(Before we started our trip to Mexico, Belize and maybe Guatemala, we read all the obligatory Lonely Planets and also a large document written especially for us by a friend who has travelled there 15 years ago. Cheers for that.)
Our friend warned us that this city was hell. However, since our plane landed here, it was inevitable to stay here at least one night. As a matter of fact, we never saw the “hotelera part” (the part where are all the fancy big hotels are) and only stayed in run-down shantytown part, near to the bus terminal, and that is not so bad for just a single night.
This town is a lot nicer than we expected. The town itself has an authentic rundown tropical feel to it, even though the main street is full of touristy restaurants and bars. Even so, the target group is tourists of the backpack variety and the atmosphere in town is friendly and calm.
The cabins at the side of the beach (a 10 minute ride by taxi away from the town itself) are a bit decaying, but since the beach is public, you can visit them by day, lie down in their hammocks, order reasonably priced iced teas (the water is purified) but at night sleep in town, where facilities are nicer and cheaper. Adventure is nice and all that, but I hate toilets that don´t flush properly and bedrooms that smell of toilets that do not flush properly, which is what the cabins at the beach side are like, unless you are willing to spend 100 $ per night.
Highlight of our stay: a visit to the cenote grande nearby (30 pesos for the taxi bringing us there). A cenote is a kind of access to subterranean sweet water rivers. They are really refreshing (much more so than the sea, which has warmer water).
The beaches are nice too (blue water, white sand), but the sun is violently intense and the water is rather warm.
There is also a (not too impressive) Mayan ruin but either you visit it before 8 in the morning or you cover yourself with 5 liters of sunscreen and a white bed sheet, because it is rather like visiting the Sahara, only with a lot more tourists. We arrived at 10 in the morning, without too many precautions, and since there are hardly any shadows at the ruin site, we were almost exterminated by a horde of Daleks. I am kidding of course. What I meant to say was that we were almost exterminated by the sun, which in any case is a lot more aggressive than a bunch of pepper pots of the BBC special effects department.