We are staying at the Mayan Palace.... We will probably make 5 or 6 trips into downtown...!
We've rented cars in other parts of Mexico, but I would be really nervous driving in downtown P.V. I think it is the craziest, fastest, driving I've ever witnessed. The roads are cobblestone also, so they are very bumpy. I have never noticed any "parking lots," just street-side parking. I, myself, would never rent in P.V. Taking a bus into downtown from Nuevo Vallarta is very inexpensive. If you come home in the evening, you will have to take a cab because bus service stops. Cab fare to Nuevo Vallarta is around $15 one way (you can try and get if for less, we did).
I wouldn't..."loco" drivers and "loco" rules...
Take the bus...it's cheap! And you can get off where you want....
A friend of mine recently returned from the Vallarta area ... he rented a car. He was in a traffic accident ... hit by a moped driver who had run a traffic light. My friend spent a few hours in a local jail!
We've been to Mexico before, and returning to NV in August. I'll use the local transportation. However, I also do some consulting work in northern Mexico in border towns, and use a rental car there (but, I always have local people as references and I speak Spanish pretty well).
We rented a car to go north to Punta Mita Sayulita and Bucerias. 1 day rental.
Driving in PV proper is NUTS! First they drive crazy and 2nd there is NO PARKING. Cabs and busses are cheap, take a taxi.
Not to put a damper on anyone. I saw two mangled taxis today. The only serious accident my husband was ever in was when he was in a taxi here. I personally don't like the fact there are virtually no seatbelts in cabs here.
If you're used to driving in cities you wouldn't find driving in Puerto Vallarta all that bad despite what anyone may say. But from a purely cost perspective, cabs and buses are a bargain. If all you want to do is go into the city from Nuevo Vallarta, and walk around, by all means take cabs and buses. They're dirt cheap (comparatively).