Sleepy, laid-back Puerto Morelos is the perfect destination for a relaxed holiday on the spectacular Riviera Maya. It boasts blissful Caribbean beaches of white sand, a range of water sports, and the charming fishing village is full of boho-chic boutiques, art galleries and cafés. This authentic little spot sits on the edge of wild mangrove forest, a protected nature reserve and national park, which is home to myriad species of birds and animals. The magnificent Mesoamerican Barrier Reef (the second largest in the world) is just a few hundred metres offshore, and offers some of the best diving and snorkelling to be found anywhere. It’s just a 30-minute drive vibrant Cancun and Playa del Carmen if you’re looking for fabulous nightlife and shopping.
Strict environmental regulations have ensured that Puerto Morelos remains an authentic and unspoilt little town, which has become a blissful hideaway for artists and poets. Holiday-makers love it for its quiet charm, and the spectacular combination of jungle adventures in the nearby mangrove forests (a protected national park) plus the outstanding snorkelling and diving in the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef located just 500 metres offshore. There are plenty of delightful places to eat, drink and shop, and, if you want some bright lights and nightlife, then the big, bustling resorts of Cancun and Playa del Carmen are just half an hour away by car.
Little Puerto Morelos boasts a fantastic range of places to eat and drink, whether you want some tasty home-cooking in a traditional restaurant or fancy the gourmet specialities at the upmarket eateries in the resort’s luxury hotels. Don’t miss the chance to tuck into local specialities – Mexico’s traditional cuisine is so good that UNESCO have given it Intangible Cultural Heritage status (see our blog for more). The seafood, particularly the lobster and shellfish, are famous on the Yucatan peninsula, and are served spectacularly fresh. Delicious local dishes include the stuffed tortillas known as panuchos or salbutes, filled with a tasty combination of meat, black beans, avocado and other veggies. For a quick snack, try the elote, delectable corn-on-the-cob served fresh from the barbecue. Or go for a tamale, a spicy parcel steamed in a banana leaf or corn husk.
Puerto Morelos is a fantastically family-friendly destination, which offers all the tranquillity of an authentic Mexican beach town plus a huge array of fabulous activities. The waters at most of the beaches are shallow and transparent, and kids will be thrilled by the colourful aquatic life found around the coral reefs. If your kids aren’t old enough for snorkelling or scuba diving, there are also wonderful glass-bottomed boat trips. Adventurous kids will enjoy the water sports, which include wind-surfing and paddle-boarding, and they could also have some jungle adventures, such as kayaking along the rivers, or taking a dip in natural swimming holes.
The world’s second-largest barrier reef is just 500 metres off shore, making Puerto Morelos a superb destination for scuba diving and snorkelling. There are several local suppliers that can arrange diving excursions and rent out equipment. You’ll find plenty of other water sports on offer, too, including kayaking, paddle boarding and wind-surfing. The town sits on the edge of a spectacular mangrove forest, a national park that is home to a huge range of birds and animals. There are all kinds of jungle adventures to enjoy, from kayaking down rivers to bathing in natural swimming holes.
The lovely beaches in Puerto Morelos are not as famous as those of Cancun or Tulum, but they still boast the classic Caribbean combination of fine white sands and crystal-clear waters. Plus, they are considerably quieter and less crowded than the beaches in the big resorts nearby. Snorkelling is the main water sport on offer (this is one of the world’s best destinations for snorkelling and scuba diving), but you can also go wind-surfing, kayaking and paddle-boarding among numerous other activities. Many hotels feature private beach clubs, with sun loungers and parasols, and most can arrange excursions to the world-famous diving sites on the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, which is located just 500 metres offshore.
Puerto Morelos is a quiet and sleepy little town that oozes authentic Mexican charm. You’ll find lots of delightful cafés and bars, many with idyllic beachfront settings, where you can while away an evening with a margarita or two. A couple of places offer DJ sessions or karaoke nights, but in general the nights are relaxed and laid-back as the town itself. Many of the all-inclusive hotels have a fun entertainment programme, but if you’re looking for big clubs and bars you can always head to Cancun and Playa del Carmen. These lively resorts boast a fantastic nightlife that offers something for everyone, whether you want nightclubs or sports bars, a quiet jazz bar or a crazy burlesque show.
The Caribbean beaches, quiet charm and laid-back atmosphere of Puerto Morelos make it perfect for a relaxed and romantic holiday. If you love snorkelling and scuba diving, this is one of the best destinations anywhere in the world, thanks to the presence of the famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef which is just 500 metres offshore. The delightful little town is full of inviting shops, bars and cafés, and you can also enjoy some fabulous jungle adventures in the mangrove forest nearby – a protected national park full of exotic birds and animals. You could also enjoy a couples massage at one of the glossy hotel spas, or go for a romantic sunset sailing trip on a catamaran.
Puerto Morelos has become a haven for artists over the last few years, and there are lots of shops and galleries dedicated to their work. While on the Riviera Maya, you can’t miss the spectacular archaeological sites bequeathed by the Mayan culture. Puerto Morelos is just a 30-minute drive from Tulum, perhaps the most photogenic of all the Mayan sites. The spectacular remains of this ancient city sit on a clifftop overlooking the turquoise sea, and have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage site. Chichen Itza, two and half hours away by car, was one of the most powerful cities of the Mayan world, and its magnificent ruins have been voted one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The site is crowned by ‘El Castillo’, a vast, pyramid-shaped temple dedicated to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent deity. Every year, thousands of people gather at the spring and autumn equinoxes to watch a serpent-shaped shadow slither down the pyramid steps, thanks to the artistry of the temple’s builders.