Holland America strongly "discourages" the use of independent operators. But that is simply to pad their profit margin. Use the independents! Here are the facts: 1) You will be completely safe. The area around the dock at Puerto Vallarta is regulated by the Mexican Federal government, which issues licenses to all tour operators. The Mexican government wants to promote tourism. Enough said. 2) The independents are much, much, cheaper then those operated by the cruise line. 3) The money that you spend with the independents stays local and helps improve the economy of the region. 4) The tours operated by independents are more comprehensive. Frankly, you see more stuff.
Hey if your going to the Malecon just take the city bus. You get it right across the street from Walmart going north. it is around .60 cents American each way. Yes the bus is a little rough because you are going on cobblestone streets but worth the money you save. To catch the bus back just catch a bus going south that says Walmart on it.Then you can explore the Malecon the church of our Lady of Guadeloupe for hardly anything. Go south on the Malecon to the flea markets for the best prices. The walk was perfectly safe no incidents.