Is it safe?
July 24, 2011 1:10 PM   Subscribe

Is Puerto Vallarta safe to visit in September?

I booked a vacation to Puerto Vallarta about a month ago, but I just got work that my friend's mother who's been going for forty years has cancelled her trip. Apparently there was an incident with a Canadian being killed, but that seems like a pretty isolated incident.

I also read that Princess cruise line has cancelled stops there, but that a lot of people were kind of surprised and thought it was a strategic business move rather than an actual safety precaution.

I'm not risk averse and realize that many US cities have higher crime rated, but I don't want to take my girlfriend to a dangerous place. We'd be staying in the actual city and wouldn't be doing much exploring outside the common tourist places.

Any MeFites have knowledge of the current situation?

posted by lattiboy to Travel & Transportation around Puerto Vallarta, Mexico (7 answers total)
Also, if it IS safe, any recommendations for hotels and activities?
posted by lattiboy at 1:10 PM on July 24, 2011

According to this NYT article from December 2010:

"Popular resort areas, including Mazatlán, Puerto Vallarta, Ixtapa and Cancún’s resort strip are generally safe for travelers, Mr. Miller said, particularly if visitors stay within the resort’s boundaries. “Mexico is a volatile place,” he said. “You have to have your itinerary planned out quite well, consider transportation and stay abreast of latest developments.”

Here is the latest US State Department warning on Mexico, dated April 2011.
posted by mauvest at 1:21 PM on July 24, 2011

I think if you stick to the hotel + the most visited tourist spots you'll be fine. Mexico is going through a very volatile period right now, and there has been violence even in tourist areas, but almost all of the victims are Mexicans and Central Americans.

I've had a lot of adventures in Mexico in the past, including driving from Northern California to Oaxaca and back. I wouldn't do a trip like that now, to tell the truth. But I would definitely go to a resort.
posted by BlahLaLa at 3:11 PM on July 24, 2011

People from this TripAdvisor forum, some of whom have visited recently, seem largely unconcerned about safety issues in Puerto Vallarta.
posted by purpleclover at 5:56 PM on July 24, 2011

We had no problem in Puerto Vallarta less than two years ago, and the friends I know who've visited since then have also reported that it was fine.

As for lodging and activities: we stayed south of downtown at one of the villas at Casa Tres Vidas and it was spectacular (the same owners run the B&B next door, which is also lovely). We were there for a wedding so didn't do much non-wedding related stuff aside from shopping, but we did take one day to do a zip line canopy tour outside of town, which was great fun.
posted by scody at 7:21 PM on July 24, 2011

I can't imagine that things have gone downhill so fast that you'd be unsafe. That said, it's been a while since I've been there (~2 years).

As for the place itself: Puerto Vallarta is a slightly weird mix of old town, newer town crawling with businesses catering to tourists + people hawking timeshares, and then mega-resorts (mostly a little ways outside of town). We stayed for a little while at a B&B-type place in town, and then stayed a week at one of the resorts; I wouldn't give up either experience, but they were very different. If you're staying at a resort, you'll probably have a very pleasant experience that is pretty similar to what you'd get at resorts everywhere. It'll be quite safe -- e.g., ours had armed guards checking every car that came into the place -- but you'll have to rely on time in town and/or excursions to give you any sense that you are in Mexico instead of Cuba or Hawaii or wherever else beach mega-resorts may be found. (I'm not trying to knock it: we had a fantastic time lying on the beach and ordering drinks. Just know what you're going there for.)

We did one excursion that was an all-day trip on a boat (with a bit of snorkeling), then a stopover at a nice beach somewhere down the coast, then a further trip (for those who wanted it) to a place where you could go horseback riding up to a waterfall and back. On the boat ride there was free (bad) beer. Great fun, but you might want to wear pants and/or decent shoes for the horseback ride (with swimming suit/trunks underneath). You can book these sort of things pretty much anywhere -- through your hotel or from random people on the beach, though the latter are obviously a bit dodgier. (Be warned that they may not speak English on the boat, so ask about that if it's an issue.)

Have fun!
posted by chalkbored at 7:33 PM on July 24, 2011

I was in Puerto Vallarta and the surrounding area last May. My colleagues went again this May. None of us felt we were at risk at any time. We found the place lovely and the people wonderful. If I could go with you in September, I would!
posted by onhazier at 6:12 AM on July 25, 2011

« Older A record of my own undoing.   |   dating yourself? Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.