to people who have NOT walked the walk!!
my advice??drive MEXICO!!
LIVE a bit wild...
We have rented a car in Cancun (EVERY) trip..
You will be at the mercy,of the third world ,if you adventure,without command of you own vehicle...you will miss a great deal of personel flexibility, if you like to come and go as you please...
Cancun has the BEST highway system in all of Mexico!!
A few tricks,to remember...1) slow down when you see the TOPAS sign!!.(.mexican ,speed bump!).... huge!...2)drive agressively,like you would in a big city..And 3)
also..carry,a $20....A $50....and a $100. dollar bill in your purse for bribes..
Its not a big deal in mexico, and in the UNLIKELY event ,you DO get pulled over..show the money ...(in increments)..say nothing...but NEVER give them your license!!!...(unless you do get into an accident...unlikely)...you have to remember..be nice ..but firm... it is always a negotiation!
also..get the max liabilty insurance..just in case..
Cars are cheap to rent in mexico...but U. S. insurance will not transfer..
P.Vallarta ???rent a taxi..too small of an area..
Riviera maya..Cancun area
is a huge playground ,with LOTS to see and DO!!...do not limit yourself!!
For someone that claims to have walked the walk, with all due respect this is very poor advice.
Try this instead:
#1 Research la mordida, know what it is, and how not to become a victim. There are entire web sites devoted to this one topic alone.
#2 Buckle your seat belt
#3 Obey ALL traffic laws. One more time: OBEY ALL TRAFFIC LAWS.
#4 Do not keep up with traffic, since 99.8% are speeding. **Here's where most people fail**
#5 Do not think you can blend in with local traffic, your rental car is a marked target and is easily spotted by policia **again, where people fail**
#6 Move all of you money to a money belt. Keep none in your wallet. This goes for your passengers also.
#7 Have a spotter with good eyesight in the front passenger seat helping you spot the ever changing speed limit signs. Obey all of them.
#8 Stay in the right lane at all times. You will be passed on your left like you're standing still. Pay no attention to them - they're locals. They're also gringos that haven't a clue, and you may see a few later up the road pulled over by the policia.
#9 If you followed # 1-8 above, you will not be pulled over, since gringos trying to blend in with traffic and thus speeding are so prevalent, they are easy pickins for the policia. Police DO NOT pull over someone that obeying all traffic laws.
#10 In the unlikely event that you are pulled over because you didn't follow these steps, or missed a speed limit change, DO NOT PAY A BRIBE TO THE OFFICER.
Doing so is illegal, and you are then just as guilty paying a bribe as the officer is asking for one. You are also perpetuating the problem. Stand your ground, politely, and ask for the ticket. Or, ask the officer to take you to the police station to pay it. A that point, the office will undoubtedly let you go, and go for an easier target.
#11 Do not give the officer your license until you have written down his name and badge number. You can communicate these points easily enough even if you don't speak Spanish.
#12 When filling up, get out of the vehicle, check to see the pump has been zeroed out, then tell the attendant how much fuel you want. Watch the pump for the correct amount. Pay attention.
13. Find Articulo 152, print a copy and present it to the officer in the unlikely event you are pulled over.
These tips are from driving the area for over 17 years, and collected from my own research and experience. I have never been pulled over a single time, and firmly believe that those that claim they were pulled over "for no reason" are simply mistaken, missed the speed limit change, or unwilling to admit they made a mistake. Good luck, and do a little homework. It's nice to have the freedom of your own wheels.
Oh, and to answer the OP's question: Cancun certainly wouldn't require a car since the bus system is inexpensive, will get you to most anywhere and is frequent. Taxis are also everywhere. PV is spread out. Cabo, cn't comment - never been there.