Beach at Puerto Morelos, in front of the Casita del Mar at the north end of town
A side street in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos is a small fishing village on the Yucatan peninsula about 20 km south of the Cancun airport and about 2 km from Highway 307. It's the ideal location for those who want a quiet beach vacation away from the glitz, but with ample tourist amenities. The town has just two principal streets and you can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes. You can get by with English, but Spanish is not superfluous. Most places accept US dollars. The reef just off the shore is a national park.
Riviera/ADO bus to Playa del Carmen from Cancun airport (MXN$65), once per hour beginning at 10:30 a.m. The bus departs from Terminal 2, east end (terminal faces north). Buy ticket just inside terminal or on bus. Ask the driver to stop at Puerto Morelos.
Riviera/ADO bus or city bus to downtown Cancun (el centro). At the downtown bus terminal, catch the Mayab bus to Tulum or Riviera bus to Playa del Carmen. Ask the driver to stop at Puerto Morelos. Buses stop on the highway, about 2km from town; take taxi to town (MXN$22)
Taxi from Cancun airport, US$45 (return trip USD$18)
Sit on the white sand beach in the shade of a thatched palapa
Swim in the 80-degree water near shore
Snorkel the cenote (a sinkhole fed by an underground spring, very attractive to marine life) a few meters out in front of the Ojo de Agua hotel or the Puerto Morelos Reef, about 500-1000 meters from shore. You can rent equipment at Dive Puerto Morelos and swim there yourself, or book a boat trip outside the Casita del Mar (north end of town, on the beach) for USD$22. Downtown operations offer trips for USD$45.
Visit the Alma Libre Bookstore. Large selection of used English paperbacks, plus new books of local interest.
Browse through metal and clay sculptures at Artisolo
Buy a hammock, a serape, or a postcard at the souvenir shops off the town square
After dinner, order a margarita (MXN$50) and listen to free live music at Habanero's
Most places don't take reservations, and there can be a wait for dinner, especially around 7 or 8 pm. Sundays are the most crowded. There are a number of very cheap restaurants not listed here. If you eat at these places, stick to food that is cooked to order, as some dishes may not be fresh. If you have a kitchen, you can buy groceries at Casa Martin on the town square, but it's more like a convenience store than a supermarket.
Hola Asia Pan Asian; entrees around MXN$80.
Mama's Bakery at the north end of town. Coffee, pastries, and sandwiches.
Buy fresh fish from fishermen at the pier and cook it yourself
Portobello's On the town square next to Alma Libre.
Bodo's Avenida Ninos Heroes. Owned by a chef from Switzerland. Expertly prepared seafood. Menu ranges from spaghetti with shrimp sauce (MXN$75) to giant shrimp with tequila sauce or Caribbean lobster (MXN$195); also includes Wiener Schnitzel and Jaeger Schnitzel.
John Gray's Kitchen, Avenida Ninos Heroes. Posh and pricey; excellent food by a former Ritz Carlton chef. Reservations recommended.
All types of lodging are available, including modest hotels right on the beach. If you are booking within a few weeks of your travel date, you may have to contact several places to find a vacancy.