deborahkiely -- We had to adjust our plans a bit, as my husband slammed his foot into a sharp, skinny piece of metal rebar, sticking up from the ground, that punctured his foot on our first night, trying to walk to dinner in the dark, down the beach road in Tulum!
We initially planned to visit at least one cenote, but my husband was nervous about walking on wet, unsteady rocks, so the only cenote we toured was the dry cave at Aktun Chen. I think Gran Cenote and Dos Ojos are both good for diving, if I remember correctly? We initially planned to relax and snorkel only, so not 100% sure on that, but the internet can give you some pointers, for sure.
Tulum is interesting. We have been learning a lot about squatters since our visit. You'll see guard towers along the highway -- they are guarding the vacant land. Get off the main street in downtown Tulum, and check out the squatters village behind the hotels, shops and boutiques. We watched fishermen arrive at 6:30 AM every morning on the beach where we stayed, and I wondered where they could afford to live nearby, until we finally ventured into town, down a potholed road that Google maps had avoided routing us onto (it will put the potholes on the Tulum beach road to shame). Hidden behind the hotels & shops is a squatters village.
Places we liked for food: Mateo's had yummy chicken tacos and a fun beachy "Tulum" vibe, aside from the Americans blabbing about football (why can't we ever get away from football? haha). Fish bites were decent, burrito and taco salad were nothing exciting.
Honorio's Taqueria -- we tried poc chuc tacos for the first time and we liked it better than their cochinita. Our hotel front desk worker said they are decent, but not true Yucatan.
The best cochinita we had was a street tacos spot in downtown Playa del Carmen, called La Cochi Loka. You'll see a line in the street. Pink pig. I think you can sit at the spot next door if you buy a drink... we opted for a street seat and walked to the beach for a drink afterward. Long wait, but worth it.
For breakfast, we ate smoothie bowls at Lief's, a yummy vegan spot in Tulum, outside tables perfect for a sunny morning. Mostly European/American tourists dining. We also enjoyed Turtle Bay in Akumal (our second location) for breakfast (just typical breakfast, but great if you plan to snorkel with the turtles). We also ate at Imelda's in Akumal, more traditional.
The only underwhelming place we ate was Capitan's. Since we had a car, we prioritized places where we could park easily and not have to walk far with hubby's injured foot. No food we had was bad. Best food trip we've ever had.
Are you driving? If so, read up on the gas station scams, and I can tell you more about what we learned.
Tulum Ruins: Beautiful, all in hot sun after you pay to enter. If driving, ignore the folks yelling on the corner, saying you can't drive down the street and you must park in their lot by 7Eleven for $200 pesos... There is $100 peso parking down the street, on the left.
Follow the herds of folks walking down the street. Admission was $85 pesos a person, sign on the window said no change, cash only. We lucked out with exact change. You can pay for a guide, but it was our first outing post foot-injury, we opted to go solo, take things at our pace. We spent close to 2 hours there, from parking, walking, then back to the car. It was really busy by 11:30AM.
Coba Ruins: Less scammy-feeling, more simple & straightforward than Tulum. $50 or 60 pesos for parking (they should be able to give you change). I think $100 pesos each for entry. Once inside, you can rent bikes, or get a pedi-cab. We paid $150 pesos for a pedi-cab to drive us around (had we not had an injury, a walk or bike in the shaded jungle would have been nice). He gave us some information about the ruins, too. Super nice guy, and we tipped him well. Keep lots of small bills for frequent tips. Have fun! Let me know if you have more Q's!