If you have your cabbie take you to "Galleria Uno," (a wonderful local art gallery) It is only one or two blocks inland from the Malecon. (Yellow cabs on the street are MUCH cheaper than the white ones at the cruise ship terminal.)
The lady owners there, Jan & Martina have a magazine available called "Vallarta Lifestyle." It is free and very informative. There are many wonderful shops very close to this location and the magazine has great color pictures and ads for many of the better shops and restaurants.
I'm pretty sure Vallarta Lifestyle also has a website on which you can do some window shopping before you go. Do a Google search and I'm confident you'll find it.
There is also excellent shopping a little bit farther south on Vallarta Blvd.
The area where the Cuale crosses Vallarta Blvd. is called the "Zona Romantica." There are lots of lovely shops and restaurants nearby.
"Le Bistro," "Adobe Cafe" and "River Cafe" are lovely places to have lunch. The hotel "Rio Cuale" will let you use their pools and facilities for less than $10 per adult and $5 per child. Check out "Pie in the Sky" for great brownies if you need a chocolate fix.
If you want something more casual for lunch, "El Torito" has excellent pork ribs and huge buckets of fabulous steamed shrimp. (This is a funky sports bar with excellent food and service.)
Or "Mariscos Polo" is consistantly the best seafood restaurant in town at very modest prices. This is a locals hang out and not fancy. (But the food is GREAT!) If you are adventurous try a pulpo burrito, if not try a shrimp burrito. These are so good I dream of them.
Or "Burros Bar" (on the beach at Los Muertos Beach) has excellent fajitas, margaritas, and qeso fundito.
I hope this helps. We go to PV a lot so e-mail us if you fave further questions.