One of Mexico’s best-kept secrets, Puerto Morelos is an idyllic seaside village with a slower pace of life. It is filled with sandy beaches, attractions for the whole family and opportunities for adventure travel, which is why it should be on every traveler’s must-visit list.
Read on for the ultimate guide to Puerto Morelos.
Where is Puerto Morelos Located in Mexico?
Puerto Morelos is a beach town and seaport located on the Yucatan Peninsula, within the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. The town is situated about 36 kilometers south of Cancun, and 30 kilometers north of Playa Del Carmen.
What Does Puerto Morelos Mean in English?
“Puerto” is a Spanish word which translates to “port” in English. “Morelos” is derived from José María Morelos, the Mexican Independence leader after whom the town is named. Therefore “Puerto Morelos” in English means the “Port of Morelos.”
Is It Safe to Travel to Puerto Morelos for Tourists?
Yes, it is generally safe for tourists to travel to Puerto Morelos, thanks to efforts by the Mexican government to protect the tourism industry in the Yucatan Peninsula. That said, being a tourist town, Puerto Morelos is not immune to opportunistic crimes against tourists such as petty theft. It is therefore important for visitors to always use their common sense while vacationing here.
Is Puerto Morelos a Good Place to Vacation?
Yes, Puerto Morelos is a good place to vacation.
Here are some reasons why you should go to Puerto Morelos:
- Beautiful Nature: Puerto Morelos is home to the world’s second largest barrier reef which teems with a diversity of colorful marine life. Divers can swim among sea turtles, visit shipwrecks and explore cenotes (large limestone sinkholes). There is also a two-kilometer stretch of mangrove where you can take a walk and see diverse wildlife, including crocodiles and aquatic birds.
- Stunning Beaches: Puerto Morelos has a long, flat beach that provides easy access to the ocean. The beach boasts pristine white sands lapped by warm azure waters that are ideal for swimming and other watersports. The beach in Puerto Morelos has a more relaxed atmosphere than those in some of its larger neighbors, making it ideal for a family vacation or romantic getaway.
- Small-Town Vibe: Puerto Morelos offers a welcome respite from the excesses of nearby popular tourist destinations such as Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Many visitors come to Puerto Morelos for its distinct laid-back feel. The charm of Puerto Morelos lies in the fact that, in addition to being a tourist destination in its own right, it remains a fully working fishing village.
- Charming Hotels: Puerto Morelos has managed to retain much of its unique charm, thanks partly to the lack of large chain resorts or big hotels. While there are a couple of all-inclusives found a few kilometers outside the town, most of the accommodation here is boutique in scale and intimate in nature, which keeps away the crowds and wild events of Spring Break.
- Adventure Activities: Active vacationers can enjoy opportunities to hike and bike within the surroundings of Puerto Morelos. The long coastline of the Yucatan offers plenty of walking distance for the hardcore hiker. You can even combine your hiking and biking with a refreshing swim in the cool waters of a cenote. Snorkeling, diving, ATV trails and zip-lines are also available.
- Daytrips to Cancun and Playa Del Carmen: Puerto Morelos is in close proximity to other popular Mexican beach destinations that you can visit on a daytrip. Situated almost equidistant between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos offers travelers access to all the attractions these famous tourist resort towns have to offer, within a quick 40-minute drive.
Does Puerto Morelos Have Nice Beaches?
Yes, Puerto Morelos has nice beaches. In fact, Puerto Morelos boasts one of the finest and largest stretches of pristine beach in the Riviera Maya. Here, vacationers can enjoy sun-drenched white sands fringed by stunning turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming.
Is There Seaweed in Puerto Morelos?
The presence/absence of seaweed in Puerto Morelos will depend on the time of year you visit. As with the rest of the Caribbean, seaweed season in Puerto Morelos stretches between the months of May and October, with the worst time for seaweed being the summer months.
The absence/presence of seaweed on Puerto Morelos’ beaches largely depends on ocean current activity. Therefore, on some days you may not find any, while on other days the beaches will be full of it. In any case, seaweed does not accumulate that much on the beaches of Puerto Morelos as it often washes away or is cleared off by resort staff.
Is There Good Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos?
Yes, there is good snorkeling in Puerto Morelos. Although there is lots to see when you snorkel off the beach in Puerto Morelos, taking a short boat trip out to the main reef is your best bet for the ultimate snorkeling adventure. Stretching for miles along the coast, some 400 meters off shore, Puerto Morelos’ reef is arguably the most beautiful and best preserved in the Mayan Riviera.
The coral reef in Puerto Morelos is part of the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest reef system in the world, which stretches along the coastline of Mexico. A protected nature reserve within the Puerto Morelos Marine Park, this reef offers vibrantly colored corals and a rich marine life. Here, snorkelers and scuba-divers can see healthy coral ecosystems and a variety of sea creatures.
When snorkeling at the reef in Puerto Morelos, you can expect to see hard coral formations including Brain, Elkhorn and Staghorn corals. The sandy sea bottom of the reef is also home to soft coral species such as the Bent Sea Bonds, Black Sea Rods and colorful Sea fans. Prepare to be dazzled by the colorful tropical fish found here, including Parrotfish and large schools of Blue Tang.
When snorkeling off the beach in Puerto Morelos, you won’t get to see big coral formations, but rather smaller pinnacles that have built up from hard corals. Nevertheless, the quantities of fish are still impressive here, with large shoals of Barracuda, French Grunt and Atlantic Spadefish among others. The shallow waters and sea-grass meadows close to shore are also a feeding ground for sea turtles.
Can You Snorkel Off the Beach in Puerto Morelos?
Yes, it is possible to snorkel off the beach in Puerto Morelos. Although the Mesoamerican Reef nearby offers a wider array of corals and marine life, you can still see a lot when snorkeling from the shore in Puerto Morelos – plus it’s free!
The best place for off-the-beach snorkeling in Puerto Morelos is the area between Hotel Amar Inn and Day & Night Beach Club. The waters here are shallow, but deepen gradually to a bottom covered in sea grass. This is a great spot to see sea turtles and rays that often come here to feed. Snorkelers can also swim towards the open water to see patches of coral, as long as you stay within the safety buoys.
What Can I Do in Puerto Morelos?
Here is a list of things you can do in Puerto Morelos:
- Sunbathe on the Beach: No Caribbean vacation is complete without some relaxation on a sandy beach lapped by warm turquoise seawaters. A gateway to the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos has a long stretch of beautiful beach to offer. Located in the city center, Playa Principal is the main beach, boasting sugary soft sands. Ocean Coral and Turquesa is also a famous private beach.
- Snorkeling & Diving: Puerto Morelos is popular among snorkelers and scuba-divers, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given that its coral reef is in fact part of the Great Mesoamerican Barrier Reef – the second largest reef system in the world. Among the reef’s sea-grass and coral, visitors can spot a rich diversity of marine life, including sea turtles, rays and barracudas.
- Visit the Botanical Gardens: Spanning more than 150 acres, the Botanical Gardens of Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin are home to a wide diversity of plants and over 200 animal species, offering the perfect outdoor educational adventure. Amid the lush jungle and mangrove swamp, visitors can explore small Mayan ruins, see spider monkeys and iguanas, and stroll on a suspension bridge.
- Swim with Dolphins: Don’t miss out on a magical encounter in Puerto Morelos where you get to swim with dolphins. Delphinus Puerto Morelos offers opportunities for close up encounters to see and interact with dolphins. Set in beautiful natural surroundings, the facility also offers a chance to learn about dolphins and their behavior, as well as environmental education.
- Visit the Croco Cun Zoo: If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to touch a crocodile, then the Croco Cun Zoo is just the place for you! On a guided tour, you’ll have the opportunity to touch and hold a variety of animals, including crocodiles. The mission of the Croco Cun Zoo is to inspire in their visitors a passion for nature and wildlife, as well as conservation.
- Go Shark Diving: The last thing you’d want to encounter while swimming in the ocean is a shark. But what if you could get up close to these scary and fascinating sea creatures without any risk or danger? Dive with Ruben is a tour operator that will take you on a safe and memorable adventure in search of sharks in the Caribbean Sea near Puerto Morelos.
What to Do in Puerto Morelos When It Rains?
Here is a list of things to do in Puerto Morelos when it rains:
- Cenote Tour: Although it may seem odd to go snorkeling on a rainy day, most Riviera Maya cenotes are naturally covered, which makes them perfect for exploring even in the rain. And if you’re going to get wet, why not go all the way, right? One of the best in Puerto Morelos, the Boca Del Puma cenote boasts sparkling blue waters and massive limestone caverns.
- Take a Mexican Cooking Class: Taking a cooking class is a fun activity to get into on a dreary day in Puerto Morelos. Several Mexican Cooking Classes are offered by locals in Puerto Morelos, including The Little Mexican Cooking School, one of the best in the Yucatan. Here, foodies can learn how to prepare and cook Mexican dishes, ranging from hearty dinners to festive drinks.
- Indulge in a Spa Treatment: A trip to the spa is a great way to lift your spirits and help you enjoy a rainy day. Several resorts in Puerto Morelos have spas that provide a retreat where guests can relax and unwind and even forget that it’s raining outside. Here you can get a rejuvenating massage or treat yourself to the full spa menu with facials, manicures and pedicures.
- Comedy, Music & Fun: La Sirena Restaurant in Puerto Morelos is popular for its entertainment shows including music and comedy, as well as for its spontaneous promotions, such as free margarita happy hours! On a rainy day, visit Las Sirena and enjoy a long lunch of fresh sea food. Watching the rain fall by the seaside will make for a glorious afternoon in Puerto Morelos.
How Much Does It Cost to Live in Puerto Morelos?
Living in Puerto Morelos is generally inexpensive, as it has a reduced cost of living compared to a similar lifestyle across the border in the United States. Generally, the cost of food, housing, entertainment, transportation, and the purchase of local goods and services are a fraction (about 25-30%) of what you would pay in the US.
Here is a sample monthly budget for Puerto Morelos:
|Rental House (2-Bedroom, 1-Bathroom)
|500 – 700
|40 – 60
|35 – 65
|Electricity (Depending on Usage)
|75 – 300
|20 – 30
|Bottled Drinking Water
|Food (Groceries & Eating Out)
|75 – 100
|1,190 – 1,700