Beach at Puerto Morelos, in front of the Casita del Mar at the north end of town
Puerto Morelos is a town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula, about 20km south of Cancun. It is both a fishing village and a resort and diving destination. It is located roughly halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The pier in the center of town hosts snorkel and sport fishing boats while yachts dock in a man-made harbour just south of town. The village used to be the embarkation point for the car ferry to Cozumel, but that now leaves from Calica, a major port south of Playa del Carmen.
The Original Lighthouse at Puerto Morelos, Mexico in Feb. 2007. In 1967 the structure was tilted over in Hurricane Beulah. It has since survived Hurricanes Gilbert in 1987 and Wilma in 2005, but has not been knocked down. The new light house replacing this one is visible in the background.
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 but not credit cards. Almost all prices are quoted in Mexican pesos and it is generally cheaper to pay in pesos, than in US dollars.
The reef just off shore is part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef system in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. In 1998 the reef in front of Puerto Morelos became a protected National Marine Park, preserving its rich biodiversity and making this area one of the best preserved of the Great Mesoamerican Reef. Buildings in Puerto Morelos are limited to three stories by local bylaws, to preserve the village type of character.
There are two parts to Puerto Morelos, the former fishing village on the coast, now Hotels, Condominiums, Restaurants and Tourist shops, and the second part about 2 Km. inland and adjacent to Highway 307, on the western side, called La Colonia by locals. The inland portion is mainly single level dwellings for the local workers.
(love the beach photo in front of Casita del Mar circa 2004)
A quiet beach just north of the Puerto Morelos town square.
The nearest major airport is in Cancún International Airport (IATA: CUN) (ICAO: MMUN) . It is 20km away from Puerto Morelos and is Mexico's second busiest airport.
Puerto Morelos  is situated at the junction of Route 307 and a paved road to Leona Vicario in the interior of the Yucatan Peninsula. This recently paved road is the eastern terminus of La Ruta de los Cenotes, a network of minor roads that allows access to many cenotes in the interior. At Puerto Morelos, the beginning of this road network is marked by an archway. The waterfront is about 2km from Highway 307. Puerto Morelos is about 30km south of Cancun, 30km north of Playa del Carmen, and one hour north of Tulum.
Buses from Cancun and Playa del Carmen traverse Route 307, the coastal highway and the main highway into town:
- From Cancun airport take the Riviera/ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, hourly from 10:30. The bus departs from Terminal 2, east end (terminal faces north). Buy a ticket for Puerto Morelos just inside terminal or on bus. Ask the driver to stop at Puerto Morelos. Cost: 50 pesos as of 12/09
- From downtown Cancun (el centro) take the Riviera/ADO bus for Playa del Carmen from the bus terminal on Av. Tulum. Departs every 15 minutes. Buy your ticket at the station.
- From Playa del Carmen, take any ADO bus for Cancun from either bus station in Playa. Buy your ticket to Puerto Morelos at the station.
Cancún and Playa del Carmen buses arrive and depart from the highway, about 2km from town. Each side of the highway has its own small station and ticket office.
Frequent local buses travel between the highway/la colonia and the beach/el puerto for 4 pesos per person. Or take a taxi into town 22 - 25 pesos. If you decide to walk instead, ensure adequate insect repellent, as the road leads through a mosquito-infested mangrove swamp - and watch out for inquisitive crocodiles about half way, particularly on the northern side.
By private transfers
Private Transfers to Puerto Morelos start at $55 US each way for 2 people or $90 round trip.
- Airport Transfers from the Cancun International Airport Direct to your hotel.
There are many local taxis around, they gather at a taxi stand on the west side of the main square in Puerto Morelos. Bicycling is an excellent way to get around town, and they can be rented at a number of places in town. There is also a local car rental agency in the main town on the highway. Always make sure you find out the price of a taxi ride before you get in to avoid disagreements. At the car rental place you can bargain for a cheaper rate.
A side street in Puerto Morelos
- Sit on the white sand beach in the shade of a thatched palapa
- Visit the Jardin Botanico just outside town and watch out for the spider monkeys.
- Birdwatching in the mangroves.
- Browse the various shops around the central square.
- Swimming. Near the shore, water temperatures average about 27°C (80°F) year round. Freshwater swimming is available inland, at several cenotes. At cenotes that are not exposed to sunlight, temperatures are colder, and a partial wetsuit may be necessary for anything more than a brief dip.
- Reef Diving. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef lies about 500 meters offshore. It is closer to the shore near Puerto Morelos than it is at most other points along the coast of Quintana Roo. Several dive shops and nearby resorts offering diving on the reef.
- Snorkeling. Guided trips by boat are offered to the reef. Snorkeling out to the reef from shore on your own is not permitted. To protect the reef against intentional and unintentional damage, you are only allowed onto the reef in the company of an accredited guide and wearing a life jacket. If you do go it alone, you risk being picked out of the water by park wardens who may just tell you off and take you back to the shore, but are within their rights to fine you. Note that these rules are not clearly signposted anywhere. A light wetsuit is welcome certain times of year.
- Cenotes. Cenotes are sinkholes in the native limestone that are filled with crystal-clear groundwater; some are large and deep, while others are small passages through a cave. Inland from Puerto Morelos, many cenotes are accessible along the road from P.M. to Central Vallarta, some with really good swimming in clear blue water; To take local transport to the cenotes take colectivo bus "jacinto kanek" from Puerto Morelos to the other side of the highway get off at pemex station (colonia zetina gasca) once there go to the main zocalo two blocks west of 7 eleven and take the bus heading to Leona Vicario, they leave Morelos at 7.00, 8.00, 9.00 am and return from Leona at 12.00,13.00,16.00,and 17.00 pm you can get off at Boca del Puma, just past central vallarta at km16, which has nice trails through the forest and a cool snorkel through a cave passage, the owner Jesus will rent you a bicycle if you want to explore the nearby cenotes on your own. Snorkel in a cenote 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 the dive shops around town and swim there yourself, or book a boat trip outside the Casita del Mar (north end of town, on the beach) for USD22. Downtown operations offer trips for USD25.
- Walk on the boardwalk through the mangroves behind Ceiba del Mar resort (N end of town), and look at birds, fish and cool plants.
- Marina La Bonita (in Hotel Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, +52 9988728300 ext 8066, [email protected])  - Offers high end catamaran sailing tours to Puerto Morelos, Punta Maroma, Cozumel, Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy. They also offer private deep sea fishing trips, snorkeling and scuba diving tours and PADI certified scuba diving training.
- Almost Heaven Adventures in Puerto Morelos, +52 9988710230  - Offer scuba diving, reef snorkeling, fishing trips and jungle tours. They also sell equipment. For those who want to try out scuba diving but are not certified, you can try a resort course and dive today. Night snorkeling trips and cenote diving are also popular.
- Jungle Spa, Calle de Las Reinas (Zona Urbana), ☎ 998 2089148 or Cell 044 998 1805424 ([email protected]). . Make an appointment Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri and Sat. Reservations 10am, 12pm, 2pm or 4pm. Limited time Sunday - 1.30pm and 3.30pm after Jungle Market. Closed Mondays. The spa is operated by non profit organization and directed by Sandra A. Dayton. The spa was created so that the Mayan women could benefit from the tourists coming to the area and provide for their families. They provide an authentic Mayan massage.
- Aquanauts Dive Adventures (in Hotel Carmen Hacienda), Ave. Rafael E. Melgar (one block south of the town center), ☎ 998-206-9365, . 8AM to 4PM. Offers scuba diving tours, PADI certification classes, snorkeling tours, and fishing.
- The Little Mexican Cooking School (Cooking in Paradise), Calle Andres Quintana Roo 779a (On the back street opposite the mangrove), ☎ 52 998 2518060, . 10AM-4PM. The cooking school offers a fun day of learning how to cook all your favourite Mexican foods and teaches you about the flavours and ingredients used in this fascinating cuisine. The school has classes during the week in a private house ([email protected]) with an experienced local (English-speaking) chef, and students receive an apron and recipes to take home with their memories. USd90-130.
- El Rey Polo Country Club (Horseback riding, polo and fourwheelers), Ruta de Cenotes 11.5km (On highway 308 turn right at Ruta de Cenotes, the club is 11.5 km down the road), . An attraction in the middle of the jungle. A huge green polo field, club house with restaurant and bar surrounded by pristine tropical forest. Here you can take a trail ride on horse back take riding and polo lessons, hire a four wheeler to visit the cenotes or just relax at the bar. Regular polo matches are on the calendar and visitors are welcome to watch.
- Diverspoint, Ave Javier Rojo Gomez #17 (Inside posada el Moro), ☎ +52 998 1893628 ([email protected]), . 09.00 - 18.00. Offers diving, snorkeling and fishingtrips. Offers PADI certification training until Divemaster. Also rents bicycles and snorkeling gear.
- Alma Libre Bookstore . Large selection of used English paperbacks, plus new books of local interest. They take trades too. Sign up for their free monthly newsletter, full of updates about the town. Only open during high season.
- Browse through metal and clay sculptures at Artisolo.
- Check out the local crafts at the Mayan Handicraft Center.
- Buy a hammock, a serape, or a postcard at the souvenir shops off the town square.
- "Centro (Lic. Mauro Jaramillo), Av. Rojo Gomez (North of Square), ☎ 998 103 8791, . by appointment. Body Balancing Therapy and Manual Therapy Solutions geared towards well-being and fitness focusing on muscle imbalances, related pain and discomfort. Keen evaluation and multi-disciplinary techniques identifying physical limitations and restrictions focusing on the origin of a particular condition. Example of benefits include but not limited to health care preventive, corrective injury, enhanced physical fitness and performance. International client roster - private practice since 1997. Visit web site for credentials and more information. www.thyselfbehealed.com. "where knowledge meets intuition".
- Hola Asia Restaurant, Tulum # 1A (SE Corner of theTown Square), ☎ (998)871-0679, . 2pm-10pm. Hola Asia offers an eclectic mix of Asian Cuisines. Located in the town square of Puerto Morelos, just steps away from the water's edge. Roof Dining and Bar have a scenic view of the Caribbean. $$. (20.831570,-86.889775)
- The Little English Schoolhouse, . Purchase unique, hand made ceramics created by the well know local artist, Ricardo Arias Alcantara. Proceeds from the sale of items goe to support the The Little English Schoolhouse, a non-profit project to bring English to the children and adults of Puerto Morelos.
Most places don't take reservations, and there can be a wait for dinner, especially around 7 or 8 in the evening. 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, a mini-supermarket.
Le Café D'Amancia and L´Oazis Restaurant and Grill at Puerto Morelos, Mexico in Feb. 2007.
- El Tio. Tiny place across from the lighthouse; very inexpensive tortas, soup or Mayan food.
- Le Café D'Amancia, on the square. Best coffee and healthy breakfast.
- Fresh fish - buy from fishermen at the pier or at their stall on the north side of the zocalo, and cook it yourself.
- Peskayitos, Fish, shrimp and drinks, Tiny cozy place, cheap, and great attention, fun place with super good fish tacos tacos and other light meals, try the Empanadas de cazon. If you're into sea food snacks with your beer this is the place. They also have great Micheladas and Mojitos. Good live music on Friday at 9.30PM, mexican-cuban, trova, and afterwards if the mood is up the street becomes the dancefloor. ... authentic and cheap. South of the square across the street from Posada Amor and Bara Bara. Closed Mondays.
- La Marina El Cid, a little south of town. Overlooks the marina and serves a fresh seven-seas ceviche, as well as other good seafood and Mexican standards. Service is as good as the food and view.
- L´Oazis Restaurant and Grill, ]. Tuesday-Sunday 5PM to 10PM. Fish,meats,pasta,salads, appetizers and deserts, with excellent special coffees. Run by Martine and Flavio from Quebec, Canada. French, English and Spanish spoken. Located on the south side of the main square of Puerto Morelos.
- Posada Amor. Great Mexican food, and the best ceviche in town. This restaurant, the oldest in Puerto Morelos, has retained a loyal clientele for nearly three decades. In the palapa-covered dining room with its picnic-style wooden tables and benches, the gracious staff serves up terrific Mexican and seafood dishes, including a memorable whole fish dinner and a rich seafood bisque. Sunday brunches are also delicious.
- John Gray's Kitchen, Avenida Ninos Heroes. More upscale and pricy; excellent food by a former Ritz Carlton chef - reservations recommended. The duck breast is a must. Also makes one of the better margaritas along the riviera; not too sweet. Not to be confused with the related, casual beachfront restaurant La Suegra de John Gray (John' Gray's mother-in-law) is in Pto. Morelos.
- El Faro, Located on the square above the grocery store this restaurant offers a great view of the town square, beach and dock. They provide great service and a delightful daily specials of the grill. English and Spanish spoken. Try the fish here, which is served in a number of ways and is served with rice and vegetables. The restaurant has also the best margaritas in town and really cold beer.
- El Pirata, a popular spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a drink from the bar, this open-air restaurant seats you at the center of the action on Puerto Morelos's town square. If you have a hankering for American food, you can get a good hamburger with fries here; there are also great daily specials.
- Terraza, tight space, serves juices and vegetarian items. Seemed healthy enough, but the piña licuado we ordered seemed like naraja instead and the eggs seemed more like tofu than real eggs. Rosy's is a better choice for juices and breakfast.
- Los Pelicanos, a windy beachfront place to have your first drink and nachos in Puerto Morelos nothing spectacular about the nachos but the guacaomole, like most places here was abundant and quite good.
- Hola Asia, . pan-Asian; entrées around MXN80.
- Bara Bara bar. From 8PM onwards, a place for Martinis and good music. Fridays is for House music, with national and international DJ's. Saturday expect Dance Hall, Reggae, Drum and bass and more.
- Posada Amor Terrace. Terrace bar with live music somedays, great drinks and relax atmosphere.
- Cantina Habanero's, - Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serveing a variety of food, from delicious baby-back ribs and grilled steaks to regional mexican food. Live music most Friday nights. A gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Located 1/2 block north of the town square. English and Spanish spoken.
- Ixchel Beach Club, Palapa beach bar located 5 blocks north of the square on the beach. Chairs and umbrellas available, light lunch fare and friendly bartender. English and Spanish spoken.
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.
- Posada Amor. Just off the plaza, not on the beach. A simple fan-cooled room is in the $30US range, and as is typical, this runs about 50-100% more than a comparable room on Mexico’s west coast. The rooms are clean and you’ll meet an interesting cross-section of international travelers who are often the best source for information and tips. The attached restaurant is quite good and serves as an informal meeting place for many of the gringo locals. 
- Casitas Kinsol, Avenida Zetina Gazca (in front of the old market), ☎ 998-206-9152, . checkin: 3PM; checkout: noon. Alternative lodging in rustic cabins and rooms. All rooms have private bath with hot water. Each room has a special touch that comes from the personalized decor from the artist and owner. Pets are welcome. Wifi in most rooms. $28. (20°51'27.66N,86°53'58.38W)
- Casa Carmen Del Mar, Calle Ignacio Lopes Rayon lote 4 (1 1/2 block from ADO bus station), . checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 11 pm. Brand new studio, wifi, cable, fan, a.c., stocked kitchen, place to park your car/ R.V. located a block and a half from ADO bus station. On the colonia pescadores very near the botanical garden and the ruta de cenotes. bicycle rental, lots of information to explore on your own! email: [email protected] (price for a double $30).
- Amar Inn. ~10 rooms built adjacent to a family house. Operated by a family originally from Querétaro. Beach-side rooms are nicer (and cost more). US$55-80/room/night (March 2009). e-mail Ana Luisa or Luis for reservations and availability ([email protected]). Both speak Spanish and English. Headquarters of environmentalists. 5 minute walk north of the zócalo. </sleep>
- Blue Monkey Apartments (Mono Azul), Av Niños Heroes (one block north of the square), . Long and short term rentals in modern hacienda-style apartments, surrounded by tropical gardens, two short blocks from the beach. Fully furnished, two-bedroom flats, plus a rooftop one-bedroom suite with sweeping views of the mangrove forest. Ecologically built, privately owned, safe and secure.
- Casa La Querencia, .Puerto Morelos Beachfront Villa Rentals, Beautiful Bed and Breakfast concept on the Beach with Pool, Villas are separate from the main house but all features of Bed and Breakfast are offered.
- Casa Toucan (Absolue beachfront apartments), Calle Rafael Malgar 8A (Go into town square turn left when you get to the lighthouse and park), ☎ 52 998 1598890, . checkin: 2PM; checkout: 11AM. This is a private house divided into 4 apartments, right on the beach with a beautiful pool. It is only a half block from the town square, extremely convenient and yet very private. There is a 2 bedroom, a one bedroom and 2 studios, they can be rented separately or together. people come back year after year and call it their Puerto Morelos home. USD300-1500.
- Casa Vista Al Cielo, . Fully furnished 3rd floor 2 bed 2 bath apartment next to the mangrove jungle just off the beach; USD600/week (USD800/week Dec.23-Jan.)
- Condo Playasol (Villas Playasol), Av Rojo Gomez (Two blocks north of the square), . Delightful two bedroom condo apartment on the beach just two blocks from the town square. With beautiful tropical gardens and PM's largest blue pool, privately-owned Playasol is ideal for couples or families. Private parking, gated entrance, and a picture-perfect bit of beach. Excellent value. Prices range from $800-$1700 USD.
- Hotel Inglaterra, Av. Ninos Heroes 29 (15 minutes south of Cancun Airport), ☎ +(52) 998 206 9081, . checkin: noon; checkout: noon. A boutique hotel with restaurant. The hotel offers recently refurbished, clean and airy rooms, studios and apartments and penthouses with private bathrooms, hot and cold water, TV, air-conditioning, a fan and wi-fi. $35-95. (20* 51` North,86* 87` West)
- Hotel Ojo de Agua,  - 36-room hotel on the beach with swimming pool and popular restaurant. Comfortable, pleasant rooms for US$70-100 (March 2009). Oddly cheaper to pay in US$ cash than pesos. 5 minute walk north of the zócalo.
- Hotel Posada El Moro, Av. Javier Rojo Gomez Smz., 2 Mz 5 Lt 17. half a block north of the main square, Tel (998) 8710159 Fax (998) 2069005, . Bed and Breakfast: Rates from $40 USD to $75 USD.
- Mexicoplus Hotel, (go from the police station in to Ave. Ninos Heroes, the first street when entering Puerto Morelos, go north 220 Meters or 230 Yards from the coner of Ninios Heroes on the left), ☎ +52 998 871 0232, . Nice and clean hotel in the center, studios with fridge, TV,AC and Internet conection. Four Minutes walk to the town square and the Caribbean Ocean. It's also home of Yodis Restaurant for breakfast and dining.
- Villa Roberto, . One of the several beautiful Villas of Punta Caracol, Located Just north of main town of Puerto Morelos. It has 4 large bedrooms with king sized beds. 4 full bathrooms(one for each bedroom) and 2 half baths. Beautiful private roof top jacuzzi and Garden area. A large pool and a very nice and well maintained beach. 10% off.
- Rancho Sak-Ol, ☎ +52-998-871-0181, . checkin: 3:00 pm; checkout: 12:00 pm. Beachfront B&B about 1 km south of the town square. Rates include a complimentary self-service breakfast buffet, wireless internet, bikes and snorkeling equipment. $65-99. (20°50'23.64N,86°52'59.38W)
- Casa Caribbean Breeze, PUERTO MORELOS, ☎ 734 418 2544, . checkin: 3:00 PM; checkout: 10:00 AM. Casa Caribbean Breeze is a beautiful 3 bedroom luxury home. From the moment you see the sun rise up over the turquoise Caribbean Sea until you watch it slowly settle effortlessly into the horizon, your senses will awaken within the luxury of this 3,600 sq. foot custom home. Perched upon the waters' edge.Your vacation at Casa Caribbean Breeze will leave you breathless with nothing to be desired. Prices start at $1199.00 USD per week for up to 8 people.
- Casbah del Mar, Calle de Palapas (Follow signs to Dreams, turning off the 307 at Crococun Zoo. Take a left onto Calle de Palapas just before the UNAM. Follow the sand road to the left to Casa del Mar.), ☎ 9548811991, . Casbah del Mar is a 2 bedroom, 2 bath, luxury condo located directly on the ocean in beautiful Puerto Morelos, Mexico. Not your typical condo, this rental comes with a very large furnished terrace that overlooks the azure ocean. The terrace contains comfortable seating for six and a separate seating area for conversation and entertaining. This fully-equipped unit contains a master suite and a guest bedroom, for a total of four adult guests. All beds come with top-quality linens and down pillows for your sleeping comfort. Each bed has been fitted with very comfortable memory-foam pads for a restful sleep after a hard day of sunshine, the ocean breezes, and exciting exploration. The well-kept grounds contain a swimming pool with beach access. Having just six units in the building allows for intimacy and privacy. $1,200 per week.
- Casa del Puerto, Javier Rojo Gomez Lote 06 (End of Rojo Gomez), . checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 12 pm. House 10 min walk from main square one block from the beach. Private pool, three storey house, three bedrooms and four baths. $1500-$2000 week.
- Hotel Marina El Cid Riviera Maya, Boulevard El Cid Unidad 15, Phone: 011-52 (998) 872-8999, . A member of El Cid Resorts, this oceanfront hotel features colonial and modern architecture styles, a free form pool, snorkeling and diving, and several on-site restaurants.
- Casa del Viento (Vacation home in Puerto Morelos), sm 02 mza 13 lote 01 (4th beach access north of main square), . checkin: 3 pm; checkout: 10 pm. Private beachfront home operated by owners. beautifully furnished modern, three bedrooms, three and a half baths, full kitchen, living room and dining room. Pool with private terrace and beach. only 10 min walk to main town.
- Get on the only direct bus to Chetumal at 6.35am in Puerto Morelos, at the ADO selling point/ farmacia Paris (5hrs). Mayab bus runs rest of the day, bit ceaper, 6hrs.
- Visit the many impressive Maya archaeological sites: Mayan Riviera including Tulum, Cobá and Muyil; Great Costa Maya (Kohunlich, Kinichná, Dzibanché, Oxtankah and Chacchoben) south of the biosphere reserve Sian Ka'an and sites in the nearby Yucatan State including Chichén Itzá, Uxmal, Dzibichaltun and Ek Balam.
- Go to the big Chedraui supermarket  in Playa del Carmen to see what real Mexican families eat and to see some really cool produce. (This also the closest real supermarket to get large quantities of food if you plan to cook; 20 minute bus ride)
- Visit Cancun via highway 307 for shopping and dining. A 30 minute drive.
- South of Playa del Carmen visit X'caret  or Xel-ha , large theme-park style nature parks.
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