsunamis

Mexico is located in an active seismic zone. Earthquakes, tsunamis and volcanic eruptions can occur.

A tsunami can occur within minutes of a nearby earthquake. However, the risk of tsunami can remain for several hours following the first tremor. If you’re staying on the coast, familiarize yourself with the region’s evacuation plans in the event of a tsunami warning.

Useful links:

  • National Seismological Institute  – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)
  • Latest earthquakes  - U.S. Geological Survey
  • Tsunami alerts  - U.S. Tsunami Warning System
  • Centre for Studies and Research of Volcanology  - University of Colima (in Spanish)

Forest fires

Forest fires may occur, particularly during the dry season from:

  • January to June in the centre, north, northeast, south and southeast
  • May to September in the northwest

The air quality in areas near active fires may deteriorate due to heavy smoke.

In case of a major fire:

  • stay away from the affected area, particularly if you suffer from respiratory ailments
  • always follow the instructions of local emergency services personnel, including any evacuation order
  • monitor local media for up-to-date information on the situation

Daily report on wildfires – Government of Mexico (in Spanish)

Local services

In case of an emergency, dial 911.

Roadside assistance

The Angeles Verdes is a highway patrol service that provides free assistance on all major toll highways from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

You can download the App on your mobile device.

In case of an emergency, you can also dial 078 or 800 006 8839 (toll-free in Mexico) to reach them.

Consular assistance

The Consular Agency of Canada in Mexico, in Cancun, will close temporarily to the public from July 4 to 8, 2024, due to Hurricane Beryl. Consular services may be limited. Contact us by email or telephone before visiting our offices

The Consular Agency of Canada in Mexico, in Playa Del Carmen, will close temporarily to the public from July 4 to 8, 2024, due to Hurricane Beryl. Consular services may be limited. Contact us by email or telephone before visiting our offices

Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Durango, Estado de Mexico, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Michoacán, Morelos, Mexico City, Oaxaca, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luís Potosí, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Tlaxcala, Veracruz, Zacatecas.

Campeche, Yucatán, and Quintana Roo north of the municipality of Solidaridad, including Puerto Morelos, Isla Mujeres and Holbox

Baja California, Sonora

For emergency consular assistance, call the Embassy of Canada to Mexico, in Mexico City, and follow the instructions. At any time, you may also contact the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa.

The decision to travel is your choice and you are responsible for your personal safety abroad. We take the safety and security of Canadians abroad very seriously and provide credible and timely information in our Travel Advice to enable you to make well-informed decisions regarding your travel abroad.

The content on this page is provided for information only. While we make every effort to give you correct information, it is provided on an "as is" basis without warranty of any kind, expressed or implied. The Government of Canada does not assume responsibility and will not be liable for any damages in connection to the information provided.

If you need consular assistance while abroad, we will make every effort to help you. However, there may be constraints that will limit the ability of the Government of Canada to provide services.

Learn more about consular services .

Risk Levels

  take normal security precautions.

Take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada.

  Exercise a high degree of caution

There are certain safety and security concerns or the situation could change quickly. Be very cautious at all times, monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.

IMPORTANT: The two levels below are official Government of Canada Travel Advisories and are issued when the safety and security of Canadians travelling or living in the country or region may be at risk.

  Avoid non-essential travel

Your safety and security could be at risk. You should think about your need to travel to this country, territory or region based on family or business requirements, knowledge of or familiarity with the region, and other factors. If you are already there, think about whether you really need to be there. If you do not need to be there, you should think about leaving.

  Avoid all travel

You should not travel to this country, territory or region. Your personal safety and security are at great risk. If you are already there, you should think about leaving if it is safe to do so.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

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mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe To Visit? Travel Advisory 2024

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Puerto Vallarta is one of the most secure and popular tourist destinations in Mexico, according to confirmed reports.

Zona Romantica and the Malecón are popular destinations for both locals and foreign visitors, and the beaches here are considerably safer than those in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

Yet, Puerto Vallarta lacks many all-inclusive resorts, in contrast to well-liked family vacation spots like those in Quintana Roo. 

Table of contents

April 6: puerto vallarta reached 2.19 million visitors in the first 3 months of 2024, april 1: a mexican cartel continues trapping american retirees in a timeshare scam, february 16 – four people were injured in a confrontation in puerto vallarta between the national guard and armed civilians, areas to avoid in puerto vallarta, crime statistics in puerto vallarta, u.s. travel advisory, canada travel advisory, common scams, latest news from puerto vallarta:.

Puerto Vallarta broke a new tourism record with 2.19 million visitors in the first quarter of 2024 which is 5% more than the first quarter of 2023. What’s more, Puerto Vallarta has beaten third month in the row its biggest competitor in the country, Los Cabos which has been recently ranked as the most expensive destination in Mexico .

Cartel’s timeshare scams tailored to trap American retirees aren’t going away. Theweek.com has covered the latest warnings and everything you need to know about this trap in their recent article .

According to local authorities, four people were injured in an armed confrontation between civilians and members of the National Guard.

The government announced in a statement on Facebook that these actions took place in the towns of El Ranchito and La Desembocada.

It was reported that at least four people were injured, including two national guardsmen, according to reporter Evaristo Tenorio from Fuerza Informativa Azteca de Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is located.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Avoid going to far-away neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta, particularly if you’re not familiar with the area. You’ll feel safe strolling around the traditional Romantic Zone or along the Malecon where lots of people are out and about. The tourist area along the beach and main street is largely well-patrolled by law enforcement personnel.

You’ll come across more of Puerto Vallarta’s potentially dangerous streets—where local crime may occur—as you head inland from the beach. But most of the crime is limited to neighborhood break-ins.

Here is a comparison of crime statistics in Puerto Vallarta vs. Cancun (Data source: Numbeo.com )

Official Travel Advisories

The U.S. Department of State has classified travel to the state of Jalisco as “ Reconsider Travel. ” However, it does not include popular tourist spots like Puerto Vallarta. Although gang violence may occur in other regions of Jalisco, the greatest danger is being abducted or becoming an innocent bystander target amid a territorial dispute.

Travel to Jalisco State, which includes the tourist destinations of Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Puerto Vallarta (including the neighboring Riviera Nayarit), Chapala, and Ajijic, is unrestricted for US government employees.

As a blank statement, the Canadian government advises its citizens to exercise a heightened level of caution when traveling to Mexico due to elevated levels of criminal activity and kidnapping. However, it does not issue specific advisories against traveling to Jalisco, unlike Guerrero and other Mexican regions.

Vacation Packages: Many travelers report being swindled when purchasing vacation packages to Puerto Vallarta. To avoid falling victim to this scam, ensure that the company you are booking through is legitimate. You can verify the registration of the business in Mexico here .

Airport Scams: Upon exiting customs, travelers encounter a large sliding door where numerous individuals await, aiming to exploit unsuspecting visitors. They may approach you, falsely claiming to be your prearranged transportation. If you have scheduled airport pick-up, wait for them outside the airport, as this is the designated area for such services.

Overcharging for Local Buses: Typically, local buses in Puerto Vallarta charge around $10 pesos per person. However, upon boarding, ticket collectors may quote a significantly higher price. Verify the fare with other passengers and pay accordingly to avoid overpayment.

Taxi Scams: Since most taxis lack meters, it’s essential to agree on a fare before starting your trip. Negotiate the price in advance, ensuring clarity on the cost per person and destination. Always haggle, as initial prices tend to be inflated. Alternatively, consider using Uber, particularly for airport transfers, as it offers transparent pricing.

Timeshare Scams: Timeshare representatives may entice you with promises of free beverages, tequila, or tours in exchange for a short-term commitment. However, these presentations often extend far beyond the promised duration, trapping attendees in lengthy and coercive sales pitches. Politely decline such offers to avoid becoming ensnared in unwanted commitments.

Passports and Grub

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Travel in 2024?

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Are you planning a trip to Mexico in 2024? As a popular tourist destination, many people may be concerned about this country’s safety.

However, with the correct information and precautions, Mexico can be a wonderful and safe place to visit. In particular, the coastal city of Puerto Vallarta is a top destination for tourists, but is Puerto Vallarta safe for travel in 2024?

We will discuss the latest Mexico travel advisory and provide tips on how to stay safe while enjoying all that this beautiful city has to offer.

So, let’s address the question on everyone’s mind: is Mexico safe, and specifically, is Puerto Vallarta safe for tourists? Keep reading to find out.

We’ll also cover how to stay safe in both places so you can enjoy your holiday or vacation with peace of mind.

Situated on Mexico’s Pacific coast in Jalisco state, Puerto Vallarta is surrounded by the clear waters of Bahía de Banderas (Banderas Bay), lush forests, and the ridges of the Sierra Madre.

Despite its scenic views, the city has maintained its authenticity and is one of the most popular beach destinations

Walk down the cobbled and narrow streets, and you’ll find yourself in some of Puerto Vallarta’s most traditional areas, including the Romantic Zone, known for its lively atmosphere and range of art galleries, traditional markets, and eateries.

This guide on Puerto Vallarta safety will provide you with the facts you need to decide is Puerto Vallarta safe.

The links in this post may be affiliate links.  That means that if you click them and make a purchase, this site makes a commission.  It will have no impact on the price you pay or the experience of your purchase.

I will point you in the right direction, and you can decide if Puerto Vallarta’s crime rate is high enough for you not to visit this beautiful resort town.

I will also discuss Puerto Vallarta safety & Puerto Vallarta Travel Advisory.

  • Is Puerto Vallarta safer than Cancun?
  • Is Puerto Vallarta safe at night?
  • Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Solo Female Travelers?
  • Is Mexico safe overall?

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Tourists in 2024?

Puerto Vallarta is generally considered a safe destination for travelers. The city has implemented various security measures, and local authorities prioritize the safety of residents and visitors.

Violent crime, petty theft, and petty crime are soaring in certain areas because American tourists are buying drugs from Mexican drug dealers.

The city borders the state of Nayarit, which is home to sister destination Nuevo Vallarta on the Riviera Nayarit, sharing the same international airport on the edge of Puerto Vallarta.

Because Puerto Vallarta is part of Mexico, it has a negative connotation of being unsafe, which is further from the truth. As you will see below, there are other countries with the same travel warning as Mexico, and they are not perceived as dangerous.

Puerto Vallarta Travel Restrictions for 202 4

Updated security alert – quintana roo & puerto vallarta advisory (08/22/2024).

Make sure to check the   Mexico Travel Advisor y  page of the U.S. State Department to check for the latest news and travel safety information, as it changes frequently. According to their latest travel advisory, Mexico is considered:

Level 3: Reconsider Travel

The crime and violence rates referenced in the travel advisory are for broad regions while the incidence of this activity tends to be highly concentrated in areas which are not frequented by travelers. Visitors who use common sense and travel in areas frequented by other tourists are safe and have enjoyable visits.

Additionally, it advises against traveling to certain areas, especially those located outside of the main tourist zones.

It is important to stay informed about any recent safety concerns and follow local authorities’ advice.

It is also recommended to check the latest Mexico Travel Warning, which provides information on the overall safety situation in Mexico.

By staying informed and taking necessary precautions, you can have a safe and enjoyable trip to Puerto Vallarta.

Aside from dangerous areas along the U.S. border and other regions where cartels operate, Mexico is safe, and I firmly believe it is safe to travel to Mexico, including Puerto Vallarta.

In general, if you’re not taking part in illegal activities, you don’t have anything to worry about. 

For example, Four Americans traveling from South Carolina to Mexico were ambushed in the small town of Matamoros in what is believed to be a case of mistaken identity.

While this did not happen in Puerto Vallarta, it has still caused travelers to be concerned about traveling to any part of Mexico.

One of them – a mother of six – was traveling to Mexico to “undergo a medical procedure” across the border.

Who travels with 4 men to get a tummy tuck and expects them to provide aftercare service? Half of these men don’t even wash their hands properly, so we knew she was lying.

Once across the border, they were fired upon by unidentified gunmen, “placed in a vehicle and taken from the scene by armed men,” according to the FBI.

Investigators believe the Americans were targeted by a Mexican cartel that likely mistook them for Haitian drug smugglers, but I personally believe they were looking to purchase drugs.

For years,  Matamoros has been a stronghold for various feuding criminal organizations, particularly the Gulf Cartel , which has used the city as a key pipeline for moving cocaine, meth, and fentanyl across the border into Texas — and from there across the U.S.

No one should be traveling through Matamoros under any circumstances.  A quick Google search would have told them it was a no-no to travel through Matamoros. 

What do you think is going to happen if you go to a Foreign country seeking to buy drugs and then get on the news and play the victim when something bad happens?

To put things in perspective, Level 3 is the same tier given to many other tourist hotspots that have an uptake in criminal activity, including the following countries:

  • Dominican Republic
  • The United Kingdom

I have been to both Belize and Italy , and I have never wondered if it is safe to travel to those countries.  Are you concerned about traveling to Italy?

Italy has the same level 3 warning, so why is Mexico considered more violent, and why are you asking if Puerto Vallarta is safe?

Is Puerto Vallarta Safer than Cancun

Choosing between Puerto Vallarta and Cancun depends on your preferences and priorities.

In terms of safety, both destinations generally cater to tourists and are considered safe. However, the safety situation can change, so staying updated with the latest Mexico travel advisory is crucial before booking your flight.

Puerto Vallarta offers a more laid-back, traditional Mexican experience with its charming old town and vibrant arts scene.

Cancun, on the other hand, is known as the Spring Break and party capital.

Puerto Vallarta might be your pick if you’re seeking a relaxing beach getaway with a touch of cultural charm.

If you’re looking to party all night and twerking on the beach, Cancun could be what you are looking for. Ultimately, your choice should align with your personal preferences and interests.

When comparing crime statistics between Puerto Vallarta and Cancun, it is vital to note that they both have seen increased violence in recent years.

However, it is crucial to understand that crime can occur anywhere and is often isolated to specific areas.

While Puerto Vallarta has less crime, you should stay aware of your surroundings and keep your valuables secure.

Overall, while both Puerto Vallarta and Cancun have taken measures to ensure the safety of their tourists, it is important to exercise caution and stay informed about any recent safety concerns before your trip.

Puerto Vallarta Safety vs. the U.S. Safety

Mexico is statistically much safer than the United States.

So why is the U.S. State Dept. sending out Travel Alerts, calling Mexico “A Failed State”, and saying that ALL parts of the country (including popular tourist resorts like Puerto Vallarta and Cancun) are now unsafe for travel?

There has been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico. But very little of it notes that Mexico is a HUGE country with thirty-one states (+ the Distrito Federal).

They also fail to mention that most of that violence is drug traffic-related or that you could count the number of tourists who are affected by it on one hand.

Did you know that, according to the FBI, an estimated 15,241 persons were murdered in the U.S. in 2009 111 U.S. citizens were killed in Mexico last year, and almost all of them were involved in illicit drug trafficking, gun-running, or smuggling people across the border to/from the U.S?

Imagine 111 people out of the nearly 8 million visitors (about 1 million of whom make Mexico their full-time home). Do you know who else had 111 murders in one year?

Well, Boston, for starters. Then there was Las Vegas. And Orlando. And Indianapolis. Is the State Dept. advising tourists to stay away from those places?

Meanwhile, nearly 1,000 U.S. citizens died in Puerto Rico, but did anybody raise a red flag about that? The State Department can’t issue a Travel Warning because it is not a foreign country

How big is your own city when compared to Mexico? Here are the annual numbers of MURDERS, given by MSA (or Metropolitan Statistical Area)

  • Atlanta – 325
  • Baltimore – 298
  • Boston – 111
  • Dallas/Ft. Worth – 310
  • Detroit – 447
  • Houston – 462 
  • Indianapolis – 111
  • Jacksonville, FL – 120
  • Kansas City – 163 

To put things in perspective, consider that the murder rate in Mexico’s Yucatan State is 2 per 100,000.

That is about the same as Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Or Evansville, Indiana. Mexico City’s murder rate is 8 per 100,000, despite being the second-largest city on the planet. That is on par with Albuquerque.

Cartel & Drugh Violence

Mexico has strict laws against drug possession and trafficking, and the consequences of getting involved with illegal drugs can be severe.

The drug trade in Mexico has been linked to organized crime and cartels, which have caused significant violence and instability in some areas of the country.

By purchasing illegal drugs, individuals inadvertently contribute to the financial resources of these criminal organizations, which can perpetuate violence and harm local communities.

To emphasize, drug possession is strictly illegal in Mexico. If someone approaches you, whether on the beach or the street and offers to sell drugs, it’s essential to firmly decline.

Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware that if you get caught with drugs, you can face lengthy detention in Mexican prisons before their legal cases are resolved.

If you decide to visit Puerto Vallarta, expect to have a safe and relaxing vacation, free from any security

Puerto Vallarta Crime Rate

While Mexico has a reputation for high levels of violence and crime the excellent news is that Puerto Vallarta is a relatively safe destination compared to many other Mexican cities.

The city has seen a decrease in crime rates in recent years, with a decrease of 50% in homicides between 2018 and 2019.

While there have been isolated incidents of violent crime in Puerto Vallarta, they have mainly involved criminal groups and have not been targeted towards tourists or visitors.

Most crimes in the city are related to petty theft and are preventable by taking common-sense precautions.

While Puerto Vallarta has experienced some crime, it is not as rampant as some might fear.

The city is a popular tourist destination and is well-equipped to provide visitors a safe and enjoyable experience.

By taking some basic safety measures, you can feel secure and make the most of your vacation.

Is it Safe to Cruise to Puerto Vallarta?

Puerto Vallarta is one of the many stops for cruise ships. If you are planning to go on a cruise and Puerto Vallarta is one of your stops, safety is likely a top concern for you and your family.

The good news is that the safety level in Puerto Vallarta is relatively high. As a result, it is generally safe to cruise to Puerto Vallarta.

Cruise ships usually dock in a well-monitored area of the city, and the authorities keep an eye on everything that happens there.

Most cruise passengers feel comfortable exploring the city on their own or taking a shore excursion offered by the cruise line.

These shore excursions provide a range of fun and safe activities in Puerto Vallarta. Some popular options include guided city tours, beach trips, and zip-lining adventures.

Just simply be aware of your surroundings and avoid isolated areas or areas with low visibility. Additionally, be wary of pickpockets and keep an eye on your belongings.

Overall, Puerto Vallarta is a safe destination for cruise passengers.

Is It Safe To Drink the Tap Water in Puerto Vallarta

While Puerto Vallarta has a modern water treatment plant that provides clean water to the city, drinking tap water is not recommended.

As a precautionary measure, it is recommended that visitors should only drink bottled water or water that has been boiled or purified.

Most hotels and restaurants in Puerto Vallarta serve bottled water, which is widely available in grocery stores and supermarkets.

I also recommended avoiding adding ice cubes to your drinks if you are unsure if the water used to make them is safe. It’s better to be cautious and drink bottled water instead.

In addition to drinking water, I also suggest brushing your teeth with bottled water and avoiding swallowing any tap water while showering.

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Solo Female Travelers

If you are a solo traveler looking for a safe destination to explore, Puerto Vallarta is an amazing coastal city with no shortage of activities to keep you entertained.

From unique places to snorkel to day trips to quaint towns around the area, to tequila tasting, shopping, and everything in between.

You will have plenty to keep you busy and be surrounded by so many friendly people that you will not even notice you traveling alone.

I’ve traveled to Mexico solo countless times, and I’ve never experienced any violence or felt like my safety was in jeopardy.

Here are some of my tips on how to stay safe as a solo female traveler in Puerto Vallarta:

1. Stay in well-lit areas at night: It’s best to avoid walking alone at night, especially in poorly lit areas. Stick to busy streets or take a taxi instead.

2. Dress conservatively: Generally, it’s best to dress modestly while traveling in Mexico. Avoid wearing revealing clothing or flashy jewelry that may attract unwanted attention.

3. Avoid walking alone on the beach : While the beaches in Puerto Vallarta are beautiful, walking alone on the beach at night is not recommended. Stick to the more populated areas during the evening.

4. Use common sense: As with any destination, use your instincts and common sense. Don’t accept drinks from strangers, and be wary of overly friendly locals.

Don’t let fear stop you from experiencing all the amazing sights and activities Puerto Vallarta offers!

Is Puerto Vallarta Safe for Black People

Puerto Vallarta is a safe and welcoming place for Black travelers. While there may be occasional incidents of racism or discrimination, these are rare and not reflective of the overall attitude towards Black people in the city.

I have never experienced racism in Mexico.

Puerto Vallarta has a growing and vibrant ex-pat community, which includes Black Americans and other Black travelers who have chosen to make Puerto Vallarta home.

If you are a Black traveler planning a trip to Puerto Vallarta, exercising caution and common sense is always a good idea, just as you would in any unfamiliar city.

How to Deal with Police Extortion in Puerto Vallarta

There is even a special force of male and female “Tourist Police”. They are recognizable by their uniforms of white shirts, shorts, and blue caps or sometimes with a Policia Municipal in a blue uniform.

The members of this force all speak English, so if you need any help, even just directions, they are there to serve you. Note they keep changing uniforms, but the labels are the same – “Policía Turística.”

Let’s discuss the elephant in the room.

We’ve all heard the stories about the corrupt cops south of the border. With stories ranging from extortion to kidnapping, the police in Mexico and the rest of Latin America do not have the best reputation.

Police extortion of tourists detained for minor offenses is often a problem, and there have been some grotesque incidents.

However, the authorities cracked down hard and dismissed hundreds of officers, including some top officials. They claim the problem is under control.

If you are stopped for a traffic violation in Mexico, you will be asked for your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance . You will also be told what you did wrong.

 Of course, in the U.S. we would then be issued a ticket requiring us to pay a fine or appear in court later.

If it is a minor infraction, don’t bribe them; even so, they may ask for some money; the amount depends on the seriousness of the infraction; if you pass a red light, it is better if they only give you the traffic ticket.

If you drive without a license, the car must be impounded, and the fine is higher; in that case, I suggest you offer 200 pesos (if you look Mexican), if you are blond with blue eyes, maybe about 500 pesos.

If you are stopped because you were drunk in the street, the fine is 1500 pesos or 24 hours of jail; you will probably have to pay your total fine.

Those are the most common crimes a police officer can pull you over; , if you steal or kill, the amount will be considerably higher.

The key is to remain calm and accept your mistake, and when it is inevitable that they take you to jail and then subtly offer a bribe, it is like a negotiation: start with a low amount, and they will go up to agree on an amount.

The strategy you Should NOT use to Deal with Corrupt Mexican Police

 don’t be a tough guy.

This is the worst thing that you can do.  If you act tough and get angry and make threats, the officer will simply arrest you for being disorderly or assaulting him or her, etc.

This is a very big no-no. Towing your car is technically something that the officer can’t do, even though they will threaten it, but if you give them enough of a desire to cause you harm, they will find a way to make it happen.

While most officers will not do anything illegal beyond soliciting bribes for traffic violations, they can act above the law when they want to.

Don’t give them a reason to want to, because you will not win. Having your car towed (and potentially never seeing it again) is much more expensive than paying him one hundred bucks.

Safest Neighborhoods in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta is home to over 300,000 residents who live full-time in this seaside paradise. Like the Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta offers an array of neighborhoods to live in.

Each one has its own characteristics and charm, and there are five main neighborhoods that are safe in Puerto Vallarta.

  • El Centro – Locally known as El Centro, Puerto Vallarta downtown is probably one of the most popular areas for tourists and locals.
  • 5 de Diciembre -Nestled between El Centro and the Hotel Zone, you will find a neighborhood called 5 de Diciembre. This place is quieter than downtown but close enough to keep you in the hustle and bustle when you need to.
  • Zona Romantica – The Zona Romantica, or Romantic Zone, is a place that combines luxury, beauty, heritage, delicious gastronomy, and authentic Mexican culture. Here you will find more boutique hotels, restaurants, and shops versus resorts and larger hotel chains.
  • Marina Vallarta -Perhaps the fanciest city in town, Marina Vallarta is where the cruise ships dock. It is a posh area and developed for boat lovers. It features one of the best golf courses in the world and is home to large supermarket chains like Walmart.
  • Fluvial Vallarta – This area is an up-and-coming neighborhood for tourists and new ex-pats. While it is still developing, it already promises chain restaurants and stores such as Costco, Starbucks, and big movie theaters.

Safety Tips for Getting Around Puerto Vallarta

Renting a car and catching an Uber in Puerto Vallarta offer distinct transportation options for visitors.

If you are anything like me you prefer to be on your own time and renting a car provides flexibility and the freedom to explore the city and its surrounding areas at your own pace.

It’s convenient for day trips to nearby attractions or for those who prefer the independence of having their vehicle.

However, it’s important to be aware of local traffic rules and parking conditions.

On the other hand, catching an Uber is a convenient and often more affordable alternative for getting around the city.

It’s a straightforward way to navigate Puerto Vallarta without worrying about haggling with taxi drivers, and it’s typically considered safe.

Just keep in mind that Uber may not be available in all areas, especially if you’re traveling outside the city center.

Additionally, it’s always a good practice to double-check the app for the latest information on availability and pricing, especially during peak travel times.

Ultimately, whether you choose to rent a car or use Uber , both options offer convenience and ease of travel, allowing you to make the most of your stay in Puerto Vallarta.

20 Tips to Stay Safe in Puerto Vallarta

Although a Puerto Vallarta travel advisory is in effect, it’s important to remember that tourists flock to Mexico every year without incident.

Puerto Vallarta safety is high on the Mexican government’s crime initiative because it’s imperative to keep tourists safe in order to preserve our tourist dollars but you must also do your part when traveling to Mexico .

Traveling anywhere requires a little bit of safety precaution. So, remember to enlist these general rules during your vacation and you will not have to continually ask is it safe to travel to Puerto Vallarta.

Here are some precautions that you can take in order to make sure your trip goes as planned and check out my must-have items to stay in Mexico.

  • Keep Your Nose Clean : As mentioned above, much of the criminal activity in Mexico revolves around the drug trade and sex trade. Although many Americans go south of the border to have a little fun remember the last thing you want is to end up in a Mexican Jail. 
  • When Driving, Stick to Main Roads, and Daytime Travel : One of the most popular methods to extort money and protect cartel turf is through carjacks or roadblock ambushes. Avoid back roads and nighttime driving and hire taxis and driving services through the hotel where you’re staying.
  • Stay Informed : Keep up-to-date about safety news through a few methods. First of all, talk with your travel agent and/or hotel concierge about safety updates, and where to go. They’ll have the most current read on the situation. As an American Citizen, you should also consider signing up for  STEP ,  the Department of State’s Safe Traveler Enrollment Program. This will sign you up for travel alerts, put you on the consulate and Embassy radar, and make it easier to work things out if there’s an incident. 
  • Leave a copy of your passport and itinerary with someone at home.
  • Keep your valuables locked up when you leave the hotel.
  • Learn the language as much as possible (This is not just for safety, but also for courtesy, which can actually keep you safer too!)  Remember the old saying you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar? 
  • Research your destination:   Make sure you are up to date on the current travel warnings. 
  • Keep windows shut and doors locked in a car :  especially at traffic lights
  • Use first-class bus companies – these bus companies take toll roads that have security checks on passengers as they board.
  • Don’t walk around by yourself late at night: You are asking for trouble.
  • Be careful taking money out of the ATM: these are good spots to rob people. 
  • Use a money belt : Keep the thieves at bay.
  • Don’t get scammed: If someone is asking you for your personal information will are likely scamming.
  • Don’t wear flashy jewelry – looking like you are balling out of control will get you robbed. Leave your LV and Gucci in the States. 
  • Avoid getting DRUNK :  you need to know where you are at all times.
  • Don’t try to buy drugs: Don’t ask about buying drugs and don’t even think about buying drugs.
  • DON’T travel at night: Most crime occurs at night.
  • Only use well-known tour operators : Most of the cheaper tour operators will not have up-to-date equipment and experienced guides.

Also, click here if you need my Travel packing List. You can find everything from drones , Snorkeling Gear, Hiking, Back packs, Cargo Pants , and more for your Next Trip.

Additional safety tips to take while visiting puerto vallarta.

There are plenty of beaches to discover  and to choose as your favorite, each of them with a particular enchantment, some of them are accessible only by boat, hidden and surrounded by magical sceneries , others with plenty of life going around them

Avoid swimming at the beach when a black warning flag is posted. Cover your child with sunscreen or protective clothing before heading to the beach.

There are two main beaches in Puerto Vallarta, Playa Camarones (Camarones Beach) and Los Muertos Beach (or Playa de Los Muertos), the first beach is along the northern part of downtown and the second beach is in the “Romantic Zone” or Old Vallarta,  south of the Cuale River.

Wear Sunscreen in Puerto Vallarta

You didn’t fly to Mexico to stay inside but please beware that Mexican rays are intense and can lead to a severe burn or sun poisoning, especially during the warmer spring and summer months.

The sun in Puerto Vallarta is pretty strong and high in damaging UV rays. Stay hydrated and limit the amount of sun you get based on your skin type.

• Staying in the shade as much as possible. • Protecting skin with clothing. • Applying sunscreen to protect skin from harmful rays. • Wearing a hat preferably with at least 2-3 inche s brim all around. • Wear sunglasses to protect yoursel f from UV rays.

Best Time to Visit Puerto Vallarta

The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is between April and June when the weather is pleasant and the room rates are affordable.

During these months, rain is scarce and there are fewer tourists compared to the winter high season. If you’re interested in whale watching, however, visit from December to March.

Just prepare yourself for the area’s most astronomical travel fares.

What Not To Miss in Puerto Vallarta

There are many great activities for those spending just a day in Puerto Vallarta.

  • Explore the beautiful Malecón the boardwalk that runs parallel to Banderas Bay.
  • Los Arcos or the  Church of Our Lady of Guadalupe  – are two of the most iconic images of the city.
  •   Botanical Gardens of Vallarta 
  • The Northern seaside town of Bucerías.
  • Signing up for one of the  best Puerto Vallarta tours 

Millions of people visit Mexico each year and 99% of travelers do not run into any trouble but the 1% that makes the news is all that you hear about and you begin worrying about Puerto Vallarta crime for absolutely no reason.

If you are the victim of a crime or travel scam please contact the local police department.

Emergency Contact Information

Creating an emergency card.

In the case of an emergency, it makes everything much easier if you have all your important information compiled in one place.

I created an emergency card for myself, my husband, and my daughter with all the following information and shared it with a close family member and made a copy to put in my wallet or purse):

  • Medication allergies and a list of medications you take.
  • Blood type.
  • Emergency contact information (preferably a blood relative). Include name, relationship, phone number, address, and email address.
  • Your insurance information.

Contact Information

  • Dial 911  in case of an emergency
  • CMQ Hospital Puerto Vallarta: +52 322 223 1919
  • Hospital CMQ Riviera Nayarit (Bucerias): +52 329 298 0717
  • Hospital Joya Riviera (Nuevo Vallarta): +52 322 226 8181
  • Hospital Joya Marina Vallarta: +52 322 226 1010
  • +52 333 268 2100
  • Paseo de los Cocoteros #85, Nuevo Vallarta, Nayarit
  • +52 322 293 0098
  • Plaza Peninsula, Blvrd Francisco Medina Ascencio 2485, Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco
  • +52 322 221 2676

Mexico Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is great for covering things like:

  • Medical emergency insurance:  Your health plan back home may provide zero or very little coverage in Mexico. This type of insurance may reimburse you for medical expenses you incur because of an illness or accident that occurs during your trip.
  • Trip cancellation insurance:  This covers non-refundable expenses such as tours, excursions, hotels, etc. For example, if a storm hits your vacation destination and forces you to cancel the trip, this insurance can cover 100% of the non-refundable trip expenses that you prepaid. It also covers cancellation due to diagnosed illness before traveling.
  • Quarantine accommodations:  Get coverage for accommodations if you have to quarantine at your destination.
  • Trip interruption coverage:  This is in case you need to cut your trip short and return home sooner than expected. These benefits apply if you or a traveling companion become ill or injured during a trip, for example.

✈️ Get Travel Insurance NOW! Travelex Is my preferred Insurance

We personally use  Travelex  since they are the largest unbiased travel insurance site that allows you to compare prices across dozens of providers and filter for only the specific coverage options you want.

Every program is different and it’s important to review the terms of the insurance policy to determine if the plan is right for your needs. To get a quick estimate, click the button below:

Are Mexico Resorts Safe

There have been incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning at resorts, which have left some potential visitors with questions and doubts. 

Understanding Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can be deadly when inhaled in high concentrations.

Common sources of carbon monoxide include faulty fuel-burning appliances, such as gas heaters, furnaces, and water heaters.

In recent resort incidents, carbon monoxide poisoning deaths have been linked to faulty ventilation systems or poorly maintained equipment.

Staying Safe at Mexico Resorts:

  • Research and Choose Reputable Resorts : Before booking your stay, research the resort’s safety record, reviews, and certifications. Look for resorts that prioritize guest safety, regularly inspect their facilities, and maintain proper ventilation systems.
  • Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Pack a portable carbon monoxide detector or inquire whether the resort provides them in guest rooms. These devices will alert you to the presence of high levels of carbon monoxide and provide an early warning in case of a leak.
  • Familiarize Yourself with Resort Safety Measures: Upon arrival, take a few minutes to familiarize yourself with the resort’s emergency procedures, including evacuation routes, fire exits, and safety guidelines. Ensure you know how to report any concerns about gas appliances or ventilation to the appropriate resort staff.
  • Be Mindful of Your Surroundings : While in your room, be cautious of any signs of potential carbon monoxide leaks. If you experience symptoms like headaches, nausea, dizziness, or confusion, it could be an indication of carbon monoxide poisoning. Immediately exit the room, alert the resort staff, and seek medical attention.

Safest Hotels in Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta offers a myriad of luxurious accommodations for discerning travelers seeking an indulgent escape.

Here is my list of the most luxurious hotels in Puerto Vallarta, where refined elegance meets world-class hospitality.

  • The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort : Immerse yourself in refined luxury at The St. Regis Punta Mita Resort. Nestled within a private peninsula, this exquisite beachfront property boasts stunning ocean views, lavish suites, and a world-renowned Remède Spa. Indulge in exceptional dining experiences, take a dip in the infinity pools, or tee off at the Jack Nicklaus-designed golf courses for an unforgettable stay.
  • Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita : Perched on the pristine shores of the Riviera Nayarit, the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita exudes elegance and tranquility. With its lush gardens, infinity-edge pools, and beautifully appointed villas, this luxury resort offers an idyllic escape. Guests can enjoy a wide range of activities, including snorkeling, paddle boarding, and exploring the nearby Marietas Islands.
  • Casa Velas : Located in the exclusive Marina Vallarta area, Casa Velas is an adults-only, all-inclusive boutique hotel that radiates sophistication and charm. This secluded retreat provides a serene ambiance, spacious suites with private plunge pools, and access to the private Ocean Club beach club. Indulge in gourmet dining experiences and pamper yourself at the award-winning Spa Casa Velas.
  • Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit : Discover a world of refined luxury at the Grand Velas Riviera Nayarit. This AAA Five Diamond resort boasts spacious suites with panoramic ocean views, world-class restaurants offering culinary delights, and an extensive spa and wellness center. Whether lounging by the pool, enjoying the golden beach, or experiencing their renowned Kids’ and Teens’ Club, this resort caters to every guest’s desires.
  • I manta Resorts Punta de Mita : For those seeking unparalleled seclusion and exclusivity, Imanta Resorts Punta de Mita is the epitome of a hidden paradise. Nestled within a lush jungle and perched on a pristine coastline, this eco-luxury resort offers private villas with infinity pools, personalized service, and a deep connection with nature. Indulge in gourmet dining, and spa treatments, and explore the surrounding rainforests for an unforgettable experience.

Conclusion: Is Puerto Vallarta Safe

Is Puerto Vallarta safe? Yes, if you stay abreast of all Mexico travel warnings, exercise common sense, and pay attention to news about safety in the city you are visiting I don’t think you will have any issues.

Keep in mind that bad things can anywhere not just in Mexico but I am sure there are crimes taking place right in your very own neighborhood. 

No matter where you go in Mexico, follow the common-sense rules that are listed above like drinking only in moderation, getting a cab instead of wandering around after dark, and leaving your expensive watches and rings at home. 

Mexico is safe to visit so long as you stay out of trouble, take precautions, don’t buy drugs, and ladies do not allow men to buy you a cocktail and I don’t care how cute he is.  BUY YOUR OWN COCKTAILS!

Ready to plan your trip, grab my  FREE  Vacation Planner to help you plan your trip in the time it takes to watch your favorite TV show!

If you would like to donate to  Passports and Grub click here!

Travel Guide

ADDITIONAL ARTICLES ON MEXICO

Is Cancun Safe

Is It Safe To Travel To Mexico

Safest Cities in Mexico for Solo Travelers

Have you allowed the Mexico travel advisory to affect your travel decisions and are you still wondering is Puerto Vallarta safe? I would love to hear your thoughts so leave me a comment on Facebook ,  Twitter ,  or  Instagram.

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10 comments.

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I have been in Puerto Vallarta off and on for most of the last 18 months. I have never felt unsafe or intimidated by the Mexican Naval members riding their jeeps and fully armed. I appreciate that they are helping out. No one can convince me that this beach paradise is more dangerous than many US cities. I strive to be alert, but personally I have not had any situations that put me in fear. I believe this is more of a political front than an actual danger. Thanks for addressing today’s “travel alert”! Obviously if less visitors come, it will hurt the local economy. I have not found nicer people in any country I have visited in my 49 years of traveling the world! Mike

  • Pingback: 10 safe to travel to puerto vallarta Ideas

Hell no it’s not safe in Puerto Vallarta! My son died there on March 10th 2022. His death was ruled an accident. But the fact is, if he wasn’t there. he woud have lived. It took 3 weeks to get his body back to Sacramento. I will never visit Mexico again. Tourists BEWARE!!!!

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Watch CBS News

Beryl maps show path and landfall forecast of tropical storm that could become a hurricane again

By Cara Tabachnick , Emily Mae Czachor

Updated on: July 7, 2024 / 7:27 PM EDT / CBS News

After hitting Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, Tropical Storm Beryl  was churning across the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and is expected to regain hurricane strength before it makes landfall in the southern Texas Gulf Coast on Monday morning.

The storm blew past the Cayman Islands and Jamaica earlier in the week, initially making landfall over the island of Carriacou in Grenada while tearing through the Caribbean , strengthening at times to a Category 5 hurricane — the  strongest rating .

Beryl satellite image

What is Beryl's projected path?

Tropical Storm Beryl is moving through the Gulf of Mexico on Sunday and is forecast to regain hurricane strength before it approaches South Texas and Northeastern Mexico late Sunday, according to the hurricane center. It is forecast to make landfall in Texas on Monday morning. 

A portion of the Texas Gulf Coast could see a total of up to 15 inches of rain beginning Sunday and into midweek, the hurricane center said, along with life-threatening storm surge and powerful hurricane-force winds.    

Tropical storm conditions were expected to begin late Sunday, followed by hurricane conditions on Monday, the hurricane center forecast. 

"Beryl is forecast to bring damaging hurricane-force winds to portions of the lower and middle Texas coast late Sunday night and Monday," the hurricane center said, adding that storm preparations "should be rushed to completion before tropical storm conditions begin late Sunday."  

cone-7-7.png

A storm surge warning was in effect for an approximately 300-mile stretch from the Padre Island National Seashore north to High Island, including Corpus Christi Bay, Matagorda Bay, and Galveston Bay. Texas coastal areas could see storm surges of up to 6 feet above ground, the hurricane center forecasted.    

"The combination of storm surge and tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline," the hurricane center said. 

Beryl had made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday as a Category 2 hurricane, just northeast of the resort town of Tulum, before weakening to a tropical storm.

As of Sunday afternoon, Beryl was centered 135 miles southeast of Corpus Christi, Texas, and 130 miles south-southeast of Matagorda, Texas. It was headed north-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. A Category 1 hurricane has minimum sustained winds of at least 74 mph.   

A hurricane warning was in effect for the Texas Gulf Coast from Baffin Bay north to Sargent, a town about 70 miles southwest of Houston. A hurricane watch was in place from Baffin Bay south to the mouth of the Rio Grande River. Tropical storm warnings were discontinued by Sunday afternoon for portions of the northeastern coast of Mexico.

Hurricane center senior specialist Jack Beven told the Associated Press that Beryl is likely to make landfall somewhere between Brownsville and a bit north of Corpus Christi.

Beven told the AP the official forecast has Beryl gaining 17 to 23 mph in wind speed in 24 hours, but noted the storm intensified more rapidly than forecasters expected earlier in the Caribbean.

"People in southern Texas now need to really keep an eye on the progress of Beryl," Beven said.

Where is Beryl bringing rain and flooding?

Hurricane conditions were possible in South Texas on Monday, preceded by tropical storm conditions on Sunday. 

"Heavy rainfall of 5 to 10 inches with localized amounts of 15 inches is expected across portions of the Texas Gulf Coast and eastern Texas beginning late Sunday through midweek. This rainfall will likely produce areas of flash and urban flooding, some of which may be locally considerable. Minor to isolated moderate river flooding is also possible," the center said. 

beryl-july-7-wind-speed-probabilities.png

Beryl became the  first hurricane  of the 2024  Atlantic hurricane season  on Saturday and rapidly strengthened. It first reached Category 4 on Sunday, wavering back to Category 3 before returning to Category 4 on Monday and then becoming a Category 5 later Monday night. It is the first major hurricane east of the Lesser Antilles on record for June, according to Philip Klotzbach, Colorado State University hurricane researcher.

Brian McNoldy, a tropical meteorology researcher for the University of Miami, told the AP that warm waters fueled Beryl, with ocean heat content in the deep Atlantic the highest on record for this time of year.

Beryl has also set records  as the first June hurricane ever to hit Category 4, the farthest east a storm has ever hit Category 4, and the first storm before September to go from tropical depression to major hurricane in under 48 hours, CBS News weather producer David Parkinson reported.

Beryl was also the earliest Category 5 hurricane ever recorded in the Atlantic basin and was only the second Category 5 storm recorded in July since 2005, according to the hurricane center.

Brian Dakss, Alex Sundby and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Cara Tabachnick is a news editor at CBSNews.com. Cara began her career on the crime beat at Newsday. She has written for Marie Claire, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. She reports on justice and human rights issues. Contact her at [email protected]

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United States Department of State Issues Travel Alert for Spring Trips to Mexico

Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The United States Department of State has issued a travel alert to its citizens planning spring trips to Mexico, singling out popular destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, particularly emphasizing caution during nighttime excursions, while Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos maintain level 2 status.

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Hurricane Beryl churning toward Mexico with strong winds, heavy rain

Editor's note: This page reflects news on Hurricane Beryl from Thursday, July 4. For the latest news on Hurricane Beryl , please follow USA TODAY's live updates on the storm for Friday, July 5 .

Beryl maintained major hurricane strength Thursday as it whipped past the Cayman Islands and toward Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. It left a path of destruction in Jamaica with damaging winds and heavy rainfall, with at least 11 dead across the region.

The center of Beryl is moving across the northwestern Caribbean Sea Thursday afternoon and is expected to bring "strong winds, dangerous storm surge and damaging waves" to the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula early Friday, according to a 2 p.m. update from the National Hurricane Center. Beryl was downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane Thursday and had winds of 110 mph at about 135 miles west of Grand Cayman – the largest of the Cayman Islands.

Beryl is expected to dump up to half a foot of rain on the Cayman Islands Thursday and up to 10 inches in areas of the Yucatan Peninsula, which could lead to flash flooding.

Storm surge could raise water levels as much as 3 to 5 feet on the Yucatan's east coast and by as much as 1 to 3 feet above ground level along its west coast, bringing "large and destructive waves."

Weather officials warned Beryl is expected to bring life-threatening surf and rip currents along the coast of Jamaica, Cuba and the Cayman Islands. The currents could spread to the Yucatan Peninsula and parts of Central America later Thursday and then to eastern Mexico and much of the U.S. Gulf Coast by late Friday.

As hurricane conditions died down in the Cayman Islands, winds are expected to reach tropical storm strength in the Yucatan Peninsula on Thursday, making it difficult to be outside amid dangerous conditions expected later in the day, the hurricane center said.

The hurricane center discontinued hurricane warnings for the Cayman Islands, but warnings remain in place for the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, including Cozumel. A tropical storm watch is also in effect for a large portion of the coast of Belize.

Officials confirmed that at least nine people were killed in Grenada, Venezuela, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Reuters reported. Jamaica’s prime minister Andrew Holness told CNN Thursday that two deaths have been registered in the country due to Hurricane Beryl.

Drone footage: As Hurricane Beryl tears through Caribbean, a drone sends back stunning footage

Developments:

∎ The death toll from Beryl rose to at least 11 on Thursday. But officials said deaths are expected to climb as communications come back online across islands that have been damaged by flooding and intense winds.

∎ Nerissa Gittens-McMillan, permanent secretary at St. Vincent and the Grenadines' agriculture ministry, warned of possible food shortages after 50% of plantain and banana crops were lost in the storm.

∎ Forecasters warned of strong rip currents along much of the Gulf Coast through the weekend. Surf conditions will likely become dangerous on the south coast of Texas.

∎  As Beryl approaches Mexico, the Tulum International Airport, officially known as Felipe Carrillo Puerto International Airport or Aeropuerto Internacional de Tulum, will close from 2 p.m. Thursday until noon on Sunday, according to the airport's website.

Will Hurricane Beryl hit Texas?

Portions of South Texas are now  within the forecast cone of Hurricane Beryl , which meteorologists say could arrive in the state over the weekend or early Monday.

But forecasters remain unsure what Beryl will do and how strong it will be when it approaches the Gulf Coast after hitting Mexico: "High uncertainty remains with both the track and intensity of Beryl," the  National Weather Service said Wednesday.

"From Panama City, Florida to New Orleans, there is a low risk of direct impacts from Beryl, but from about Corpus Christi to Brownsville, Texas, the risk increases significantly due to the potential for Beryl to have more direct impacts," AccuWeather meteorologist Jonathan Porter said. "That southern portion of the Texas coast is the zone we have to really watch."

Coastal threats could begin this weekend, according to Weather.com : "Well ahead of Beryl, onshore winds could lead to increasing surf, rip currents and coastal flooding along parts of the Gulf Coast from eastern Mexico to Texas and western Louisiana beginning as soon as Saturday, and continuing until just after Beryl's final landfall." The rip current threat could extend further east along the northern Gulf Coast.

Brennan said Tuesday, "Folks in the Texas coast, as we go into the holiday weekend, you're going to want to make sure you check back on the forecast and make sure you're ready for any potential impact. If we were to see tropical storm conditions affect those areas in the far western Gulf of Mexico, it could be during the day Saturday."

Governor Greg Abbott has directed the state's emergency management agencies to prepare for hurricane response and recovery efforts. As Beryl's path shifted toward South Texas, officials in Corpus Christi and Brownsville began distributing sandbags to residents and the Port of Brownsville limited ship traffic .

"As Texans around the south coastal areas make holiday plans and visitors begin to travel for the holiday weekend, I urge them to take necessary safety precautions, remain weather aware, and have an emergency plan ready for themselves and their families," Abbott said in a statement .

Hurricane Beryl tracker: Storm's path toward Jamaica, the Cayman Islands

Hurricane Beryl threatens the Yucatan Peninsula

Beryl was forecast to weaken gradually over the next two days; however, it is still expected to be at or near hurricane intensity when it heads toward the Yucatan Peninsula by late Thursday.

A hurricane watch and tropical storm warning remained in effect for parts of the Yucatan Peninsula's coast. Mexico's government upgraded its tropical storm watch to a tropical storm warning from Progreso to Campeche, the hurricane center said.

The hurricane center warned that Beryl should make landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula as early as Thursday night. In addition to heavy rain and wind, forecasters said dangerous storm surge flooding will threaten coastal areas.

"Widespread power outages and flash flooding are anticipated in the region," according to AccuWeather.

Jamaica faces 'catastrophic' impact of Hurricane Beryl

There were widespread power outages across Jamaica after Beryl brushed the island's southern coast on Wednesday. The hurricane thrashed Jamaica as a Category 4 storm, bringing destructive winds and rain.

Beryl pummeled communities as emergency workers evacuated people from flood-prone areas.

"It's terrible. Everything's gone. I'm in my house and scared," said Amoy Wellington, a 51-year-old cashier who lives in Top Hill, a rural farming community in southern St. Elizabeth Parish. "It's a disaster."

At least one person was killed in Jamaica's Hanover Parish after a tree fell on her home, according to Richard Thompson, acting director general at Jamaica's disaster agency. Nearly a thousand residents were in shelters by Wednesday evening, Thompson said.

Emergency crews had evacuated people from flood-prone areas and airports were closed after Holness, the country's prime minister, issued an islandwide curfew Wednesday.

“We’re concerned about widespread damage and potentially catastrophic impacts in Jamaica,” said Bernie Rayno, AccuWeather's chief on-air meteorologist. "Flooding may last days to even weeks. Widespread power outages are expected. Beryl will likely damage many homes and businesses and cause severe coastal inundation."

Some Caribbean islands report significant damages after Beryl

At least three islands report more than 90% of the homes and buildings either destroyed or severely damaged, the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency  reported Wednesday . All three are within the chain of Grenadine Islands, where Beryl roared into the Caribbean on the southern end of the Windwards, between St. Vincent and Grenada.

With  19 participating states across the Caribbean , the agency was helping coordinate disaster response in Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines even as it continued to track Beryl’s movements across Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, and Belize.

The damage estimates for the Windwards – where Beryl made landfall over the island of Carriacou – are only "a very preliminary look," said Elizabeth Riley, the disaster management agency's executive director. Beryl struck the islands with sustained winds of 150 mph and higher gusts on Monday, and the National Hurricane Center had warned that winds could be up to 30% higher on the tops of hills and mountains.

The impacts on the Grenadine Islands are "quite significant," Riley said, leaving residents exposed and vulnerable. Even as recovery efforts began, a tropical wave brought rain and gusty winds Wednesday to the suffering residents.

Contributing: Reuters

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Hurricane Beryl likely to strengthen, move toward Texas. See updated maps, projected path

Note: This story is no longer being updated. Get the latest updates in Sunday's file .

Hurricane Beryl made landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula just northeast of Tulum, Mexico, as a strong Category 2 hurricane, according to a special advisory at 6:05 a.m. from the National Hurricane Center. Beryl was downgraded to a tropical storm Friday but won't be for long, according to the NHC's 1 p.m. advisory.

Entering the Gulf of Mexico, the storm is expected to strengthen as it heads toward northern Mexico and the southern tip of Texas . It remains unclear how far north Beryl will turn, but AccuWeather forecasters say it's possible it will run parallel to the coast before making its third landfall . The National Weather Service office in Corpus Christi said Wednesday that it's likely Beryl will make landfall as a Category 1 hurricane early next week.

The landfall on the Yucatan Peninsula was the second for Hurricane Beryl. It initially made landfall at 11 a.m. July 1 on Carriacou Island, Grenada, as a  Category 4 storm with 150-mph winds .

Hurricane Beryl's impact on Texas

At this time, "AccuWeather meteorologists expect Beryl to make another landfall in northeastern Mexico, perhaps close to the Texas border Sunday evening to early Monday."

Beryl is likely to bring strong rip currents along the entire Gulf Coast, so those who may be celebrating the holiday weekend at the beach should take precautions. Beryl is generating large swells in the Gulf of Mexico, which are likely to reach much of the U.S. Gulf Coast late Friday.

There is an increasing risk of hurricane-force winds, life-threatening storm surge, and flooding from heavy rainfall in portions of northeastern Mexico and the lower and middle Texas coast late Sunday and Monday. Storm surge, hurricane and tropical storm watches will likely be issued later Friday.

More: As Hurricane Beryl moves through the Caribbean, Corpus Christi prepares for possible hit

The precise timing of Beryl's third landfall was uncertain as of Friday morning, as several factors are involved: changes in speed, Beryl stalling in the Gulf of Mexico, and the easing of wind shear.

"Beryl could stall or turn more to the north, paralleling the coast at the last minute before landfall as steering breezes decrease," AccuWeather forecasters said.

Gulf waters are warm and can therefore allow Beryl to regain hurricane intensity it will lose as it passes over the Yucatan Peninsula.

“There is a chance that this storm may stall once it gets onshore in northern Mexico and southern Texas, which could lead to more rainfall and flooding concerns,” said AccuWeather Lead Long-Range Expert Paul Pastelok.

People are also reading: As Hurricane Beryl moves through the Caribbean, Corpus Christi prepares for possible hit

Gov. Abbott increases readiness level ahead of Hurricane Beryl

Texas Governor Greg Abbott is increasing the readiness level for the state's emergency management agencies to Level II, effective 10 a.m. Friday.

"As Texans and visitors around the south coastal areas begin to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, I urge them to make an emergency plan, review hurricane evacuation routes, and continue to monitor weather conditions to ensure the safety of themselves and their loved ones," Abbott's statement reads in part.

Hurricane Beryl location

As of 7 a.m. CDT Friday, the center of Hurricane Beryl was located near latitude 20.4 North, longitude 87.6 West. The National Hurricane Center tracked the storm about 15 miles north-northwest of Tulum, Mexico and about 730 miles east-southeast of Brownsville, Texas.

Beryl was reported to be moving at 15 miles per hour with maximum winds of 100 miles per hour.

Where is Tulum, Mexico?

Tulum is located about 80 miles south of Cancún or 30 miles west of the southern tip of Cozumel.

Hurricane Beryl tracker: See projected path

This forecast track shows the most likely path of the center of the storm. It does not illustrate the full width of the storm or its impacts, and the center of the storm is likely to travel outside the cone up to 33% of the time.

See spaghetti models for Hurricane Beryl

Texas weather watches and warnings, hurricane storm tracker: see active storms in the atlantic, what do watches and warnings from the nhc mean.

  • Hurricane warning:  A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. A warning is typically issued 36 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous. Preparations to protect life and property should be rushed to completion.
  • Hurricane watch:  A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area. A watch is typically issued 48 hours before the anticipated first occurrence of tropical-storm-force winds, conditions that make outside preparations difficult or dangerous.
  • Tropical storm warning:  A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area within 36 hours.
  • Tropical storm watch:  An announcement that sustained winds of 39 to 73 mph are possible within the specified area within 48 hours in association with a  tropical ,  subtropical , or  post-tropical  cyclone.
  • Storm surge warning:  A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations. This is a life-threatening situation. Persons located within these areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and the potential for other dangerous conditions. Follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.
  • Storm surge watch:  A storm surge watch means there is a possibility of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, in the indicated locations during the next 48 hours.

What is storm surge? Graphics explain the deadly weather event

— USA TODAY reporter Cheryl McCloud contributed to this report.

Weekend rundown: Here's the biggest news you missed this weekend

Beryl becomes 'extremely dangerous' Category 4 hurricane expected to bring life-threatening conditions to Caribbean

Hurricane Beryl has become an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 storm as it inches closer to the Windward Islands, bringing life-threatening winds and storm surge to the Caribbean, the National Hurricane Center said Sunday.

Beryl expanded its strength for two days, reaching Category 4 strength on a scale of 5 on Sunday before leveling off, the center said in a late-afternoon advisory.

With sustained winds of 130 mph, the storm was likely to be a destructive force through the early week as it aimed for a possible clash with Mexico's Yucatán peninsula around next weekend, according to the hurricane center.

"Fluctuations in strength are common in major hurricanes in conducive environments, and it is expected that Beryl will also fluctuate in strength for the next day or so," the center said in a separate forecast discussion. "There is high confidence that Beryl will remain an extremely dangerous hurricane through landfall in the Windward Islands."

Its center is expected to move across the Windward Islands early Monday, with hurricane conditions, including heavy rain, expected Sunday evening, the agency said.

A strengthening Tropical Storm Beryl on NOAA satellite on Saturday morning.

The Windward Islands include St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Martinique. As of Sunday night, Beryl was about 200 miles southeast of Barbados with maximum sustained winds of 130 mph. It was moving northwest at around 18 mph.

A U.S. hurricane warning is in effect for Barbados, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada and Tobago, where hurricane conditions are possible starting early Monday.

The government of Barbados began opening emergency shelters Sunday evening and ordered all businesses to close by 7 p.m. The Barbados Water Authority asked residents to store potable water as it would shut down water lines across the island Sunday night as a precaution, according to a statement.

The Barbados government said the center of the hurricane would travel 75 to 80 miles south of Barbados sometime Monday morning.

Government forecasters said the hurricane could pulse with renewed strength as it passes beneath Barbados, with winds associated with the storm projected to reach near 145 mph.

Flash flooding and hurricane-force winds are likely, the government said. Barbados officials also warned of a low pressure system behind Beryl that could become a tropical depression and affect the country Wednesday if it continues apace.

A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, and tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica and Trinidad, which could all experience tropical storm conditions Sunday night.

“Potentially catastrophic wind damage is expected where the eyewall of Beryl moves through portions of the Windward Islands, with the highest risk of the core in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada,” the hurricane center said.

Life-threatening storm surges may raise water levels by 6 to 9 feet above normal tide levels in the hurricane watch areas and bring destructive waves to the coast.

Three to 6 inches of rain is possible across Barbados and the Windward Islands on Sunday into Monday, which may cause flooding in some areas. Up to 10 inches of rain is possible in some areas, especially in the Grenadines.

St. Lucia Prime Minister Philip J. Pierre announced a national shutdown as a result of the hurricane warning that will go into effect Sunday 8:30 p.m. local time. He did not say when it will be lifted. Schools will remain closed Monday, and “employers are expected to cooperate,” he said.

In a Facebook post, the Saint Lucia Tourism Authority asked the public to “remain indoors and away from glass windows once tropical hurricane-force winds affect the area.”

“All persons should avoid entering the ocean. Failure to comply with this request puts human lives at risk, including those of our first responders,” the board said. The board also encouraged tourists to contact their airlines to schedule flights home.

The Royal Saint Lucia Police Force has canceled all police leave in preparation for Beryl.

“All officers are requested to report to the nearest police station by 6:00 p.m. today, Sunday, June 30, 2024,” it s a id on Fa cebook .

In Grenada, a state of emergency will go into effect at 7 p.m. Sunday and remain for a week, “unless earlier revoked,” Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell said at a briefing.

The country’s National Disaster Management Agency encouraged the public to secure three days of nonperishable food and water as Beryl makes impact. Those in areas susceptible to storm surge were encouraged to move to one of the shelters opened across Grenada.

Mitchell warned the public that “this is not a drill.”

“We need to be calm, we need to pray, but most importantly we need to prepare,” Mitchell said.

All police leave has also been canceled in Grenada, and officers were asked to return to work, according to Mitchell.

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Breaking news reporter

mexico travel warning puerto vallarta

Dennis Romero is a breaking news reporter for NBC News Digital. 

IMAGES

  1. This Map Shows Where Americans Are Being Told 'Do Not Travel' in Mexico

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  3. Travel Warning Mexico Puerto Vallarta

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  4. Requirements for Travel to Puerto Vallarta Mexico 2023

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  5. Is Puerto Vallarta Safe in 2024? Mexico Travel Advisory

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  6. Travel Warning Puerto Vallarta Mexico

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VIDEO

  1. Mexico travel warning: DPS urges U.S. citizens not to travel into Mexico

COMMENTS

  1. Mexico Travel Advisory

    There are no other restrictions on travel for U.S government employees in Jalisco state which includes tourist areas in: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Puerto Vallarta (including neighboring Riviera Nayarit), Chapala, and Ajijic. Mexico City (Ciudad de Mexico) - Exercise Increased Caution. Exercise increased caution due to crime.

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  3. Travel Advisory: Update for Mexico

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    Puerto Vallarta is a beautiful and safe Mexican Pacific Coast destination, but you should be aware of the safety risks that could occur. ... Warnings & Dangers in Puerto Vallarta. ... Tijuana June 8, 2019 Tijuana is a city located in the Mexican state of Baja California, on the US-Mexico… Puerto Madryn February 26, ...

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

    Summer. 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).

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    The latest crime news in Puerto Vallarta was in December 2020 when the cartel was allegedly linked to the shooting and assassination of the former governor of Jalisco, Aristóteles Sandoval while he was vacationing at a popular beach resort. It was one of the highest-profile political killings in Mexico in recent memory.

  9. Is It Safe to Travel to Mexico? Here's What You Need to Know

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  11. Is it OK to travel to Mexico now? What to know, how to stay safe

    Popular tourist spots like Quintana Roo, Nayarit and Mexico City have warnings of "exercised increased caution when traveling to" and Jalisco, where Puerto Vallarta is, has a "reconsider travel to."

  12. Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? (INSIDER Tips for 2024)

    Yes, Puerto Vallarta is a safe place to visit right now. According to Gobierno de Mexico tourism, around 1,687,618 tourists visited Puerto Vallarta on 2022 with mostly having a problem free experiences.. The town plans to attract more tourists every year and is constantly renovating hotels and attractions to make it, well, better.

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  16. Puerto Vallarta Mexico Travel Advisory

    The warning for the state of Jalisco notes that there are no Puerto Vallarta travel warnings: "There are no restrictions on travel for U.S government employees to: Guadalajara Metropolitan Area, Riviera Nayarit (including Puerto Vallarta), Chapala, and Ajijic.". The community of Puerto Vallarta Mexico is proud of the safety and warm ...

  17. Is Puerto Vallarta Safe? Your 2024 Insider's Guide

    There were previously travel warnings in place for Jalisco Highway 70 but they were removed this year, and this is a very scenic route for continuing onwards to Talpa de Allende and eventually, Guadalajara. ... Hurricane season in Puerto Vallarta and Mexico's Pacific Coast runs from June to November, with the biggest risk for hurricanes being ...

  18. Travel advice and advisories for Mexico

    Shootouts, attacks and illegal roadblocks may occur without warning. You should travel to Mexico by air to avoid international land border crossings, particularly along the border with the United States, in the following cities: Ciudad Juárez; Nuevo Laredo; ... (except for Puerto Vallarta and coastal region) Appointment Book your appointment ...

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    Travel Advisory 2024. Puerto Vallarta is one of the most secure and popular tourist destinations in Mexico, according to confirmed reports. Zona Romantica and the Malecón are popular destinations for both locals and foreign visitors, and the beaches here are considerably safer than those in Playa del Carmen and Cancun.

  20. Is Puerto Vallarta Safe in 2024? Mexico Travel Advisory

    Updated Security Alert - Quintana Roo & Puerto Vallarta Advisory (08/22/2024) Make sure to check the Mexico Travel Advisor y page of the U.S. State Department to check for the latest news and travel safety information, as it changes frequently. According to their latest travel advisory, Mexico is considered:

  21. Beryl maps show path and landfall forecast of tropical storm that could

    Beryl had made landfall in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Friday as a Category 2 hurricane, just northeast of the resort town of Tulum, before weakening to a tropical storm.

  22. United States Department of State Issues Travel Alert for Spring Trips

    Tourism. Puerto Vallarta, Mexico - The United States Department of State has issued a travel alert to its citizens planning spring trips to Mexico, singling out popular destinations such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum, particularly emphasizing caution during nighttime excursions, while Puerto Vallarta and Los Cabos maintain level 2 status.

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  26. Hurricane Beryl updates tracker: Cat 2 storm barrels toward Mexico

    The hurricane center discontinued hurricane warnings for the Cayman Islands, but warnings remain in place for the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, including Cozumel.

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    A hurricane warning is in effect for Grand Cayman, Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, and the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico from Puerto Costa Maya to Cancun, including Cozumel.

  28. Travel Advisory Update for Mexico

    Travel Advisory Update for Mexico . Do not travel to Mexico due to COVID-19. Read the Department of State's COVID-19 page before you plan any international travel. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country. Your risk of contracting COVID-19 and developing ...

  29. Hurricane Beryl hits Mexico, heads to Texas next. See projected path

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