Are Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya SafePuerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya map for Travel?

People are concerned about safety of vacation travel in Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Maya.  We suspect this is due to the news of violence and crime in other areas of Mexico.  Certainly travel planning should include the safety of a destination.   To answer that crucial question, we explore tourist safety, comparing the renowned Mexican destinations of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya with four iconic American cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. Through an examination of crime statistics, with a focus on both violent crime and homicides, we aim to provide a nuanced understanding of these destinations' safety record.  Another consideration is the safety of driving in Mexico.  You can check out our tips for driving in Mexico.  and also all of our general tips for making the most of your Mexico vacation.

Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya: Beneath the Surface

Blessed with azure waters, rich history, and a wealth of culture, Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya deserve their positions on every traveler's wish list. However, due to crime in other areas of Mexico, some people are concerned.

Violent Crime Rates:

For an accurate assessment , we first examine actual violent crime statistics in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya. According to the Mexican National Public Security System, in 2020, Puerto Vallarta reported approximately 234 cases of violent crimes per 100,000 residents, while the Riviera Maya, spanning from Cancún to Tulum, recorded around 107 cases per 100,000 residents. Though these numbers sound significant, they must be contextualized with other parts of the world.

Homicide Rates:

Homicide rates also offer a perspective on the overall safety scenario. Puerto Vallarta reported approximately 22 homicides in 2020, whereas the Riviera Maya saw around 4 homicides in the same year. While these figures contribute to the safety narrative, it's important to remember that visitors are VERY RARELY involved and that literally millions have enjoyed uneventful stays, adhering to common-sense safety practices.

Contrasting Violent Crime and Homicide Rates in US Cities

New York City

The grandeur of New York City contrasts with a crime reality that's shaped by its size and diversity. In 2020, the city reported about 3,372 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. Homicides numbered around 462 for the same year. These figures, are dramatically higher than those of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya, highlighting the reality the relative safety of tourist regions in Mexico. 

Los Angeles

Known for its entertainment and stunning beaches, Los Angeles has significant safety challenges.  According to the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, in 2020, the city reported approximately 785 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and around 350 homicides. While popular tourist areas typically maintain robust security measures, venturing into lesser-known neighborhoods requires careful research and consideration.


Miami's alluring beaches and vibrant culture attract travelers in droves. However, the city also contends with crime. In 2020, Miami reported around 786 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and approximately 82 homicides. While this is less thanyou’re York city per capita,  it is significantly more than either  Puerto Vallarta or Riviera Maya.  People thinking of a vacation in Miami may not realize that they should be a bit careful about ostentatious displays of valuables and should be selecting accommodations in safe neighborhoods.


Chicago's architectural splendor, renowned museums, and culinary scene are magnets for tourists. However, the city's safety narrative often includes mentions of crime. In 2020, Chicago reported roughly 940 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and approximately 775 homicides. While concerted efforts have been made to curb crime rates, certain neighborhoods continue to grapple with higher violence levels. Travelers are well-advised to maintain situational awareness, particularly in lesser-known areas.

Extracting Insights and Implications

  • Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya offer captivating beauty and cultural depth, backed by security protocols that prioritize tourists' well-being.
  • The very minor risk to tourists in both Mexican locales can be managed through adherence to basic safety practices.
  • Prominent US cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago each present unique safety considerations, often including property crime, theft, and sporadic violent incidents.
  • A holistic approach to personal safety, whether traveling internationally or domestically, necessitates an informed stance, vigilant awareness, and a willingness to follow local guidance.   Hyper vigilance and worry are not necessary.


Vacation planning involves planning for accommodations,  clothing and travel.  Common sense safety measures should also be included.. By juxtaposing Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Maya, with prominent US cities, we have demonstrated the relatively low risk in the major tourist areas of Mexico.   Each destination has its own safety narrative, necessitating basic measures for travelers' well-being. Again, common sense behaviors such as not walking alone at night and knowing areas that are best avoided are relevant in all areas of the world.  The facts along with these travel tips should leave you unconcerned that travel is dangerous, in the US , Mexico or other popular locations around the world.  To answer the original question,  YES,   Riviera Maya and Puerto Vallarta are safe for travel.

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