Puerto Vallarta is a safe
After you pass through customs, you’ll have to head through the airport’s infamous “Shark Tank.” In reality, the Shark Tank is a pair of white rooms full of timeshare sales representatives, and if you have any doubt regarding whether you’re in the tank or not you’ll know immediately when the reps begin aggressively approaching you as if they were… well… sharks.
The best thing you can do here is to talk to no one and continue walking. A polite series of “no gracias” is also advisable, but please - for your own good - just keep moving.
The sales reps in these two rooms are notorious for using underhanded tactics, up to and including full-blown lies, to get you into a nearly inescapable conversation with them. You may be asked for your hotel reservation documents by “an official representative” of your hotel. You may be offered free transportation from the airport to your place of lodging. You’ll most certainly be offered the “best deal available” on Puerto Vallarta timeshares. Simply put, none of this is true. Just continue along until you reach the room with car rental booths, taxi stands, and regular tourists simply standing around. And breathe deeply in, and now out…
Let’s not sugarcoat things – Mexico faces its fair share of problems. Beyond government corruption, the country also battles a number of drug-trafficking cartels whose turf-wars occasionally spill over into civilian casualties.
The good news is that Puerto Vallarta has remained almost completely uninvolved in these conflicts. There have been a few instances of violence - an early-morning attack against a police chief in 2012, for example - but the few victims of such attacks are widely suspected to have been previously involved with the cartels in some way.
The bottom line is that, as of May 2015, no foreign tourists have been involved in cartel violence in Puerto Vallarta.
The truth is that cartels are businesses. The people who run them are ruthless, but not stupid. They know that tourism is the foundation of the Puerto Vallarta economy - and if the tourists go away, so do their customers. As such, you can be virtually guaranteed that Mexican cartel violence, so often exploited for ratings by the international news media, will form no part of your Puerto Vallarta experience.
Now that that’s out of the way…
The actual crime rates in Puerto Vallarta are very low, significantly lower than those of major tourist cities in the United
The reality is that any crime likely to befall you in Puerto Vallarta will be petty in nature - and
In the city of Puerto Vallarta, the general rule of thumb is that basic, standard travel precautions are all you’ll need to avoid becoming the victim of a crime. Keep your wits about you and you’re sure to have a fantastic vacation experience.
Puerto Vallarta is popular among women traveling solo through Mexico, but it’s an unfortunate fact of life that criminals often view women easier potential targets than men.
Here are a few safety tips for women while traveling in Puerto Vallarta:
Walk with a sense of purpose as you roam the streets. Giving off a vibe that you're lost or confused might attract unwanted attention from anyone assuming you're an easy target. Walk like you know where you’re going – even if you don't – to deter the vast majority of scammers and con artists.
As the saying goes, there’s power in numbers. Even a small group of women are far less vulnerable than a woman walking alone. Where possible, round up a few mates at the hostel before wandering the town.
Puerto Vallarta is a major tourist destination, and has a distinct international flair, but the people remain traditional in a number of ways. Many of these traditional characteristics are charming, but for women who are traveling here, one particular aspect is not so inviting: Mexican machismo – the attitude that men are inherently superior to women.
Don't assume the men here treat women poorly, this is far from the truth. In reality, machismo will be manifested in staring or the occasional catcall on the street. Though annoying and offensive, the best thing to do is simply ignore the perpetrator. The unfortunate truth is that you won’t be changing a centuries-old aspect of Mexican culture during a trip to Puerto Vallarta.
As far as the safety of ziplining in Puerto Vallarta goes, you shouldn’t be too worried. Officially-licensed tour operators comply with very high safety standards, and we've never heard of any rogue competitors skirting the rules and regulations. If you’ve ever heard any zipline horror stories and are still freaked out, consider this - the vast majority of ziplining injuries occur on homemade ziplines, not the professionally constructed and maintained ones found in Puerto Vallarta. Read your travel insurance policy wording carefully to be sure you're covered for these activities.
Want to know more about Mexico? Head to our Stories section to delve a little deeper.
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