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Officials Warn Travelers As Crocodiles Make Appearance On Several Puerto Vallarta Beaches

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Travelers are being warned to watch out for crocodiles on Puerto Vallarta’s beaches as the aquatic reptiles grow in number across the coastal destination. 

This week, residents and travelers took to social media to share pictures and videos of crocodiles spotted relaxing on local beaches. City officials are now warning passersby to be cautious when enjoying beaches, with experts claiming that crocodiles are now trying to reclaim their natural habitat.

Aerial view of the downtown area in puerto vallarta with a beach

As Puerto Vallarta heads into the busy winter season, here’s the latest on crocodile spottings in the coastal hotspot and what travelers can do to stay safe.

Should Travelers Be Worried About Crocodiles In Puerto Vallarta Beaches?

Puerto Vallarta is one of the trendiest beach destinations this year in Mexico. The Pacific hotspot offers a unique blend of culture, history, and stunning miles-long beaches.

But this year, travelers might have to share popular public beaches with a surprising newcomer: crocodiles. 

a remote beach in puerto vallarta with swimmers

This week, local media sources reported a huge number of sightings of American crocodiles (Crocodylus acutus) across several beaches in Puerto Vallarta.

Measuring up to three meters in length, these aquatic reptiles have caught travelers and residents off guard, especially as many visitors are unaware that crocodiles inhabit the Mexican Pacific destination. 

@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

To make matters worse, many crocodiles have been spotted on some of the busiest beaches in Puerto Vallarta, including in the Marina Vallarta neighborhood.

Despite signs posted on public avenues and beaches warning travelers to keep their distance from the reptiles, many individuals have been seen getting up close and personal with the crocodiles. 

The American crocodile is one of three species of crocodile found in Puerto Vallarta. Although the region is the natural habitat for the species, officials say that the number of crocodiles in the sun-drenched hotspot is increasing, leading to a higher risk for travelers and residents. 

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

Authorities have taken measures to prevent tourists from running into crocodiles by increasing awareness of the issue.

Crocodiles are most likely to be active during the evening and nighttime and can be found near the shoreline and in rivers. 

According to officials, crocodiles are most likely to be spotted in the Estero El Salado Park, Playa Boca de Tomates, and the hotel zone by Marina Vallarta. Meanwhile, crocodiles are also ubiquitous in the Playa de Oro and Playa Flamingo beaches due to their proximity to the El Pitillal river. 

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

Fortunately, injuries caused by crocodiles are rare. Last year, two U.S. travelers were injured after being attacked by a crocodile on Bocanegra beach in Marina Vallarta. The victims received only minor injuries and were rushed to a nearby hospital for treatment. 

Travelers are being warned to keep a safe distance from crocodiles and to avoid throwing objects or food at the reptiles. Although crocodiles in Puerto Vallarta coexist with humans in an urban environment, they are wild animals and can be unpredictable. 


Crocodile in Puerto Vallarta.

♬ original sound – Z

With Puerto Vallarta’s travel numbers set to explode over the coming months, authorities and environmental protection experts will continue to increase awareness of crocodiles. 

Travelers who wish to see crocodiles safely can book one of many guided tours and excursions or visit a crocodile sanctuary.

The Cora Crocodile Sanctuary is one of the most popular ways to observe these majestic reptiles in their natural environment.

@twosolesabroad Top 8 Must Do Things in📍Puerto Vallarta, Mexico 🇲🇽 #travel #mexicotravel ♬ Snowman – 헐 잘생겼다 Ryujin

Visitors can purchase general admission to the sanctuary or book a guided tour for a more personalized experience.

Puerto Vallarta’s protected natural areas, such as the Estero El Salado, also offer a unique opportunity to witness crocodiles.

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