Pollution in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Pollution in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Air Pollution
63.30 High
Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility
41.67 Moderate
Dissatisfaction with Garbage Disposal
58.14 Moderate
Dirty and Untidy
61.11 High
Noise and Light Pollution
68.60 High
Water Pollution
59.66 Moderate
Dissatisfaction to Spend Time in the City
61.41 High
Dissatisfaction with Green and Parks in the City
47.73 Moderate

Purity and Cleanliness in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Air quality
36.70 Low
Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility
58.33 Moderate
Garbage Disposal Satisfaction
41.86 Moderate
Clean and Tidy
38.89 Low
Quiet and No Problem with Night Lights
31.40 Low
Water Quality
40.34 Moderate
Comfortable to Spend Time in the City
38.59 Low
Quality of Green and Parks
52.27 Moderate

Contributors: 47

Last update: October 2019

These data are based on perceptions of visitors of this website in the past 3 years.

If the value is 0, it means it is perceived as very low, and if the value is 100, it means it is perceived as very high.

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DeutschUmweltverschmutzung in Puerto Vallarta
PortuguêsPoluição em Puerto Vallarta
ItalianoInquinamento a Puerto Vallarta
FrançaisPollution à Puerto Vallarta
EspañolContaminación en Puerto Vallarta

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15 Comments so far

#Felipe Fernandez on Sep 26, 2019 :
Puerto Vallarta not only has bad air pollution but often has raw sewage running in the streets, particularly in the Romantic Zone. It only takes a moment for flies who have landed in this sewage to eat it to contaminate your food with up to ten pathogens that can be fatal. This would never be associated with the sewage but would in fact be blamed on the food.
#James Smith on Mar 13, 2019 :
Does anyone know the current bacterial levels in the ocean water. (after the leak of black water) specially near los Muertos beach
#jake Kwakernaak on Mar 13, 2019 :
A big thank you to all the people leaving a comment! I have been coming to PV for some twenty years and this year is by far the worst one for breathing. I thought it was just me. A few weeks after arriving I couldn’t breathe especially at night. Sinus and chest infection. After three and a half months and multiple medications i still are not free of the problem. Instead of solving problems like air pollution water pollution etc. our “esteemed “ Puerto Vallarta mayor is urging the press not to report on problems like this because it’s bad for touristm! The implementation of the new buses is a huge improvement but it’s not enough.
I hate to give up our PV vacation but something has to give!
#Jay on Mar 19, 2018 :
Went to el Tuito today on bus throat cleared immediately on arrival. Back in Pv. 3 hrs later Soar throat return ed immediately. Might try it again this week. Before
Going home. Will have to make a decision then
#Kevin from USA on Mar 11, 2018 :
I'm coming up on 1 year of living in Vallarta, but I came here to live. I've had a few skin disorders mainly on my feet, but they all heal eventually some requiring topical creams. I'm not convinced this is from pollution. I think with all the buses that run they would switch those from diesel to natural gas and my guess is that will probably be coming. My only suggestion is no matter where you are staying if there is a trash receptacle next to the toilet help and discard the used hygiene paper there. This will help preserve one of your favorite places to visit (or live).
#Timothy Watson on Mar 02, 2018 :
We have visited Puerto Vallarta for 10 years now. We come down for 2 weeks the same time every year. Last week of Feb and first week of March. I have noticed that alot of the Trees are in bloom. PV is a beautiful place with great people but... alas this is the fifth Winter vacation where I have been stuck in a hotel room. We are cutting this stay 2018 March 2 short by 8 days... and flying back to Canada. I cannot wait to see my Dr. Each year about Day 3 into vacation I start with sneezing, water eyes, then an intense cough that lasts for weeks. I did a complete allergy test with a Specialist back in Canada last year before we came down but he said I had NO allergies? At a loss, don't know if its the pollution (traffic in old town, something different in the Milk, or Pollen) This year just as in others --- I am retiring him sick and will need a vacation from not having a Vacation and recovering with one or two visits form my Dr. NO MORE PV. MEXICO for me.
#Paul S on Feb 19, 2018 :
We having been coming to Puerto Vallarta on winter holidays for 8 years now. The air pollution has been getting progressively worse. During February 2017 my allergies and asthma were both acting up, but controlled with medications. February 2018 and my breathing was affected right away on arrival. After five days I had to go to the CMQ Hospital as I could not stop coughing and I was having serious problems breathing. I was put on oxygen and ventillun treatments and then after four hours released. I was ble to finish out our two week holiday, but had to keep our condo closed up from early evening til late in the morning. There is smoke in the air every morning and the air pollution from all the old diesel busses makes breathing difficult. After returning home to Canada after a few days my breathing returned to normal. Next winter we will have to find a new winter vacation destination.
#Sunny on Mar 31, 2017 :
My husband, me, and a friend from Hawaii went to PV for a week. On the third day, we all came down with bronchitis. My friend and I just couldn't shake it and had to take antibiotics. I am presently on Day 9 and am still in bed with no appetite and deep fatigue.

When we were in Mexico City last month my husband and I both caught colds. Mine hung on for weeks.

Is it the air quality? I certainly suspect so!
##anonymous2 on Mar 22, 2017 :
It's too bad. We just returned from PV and as we flew in I saw 3 huge trash fires, so was not surprised to awaken to a nasty smog bank crawling across the bay towards the ocean at Nuevo Vallarta. Yep, reminded me of the view from the Pasadena freeway - when I was a girl you could actually see the Pacific from up there - not any more. Back to PV - the place is beautiful and we were generally treated well, but between the car noise and the smog, I don't think I'm going back. Such a opportunity for Mexico to install solar panels, introduce some closed system energy producing trash burners, and show the rest of the world how it is done. Apparently California hasn't been able to figure out how to do this - even with brains and money (more like greed "Trumps" common sense). It will require a tax base. Those people serving your drinks and cleaning your room are getting a $1-2 an hour. No taxes coming from those guys is going to get the job done. Are the tourists willing to help pay for that through increased prices? How do the profits of these big international hotels chains fall into this? Their business is heavily contributing to the issue, shouldn't they be part of the solution? Very sad - ignorance and bullying are the order for humanity. Are we like yeast? Doomed to die in our own effluent?
#wendy noble on Feb 11, 2017 :
This the 5th year in PV area for me and the smoke, which also smells like trash being burned, is 100% worse than last year. I moved out to Nuevo the last 2 years as I couldn't handle the exhaust stench in downtown PV. I have to close my doors and windows every evening and only open them up later in the morning. I definately won't be returning here to holiday next year unless, by some miracle, it clears up. Do the not realize that they are suffocating the goose that lays the golden egg?
#Susan on Feb 09, 2017 :
We are staying in Nuevo Vallarta now for the second winter and we are thinking twice about returning because of the air pollution! Such a beautiful place but we now have to close all doors and windows by 8pm and keep them clos d till 8 am. There is garbage being burned and we can see the plumes of smoke from our condo balcony. It is so smoky at times that we cannot see the beautiful Sierra Madre Occidental mountains! What a shame. Some mornings we cannot even see the ocean and our condo is right on the beach. The smoke stinks and it catches in our air passages. We agree with the other people commenting here that the vehicle pollutions is bad in Puerto Vallarta but out here in Nuevo the incinerators are causing most of the problem.
#Adam on Dec 04, 2016 :
I just got back from 2 weeks in Old town. Last year went down for the same 2 weeks for the first time. I lucked out last year as it was still rainy season (Hurricance Patricia just missed PVR 3 weeks before I arrived and another tropical storm came and it rained 2 days). Rainy season I heard the pollution isn't as big of a problem as it rains and is windier so the pollution doesn't sit all day over the town and bay area as much. This year was less humid, not as windy and no rain (assuming the normal weather for the peak tourist season). The air quality was much worse and Day 3 I came down with a sinus infection. Luckily I wasn't staying in a place with A/C and had lots of fresh fruit juice and tea and was over the worst of it in 4 days but effects still lingering. I was a bit run down before I left this year which also contributed to getting sick.

The worst sinus infection I got was on a bus tour in Europe (triggered in Barcelona, similar topography to PVR) and the A/C on the bus kept me sick for 3 weeks.

I loved PVR (food, people, sights & activities) but will definitely hold off on going back I think.

I agree with Jeff about the buses and cabs. PVR has similar topography to Los Angeles and Barcelona where the air sits all day long. According to Numbeo the PVR air pollution is similar as those two cities. What the main difference is with PVR is the population isn't even 1/4th of either of those cities and half the economy is tourism based. I would guess the per capita # of cars on the road in PVR is also less than LA or Barcelona. I didn't see any big industrial areas flying into the city so part of the problem must be poor emission controls or regulations on the cars and buses (especially the buses!). Now these controls would drive prices up which could keep tourists away but so will the smog for those who are affected by it. All the buses are probably 30 years old and a lot of the cabs are 10-15 years.

It would be great if a small hotel or airport tax is introduced to pay to get these upgraded.

Especially for the residents of the city who live there year round.
#jeff on Mar 20, 2016 :
Puerto Vallarta officials wake up,
This city is dying from pollution,
I Just got back from six weeks stay near downtown,
Having been to Vallarta many times over twenty years ago
It was really heartbreaking to see and breath the heavily polluted air
Definitely reminded me of being in mexico city and Los angeles
Thanks doctor adams for documenting this.
the only days one could see across the bay were after a big rain storm.
I hiked up to the hill where the cross stands and you could see the heavy haze
Walk down the streets of downtown for a couple hours and you taste it for a whole
Day. Only when tourism and property values in vallarta plummets will maybe be something done
How bout start with mandatory emission controls on all taxis and busses?
Straight piped diesels in this day and age??
In canada even off road sump trucks have emission controls.
Shame on you mexican officials for trying to buy off doctor Adams results...
Vallarta tourist businesses its in tour best interest to pursue this before all your businesses
Fail once enough people sick of the pollution vote with their feet and find somewhere else...
#Dr. Martin Adams on Jan 23, 2016 :
I hold a Doctorate in Chemistry and a have Master's Degree in Engineering. I have worked for the United State EPA for 26 years before I recently began teaching as a University Professor. I was told about the Heavy Air Pollution in Puerto Vallarta Mexico by some US Citizens who have visited Puerto Vallarta numerous times over the years. They told me about the Puerto Vallarta Air Pollution concerns.
I was asked to visit Puerto Vallarta as their special guest several times last year. They wanted to know the Truth about the Air Pollution in Puerto Vallarta. While I was in Puerto Vallarta I completed numerous Air Pollution tests. The Good news is that the Air Pollution is not as Bad as Mexico City. The Air Pollution test results did indicate very clearly that the Air Pollution in Puerto Vallarta today is nearly as bad as the Air Pollution in and around Los Angeles California today.
I showed my Puerto Vallarta Air Pollution results to several city & several state Politicians
in both Puerto Vallarta and in that state Capital. I also showed them my US EPA Credentials.
I was treated with a great deal of Respect. I was also offered a Nice Cash Reward by several Mexican politicians if I would discard my Puerto Vallarta Air Pollution test results. I said I would think about it. I then quickly departed Mexico with all my test results. My advice to every one who lives in Puerto Vallarta today, is relocate to another city in Mexico ASAP where there is NO serious air pollution, if you can find a city in Mexico without any serious air pollution. The Air Pollution in Puerto Vallarta is extremely unhealthy and dangerous to all humans visiting or living in Puerto Vallarta. It will get much worse as time goes on.
#JasmineinNM on Dec 29, 2015 :
I am a newbie here to PV and I can confirm....this city is heavily polluted
with exhaust fumes. I gag every time I get in a taxi who then drives up behind
one of the hundreds of buses and tourist buses belching out black smoke.

In the two months I have been here this is how it has affected me. The second week
I got here I got a really really bad bronchitis. I felt like I would choke to death.
I had to go find a doctor who then gave me 4 prescriptions. I felt like I was literally
drowning in fluid in my lungs. Well, even with the antibiotics that lasted 3 weeks.
I then had a "spell of wellness" for two weeks and it all came back again. I have
dark circles under my eyes. This is not good! The endless coughing just wears one out.

I had thought about moving from my little apt. up to Nuevo Vallarta but wanted to find out
about air quality so I started searching and that is how I found this thread.

I did notice right away under my arrival in PV that there is a constant grey haze that
never disperses. I knew that was not good. I asked several people about the haze and they
were dumber then dumb about it. I guess no one looks up.

I am up a hill with some 130 steps to ground level but I can smell the horrible exhaust pollution
from the highway wafting up the hill.

I have allergies and apparently living here is not going to be good for me.

I am disappointed and now have to look to live elsewhere but where is the question.

Honestly, I don't know how the locals survive here working everyday in the many little shops
along the bus route from Old Town/Romantic Zone up to the Hotel Zone. Their lungs must be black
with soot. I feel sorry for them because at least I can leave and most of them can't nor do they
connect the bad air with sickness.

I didn't know anything about the PV curse until this thread but I am very glad to have found out
about it. Now I know what I have to do...............MOVE.