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Should we rent car or use taxis/buses in Nuevo Vallarta/Flamingos?

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We're staying for one week at the Villa del Palmar Flamingos (North of Nuevo Vallarta...very near Bucerias). We'll spend 2-3 days probably relaxing at the resort, taking the walk up to Bucerias, etc. However, we'll want to go into Puerta Vallarta once or twice to walk the malecon, see old town, etc. Plus we'll have to get from the airport to the resort and back. I typically like to have a car to explore -- for example, I enjoyed driving the Ruta Panaramica across Puerto Rico in a rental car. Downsides in PR seem to be difficulty parking and high insurance rates. My insurance company will only cover rentals within 75 miles of the US border. Also, I read in one forum that one gentleman was "shaken down" by the cops who took his 200 pesos because (he thinks) he was an easy target since his rental car said "Thrifty Rental" or some such thing across the back window.
How hard is it to figure our which bus to take? We don't speak much Spanish. Is the bus a fun trip or just something you do to save money?

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