Puerto Morelos Visitors Guide
How to Get There, Things to Do & More
Updated April 2023
Welcome to Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos is a charming and authentic beach town and quaint fishing village. With warm and welcoming locals, Puerto Morelos offers off-the-radar beach destinations that are just as beautiful as the more extensive resort town beaches. Puerto Morelos is also full of adventure opportunities like snorkeling and exploring ancient cenotes. Come experience all that this charming destination has to offer.
A Bit Of History
Originally inhabited by the ancient Maya from the 9th to the 14th centuries A.D, remains of the settlements have been found belonging to the Chiefdom of Ekab, who ruled over the region stretching from modern day Cape Catoche to Tulum. By 1594, Puerto Morelos had been conquered by the Spanish conquistador Francisco de Montejo y León, or “el Mozo”. The town remained under Spanish control until the late 1800s when the land was agriculturally developed and forested for its plentiful gum, cedar, tobacco, and vanilla.
In the late 1920s, the town transitioned into a fishing village complete with wooden houses, a lighthouse, a pier and a street parallel to the coast for shopping and entertainment.
Puerto Morelos Today
Puerto Morelos remains an undiscovered hidden gem only 30 minutes north of Playa del Carmen and 15 minutes South of the Cancun Airport. This lesser-known fishing village is praised for its beautiful beach and coral reef. You’ll love the casual coastal feel of Puerto Morelos, where there is plenty to keep you busy.
Is Puerto Morelos Safe?
Puerto Morelos is widely considered a safe town like most of the Yucatan Peninsula. Most visitors to this chill beach town say they feel super safe at any time of the day or night.
However, a good rule of thumb is to remain aware of your surroundings and never leave your valuables unattended. Also, be aware that due to the high volume of tourists, pickpocketing does occasionally happen. For added safety, police and government protect tourism in this region and contribute to its security.
Where is Puerto Morelos?
Puerto Morelos is a small beach town located in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is on the Caribbean Sea, situated roughly halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Adjacent to the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second-longest coral reef system in the world), Puerto Morelos is in a perfect spot for turquoise Caribbean waters, white sand beaches, and world-class diving and snorkeling. This is DEFINITELY the island life!
When Is Puerto Morelos Hurricane Season?
Puerto Morelos hurricane season begins in late May and lasts until early November, with the peak occurring between September and October. The odds of a hurricane hitting Puerto Morelos are fairly low, but hurricanes traveling near Puerto Morelos can cause inclement and severe weather. Be sure to check weather reports ahead of time and we always suggest getting travel insurance during these months just in case.
How To Get to Puerto Morelos
Getting to Puerto Morelos, particularly from the United States, is incredibly easy. Once you’re in town it’s easy to navigate on foot, in a taxi, or in a rental car. Keep in mind while exploring on foot that in Puerto Morelos pedestrians may not have the right-of-way.
Arrival By Air
The easiest way to get to Puerto Morelos is to fly into the Cancun Airport. Cancun International Airport (CUN) is in Cancun City (Centro) and it is the largest airport in the region. It greets more than 20 million visitors a year. The Cancun International Airport is only about 20-25 minutes from Puerto Morelos, making for an easy and beautiful drive to this gorgeous beach town. You’ll need a valid passport to travel to Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Search for great deals on flights to Cancun here.
Airport Shuttles in Puerto Morelos
Airport shuttles are a budget friendly way to get to Puerto Morelos. These are small air-conditioned vans that take you right to your accommodations. The vans are typically shared, so often there are other stops before yours.
It’s a good idea to book an airport shuttle before you arrive. Shared shuttles cost around $15 per person, making them one of the most budget friendly ways to get to your accommodations.
You can easily book ground transportation from the Cancun airport to your Puerto Morelos hotel here.
Renting a vehicle at the Cancun airport may be the most convenient choice depending on how much exploring you plan to do on your own. It is an easy and affordable option. Rental cars can be as inexpensive as $15/day at the Cancun airport or in Puerto Morelos.
You’ll need a valid driver’s license and be at least 21 years of age to rent a car in Mexico, and anyone between the ages of 21-24 may need to pay an additional daily fee. Puerto Morelos is about a 20-25 minute drive south from the Cancun Airport.
Search for great deals on rental cars at the Cancun airport here.
Puerto Morelos may be a small town but there are more than 100 taxis. Rates are set and not metered. You’ll want to agree on a price before you get into a taxi. There should be a rate card in the taxi, and you can ask to see it. You are not expected to tip, but it’s appreciated once you reach your destination safely.
Taxis typically cost somewhere around $4.50 for 10 miles and $16 for 25 miles.
Keep in mind that at the Cancun Airport, regular taxis are prohibited, so only official airport taxis are allowed. This often makes them quite overpriced.
Buses can be an affordable way to get around Puerto Morelos. It’s a good idea to buy the best class ticket you possibly can in order to get the most direct and best service.
From Cancun or Playa Del Carmen’s bus stations, you can catch a bus to Puerto Morelos. You can check the ADO website for prices and schedules.
To take a bus to Playa or Cancun from Puerto Morelos, you must go up to the highway first. There is a bus station on the side of the highway. Buses to Cancun or Playa depart every 15-20 minutes and cost about $1.10.
Things To Do in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos Top Highlights
Puerto Morelos has the undeniable charm of a fishing village along with its beautiful white sand beaches, year-round sun, and an incredible number of things to do!
1. Relax on The Low Key Beaches
It can’t be overstated that the beaches of Puerto Morelos are amazingly low-key compared to neighboring tourist areas and beaches. People often visit the Riviera Maya region for one reason, the amazing Caribbean beaches which will take your breath away.
Beachgoers find the Puerto Morelos beaches to be the perfect place to swim, build sandcastles and enjoy the Caribbean breezes. Playa Del Coral is one of the most popular beaches in the area for good reason, it boasts turquoise waters, plenty of palm trees for shade, a small beachside eatery offering snacks, and a bar where you can enjoy a drink while taking in some local culture.
Some other amazing beaches in the area include Playa Caracol, Playa Secreto and Playa La Entrega.
*Note: Since 2008, Sargassum (seaweed) has regularly arrived on the Caribbean coast of Mexico (Puerto Morelos, Cancun, Tulum, Playa del Carmen, etc.) from April to August. Many resorts and beaches remove the seaweed from the sand daily, but it can pile up by the water’s edge and be stinky in places where it’s not removed. For this reason, we suggest getting a hotel with a nice pool area for guaranteed nice swimming or spending some time on the islands of Cozumel or Isla Mujeres which are largely protected from the seaweed.
2. Swim In Cenotes
There is an entire region filled with cenotes near Puerto Morelos and they shouldn’t be missed! It is called Ruta de Los Cenotes and you’ll need to either rent a car or book a tour to get to it.
You could also just take a taxi, but if you do that make sure you plan ahead so you know which of the Cenotes you want to visit. The Cenotes Kin Ha is one of the most beautiful on the route, but it does cost a little more than other cenotes, at $23 to swim and $55 for an ATV tour.
There are dozens of cenotes on the Ruta de Los Cenotes and you can’t go wrong visiting any of them! Some of the best include Cenote Le Nora, Cenote Majarres and Cenote Sol y Luna.
3. Snorkel on The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef
Puerto Morelos is home to the National Reef Park and the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This reef offers some of the best snorkeling in the Riviera Maya. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef is a quarter mile offshore and easy to get to via boat.
You’ll have the opportunity to see tons of marine life including vivid coral reefs, sting rays, sea turtles, and maybe even a small shark or two.
One of the best ways to experience snorkeling in Puerto Morelos is by joining a snorkeling boat tour. Check out this Snorkeling Tour, this Half Day Snorkeling With Lunch, or this Small Group Mesoamerican Barrier Reef Tour.
ISLAND LIFE TRAVEL TIP : GET TRAVEL INSURANCE
When planning an international vacation, Travel Insurance is a must in our opinion. Since your health insurance likely doesn’t cover you while outside of the country, travel insurance makes sure if you accidentally break a bone or get food poisoning, your medical needs are covered. Travel insurance also typically covers you for trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage (it happens), Covid issues, flight delays, missed connections and more. We think it’s a no brainer and should be factored into any international trip budget. You can easily compare the top-rated travel insurance plans here.
4. Check Out the Botanical Garden
Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden is one the largest botanical gardens in all of Mexico. This protected area is home to a variety of native mangroves and plant species as well as animals such as butterflies, birds, iguanas and spider monkeys.
You can do a 1.2 mile self-guided tour along the jungle boardwalk, an easy and beautiful walk. Or you can book a guided tour with the botanical garden staff. Bring plenty of bug spray as the mosquitos can be a nuisance at the botanical gardens.
5. Go On A Catamaran Sail
The National Reef Park isn’t just for snorkeling, it’s also a great place to go sailing. Visitors can board a catamaran and cruise through the clear Caribbean waters of the Puerto Morelos lagoon.
Want some adventure in the water? A trip to a secret sandbar and snorkeling with vibrant marine life are just a few of the options. Catamaran sailing tours are definitely worth exploring for your time in Puerto Morelos!
Enjoy a Catamaran Reef Sail and Snorkel, or check out this Catamaran Tour to a secret sandbar with lunch and drinks provided.
6. Stroll Around the Town
Puerto Morelos has the charm and authenticity of old Mexico. The quaint town itself is a very low-key destination, with welcoming energy and only about 9,000 residents. It has that small fishing village vibe that makes it fantastic to explore.
There are plenty of shops and restaurants in town and you won’t have to deal with the swarms of people that you find in many other Riviera Maya destinations. Make sure to stop at a seafood restaurant, it’s what the town is famous for, and the daily catch is almost guaranteed to be scrumptious here!
7. Go Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is one of the best and most popular things you can do in the crystal-clear turquoise waters of the Mexican Caribbean. Whether you are certified and want to go it alone or take a scuba diving tour, you’ll love the array of dive opportunities in Puerto Morelos. The reef near Puerto Morelos is one of Mexico’s most popular scuba diving sites. There are plenty of dive shops in town that offer Puerto Morelos diving lessons and tours.
If you’re a certified diver, you can book a dive to explore over 20 nearby Puerto Morelos scuba diving sites with clear waters and an abundance of sea life. Some of the scuba shops even take you diving in cenotes. If you aren’t certified you could try a discover scuba tour, join a scuba tour and just snorkel or take a separate water adventure tour.
These are some of the amazing tours available at Puerto Morelos Reef National Park.
8. Have an Amazing Adventure
You won’t find Puerto Morelos lacking in adventure options! In addition to fun in the sand, you’ll also discover fantastic hiking, kayaking, horseback riding, rock climbing, ATV adventures, and much more.
Go ziplining, drive ATVs through the jungle and swim in beautiful cenotes on this Adventure In Puerto Morelos tour. Or have a Horseback Riding Adventure complete with ATVs and ziplining.
If you’re looking for a day of adventure, check out this Combo Adventure Tour where transportation is provided for snorkeling, ATVs, ziplining and visiting cenotes.
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