We just came back from a month in Puerto Vallarta and it is wonderful, lots of good restaurants and shopping. Nuevo Vallarta is about 20 minutes north but it would definitely worth your while to go into town. You may get a public bus - we used them frequently - taxi may be expensive. Always negotiate with driver first. You will be in the high rise area on the beach. We went Whale Watching with Vallarta Adventures and had a wonderful day. If you go through a time-share presentation, you may get a good discount (up to $200 cash with some of them) This is the biggest area for tequila production and you can take zip rides through the forest.
Bucerias is a short taxi ride (or walk the beach-a few miles north of NV-Paradise Village. Or the bus, cheap but is difficult-time consuming, connection needed). You will find neat restaurants, and there is a flea mkt there. I forget which day the flea mkt is, but they sell jewelry, leather, textiles like local clothes, and they have pottery, etc at better prices. Go to tripadvisor for suggested restaurants. We love the ones along the beach-open air. In Nuevo Vallarta: At many hotels there is parasailing and connections to the boat trips. Good fun.