Make sure that when you bring children, they are always with an adult. The swimming pools at the hotels here don't have life guards on them!
Also, the beaches have strong currents and not actually great for swimming especially in Puerto Vallarta!
Just because someone like mightyrita on here is saying that these warnings are foolish, have been lucky not to have experienced any problems, not to say that all areas are bad, but you have to understand that you can not ALL be protected by the police in ALL situations, be smart, do not venture out alone, or go into areas that could possibly put you in a bad situation, be smart about your decisions, be sure to let someone you know and trust your daily schedule, or plan a check in time with someone. Yes these places are beautiful but with the understanding that when you venture to another country that you have to take your own responsibility for your own safety and well being.
You can enjoy yourself, but make sure that you have put a few safety messures into place for your own protection.
In many beautiful places tourists disappear all the time. Even in such places as the Hawaian Islands, Do your research, plan ahead. Most real statistics are not posted for the obvious reasons $$$ they want that and will doctor those stats to get because most of these places count on tourism as their main source of income.
This is my third time back in Puerto Vallarta, I absolutely love it here. I think people need to stop listening to all the nonsense and experience this incredibly beautiful and SAFE city on their own. Im staying at Oasis Hostel wwwoasishostel. com and I feel more safe here than I do back home in Seattle.
I found that it is best for women, if you're walking around town at night, to be in a group. I've never felt in danger, but Mexican guys are definitely not shy and you often will get a lot of whistling and heckling. It's best to just ignore them.
I am not saying you have to worry about snakes in your hotel but if you do excursions to some of the remote beaches and wonder off into the jungle; sure enough just like in the movies there are snakes!
You are not in a zoo and there are no safe guards other than your common sense, so be careful. In this picture you will see that I was probably to close as it was!!!
I couldn't resist trying to get a better picture :-(
I put this tip up there light heartedly but I guess it is common sense.
If a dead fish washes up on the beach don't pick it as your opportunity to try sushi !!!
Have lots of fun though in this great place!!
Enlarge this picture and you'll see another snake in the water? I didn't see any of these when I was swimming but one morning I went for a long walk in a more remote area and saw this.
If anyone knows for sure what this may be please email me :-).
As you can see from this picture most women have no sympothy for hang overs? I don't get it but it is the reality.
My warning in this case is all you can drink resorts and tequilla will kill you :-).
I am sorry to have to report this story, but this happened to me and a friend during our stay in P.V. last week. The hotels involved (where we stayed) are taking very serious action with the local Tourist Board, the mayor, and other officials. I have also involved the US Consulate through Consular Kelly Trainor in P.V. who knows all about this and is taking action with the police department and is keeping in touch with me about this horrible incident.....
It's long but important to read, and bear in mind that the bottom line is that the police were trying to extort me and my friend from our money (they succeeded with my friend), and could have possibly tried to hide drugs in our clothing or who knows what else. Many local people and tourists confirmed after the fact that they were not really checking us for drugs. Yes, police corruption in Mexico is very real- we experienced it first hand. Think twice about visiting Puerto Vallarta. After my 4th trip to Mexico, I can't think about going back at this point......
(PS- I am leaving out the names of the hotel owners/managers for their privacy.
Here is the letter I sent below......
Dear Mr. ___________:
I am writing you at this time from my room at The Hotel Abbey where I am on vacation from January
23 - 31, 2010.
This is a written description of the events that took place on Monday morning, January 25, 2010 around
2:10 am which you requested from me.
I was leaving by foot from Club Manana approximately 2:00 am in the morning on 1/25th with a friend who was also part of my group. He was staying at The Blue Chairs hotel.
He said he knew how to get back to the hotel by foot and that it was fairly close so we decided to walk.
We made a stop at a store called “Oxxo” near the hotel, to pick up some fruit and food. After leaving Oxxo, we weren't exactly sure which direction our hotel was in so we were crossing the street not sure if we needed to make a right or a left.
Within moments a white truck with an open back came by with two gentlemen, my friend thought they were stopping to help give us directions and I asked for directions to The Blue Chairs but I can't recall what they said and because I do not speak Spanish, I didn't grasp what they were trying to tell us. My friend thought they were asking to give us a ride in their truck to the hotel, which I wouldn't have accepted even if that were the case.
Within another minute or two a police car came from the other direction and two or three policemen came out and started to question us and go thru our possessions for no reason apparent to either of us. There were now a total of five policeman on the scene detaining us from going back to our hotels. (The white truck, mentioned in the paragraph above was not marked as a police truck to the best of my recollection but contained two policemen in uniform which was very obvious when they stepped out to join the police officers that exited the car). The police car had it's red and blue lights flaring.
I was asked for identification so I gave the officer my drivers license from my small wallet where I kept my paper money. He looked at it and I motioned for him to give it back to me and then he asked me to put my hands up on the side of the truck where he opened all of the pockets in my cargo shorts and began removing the contents partially with my assistance and also on his own. These shorts have ten pockets in total and I had items in about six of the ten pockets.
I was fearful that I would not see my drivers license again, in addition to my other property and had no idea what may occur next knowing there was absolutely reason to have been stopped and searched to begin with.
The officer took out the case for my glasses, my hotel room key, my camera, my bottle of Visine for my eyes, and then took out my wallet and counted all of the individual bills in front of me which was rather unsettling. I watched every move he made and was terrified with what was transpiring. He had no reason to stop me, let alone check my clothing , open my pockets , and feel my clothing with his hands.
I have no idea what he thought he would find, but there was nothing to find other than what I described above.
My friend was not next to me but was nearby and was receiving a similar interrogation from one of the other officers.
The officers were all were fairly short in height, and were probably in their late 20's to early 30's.
It is important to note that I was totally sober, having no alcohol, only Diet Coke from 4 :00 in the afternoon until late that evening. My speech was not incomprehensible, I was not staggering in my walk, and was totally coherent. There was absolutely no reason to be stopped and harassed in this manner.
My friend and I were detained for about 10 minutes when they finally let us go.
He walked me to the corner of my hotel, I was feeling horrified and humiliated and then he proceeded to go to his hotel, the Blue Chairs.
I told the man on duty at the desk of the Abbey what just occurred and he asked me if I had the police cars numbers or officers names. Needless to say, I had no pen, and couldn't even think straight about what was happening let alone get any identifying information. He made a report in a log book that you keep at the desk.
The next morning, (around 10:30 a.m), I came to see you to report this abusive incident.
I was never told my rights from the police officers, told why I was being searched, or given explanation at all.
I am a U.S. Citizen, and being in a foreign country and not speaking the language, I felt I had better cooperate with the police since I had no clue what may transpire next.
When I got back to my hotel room, I checked all of my possessions and realized everything was intact, including my cash as I was very careful to watch the actions of the police officer go thru all of my bills.
Today, my friend who was staying at the Blue Chairs after checking his wallet was not as lucky.
I have to say that I have lived and traveled around the world for the past 30 years and have NEVER
experienced anything quite like this in my life.
As I told you today, if I have one more incident like this, I am on the next flight back to New York, and I can tell you now (even though it is the beginning of my trip) I can't consider coming back to Puerto Vallarta again the way that I am feeling right now, as this has truly been a traumatic experience and not something I would ever anticipate happening to me on vacation.
I was made to feel like a criminal and it was embarrassing, humiliating , and possibly the worst travel experience I have had in my fifty one years of living.
This is not a good indication for future visitors to your city, nor to any of my family members or friends in New York that I may choose to tell about incident.
I also reported this to the manager of the Blue Chairs hotel.
I realized how upsetting this is and I am hoping you and the Tourist Authority will do right be me in addition to the apology you already gave me. I prefer not to take this story any further to the Mexican Consulate in New York, any of the gay hotel travel organizations, etc., but I truly feel that your hotel in conjunction with the local Tourist Authorities can figure out a way within the next few days to try to turn this situation around for me which requires more than an apology. I am very stressed about this and even though I try not to think about it, it's on my mind here all during my vacation.
It is one thing if I was doing anything wrong, but I was with another tourist in a tourist area, 3 blocks from my hotel and am the least likely candidate that should be stopped and harassed. If it is unsafe (unsafe from the police) to walk 3 blocks away from the hotel at night, I think the guests need to be told this.
Near the same street where this incident occurred there were drunken men nearby, prostitutes, and other unsavory characters that are the people you need to worry about in the vicinity of the tourists.
I look to the police for safety, protection, and guidance, and now this has completely turned my thinking upside down during my stay in Puerto Vallarta and has made this tourist paranoid of the police here. This is very wrong.
I await your prompt response,
New York, NY
My boyfriend & I rented a car from Dollar Rental A Car at NH Krystal & we had no problem whatsoever. We drove all the way to Tequila, spent the night & drove back the next day. We were even a day late & they just charged us for the extra day, no hassle. We took a regular highway as well as the more modern toll roads & they were both very well maintained & the scenery was beautiful. As long as you find a large reputable company, I think it is ok.
As a precautionary measure bring some Immodium or Pepto with you. Especially if you plan on eating authentic Mexican food! I learned the hard way after trying to eat authentic Mexican cuisine and refried beans ! It was good food though! ;-)
I was told that it's safe to drink the water from most hotels and upscale restaurants. Better safe than sorry though. Ask the establishments if they filter the water. Getting bottled water is always a good option.
I would avoid swimming in the ocean, or even walking in shallow water. I was walking in about ankle-deep water on day 2 in Puerto Vallarta and a wave came up and I was stung by a jellyfish, which hurts like you wouldn't believe and requires immediate medical assistance. Fortunately, I didn't bring our toddler with me to walk in the shallow water as I'd planned. It's a shame because I've always loved swimming in the ocean, but have witnessed that over time, there tend to be a lot more jellyfish than there used to be. And you really can't see them.
After storms, the scuba & snorkling can be really harsh. We had friends who got hurt from the rough waters.. mainly because you have so much rock surrounding Puerto Vallartal If at all possible wait a day or two after a storn, or 10 days after a hurricane out at sea.
In the large resorts you don't have to worry about the water. First of all, Puerto Vallarta has the best water system in Mexico, with a new filteration system put in December 2005. Secondly, all of the name brand resorts here have their additional filtration systems as well. So, if you go to a smaller hotel, you won't have the extra filtration.
Aug - Oct is the worst time to encounter hurricaines. The rainy season is mostly in September when we went, but it only rained one afternoon after 3:00 & a couple of nights. As we researched, we found that Puerto Vallarta is rarely hit (once in 30 years directly on land.. 2002)... , but hurricane John that went past Puerto Vallarta the week before we landed made some yucky water our first day & made scuba diving & snorkling murky. You need a good 10 days after a hurricane for those activities.