One of the main questions and fears tourists have about coming to visit Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Nayarit is related to safety. Lately there have been many news stories regarding Drug dealers setting fires in the city. These events happened on May 1st 2015, Labor Day in México. No civilians or tourists ended up injured as the fires all occurred in empty banks as it was a Mexican holiday, and in areas far from tourists. And to this day people from abroad still think Puerto Vallarta is a war zone.
It is very important to mention the great security provided by the governments from Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco and Bahía de Banderas, Nayarit.
Citizens from USA and Canada who lives in the Banderas Bay area and those who come to spend the winter time are the proof of the safety the experience.
Traveling in Mexico is no different or any more dangerous than traveling anywhere else in the world. Stay away from areas that you should not be in, do not be showing too much money or expensive jewelry, and be aware of your surroundings. I have met and made friends from all over the world in my time and travels here in Mexico.
I left the United States in October 2001. After spending 5 months in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California I settled in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco in March 2002. I did not apply to become a Mexican Resident for the first couple of years, traveling back to the United States before my visa would expire. I have traveled to many places in this wonderful country by boat, bus, car, and planes. I have spent time in La Paz, Baja California; Mexicali, Baja California; Hermosillo, Sonora; Guaymas, Sonora; Los Mochis, Sinaloa; Culiacan, Sinaloa; Mazatlan, Sinaloa; Tepic, Nayarit; Guadalajara, Jalisco; Barra De Navidad, Jalisco; Manzanillo, Colima; Mexico City, DF; Ixtapa, Guerrero; Zihuatanejo, Guerrero; Acapulco, Guerrero; Huatulco, Oaxaca; Puerto Madero, Chiapas and Tapachula, Chiapas. Many other cities I have passed through either while driving or riding the bus to and from Puerto Vallarta, Nogales, Tijuana, Manzanillo and Mexico City.
I feel safer in Puerto Vallarta than I do in some cities in the United States. The city and federal police work hard to keep Puerto Vallarta a safe destination for tourist. I personally have never had a threatening experience, or felt unsafe walking the 1 hr 45 minutes from downtown or 45 minutes from the marina back home at 2am or 3am. I would suggest to anyone to agree on a price for a taxi to your destination.
Anyone worried about their safety can stay at any of the many all inclusive resorts and feel safe enjoying the sun, beaches and margaritas. However, I would highly recommend getting out to any of the neighboring towns of Bucerias, La Cruz, Punta Mita or Sayulita to experience the friendly people, culture, history, and of course the local food.
Puerto Vallarta is a perfect blend of the old and the new. From the cobble stone streets of old town and the romantic zone to the new cruise ship terminal and the Galeries mall.