puerto vallarta beachIntroduction

As the desire to once again explore new horizons post pandemic, the issue of safety often takes center stage.  We will present a comprehensive analysis of tourist safety, drawing parallels between the popular Mexican destinations of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya and four iconic American cities: New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago. By examining crime statistics, encompassing both violent crime and homicide rates, we aim to provide an insightful perspective on the safety landscape of these diverse destinations.

Unveiling Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya

mexico postcard
Image courtesy of http://diyweddingkits.blogspot.com

Known for their pristine beaches, rich history, and cultural vibrancy, Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya stand as magnets for travelers seeking a taste of paradise. However, reports of violence in other parts of Mexico often raises concerns about their safety.

  1. Violent Crime Rates:

To comprehend the safety spectrum, delving into violent crime statistics in Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya is crucial. According to data from Mexico’s National Public Security System, Puerto Vallarta reported approximately 234 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in 2020, while the Riviera Maya recorded around 107 cases per 100,000 residents. These figures, sound disconcerting, but in fact are very low compared to most travel destinations.

  1. Homicide Rates:

The homicide rates in these Mexican destinations offer another perspective   to help our understanding of safety. In 2020, Puerto Vallarta reported approximately 22 homicides, and the Riviera Maya had around 4 homicides. These are very low number and it is important to add that these statistics rarely include tourists.  In fact , millions and millions of tourists travel to Mexico every year without a hint of difficulties.

Contrasting Crime Metrics in US Cities

  1. New York City:

The grandeur of New York City is juxtaposed with crime rates influenced by its sheer size and diversity. In 2020, the city reported roughly 3,372 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and around 462 homicides. These figures, much higher than those of Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya, underscore that crime is not confined to any specific geography. For travelers, vigilance is a key tool, particularly in crowded spaces and during the night.

  1. Los Angeles:

Famed for its entertainment industry and sun-soaked beaches, Los Angeles grapples with a multifaceted safety landscape. According to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) program, the city reported approximately 785 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and around 350 homicides in 2020. While popular tourist areas maintain robust security, exploring less-frequented neighborhoods necessitates prudence and pre-trip research.

  1. Miami:

Miami’s captivating blend of beaches, nightlife, and vibrant culture is coupled with its own crime dynamics. In 2020, the city reported around 786 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and approximately 82 homicides. Concerns for tourists focus on property crime and theft, travelers can enhance their safety by avoiding ostentatious displays of valuables and choosing accommodations in secure neighborhoods.

  1. Chicago:

Chicago’s architectural splendor, renowned museums, and culinary scene are undeniable draws. However, safety considerations often feature prominently in conversations about the city. In 2020, Chicago reported roughly 940 violent crimes per 100,000 residents and around 775 homicides. While substantial efforts have been made to curb crime, certain neighborhoods continue to grapple with higher violence rates. Like the other US cities mentioned,  these numbers are again much higher than our featured areas in Mexico.

Drawing Insights and Implications

  • Puerto Vallarta and the Riviera Maya offer captivating beauty and culture, with safety protocols prioritizing tourists.
  • The apparent risk to tourists in these Mexican locales can be managed through basic common sense safety practices.
  • Prominent US cities like New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago each present distinct safety challenges, spanning property crime, theft, and sporadic violent incidents.  Americans and Canadians are likely to think of these areas as safer, but in fact they are safer going to Mexico !
  • A well-rounded approach to personal safety—whether traveling internationally or domestically— requires an informed perspective and common sense practices.


Embarking on a journey involves more than packing bags and choosing destinations; it’s also about safeguarding one’s well-being. By juxtaposing Puerto Vallarta, the Riviera Maya, and prominent US cities, we shed light on the universal nature of tourist safety concerns. Every locale holds its unique safety narrative, calling for proactive measures to ensure travelers’ peace of mind. While safety is always a relevant consideration,  Puerto Vallarta and Riviera Maya are clearly safe for travel.

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