Staying safe in a foreign country is essential for having a fun and memorable vacation. And while Puerto Vallarta is a popular destination for travelers and beachgoers, many still question if it’s safe to take a taxi around the city.
As someone who has spent a bit of time in PV, I can say first-hand that I’ve never had a problem taking a cab. However, crime and petty theft can be an issue (as with any part of the world). As such, there are some important safety concerns to consider if you’re planning to take a taxi during your trip.
Don’t miss out on any of Puerto Vallarta’s amazing golf courses while you’re visiting, too!
Are Taxis Safe in Puerto Vallarta?
Generally speaking, it is perfectly safe to take a taxi while you’re in Puerto Vallarta. In fact, it’s one of the most common forms of transportation for locals and tourists! However, there are some precautions travelers need to take in order to make sure their ride goes as smoothly as possible.
If you want to know all about taxi safety in Puerto Vallarta, you’re in the right place. I’ll share a few safety tips as well as must-know info for traveling around the city.
Safety Issues Taking Taxis in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta is one of the safest places for tourists in Mexico, but that doesn’t mean it’s completely immune to occasional crimes or scams. Here are a few things to be aware of when taking traveling in and around the city:
- Only take licensed cabs. Unauthorized taxis are less reliable and will likely overcharge you.
- Confirm the price. Taxis in Puerto Vallarta are not metered, so it’s crucial that you agree on a set price before getting in (I’ll talk more about this later).
- Bring cash. Most taxis do not accept credit card payments. The only exception is when booking at the booth at the airport or taking a rideshare car via a mobile app. And make sure you’re paying in pesos, not US dollars!
- Check for safety equipment. While road accidents are rare, they can happen. Make sure your taxi is in good shape and has seatbelts, as these may be missing from older vehicles.
- Have a written address. English is becoming more common here, but it’s still rare for taxi drivers to speak fluently. Make sure you have the exact address on your phone or written down for the driver.
Taking a Taxi in Puerto Vallarta
It’s important to know that you can take three different types of taxis in the city – yellow cabs, large SUVs, and federal taxis.
The most common taxi is the yellow cab. This is your typical taxi which can hold up to three people. If you need more space, you can also hire a large SUV, which can fit up to five passengers.
The federal taxis in Puerto Vallarta are the ones you’ll take when going to and from the airport. These cabs are white and the only ones that are legally allowed to make airport runs (although many people skirt around this by taking rideshare cabs or yellow cabs to save money).
Picking up a taxi is easy, as many of them can be hailed directly from the street. You’ll also find official taxi ranks outside tourist areas like shopping centers or hotels. If you prefer to call ahead to reserve a cab, you can do this too, although prices can be higher than just flagging one down on the road.
As I mentioned, rideshare cars are also available in PV. You can use Uber (which is the most common), although there’s also a local app called InDriver which works the same way.
Are Taxis Metered?
When I first visited Puerto Vallarta, I was shocked to find out that taxis here were not metered. The city is divided into zones, and the price is determined by where you want to go.
The further away you go outside of the city, the higher the zone and the cost of the taxi. Marina Vallarta is Zone 1A, the Hotel Zone is Zone 1, Downtown & the Romantic Zone is Zone 2, Southern Nuevo Vallarta is also Zone 2, Mismaloya & South Zone is Zone 3, and Northern Nuevo Vallarta is Zone 3 as well.
Since cabs aren’t metered, you’ll need to talk with the driver to confirm the price before getting inside. While drivers are legally required to follow zone pricing, not all of them do (especially if you look like a lost tourist!). If you want to avoid being overcharged, familiarize yourself with the zoning price system and double-check the cost when getting into a cab.
How Much Does it Cost to Take a Taxi in PV?
Compared to the United States, taking a cab in Puerto Vallarta is relatively cheap. However, zone prices have changed since I last visited, so you should look at pricing when you arrive at the airport. There’s usually a zoning map with signage showing the cost from one place to another.
But as a rule of thumb, you can expect to pay around 50 to 60 MXN (roughly USD 3) to travel somewhere within the same zone. If you are going to a different zone, you can add an additional 10 MXN to your total bill.
The price of going to and from the airport with a federal taxi is a bit more expensive. Depending on where you’re coming from or going to, this can be anywhere from 300 MXN to 700 MXN. It will also cost more if you’re traveling with more passengers or extra luggage.
If you want to use a rideshare app, you might find that the total price is a bit cheaper than licensed cabs. But unlike traditional taxis, Uber does have surge pricing during times of high demand, which can increase the cost of your bill.
Which is Safer? A Taxi or an Uber?
While in Puerto Vallarta, I’ve taken both cabs and Ubers without ever running into any issues. However, I would say that Ubers are generally considered much safer – especially for tourists, solo travelers, or women.
Not only does Uber perform background checks on drivers, but they also have strict safety measures to protect passengers. For example, you can check out a driver’s ratings and reviews before getting inside. Your car and ride are also GPS-tracked, and you have the option to share your journey with friends and families.
Uber is also a cashless system, which is extremely helpful if you haven’t exchanged currency. This also reduces your risk of theft or robbery, as you aren’t required to carry around cash.
While Uber is the safer option, remember that you’re still getting in a car with a stranger! For this reason, you’ll want to verify your info with the driver and stay alert while you’re on the road.
Safety is a top concern for many travelers going to Puerto Vallarta. And while taking a cab requires some precautions, it’s a relatively safe way to get around the city. While I would suggest using a rideshare app like Uber, you should also feel comfortable taking a licensed cab or federal taxi. Just make sure to follow the steps I outlined above to ensure a safe and pleasant experience while taking a taxi in Peurto Vallarta!