Between Playa del Carmen and Cancun, the Mexican fishing village of Puerto Morelos, framed by brilliant azul waters, mangroves, and Mayan culture, is miles away from your daily stress. Let this Puerto Morelos Travel Guide introduce you to where dreams of tropical breezes, warm white sand, and shimmering seas come to life. Puerto Morelos vacation rentals are the perfect way to visit this Mayan Riviera gem of a town, where you don’t have to fight swarms of tourists for your corner of paradise.
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Puerto Morelos vacations offer unique diving and snorkeling opportunities. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second biggest reef system in the world, has been designated as a protected national park and features breathtaking underwater sights. Barracudas, nurse sharks, eels, turtles, rays, and tons of colorful fish live in these year-round warm waters, and dive companies, such as Dive In Puerto Morelos, can take you on tours of the reefs. They also offer tours to underwater caves and wreck sites, and even moonlit nighttime dives for an experience only attainable with Puerto Morelos vacations.
Snorkeling excursions are plentiful, and most tours are with small companies like Reef Adventures or a man named “Charlie Brown” that operates personal trips for individualized attention. They often supply the boat, the gear, sometimes even fresh fruit and cervezas, and will take you to two sites within the national park. Dive shops around town can also rent you equipment.
Take advantage of the once in a lifetime experience of swimming through underwater caves, or “cenotes.” Fresh water fills rocky passages from underground rivers, and you can feel the ebb and flow as you investigate these caverns. Scuba dive, snorkel or swim at cenotes such as Siete Bocas or Boca del Puma. Both of these and other sinkholes are accessible from the freeway leading from Puerto Morelos to Central Vallarta, known as the Ruta de Cenotes. No Puerto Morelos travel guide would be complete without these limestone cenotes worth visiting for the clarity of the blue tinged water. Swimming in these geological wonders is a truly distinctive experience.
Experience Nature Up Close
On Puerto Morelos vacations you can swim with dolphins at Xelha or with Dolphin Discovery. Different levels of interaction are available, and you can play, swim, or even get kissed by these intelligent and graceful creatures. Just over a mile from town, pineapples and orchids—and sometimes spider monkeys—await you on gorgeous rainforest paths at the Jardin Botanico, a must-visit site for exotic plant enthusiasts. Horseback riding, hiking and biking along tropical trails full of lush vegetation are available nearby, you can bird watch in the mangrove swamps, and eco-parks like Tres Rios aren’t far.
Relax on the Beach
Puerto Morelos vacations are an escape, so don’t forget to spend at least one day rejuvenating on the shoreline. One of the best spots for a day sunbathing and swimming in the eighty-degree water is in front of Los Pelicanos restaurant, though gorgeous shores exist on both sides of the town center. Uncrowded and untouched by the bars and souvenir shops that line more touristy Caribbean beaches, you’ll revel in the peace and quiet on Puerto Morelos beaches.
Puerto Morelos vacations should include visiting at least one Mayan ruin site. About sixty miles south of Puerto Morelos is Tulum, once a ceremonial lookout high on a bluff. Wander the ruins, catch scenic views of the Caribbean from the cliff top, and marvel at 500-year-old frescos on temple walls. Farther south is the biggest and most popular Mayan ruins in the area, Chichen Itza. Climb the Kukulcan Pyramid, view ancient carvings and monuments, and learn about Mayan history. Hiring a guide or joining a group tour is recommended to get the most out of your Chichen Itza experience.
Coba is another Mayan ruin site. The most ancient of the Mayan Riviera ruins and dating back to 600 AD, Coba was home to tens of thousands of people, and its ruins span dozens of square miles. The road to Coba is a treat, too, with little Mayan settlements and local people selling wares.
Watch local artisans work at the Handicraft Market a block south of the Zocolo, or town square. Purchase authentic Mexican crafts like colorful blankets, hammocks, baskets, jewelry, wooden and stone carvings, shells, and many more items direct from the creators at unbelievable prices. For Mayan food, drink, and crafts try Jungle Market, where you can also occasionally see Mayan dance performances, and for a Mexican boutique with interesting souvenirs, visit Henequen on your next Puerto Morelos vacation.
Alma Libre Bookstore has a surprisingly vast selection of books on local wildlife and attractions, Mayan history, Mexican cooking, and anything else you would need in Puerto Morelos. Travel guides and other books are often in English, so if you forget your beach paperback, browse for one here. Soak up the laughter, gossip, and spontaneous guitar music coming from the Zocolo as you peruse one-of-a-kind shops in Marino Plaza, a small shopping center with a pharmacy, a grocery store, and a few other shops that sell necessities and local specialties.
Delectable Seafood Fresh from the Ocean
Eating out in Puerto Morelos is a casual affair, and the “nightlife” consists of listening to live music at a small bar. Some of the freshest fish possible is served at Puerto Morelos’s restaurants, including grouper and snapper, so seafood dishes are a good bet.
While in Puerto Morelos, travel to Los Pelicanos, a popular dinner destination due to its big portions and sea views. Eat al fresco in front of the dazzling ocean, and take a moonlit stroll after dinner. La Petita has local seafood served one way. You simply order the fish plate, and you are delivered a deliciously prepared catch of the day. Always crowded with locals and in-the-know tourists, expect to wait for a table, but it’s worth it.
Other favorites include David Lau’s, which mixes Chinese cuisine with Mexican flavors, and Hola Asia, which offers great Chinese, Japanese, and Thai influenced dishes, and Los Gauchos features highly-rated Argentine fare. Try their delicious empanadas for an inexpensive lunch.
Year-round warm air and water means Puerto Morelos travel plans can be suited to your personal schedule. Mexican fiestas occur at various times during the year, but the most popular is the Puerto Morelos Sport Fishing Tournament which takes place in May. Over ten years running, the king of sport fishing contests in the Caribbean shows off blue marlin, dorado, and sailfish specimens that will blow your mind. You can compete or just watch.
Of course, you’ll want to bring beach attire and a pair of good walking shoes for visiting Mayan ruins, but what’s more important is what you don’t bring on your Puerto Morelos vacation. No work. Turn off your cell phone. Leave your laptop at home. Surrender yourself to the power of this little fishing village where times are simpler, and bring a mind and body ready to loosen up.
Though it’s a small town, one of the benefits of Puerto Morelos is that is has everything you’ll need for a relaxing vacation. Anything you forget, like insect repellant or sunscreen can be purchased easily, and car rentals and ATMs, tour guides, and even Spanish lessons or Mexican cooking classes are all available.
Puerto Morelos is one of the last undeveloped areas on the Mexican Caribbean coast. This is not the flashy resort hotel strip that Cancun is, so if you’re looking for glitz and high-rise penthouses, Puerto Morelos may not be ideal. But if you want peace and quiet, Puerto Morelos vacations are the perfect choice. Surrounding ecological preserves prohibit the sprawl of other Caribbean beaches, lots are small, and buildings aren’t taller than three stories, so the laid back feeling of a small village remains unspoiled by huge developers. Meander beaches and jungle trails with only the sound of nature in your ears.
The closest airport is Cancun International Airport, and from there, Puerto Morelos travel is simple. You can take a taxi or rent a car and drive the twenty minutes south into town or, for a taste of local flavor and cheap transportation, hop on a bus.
Puerto Morelos is the last authentic Mexican fishing town on the Caribbean coast, so why not soak up the culture and live like a local? Experience the serenity of this village for less money than the cost of a hotel room with Puerto Morelos vacation rentals. Choose from available options such as patios overlooking aquamarine water where you can drink margaritas and watch the sunset, multiple bedrooms with ocean wave soundtracks playing around the clock, and private kitchens where you can cook up the fish you caught yourself or bought from a fisherman right off his boat in town. With Puerto Morelos vacations and vacation rentals, you’ll forget what stress means.
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