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Puerto Vallarta Tourists Being Affected By Large Traffic Jams

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Unfortunately, in the last few days, Puerto Vallarta has been affected by large traffic jams that have slowed down the number of tourists who decided to rent a car or take a taxi in the area. 

According to locals, these congestions are due to the lack of coordination between traffic lights.

Buildings and Hotel Zone in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

The congestion is now affecting several areas of the city, with the busiest street experiencing long queues every day.

Why has the traffic increased?

One of the main factors causing traffic in Puerto Vallarta is the daily arrival of thousands of tourists for the winter festivities. 

Large traffic jam with cars queueing

Some people also report that the problem is due to a lack of coordination between traffic lights in the area causing cars to constantly slow down. 

At the moment, the busiest areas are the Federal Highway 200, connecting Bahía de Banderas to Puerto Vallarta, as well as the main intersections, including Las Juntas, Marina Vallarta, Politécnico, La Isla, Las Glories, and Prisciliano Sánchez.

Despite the frustrating situation affecting thousands of tourists, for now, the Deputy Director of Transit, Diana Patricia Iturbide Espinoza has not publicly addressed the issue. 

A couple stands near a colorful umbrella display near restaurants and shops in the popular Zona Romantica in Puerto Vallarta

Several annoyed drivers have already reached out to local news platforms, including Tribuna de la Bahía and CPS Noticias, to complain about the current situation, but the local government still hasn’t taken any action to speed up the traffic. 

One of the people who contacted these platforms wrote: 

“I report that yesterday at the La Isla traffic light there was impressive traffic due to the fact that they put municipal Transit cadets to operate the traffic lights and they have no experience in it, creating road chaos. I hope Transit trains its new elements in knowing how to use and drive the traffic lights.”

Cars queuing on a busy street

Another person reported long queues on Francisco Villa Avenue which, according to him, are due to “the lack of synchronization of traffic lights.”

Are there too many cars in Puerto Vallarta?

Another possible reason causing large traffic jams in Puerto Vallarta right now is the incredibly high number of cars registered in the city. 

According to data published last year by the Ministry of Mobility and Transportation of the State of Jalisco, there are roughly 150,000 vehicles registered in Puerto Vallarta. 

Conchas Chinas Beach, Puerto Vallarta

These numbers are incredibly high, considering that this city has a population of roughly 221,000 citizens (as of 2014).

Not by chance, figures from mid-2023 ranked Jalisco as the third Mexican state when it comes to the number of registered vehicles, with a total of 4,186,105 cars circulating in the area. This represents 8% of the national total. 

At the moment, it is still unclear whether the local government is planning to solve the situation in any way. For instance, by coordinating traffic lights in the city. 

busy beach in puerto vallarta boat

However, many hope that with the end of the winter festivities, the traffic will somehow decrease, also due to the departure of most tourists in the area who will have to return to their daily jobs. 

How many tourists are there in Puerto Vallarta?

The high numbers of tourists visiting Puerto Vallarta are surely part of the problem. Not by chance, this destination has recently broken all its previous records, welcoming over 6 million and 42 thousand tourists in 2023. 

Considering Puerto Vallarta has a population of only 221 thousand citizens, these numbers are incredibly high and necessarily have an impact on the local traffic.

Sunset at the San Pancho beach in Nayarit, Mexico

According to the report published by the State Ministry of Tourism, most of the visitors heading here are from Mexico, meaning that the chances of them arriving in this city by car are higher, adding more vehicles to the 4,186,105 circulating in the city. 

People also seem to choose this destination for its beautiful surroundings, featuring charming villages, breathtaking beaches, and unspoiled natural areas. 

As public transportation is not a valuable option for many tourists, most visitors have no alternatives than renting a car upon arrival, perpetuating the congestion problem. 

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