The #1 place in Puerto
Vallarta for up-to-date safety information and coverage.
Updated: June 18, 2012
Everyone by now has
heard the so-called "drug war" that has been taking
place in Mexico for several years now. While the
vast majority of this violence has happened in a narrow
swath right along the US-Mexico border, affecting only a
tiny fraction of Mexico, it has been widely reported
that "Mexico is dangerous" by cable news and the
Every crime, big or
small, throughout the world's 14th largest and 11th most
populated country is propagated as a reason to fear
Mexico, regardless of how it affects you as a tourist.
Is Puerto Vallarta Safe?
See what people are
You can find
statements on both sides made to support their theories
about safety in Mexico, but most are skewed and many are
blatantly false. Unlike those statements, all of
our information is cited from reliable sources, mostly
government agencies in the U.S. and Canada.
IS THIS "DRUG WAR" I KEEP HEARING ABOUT? A: Since
President Calderon was elected in 2006, the Mexican
government has been cracking down on the drug cartels that
have always existed in Mexico in an effort to stomp out
drug trafficking to the United States. As the government
arrests or kills cartel leaders, various battles for turf
between the cartels to fill the void have opened up. Over 90% of the deaths in the drug war have been from members
of the drug trade
1. 7% have been the Mexican government.
2None have involved U.S. or Canadian
tourists in any of the major resort destinations in Mexico,
including Puerto Vallarta.
I WORRY ABOUT DRUG CARTEL VIOLENCE IN PUERTO VALLARTA? A: There are
zero U.S. or Canadian citizens who have been victims
of drug cartel violence in Puerto Vallarta.1
The vast majority of the stories you have been hearing about
are taking place right along the U.S.-Mexico border, most
notably in the areas of Ciudad Juarez, Nuevo Loredo and
Heroica Nogales, far closer to most Americans homes than
to Puerto Vallarta, which lies over 1,000 miles to the south.
Mexico is a big country, the 14th largest in the world.
Being spooked by something happening "in Mexico" makes no
more sense than reading something happened somewhere "in
the United States" and fearing for your life as you go to
work that day. You have to see where in Mexico it
happened to see if it is relevant to you. See the
HOW CLOSE IS
PUERTO VALLARTA TO THE MAIN TROUBLE SPOTS?
HOW CLOSE IS YOUR CITY?
Distance from Puerto Vallarta
to Juarez: 1,080 Miles (1,738 km) Distance from Canadian Border to Juarez:
1,464 Miles (2,356 km) Distance from Denver, CO to Juarez: 716
Miles (1,152 km) Distance from El Paso, TX to Juarez:
3 Miles (5 km)
**************************************************** Distance from Puerto Vallarta to Tijuana:
1,362 Miles (2,192 km) Distance from Canadian Border to Tijuana:
1,382 Miles (2,223 km)Distance from San
Diego, CA to Tijuana: 17 Miles (27 km) Distance from Tucson, AZ to Nogales:
70 Miles (113 km) Source:
Q: BUT DIDN'T THE U.S. JUST
ISSUE A TRAVEL WARNING FOR PUERTO VALLARTA? A:
travel warning dated
February 8, 2012 includes only the
areas bordering the states of Michoacán and Zacatecas, which are over
300 miles from Puerto Vallarta.
Regarding the neighboring state of Nayarit where Nuevo
Vallarta, Bucerias and Punta Mita are located, it
specifically states ""There is no recommendation
against travel either to Riviera Nayarit in the southern
portion of [Nayarit] state or to principal highways in
the southern portion of the state used to travel from
Guadalajara to Puerto Vallarta".
See a map of the areas
discussed by the U.S. State Department here:
You will note that Puerto Vallarta has a green dot, as do
the other major resorts of Cabo San Lucas, Huatulco and Cancun,
indicating "Presumed Safe".
See the article here. In addition, seldom-quoted
parts of the travel warning include:
of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for
study, tourism, and business, including more than
150,000 who cross the border every day. The Mexican
government makes a considerable effort to protect
U.S. citizens and other visitors to major tourist
destinations, and there is no evidence that
Transnational Criminal Organizations (TCOs) have
targeted U.S. visitors and residents based on their
nationality. Resort areas and tourist destinations
in Mexico generally do not see the levels of
drug-related violence and crime reported in the
border region and in areas along major trafficking
I'VE HEARD THAT U.S. AND CANADIAN CITIZENS HAVE BEEN KILLED? A: Exactly
zero U.S. or Canadian Citizens were killed in Puerto
Vallarta in all of 2010, out of the 1.5 million visiting
tourists and 50,000 expats living here. See the table
In fact, in 2010, there were exactly
2 U.S. Citizens killed in all of the major tourist destinations
in Mexico put together - one in Cancun (by her American
and one outside of Acapulco (a resident, by the mililtary)3.
A grand total of zero for Riviera Maya, Puerto Vallarta,
Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas and Cozumel combined.4Zero homicides committed against a tourist by a Mexican
in any major Mexican resort town in all of 2010 out of
approximately 6 million visitors every year to
these locations. It
just doesn't get safer than that.
Compare your hometown's homicide statistics here.
In June, 2011, the blogosphere erupted
because a Canadian citizen who had lived in Puerto Vallarta
full-time for six years (not a tourist), was killed during
a home burglary by someone he apparently knew
4. The intruder made off with over
$20,000 in cash. Over 600 Canadians each year
suffer a similar fate...in Canada. This is the lone
incident in Puerto Vallarta against any U.S. or Canadian
citizen in 2011, and it was not a tourist.
WHAT ABOUT THAT ROBBERY OF CRUISE PASSENGERS THAT IS ALL
OVER THE NEWS AND BLOGS? A: In
February, 2012, the media again erupted with wall to
wall coverage of reports of armed gangs robbing cruise
passengers in the city of Puerto Vallarta.
However, like many of today's media reports, these later
were revealed to be inaccurate. It was quickly revealed
that a group of cruise passengers on a cruise-sponsored
jungle tour were walking on an unauthorized side trail
through the jungle well outside of the city at 5:00 PM,
well past the time when these excursions are supposed to
run, when a lone gunman (not a gang) mugged them. Nobody
was hurt, all passengers returned safely, and the cruise
line has dropped the excursion during the investigation.
This isolated incident is the first
such group mugging of tourists on record in Puerto
Vallarta - ever. In fact, it appears to be the
first such incident on record in any of the port
cities in Mexico, the world's most visited cruise
destination, ever. The same cannot be said for
other popular cruise destinations, including St. Kitts
11, The Bahamas
14, St. Lucia
16, Costa Rica
19, and yes, the United States
2122 and it's territories,
23all of which have experienced violent
crime against cruise passengers in recent years.
Of course, virtually all crime against cruise passengers
still occurs on the cruise ship itself, not in any port
That said, travel in general is very
safe, and incredibly safe for visitors to the tourist
resorts and port cities of Mexico. Crime against
tourists is staggeringly rare. These isolated
reports are blown into countrywide epidemics if they
occur in Mexico, one of the world's largest countries,
but the statistics speak a very different story.
22 Million Visitors to Mexico every year, including
approximately 2 million to Puerto Vallarta. Think
how many crimes would occur in any American city of that
size in a year. Hundreds of Thousands, or even
Millions. Staggeringly rare. That is why it
is almost impossible to find any visitor to Puerto
Vallarta who feels anything but safe when visiting here.
In the USA, there were 367,832
robberies in 2010 alone.24
THEN WHY ARE CRUISE SHIPS PULLING OUT OF PUERTO VALLARTA? A:
Economics. Cruise ships have cited "the perception"
1 of violence in Mexico as one of the reasons
for bookings on their Mexican Riviera cruises being down
2 over the past two years. Don't take our
word for it - here are the actual reasons cited by the cruise
lines for their decisions to leave the Mexican Riviera
cruise route -
not from ranting blogs or forums or flashy newspaper or
cable TV headlines, but direct quotes from top officials
at the cruise lines themselves:
Cruise Lines "We’re looking to maximize
our profits,” said Harrison Liu,
a spokesman for the cruise line, owned
by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Cruises
Ltd. “Both Europe and the Caribbean
are hotter tickets than the Mexican
Riviera, and there’s a stable market
out of Galveston.” In a blog addressing
the issue, company Chief Executive Adam
Goldstein explained further. “There
is no question that there are tens of
thousands of loyal Royal Caribbean cruisers
who live in the Western U.S. and cruise
on Mariner of the Seas,” Goldstein wrote.
“Yet the ship does not perform at
an acceptable level to be able to remain
Since Carnival Cruise Lines announced
the move of the Carnival Spirit to Australia,
the story has been painted that the
line is abandoning the West Coast, but
that is not the reality, according to
Terry Thornton, senior vice president
of marketing planning. “We have right-sized
our capacity on the West Coast due to
less than the best economic results,”
he explained. However, Carnival will
continue to have three ships on Mexican
Riviera cruises – two year-round and
one seasonally – until fall 2012, so
the brand remains the largest single
cruise line in the market, and will
continue to have two ships after that".
Citing shifting market demand on the
West Coast, Princess Cruises will eliminate
15 Mexican Riviera cruises in 2010-2011,
replacing them with additional Hawaii
cruises and two Pacific crossings between
California and Sydney.
"It's a matter of demand," said
Princess spokeswoman Julie Benson.
"We deploy our ships where we believe
they will be most successful, and right
now we see more demand for a longer,
more exotic deployment over seven-day
Crystal Cruises "The beauty of a floating resort
is that you can move your hotel to other
destinations when there is demand,"
Bill Smith, senior vice president of
sales and marketing, said in a statement.
"We are keeping several fall 2010 itineraries
through the Mexican Riviera, in addition
to others in spring and fall 2011;the West Coast and Northwest itineraries
add dimension and scope to the worldwide
destinations we're offering in 2011."
For more information
on Mexican Riviera cruise "right sizing",
Q: SO ARE
YOU SAYING THERE IS NO CRIME AT ALL IN PUERTO
Of course there is some crime in Puerto
Vallarta, just virtually none against tourists,
and very little compared to most American
cities. Every city, big or small,
has crime. But, just like in
your hometown, almost all of it tends
to happen behind closed doors, between criminals
and people that know each other, or in bad
parts of town, not tourist areas or places
visited by tourists, so really overall crime
rate is a very poor representation of safety
in any tourist destination.
For example, just because
Washington D.C. has one of the highest violent
crime rates in the United States (much higher
than Mexico) doesn't mean that you can't
go visit the Washington Monument and the
Smithsonian without looking over your shoulder.
Likewise just because Jamaica has one of
the highest homicide rates in the world
(far higher than Mexico) doesn't mean you
need to worry about going and relaxing at
your favorite beach resort in Montego Bay
or stopping there on a cruise stop and enjoying
your favorite excursion. Just don't
get involved in drugs or crime and go places
that make sense for you to be. Just
like you do at home.
These are the facts as they stand right
now regarding safety in Puerto Vallarta.
Never depend on the ratings-based cable
news channels or bloggers who don't
live anywhere near Puerto Vallarta for
your information, it is the least reliable
source of verifiable information.
Other than the current local information
you see above, check with your travel
agent, the local consulate for your
country serving Puerto Vallarta, or
find current reports from locals and
current visitors on various internet
forums for Puerto Vallarta.
Have new information to
report, photos to submit, or even questions?