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Warning Flag Raised As Sharks Spotted At Popular Puerto Vallarta Beach 

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The Mayor of Puerto Vallarta, Luis Alberto Michel Rodríguez, recently announced that a shark was spotted on a Puerto Vallarta beach.

The specimen was found by a boat out to sea, and the people on board immediately reported the news to the local authorities. 

People on a beach in Puerto Vallarta on a cloudy day

This was the only specimen spotted near Puerto Vallarta in the last few days. However, lifeguards and local experts remain vigilant. 

Talking about the issue, the Mayor of Puerto Vallarta said: “There is a (…) shark in sight. We don’t know what direction it may take. It may come to the shore or it may be passing through. But when there is an alert like this one, the Civil Protection always (…) [display] the red flag.”

This is why, currently some of Puerto Vallarta’s beaches present a red flag, indicating a prohibition of entering the water, or a purple flag, meaning that dangerous animals were found in the ocean. 

Purple flag flying in the air

Whenever tourists see one of these, they should opt for another beach or another activity entirely due to the high levels of danger. 

In particular, the purple flag was raised on Melaque Beach, but other areas may now be closed to the public due to this recent announcement.

Are sharks in Puerto Vallarta dangerous? 

Shark attacks in Puerto Vallarta are incredibly rare. Despite common beliefs, these animals are quite docile, and it’s very unusual for them to attack bathers. 

People on a beach in Puerto Vallarta on a cloudy day

Nonetheless, it is always important to remain vigilant as these animals can sometimes be fatal. Unfortunately, only a few days ago, a woman in Jalisco was killed by a shark while she was swimming with her daughter on the beach of Cihuatlán.

The woman managed to get out of the sea alive but did not survive the injuries. Lifeguards immediately took action, but it was already too late. 

Which shark species can be found in Puerto Vallarta? 

Several sharks can be found in the waters surrounding Puerto Vallarta. 

A nurse shark swimming with other sharks

Nurse sharks are among the most common types. Also known as the ‘couch potato of the shark world’ as you can imagine by their nickname, these fish are pretty harmless. Nurse sharks tend to vacuum up their food and have no interest in humans.

Another shark found in the Puerto Vallarta area is the whitetip shark. Easily recognizable by the white tip of its dorsal, pectoral, and tail fins, these animals are quite difficult to spot. 

White tip sharks can be quite dangerous as they are known for attacking victims of shipwrecks. However, they prefer deeper and cooler waters than the ones typical in Puerto Vallarta and are therefore, rarely spotted here. 

aerial of shark off coast of mecixo

Whale sharks are also quite common in the Bay of Banderas. Despite their aggressive name, these animals are incredibly docile. They only eat plankton and are therefore not interested in humans. 

Whale sharks are the largest fish in the world, so spotting one can be a great experience. 

Apart from sharks, some of the other potentially dangerous animals found in Puerto Vallarta include jellyfish and crocodiles. 

Are Puerto Vallarta’s Beaches safe? 

View of tied boats, Pichon Restaurant, and beach umbrellas at this small beachfront town just south of Puerto Vallarta and popular for swimming, and paragliding

Considering this recent announcement, visitors wanting to see Puerto Vallarta soon to enjoy its breathtaking beaches may now be wondering whether this area is safe. 

The truth is that, despite the recent shark spotted in the area, Puerto Vallarta remains incredibly safe

While it’s important to specify that not all beaches here are swimmable and that sometimes sea conditions can become extremely dangerous, most areas in the city are calm and safe throughout the year. 

aerial view las conchas beach

On top of this, expert lifeguards frequently patrol the most popular beaches, especially right now, during the high season, to make sure every bather is safe at all times. 

Whenever sea conditions become dangerous, warning flags are immediately raised to warn tourists. Just this year, the local government has purchased new lifesaving equipment, allowing lifeguards to act promptly whenever needed. 

Apart from its beaches, Puerto Vallarta’s authorities are constantly working on new initiatives to increase the safety levels of their city. 

Group of pelicans flying on the beach at sunset - Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico

For instance, by regularly updating tourists on the latest frauds in the area so that they can avoid getting scammed. 

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