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Mexico’s bad press and how I am always told to not go to Puerto Vallarta solo

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This Puerto Vallarta solo travel guide is from my experiences traveling here and ended up living in PV. I fell in love with this city and stayed here for a year! Here’s everything you need to know about traveling here on your own.

📬 Reader Mail: Hello, Trish! I came across your blog through your Nuevo Vallarta travel guide. Congratulations on the move and thank you for the tips! I plan to visit PV soon and your blog is a gem!

Is Puerto Vallarta safe? How is Puerto Vallarta solo travel? Do you think I can do it on my own? I heard about PV from some friends but I want to see if you can give me some local insight.

I am still not very comfortable with traveling to Mexico so I want to know what you think! Thanks a lot in advance.

– Julie Huffman, Canada

Dear Julie,

I am glad you are considering visiting Puerto Vallarta. At the beginning of my Riviera Nayarit adventures 3 years ago, I did not really feel PV was for me but then when I tried to stay here long-term, I realized how easy it is to fall in love with PV!

If having fellow foreigners around makes you feel more comfortable and safe, I assure you that Puerto Vallarta is an expat hub. There are many Americans and Canadians who’ve been living here for years. I will also give tips on how you can connect with them. I meet with expat groups every week here.

Good luck and if you ever make it to PV, please don’t hesitate to connect with me via Instagram. I would love to show you around!

Xx,
Trisha

puerto vallarta travel guide

Puerto Vallarta used to be called “Las Peñas.” The name was changed to Puerto Vallarta in 1918.

I was on my way to live in Sayulita when I first graced Puerto Vallarta 3 years ago. As someone who grew up in a beach town in the Philippines, I continuously look for the best cities to live in, especially for a solo female traveler like me. Puerto Vallarta sort of gave me that feeling but it was put on hold because my intention was to move to Sayulita.
When you live in Sayulita where there are no supermarkets or grocery stores, you need to go to PV for all these things (FYI, we have Costco in PV!) so through these grocery trips, I learned to love Puerto Vallarta little by little. I began exploring it on my own and did a few weekend trips here and there.

Sometimes, driving from Sayulita to PV is a pain – I still don’t sit well with PV traffic but now that I am living in the Vallarta area, I got used to it and came to realize it’s not that bad (compared to Mexico City traffic).

In this post, I will share with you my insights about Puerto Vallarta solo travel and how I felt safe while I was living and traveling around PV.

🇲🇽 Understanding Puerto Vallarta solo travel

Is Puerto Vallarta safe to travel alone?

My friends who visit PV always have the same comment: “there are a lot of gringos here.” In Spanish-speaking countries, gringo is a term used for Americans but sometimes it can be used for all types of foreigners who are not Hispanic or Latino. Even I myself am called “gringa” sometimes even if I am not white. Some use it as a general term for foreigners.

There is a big community of ex-pats here and I realized how some people use this as a basis for safety. It makes people more comfortable. For the more adventurous ones who want to avoid their fellow Americans at all costs, this can be a bad thing because they don’t like traveling all the way to Mexico just to hang out with their fellow gringos.

There are a lot of travel warnings about safety in Puerto Vallarta but I understand. It is not 100% crime-free though I can’t speak authoritatively about this since I do not have first-hand experience.

The most shocking news I heard while I was living here was when ex Jalisco governor was killed in Puerto Vallarta in December 2020. It was all over the news and it was kind of a big deal for Mexico. My mom immediately called me and I told her that I am fine and that I am far away from the crime scene.

puerto vallarta solo travel

There are many expats and digital nomads in Puerto Vallarta. I never had a hard time making friends when I moved (or traveled) here.

The thing about Mexico is that whenever something major happens (crimes, for example), everyone tends to generalize and give the area bad press but things like this happen not only in Mexico but in many parts of the world including first-world countries (USA, Europe, etc). It’s just really hard to eradicate Mexico’s reputation of being unsafe but bear in mind that this happens everywhere.

Then again, safety is subjective. I may feel safe here but there are many individual factors on how we look at how safe a place is. Personally, as a travel blogger who brings around lots of camera gear when traveling, I did not feel that I had to always watch my belongings or hug my backpack while walking the streets of PV.

I am not saying you can openly leave your stuff unattended but my point is the feeling – people in PV are very nice, welcoming, and kind, in fact, Puerto Vallarta brands itself as the most friendly city in the world. You will see this sign all around PV though I cannot find data to back it up. With the number of foreigners visiting PV, they really are used to tourists.

puerto vallarta solo travel

Is Puerto Vallarta good for singles?

ABSOLUTELY!!! I once did an experiment when I first arrived in PV. Instead of using dating apps, I tried it organically. I went to a bar, sat by myself, and started drinking. I know that’s weird to do especially I already live here but I just wanted to see if meeting people organically in Puerto Vallarta works.

In the beginning, no one paid attention. There were 2 guys who were sitting alone and chatting with the bartender but they didn’t come and offer me a drink. With the dating apps world we live in, I think most of us are so adamant about approaching people. I feel like we find it weird. What do you think?!

I was sort of losing hope when a guy came to me and offered me a drink. Of course, like many people in Puerto Vallarta, he was an American expat. We chatted the whole night and actually ended up going out for a few weeks. I wouldn’t usually do this because I am so fond of dating apps but it’s good to know that in Puerto Vallarta, it’s still possible to meet people without technology.

What I didn’t realize was Puerto Vallarta was also full of solo travelers that are looking for friends and company. Luckily, there are many places in Puerto Vallarta to do that. PV is a very lively area with bars and restaurants always full of people. You’ll never run out of choices on where to randomly sit down and chat with strangers.

is puerto vallarta safe

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✈️ Puerto Vallarta vacation planning

Best time to visit Puerto Vallarta

The best time to visit Puerto Vallarta is from November to May. At this time of the year, you will experience a cool breeze but the sun is still up. This is the (high) season when many Americans, Canadians, and Europeans are escaping the winter so expect Puerto Vallarta to be busy.

The low season is from June to October which is the rainy season on the coast. It will be very hot and humid but there will be fewer tourists. Hurricane season is during September and this is the time when PV has heavy rains and typhoons. Below are some important events by month:

  • January: New Year, Three Kings, Feast of the San Sebastian del Oeste (Patron Saint)
  • February: Valentine’s Day, Carnival, and the peak of whale migration
  • March: Banderas Bay Regatta, Spring Break
  • April: Spring Break, Holy Week (Semana Santa)
  • May: Pride Week, May Cultural Festival
  • June: Navy Day
  • July: Summer vacation (for kids) in Mexico so locals travel a lot. This is a really busy time in Puerto Vallarta
  • August: Raicilla Festival at Jardin Botanico and firefly season (very hot weather)
  • September: Mexican Independence Day is on September 16th (hurricane season)
  • October: Day of the dead (dia de los muertos)
  • November: Day of the dead, International Gourmet Festival, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead), Festival Gourmet Internacional, International Marlin & Sailfish Fishing Tournament. Many Americans celebrate Thanksgiving day in Puerto Vallarta
  • December: Christmas, Day of Our Lady of Guadalupe

puerto vallarta solo travel

What to pack for Puerto Vallarta

Puerto Vallarta has great weather which makes many ex-pats and tourists around the world make it their winter home. For the basic packing list, you only have to bring swimwear, shorts, and light clothing but you may need jackets or cardigans for the months of December to February. It gets really cool during the evening because of the sea breeze. 

This part of Mexico has humid weather during the summer (really really hot!) so you can even come here without a check-in bag, especially if you’re just visiting for the weekend. Below are some important items to be packed for your trip to Puerto Vallarta:

  • Linen pants for women: elegant, sleek, and fit both informal and formal settings
  • Hiking sandals for outdoors and beach. You can even use this for going out to bars and restaurants. They are very stylish! Also, remember that most of PV’s streets are cobblestones so it will be easier to walk around in these
  • Beach sandals for men and women (leather, waterproof, classy design)
  • Waterproof bag for kayaking, boat tours, paddle boarding, etc
  • Maxi dresses for women (good for resorts and going out to parties)
  • Summer hats: the sun is scorching hot even in the winter so you will always need a hat!

puerto vallarta attractions

How to get to Puerto Vallarta

The airport that serves PV is Puerto Vallarta International Airport. There are many direct flights from the US and Canada for this route and you don’t even have to stop in Mexico City. This is also the airport that you need to land to when you are visiting Sayulita, San Pancho, Bucerias, Nuevo Vallarta, and the whole of Riviera Nayarit. 

How to get to Puerto Vallarta downtown from the airport

Uber is not allowed to operate inside Puerto Vallarta International Airport but they do work within the city. Only licensed taxis are allowed inside and these licenses are expensive so expect to pay higher prices when you choose this airport transport service (from US$200). Below are your cheaper and easier options to get to your Puerto Vallarta hotel from the airport:

  • By local driver: I have a pool of local drivers who I am supporting and promoting in this blog. They are trusted, well-trained, and trusted. If you book this transport, you are supporting our work for the community so thank you in advance! You can book with a local driver for as low as US$55 (Sedan)
  • By bus: As soon as you are at the arrivals gate, you will see the airport footbridge to your left. That’s where you will hail the bus to PV (don’t cross to the other side). This costs US$1.
  • By rental car: car rental at Puerto Vallarta Airport is ideal if you are going to visit other small towns in the area. It is also better to have a car to see all the beaches of PV, however, parking is difficult in PV because of the narrow streets. 

puerto vallarta travel

🏖️Things to do in Puerto Vallarta

Traveling alone and meeting people in Puerto Vallarta is very easy. There are lots of travelers in Puerto Vallarta (who are also by themselves, btw) so it’s very easy to connect with like-minded individuals. I’ve had my escapades of sitting alone at bars in Puerto Vallarta and I always end up with a big crowd at the end of the night! Here are the best things to do in PV if you are traveling solo.

Puerto Vallarta tourist attractions

Malecon Puerto Vallarta

The most common sights here are the sculptures by the Malecon, made by renowned and famous artists. Rows of restaurants and shops dominate the whole area – from Mexican to Western dining options. There are also lots of Asian restaurants which I really love because when I lived in Sayulita, this was the thing I was missing the most. One of my favorite Indian restaurants is by the Malecon! 

puerto vallarta solo travel

Zona Romantica

Puerto Vallarta is the country’s gay capital. This is one of the reasons why many LGBTQ travelers are attracted to PV. The gay culture here is so vibrant they even have their own neighborhood! Zona Romantica, at first, was very shocking to me. I wasn’t used to seeing public displays of affection, especially from very hot gay men. I was really surprised by this culture as I did not expect it to be that public!

puerto vallarta solo travel

Puerto Vallarta’s pride week every May is visited by many tourists all over the world. | Photo: Cinthia Aguilar / @hello_cinthia

Marietas Islands

You’ve probably seen this in many photos on Instagram and Pinterest. The Marietas Islands is located in Punta de Mita, about 25 minutes from Puerto Vallarta. It is definitely not to be missed! Cruises from Marietas Islands have different departure points (Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta, Sayulita, and Punta Mita) so wherever you are staying in Riviera Nayarit, it won’t be hard to get here!

The Marietas Islands are closed on Monday and Tuesdays. This is a federally protected area so, from 2019, they implemented rules on how to conserve the area. It used to be open 7 days a week!

👉🏽 Check prices for Marietas Islands tour

Marietas Islands tour with secret beach

Cooking classes and market tour

The food culture in Jalisco is a must-know. If you are someone who loves to cook, there are lots of cooking classes in Puerto Vallarta with locals! The good thing about learning how to cook in Mexico is that everyone is very generous. They share everything that will make you understand and master the dish.

You can even cook it at home! Here, you will also discover the most exotic ingredients in Mexico that you will not find somewhere else. In one of the cooking classes I attended, they even e-mailed all the recipes in English after the class!

But what I love the most about this is that the local chef will first take you to the market to buy your ingredients. As someone who just moved to Vallarta, I feel like knowing where the best markets are is essential to living here. I really had fun and I felt like I knew everything about the markets in PV! Being a port city, seafood is guaranteed fresh (fish of the day). We normally buy fish from local fishermen.

👉🏽 Check prices for Puerto Vallarta cooking classes and market tour

things to do in puerto vallarta

Whale watching (November to March)

If you are here now, as in now, January 11, 2021, it’s whale season in the riviera! I was just in Sayulita last week and saw lots of whales really close to the shore. From January to March, we are blessed to see the migration of whales up close.

Most of them are mom whales traveling with their young. It’s really a spectacular thing to do not just in Puerto Vallarta but the in the neighboring small Mexican beach towns like San Pancho and Sayulita.

In Sayulita and San Pancho, you can simply sit on the beach and see the whales but in Puerto Vallarta, I recommend that you go on a whale-watching cruise. It’s a little bit fancy but very affordable.

The cost per person starts at $50 USD and it will take you to the whole Bay of Banderas. Food and drinks are also included in these tours. It’s usually the activity I recommend to friends visiting with their children.

👉🏽 Check prices for whale watching in Puerto Vallarta

things to do in puerto vallarta

Visit Majahuitas

Majahuitas is one of the most beautiful coves in Mexico. I already visited Mahajuitas twice and loved it! It’s like a beach club. I would typically recommend it to groups of friends who want to go on a day-drinking trip on the cove.

They have restaurants and bars on the island so you don’t have to bring anything! The beach chairs and umbrellas are also resort-style. I’ve never done this trip on my own. I always sign up for a Majahuitas island tour. Some Majahuitas tours also covers Yelapa, another Puerto Vallarta beach favorite.

Apart from day drinking, there are many things to do in Majahuitas including water sports like snorkeling (the waters are clear!), paddle boarding, and kayaking. The last time I was here, people even brought their private yachts. This island has a little fancy branding.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Majahuitas tour

things to do in puerto vallarta

Visit Las Caletas Beach (all-inclusive)

I’ve done this trip on my own before but I recently did the all-inclusive Las Caletas experience onboard a catamaran. Las Caletas is a private beach and is ideal for nature lovers and beach bums.

There are lots of outdoor activities here, too! I celebrated the birthday of a friend here last month and I can say it’s also a good place to celebrate anything!

There is a small jungly hike that you can do (or hire a guide for it). If you opt for the all-inclusive package, food and unlimited booze will be included.

Gears for stand-up paddleboarding, kayaking, and snorkeling are also included. There is also a mezcal tasting and cooking class that goes with this tour.

If you want to scuba dive in Las Caletas, then you have to book that tour separately (from $150 USD). You need to have a PADI open water certificate in order to dive in Las Caletas.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Las Caletas beach

things to do in puerto vallarta

Hike Sierra Vallejo

The Sierra Vallejo hike is one of the activities that I have discovered in Puerto Vallarta lately. Get a full view of the majestic Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains of Mexico. I’ve been asked for a lot of outdoor things to do in Puerto Vallarta and this is the one that I highly recommend.

I am still in the process of doing some more outdoorsy stuff so bookmark this page and I will definitely update it as I go. Remember that I only recommend things (and brands) that I have experience with.

This is a guided 2-hour tour. I don’t really recommend you do this on your own. This includes transportation from Puerto Vallarta, English tour guides, hiking/trekking poles, helmets, and snacks. Note that the food that comes with the tour is not a meal so it’s better to have a heavy meal before the hike.

This is an easy hike (5 km) and it’s for everyone so don’t worry! Highly encouraged to wear shoes. The gypsy in me forgot to wear (proper) shoes when we did this hike so I suffered a lot after the tour!

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for Sierra Vallejo hike

things to do in puerto vallarta

Day trip to San Pancho and Sayulita

I don’t understand why this happens a lot but people who visit Sayulita miss Puerto Vallarta and vice-versa. In my experience, I know a lot of people who write to me on Instagram and they don’t have any idea that Sayulita exists!

While day trip tours to Sayulita and San Pancho are all over PV, you can simply do this on your own. It’s just a 40-minute ride to visit both these amazing beach towns!

These two towns have a very different vibe than PV, mostly because they are smaller. You can go around both in half a day but I recommend staying more in Sayulita since there are more things to do there.

If you ever plan to do this on your own without signing up with a tour company, let me know and I can show you around town! Otherwise, you can always refer to my Sayulita travel guide for tips.

If you want to do this on your own, driving from Puerto Vallarta to the Nayarit area is a good road trip! You can simply rent a car in PV and do the drive yourself.

It will give you more flexibility to stop whenever you like – this area is highly recommended and I’ve done this road trip a lot.

I also have a local driver who can take you to Sayulita from Puerto Vallarta. Just use PSIMONMYWAY to get a 10% discount upon checkout.

👉🏽 Check prices and availability for San Pancho and Sayulita day trips

sayulita

Go around Puerto Vallarta on a bicycle

I have my own bike and PV’s Malecon is always the best place to cycle! Alright, PV’s streets are cobblestones but the Malecon is flat so it won’t be a pain to bike the whole area (end to end). This is one of the best ways to experience Puerto Vallarta and you can always stop on your own.

🛏️ Puerto Vallarta hotels

Zona Romantica is my favorite neighborhood in Puerto Vallarta but I also like how different Marina Vallarta is. I have a place in Marina Vallarta (for personal use) and I really love living in this area! As a tourist, this is a more tranquil place to stay.

If you want to be near the center (center in PV means the Malecon), then Zona Romantica is your best option. For a more local neighborhood, try my other favorite 5 de Diciembre (5th of December). Below are some hotels, hostels, and resorts that I recommend:

puerto vallarta travel

🌮 Puerto Vallarta restaurants

Best fine dining: Gaviotas

📍 Blvd. Francisco Medina Ascencio 999

Gaviotas is an upscale restaurant inside the Sheraton Hotel. Here, you can try a tasting menu (or a la carte) of the finest Mexican dishes. You can eat here without staying at the Sheraton but they only take reservations via phone, 24 hours before your intended dinner. 

Best breakfast: Fredy’s Tucan

📍 Basilio Badillo 245

An extreme favorite for both locals and expats, Fredy’s Tucan has the best breakfast in town. I’m not just saying it – their food is really well done for a cheap price! I love all their eggs benedict (less than US$10 per plate) and you can also customize your American breakfast (add bacon, hashbrowns, chorizo, etc). There are also fresh baskets of sweet bread going around the restaurant (at US$1 per piece). 

Best steak: La Vaca Argentina

📍 Av. Francisco Medina Ascencio 2468

La Vaca Argentina is an Argentine restaurant that has the best steaks, including iconic Argentine food like empanadas, choripan, and chimichurri. The restaurant is big and has both indoor and outdoor dining areas. Right in front of it is the La Isla Shopping Mall which is a great place for shopping (international brands, not a local market). This is also the best way to get to know the Fluvial neighborhood where La Vaca is located.

Best Italian: La Terraza di Roma

📍 Club de Tenis Puesta de Sol

La Terraza is located in Marina Vallarta, the place where all sailboats and charter yachts are parked. La Terraza is right in the marina and has the best Italian dishes like pastas, antipasti, salads, and pizzas. It’s really affordable for the quality of the food they serve here. A meal at La Terraza starts at US$10 per plate.

Best Asian: Bonito Kitchen

📍 De Los Tules 325

Asian food in Puerto Vallarta? Bonito Kitchen is the best place to go! Bao buns, kimchi rice, and ramen bowls are my favorite here. The best way to eat in Bonito Kitchen is to order all the small plates. You can choose a baby Shoju or miso ramen (good for 1 person). The kimchi rice and bao buns with pulled pork are a must! They also have Japanese beers like Asahi and Sapporo, plus a good selection of sakes.

Best brunch by the beach: La Palapa

📍 Púlpito 105-3

This is my favorite brunch place (for mimosas) because it’s right in front of the beach. This restaurant has a beach lounging area where you can order your food. They have the best eggs benedict (pictured below) and I particularly love their coffee. If you choose to dine on their beach area, expect vendors to always talk to you and sell you stuff. They don’t regulate the vendors so it can sometimes feel that the vendors are evading your privacy.

puerto vallarta solo travel

🍸 Puerto Vallarta bars

For salsa nights and dancing: La Bodeguita del Medio

📍Paseo Díaz Ordaz 858

Go to Facebook and check all Puerto Vallarta events – this was the first time I knew about La Bodeguita, a Cuban salsa bar in Puerto Vallarta that has branches in Playa del Carmen and Mexico City as well. There was a salsa event in a private residence but the pre-drink/dance game was at La Bodeguita.

This bar has a live band playing salsa and there are lots of dance partners on the floor who are always willing to take you! In Mexico, men lead the dancing so don’t worry – if someone is asking you to dance, they are just not hitting on you (well, that, too) but they just want to dance!

puerto vallarta solo travel

La Bodeguita del medio is a Cuban salsa bar in Puerto Vallarta where everyone goes!

Best for cocktails: El Colibri 

📍 Morelos 582

Now this one is not sponsored, I promise. I just love the vibe at El Colibri! Their bar is a little bit hidden and from the outside, it seems like an abandoned building but as soon as you find the entrance, you will enter a jungle-themed bar with outdoor seating.

Whenever friends visit me, I always bring them here because it’s super close to the Malecon (about 2 minutes walk) and the place is really great to introduce the cocktail culture of Puerto Vallarta.

things to do in pv mexico

🏥 Don’t travel to Puerto Vallarta without insurance! As a long-term traveler, I use SafetyWing’s digital nomad insurance for US$40 per month. They have great coverage for short trips and it will be valid for another week when you go back to the US.

✨ Puerto Vallarta travel tips 

Join the Bachata and Salsa social group on Whatsapp

These guys meet every week and you will meet a lot of expats and travelers who are seriously learning salsa in Puerto Vallarta. You can click here to join the Puerto Vallarta salsa and bachata group. They are always meeting up and will be glad to welcome you to the group!

Bumble or Tinder in Puerto Vallarta

Dating apps are also a great way to meet people, however, in Puerto Vallarta’s Tinder radar, you will see a lot of expats. It’s definitely safe, don’t worry. When I first moved here, I actually learned more about PV from the expats than the locals.

Just make sure you meet in a public place like the bars and restaurants in the malecon. I always bring everyone to Colibri. HAHAHA!

Go to Colibri bar and meet people

El Colibri is expat owned so it’s very popular for pre-drinks and even late-night parties during the weekend. I went here for the first time in November 2020, when I first moved to Nuevo Vallarta and I never thought I’d end up chatting with lots of digital nomads and expats!

puerto vallarta travel

Check Facebook events in Puerto Vallarta

Even if I was already living in Sayulita for years, when I moved to Vallarta, it was a different ball game. I had to find a way to make my own tribe in PV. There are many Facebook events in Puerto Vallarta that you can join and most of the people who come are foreigners.

Last week, I was just at a salsa/bachata party and the majority of the people who came are foreigners! There’s also a ‘Sunday Social’ event in PV where all the ex-pats gather for food, drinks, and chat.

It’s amazing how joining one Facebook event can give you long-time friends in a certain area you are in. I really find these random events that I attend by myself really helpful in building Vallarta as my base.

If you don’t feel comfortable walking alone, take Uber

Uber in Mexico is cheap and I always get a lot of questions if Uber work in Puerto Vallarta – it does! Coming from a small town like Sayulita where Uber does not work, being able to take Uber in Puerto Vallarta (for less than $5 USD per ride!) makes me feel safe and comfortable. I mentioned I have my own car here but still, sometimes, I take the Uber when I am invited to big parties.

I feel very safe with the drivers and Uber is how I met my now long-time friend, Juan, who is an Uber driver PV for a long time. You can always hire Juan for long drives outside or within PV.

We’ve been friends for years now and I always support his livelihood by recommending visiting friends to book a ride with him. You can book Juan’s services here.

Learn to speak Spanish

Puerto Vallarta is an English-speaking city and most people in the service industry can communicate in English very well – you’d be surprised! I just always suggest speaking Spanish as a tool for safety because there are many instances where I needed to pretend like a local in order to feel safe.

And it always works! Whenever I feel threatened by a certain stranger talking to me randomly on the streets, I light a cigarette (another defense mechanism on how to make yourself look brave but that’s just me. You don’t need to do it) and start speaking Spanish really fast.

Luckily, I am fluent in Spanish but I did not learn this overnight – I really tried my best to sound like a local though I don’t really use Mexican slang since my Spanish is a mix of Spain and Argentina.

I realized that when I speak Spanish in Mexico, people always have the impression that I am a super local and have been living here for years, and that I am someone whom they cannot mess with. It’s kind of a public announcement that “I know my way around here so find someone else to mess with.”

puerto vallarta solo travel

When traveling solo, I always make sure to make friends with locals. These are my Mexican friends in Puerto Vallarta and you should make some, too! It really helps!

Is it safe to walk in Puerto Vallarta at night?

ABSOLUTELY! I have a lot of friends who take Uber all the time not because they feel unsafe in Puerto Vallarta but Uber rides here are really cheap! They’re always less than $5 USD! I have a car so my style, whenever I visit PV, is to park it in my spot and then walk from there. I found a very special spot at the entrance of the city that is somehow just always available for me. It’s funny.

Puerto Vallarta is a big city but I am only talking about walking the Malecon area (and around) as this is where all the PV nightlife is happening. This is where most tourists go but I will discuss other areas in PV in another post. I just feel like this one is the more touristic one and needs to be discussed more.

The streets of PV are well-lit (thank God!). In my experience traveling the world solo, I always feel doubtful about dark streets and you should too, especially when you are not familiar with the area. The only time that I was brave enough for dark streets was when I was traveling solo in Sao Paulo, a Brazilian city known to be super unsafe but I was not being stupid.

I was already staying there for a long time and have become comfortable with my environment. I will never do this in places that I don’t have knowledge of, seriously! Safety also entails boldness and bravery so if you know the terrain of the place you are traveling to and you know a lot of people, then you should be fine. But always follow your gut and instincts because, they are, more often than not, very accurate.

Another factor that makes me feel safe while walking around Puerto Vallarta by myself is the constant noise in every bar, in every corner. PV’s nightlife is very busy and there’s always something happening in every street. Even the private homes are so loud you’ll never feel you are walking alone even if it’s 3:00 in the morning.

Join Puerto Vallarta Expat Groups

Expats in Puerto Vallarta is my go-to Facebook group. Here, you will find a lot of foreigners who have years of experience living in Puerto Vallarta. Use some search terms to browse the group or feel free to post questions about Puerto Vallarta solo travel safety. This is also where I found friends when I was new here.

If you are looking for trusted long-term apartments in Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta & Beyond Expat Rentals & Sales is a great resource. This is where I found the apartment I am currently living in. There are also some tips on how to live in Puerto Vallarta here – promise, you will learn a lot from this group.

Consider your source

Please don’t look at news websites whenever you are researching Puerto Vallarta solo travel safety. Read blogs written by real people who share real experiences. I always do this whenever I travel and often use Couchsurfing to ask locals. I understand how family and friends (who have not been to Mexico) can discourage you to travel solo here. Believe me, I am from an Asian household where the concept of traveling solo in Mexico is foreign and unsafe. I’ve been told a lot about how ‘dangerous’ Mexico and Puerto Vallarta are, and yet, here I am, safely living here full-time.

Get in touch with me and I will connect you to some friends in PV!

Many readers of this blog who travel solo always get in touch with me for local contacts. I understand that sometimes, you will be more comfortable if you already know someone when you arrive. I have a lot of friends there who can keep you company. They’re super cool and they would definitely invite you to parties!

puerto vallarta travel

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✈️ Ready for your trip to Puerto Vallarta? This blog thrives on reader questions so feel free to ask questions about Puerto Vallarta travel by using the comment box below. You can also sign up for 1-on-1 coaching with me if you need more help!

Debra Schroeder

Sunday 19th of September 2021

I’ve been to Puerto Vallarta many times solo and haven’t had any issues. Like every city, you have to take precautions. Love that there are expat communities on Facebook. We just got back from Puerto Vallarta. We landed during Hurricane Nora so didn’t get to go to the Malacon. I’ve been before but the hubby hadn’t.

Paul Healy

Saturday 18th of September 2021

Facebook expat communities is a great way to earn about a new destinations. Locals just tend to know a place without knowing how they know it. Lots of great information for solo travel in PV. Thanks for sharing.

Linda (LD Holland)

Saturday 18th of September 2021

I must admit that most of what I had heard about Puerto Vallarta was so mixed that I was not sure about visiting. Your post provides a different perspective. Good to know that you found it a good spot to meet people. The salsa nights at La Bodeguita might draw me in. An expats group sounds like a good way to get started with good information.

Agnes

Saturday 18th of September 2021

I haven't been to Puerto Vallarta yet, but it's on my list as I love Mexico. I appreciate that you provide such helpful tips for solo travelers. It's great to know that there are many American ex-pats, so it's easier to find new friends. Colibri bar seems to be a perfect place to meet new people. I add salsa nights at La Bodeguita to my bucket list as well. I'm impressed that they have Uber in Puerto Vallarta!

Anda

Friday 17th of September 2021

This is very helpful information for solo female travelers to Puerto Vallarta. Truth is that bad things can happen anywhere in the world whether you travel alone or not. You have to use common sense in most cases, but I agree with you: learning some Spanish if you travel to Mexico is very important. I traveled to Puerto Vallarta many years ago and had a lot of fun, but we traveled as a family.