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Authorities Warn Puerto Vallarta Travelers About Crocodiles On Beaches

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The appearance of a growing number of crocodiles on Puerto Vallarta beaches is causing concern among officials and travelers alike.

Although they rarely attack visitors, a recent incident resulting in the death of a Canadian traveler in the Mexican Pacific has many wondering whether a similar incident could occur in Puerto Vallarta.

a beautiful beach in puerto vallarta

This week, officials have redoubled efforts to warn residents and travelers about approaching crocodiles on public beaches.

Crocodiles can be found in and around Puerto Vallarta, with much of the region’s geography providing a safe habitat for the species.

@luisamtona Crocodile at Riu Vallarta, Mexico #riuvallarta #puertovallarta #crocodile #crocodiles #hotel #resort #beach #riu #crocodileatriu #beach #blackflag #beachclosed #fyp #foryou #crocodileattack #vallarta #tui #holiday #trending #ohno #sea ♬ Oh No – Kreepa

With that in mind, here’s the latest on beach safety in Puerto Vallarta.

Crocodile Sightings In Puerto Vallarta Go Viral

It is a well-known fact that several species of crocodile inhabit the Mexican Pacific state of Jalisco. Even in Puerto Vallarta, one of the largest urban centers in the sun-soaked state, crocodile sightings are a regular occurrence.

@ryleeroundtheworld FOLLOW FOR MORE 🙏🏼 In honor of #nationalcrocodileday sharing this video I made last year around this time from my friend's condo here in Puerto Vallarta 🐊🐊 What commonly happens is Crocodiles' habitats are demolished for construction projects or golf courses #VidantaNuevoVallarta and Crocodiles lose their homes. They migrate, and when the rains come, they get swept into the rivers that connect to the ocean, so we see crocodiles on the beach/in the ocean like this. People complain about the presence of Crocodiles in the ocean waters, but it is truly a question of executing projects with sustainability and respect to displacing people/animals from their homes. It's not just foreigners visiting and seeking luxury resorts with ignorance to what they are contributing to with their dollar, it's also the greed of nationals building without considering what harm is being done, or worse, doing it anyway. Luckily, there are Crocodile Sanctuaries like @elcora.cocodrilario to mitigate damage. Respect, Sustainability & Conciousness to see outside of yourself is the answer. Money talks, so vote with your dollar. Shop local, support local, and pay respect to what came before you. #crocodile #visitpuertovallarta #wildanimals #wildlife #saltwatercrocodile ♬ original sound – Rylee | Plant Based Culture

But this year, officials are concerned due to an unusually high number of crocodiles currently calling Puerto Vallarta’s beaches home.

In previous years, it was not unusual to find crocodiles sunbathing in remote mangroves and lush terrain. The transition of the reptiles to increasingly urban areas now poses new risks to travelers.

That’s all the more so following a shocking incident in the nearby state of Guerrero, which resulted in the death of a Canadian traveler.

Although officials have claimed the incident was the result of a shark attack, marine biologists firmly believe a crocodile is to blame for the death of the elderly traveler. 

@gowithchris_ salt water crocodile in puerto vallarta Mexico 🇲🇽 #pinoyabroad #pinoy #crocodile #saltwatercrocodile #puertovallarta #mexico ♬ original sound – Go With Chris

Similar incidents have occurred in Puerto Vallarta as well, although they are extremely rare.

Last year, two U.S. travelers were bitten by a crocodile while swimming on Playa Bocanegra and were quickly rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

That’s why authorities are calling for travelers to increase greater caution when heading to public beaches in the area.

While crocodiles can be spotted across a number of beaches, they are most likely to be found in the Marina Vallarta area, which is home to a number of modern hotels and resorts.

@garcialendingteam #crocodile #puertovallarta #jaws #mexico #notcool ♬ Jaws Main Theme (From "Jaws") – Geek Music

Travelers are urged to keep a safe distance of at least 10 metres from crocodiles.

The reptiles should never be approached as they are wild animals and are highly unpredictable. Crocodiles are most likely to be active between dusk and dawn, during which time it is advised to avoid swimming in beaches.

This winter, local officials have significantly stepped up beach safety measures to protect travelers. With Puerto Vallarta soaring in popularity this year, the city is expecting a record-breaking season. 


Crocodile in Puerto Vallarta.

♬ original sound – Z

More lifeguards – up to 25 – have been deployed to watch over swimmers across the city’s main beaches. Meanwhile, officials have also invested greater sums into lifesaving equipment, which has already been used to rescue swimmers during strong currents and waves.

Even as Puerto Vallarta continues to improve safety for travelers, it’s still important to behave responsibly. Visitors should pay close attention to the city’s color-coded flag swimming system, which shows current conditions on city beaches.

@antonio_aithana12 #cocodrilo #puertovallarta ♬ 1 second count / when button pressed / time signal 23(1117365) – QUESS

While a green and yellow flag suggests optimal swimming conditions, a purple flag warns travelers of the presence of potentially dangerous marine wildlife, including sharks or crocodiles.

Fortunately, Puerto Vallarta is currently one of the safest cities in Mexico for travelers. According to a recent report, residents in the coastal hotspot feel the 5th safest out of any city in Mexico, a sentiment that is shared by millions of travelers who flock to Puerto Vallarta each year.

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