Puerto Morelos is a municipality in the state of Quintana Roo whose municipal seat has the same name. It is located on the north coast of the state of Quintana Roo, between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, and despite the greater fame of its neighbors, it is an older town with more history and tradition. It is the main commercial port of Quintana Roo and its tourist importance has been increasing due to the beauty of its
beaches and other attractions.
Puerto Morelos is located on the Caribbean coast of Quintana Roo and is accessible from Cancun and Playa del Carmen by Federal Highway 307. The most immediate access by air is through Cancun International Airport. From Cancun, buses depart from the central terminal to Puerto Morelos, making the trip in approximately 38 minutes. From Playa del Carmen, buses to Puerto Morelos leave from the central terminal and the alternate terminal and the travel time is about 34 minutes.
The city of Puerto Morelos is located in the northern coastal sector of the state of Quintana Roo, between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, 38 km south of the former and 35 km north of the latter. The municipality of Puerto Morelos is bordered on the north by the Quintana Roo municipalities of Lázaro Cárdenas and Benito Juárez, on the south by Solidaridad and Lázaro Cárdenas, on the east by the Caribbean Sea and on the west by Lázaro Cárdenas.
What to do in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos has
spectacular beaches that make a beautiful gradation of colors between bright green and intense turquoise blue. The Puerto Morelos Reef National Park is part of the Great Mayan Reef and is a paradise for snorkeling and scuba diving. The municipal capital has attractions such as the inclined lighthouse, the Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden, the Croco Cun Zoo crocodile farm, cenotes, mangroves and multiple possibilities for excursions by the sea and the Yucatecan jungle. Puerto Morelos public beach
The main beach of Puerto Morelos is public and there is no access fee. The nearby barrier reef, located 500 meters from the coast, tempers the waters and makes this beach a kind of natural pool. In Puerto Morelos the beach days are quieter,
compared to Cancun and Playa del Carmen, where there is a much greater influx of seasonal visitors to the sandy beaches. Visit Croco Cun Zoo
Croco Cun Zoo is a fantastic wildlife refuge located 6 km northwest of downtown Puerto Morelos. The stars of the place are the crocodiles of different species and sizes. There are also boas, deer and ocelots and you can safely touch, hold and feed some animals and even, if you dare, walk among crocodiles. Rates are 576 MXN (30.0 USD) adults and 396 MXN (20.7 USD) children, with discounts for Mexicans and Quintana Roo residents.
What are the best beaches in Puerto Morelos?
The beaches of Puerto Morelos, with clean, warm and crystalline waters, are a haven of peace amidst the bustle and congestion of Cancun and Playa del Carmen in high season. The main beach is of fine white sand and along the sandy beach there are bars and restaurants to enjoy a cold beer or a tropical cocktail, accompanied by a tasty snack. Ojo de Agua is another charming beach in Puerto Morelos, with an excellent level of service from the hotels and restaurants located along the beach.
Places to dive in Puerto Morelos
The best place to dive in this Quintana Roo town is the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, located half a kilometer from the mainland coast. Snorkeling and scuba diving excursions depart from the town’s beach in this beautiful ecosystem that has more than 260 species of algae, a multitude of fish, different types of corals (elkhorn, staghorn and staghorn) and several species of turtles in danger of extinction, including loggerhead, hawksbill, white and green turtles.
Puerto Morelos Reef National Park
This national park is part of the Great Mayan Reef, the second largest barrier reef on Earth. It is located off Puerto Morelos, about 500 meters from the mainland coast and was decreed in 1998 with an extension of 9067 hectares. It is great for lovers of underwater sports for the variety and colorfulness of its fauna and flora, including multicolored fish, crustaceans and turtles.
Puerto Morelos Cenotes Route
This route is a 35-kilometer corridor between Puerto Morelos and Leona Vicario, where some of the most spectacular cenotes of the Riviera Maya and the Yucatan Peninsula can be found. Among dense vegetation, with the sound of birds and other species of the tropical jungle, these bodies of water offer their beauty and freshness for swimming and admiring their fascinating underwater world. Among the best cenotes on the route are Las Mojarras, Siete Bocas, Boca de Puma, Lucero Verde, Kin-Há, Popol Vuh and Selvática.
What are the best cenotes in Puerto Morelos?
Selvática is located at km 18 of the Cenotes Route between Puerto Morelos and Leona Vicario. More than a cenote, it is a mini amusement park, with hanging bridges, bungee jumps from a platform and several zip lines. Cenote Siete Bocas is at km 15 of the route and is good for people who prefer tranquility, as it is not one of the most crowded. It has seven entrances for sunlight and is almost untouched, so you will need to bring everything you need, including your snorkeling or diving equipment.
Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden
Alfredo Barrera Marín, a biologist from Merida, was one of the architects of the creation of the Museum of Natural History of Mexico City and its first director. The Puerto Morelos Botanical Garden that bears his name has an area of 65 hectares and houses the most representative flora of the Yucatan Peninsula, including medicinal and ornamental plants, as well as emblematic species of fauna, such as coatis and spider monkeys. It also has a suspension bridge and archaeological ruins.
Ojo de Agua Beach
It is a long and beautiful beach in Puerto Morelos named after a freshwater eye that is located near the sandy beach. The beach runs from the Ojo de Agua Hotel to Único Beach, a beach club, and is frequented for swimming, sunbathing, diving, snorkeling and other beach entertainment, such as volleyball and beach soccer. It is also used by yoga groups and for musical concerts. It has several public accesses along Javier Rojo Gomez Avenue and is located just a few minutes walk from downtown Puerto Morelos.
Dive the Cannon Boat
During colonial times, many ships filled with precious metals and other valuables were sunk in the Caribbean and are now sought after by treasure hunters, but the C-56 Juan Escutia Gunboat was not one of them. This ship was deliberately sunk on October 28, 2000 as an “artificial reef” and is located 30 meters deep and about 2 km off the coast of Puerto Morelos.
Wreck diving is of particular interest because of the unique and rich ecosystem that develops inside the rusting hull of the ship and is a tourism trend with a life of its own. Just as climbers keep track of the peaks they have topped, many divers have their list of wrecks they have explored.
The gunboat is approximately 60 meters long and has three decks for diving (cabins, engine and ammunition room). On the upper deck it is common to see huge rays and other fish up to 150 kilos, including groupers. The boat is reached by a boat ride of about 20 minutes from Puerto Morelos.
Live an aquatic adventure with Snorkel Native Park.
If you want to live the ultimate snorkeling experience in Puerto Morelos reefs, this aquatic adventure takes you to discover the best of the underwater life in the Great Mayan Reef, with 2 snorkeling sessions in the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park.
On this excursion you will discover the fascinating multicolored world of the fauna and flora of the Puerto Morelos reef and learn interesting facts about the biodiversity in these majestic ecosystems. Specialized guides know exactly where to go to maximize observation and entertainment. The package includes the entrance fee to the national park, the necessary equipment, expert guides, lockers and a stop at a beach club with a typical buffet and open bar.
Ask for information about promotions at Carretera Federal Cancun – Tulum, km 27.5, Bahia Petempich, Super Manzana 12, Puerto Morelos. Telephone (984) 803-99-99. Open to the public Monday through Sunday between 7 a.m. and 8 p.m.
Tour the town of Puerto Morelos
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The modern history of Puerto Morelos began in the late 19th century, when the Compañía Colonizadora de la Costa Oriental de Yucatán (which exploited forest products and other plant species in the forests near the coast) began to use the area as a transshipment point. Prior to the construction of the dock, the logs were thrown into the sea and dragged with boats to a steamer that anchored offshore in front of present-day Puerto Morelos. The construction of the pier brought a new impulse and the population began to grow, becoming the most important port in Quintana Roo.
Puerto Morelos preserves its traditional atmosphere of a fishing village. The nerve center of the town is its picturesque square with its central kiosk and the church where the local patron saint, San José, is venerated, whose festivities are celebrated on March 19. Around the square are cafes, restaurants, bars, stores and ice cream parlors. A conversation with the local old-timers will take you back to the times when Puerto Morelos lived from the exploitation of dye stick, gum, cork and vanilla.
Visit Playa del Secreto
14 km south of Puerto Morelos, on the way to Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya highway, is this wonderful beach, which is considered one of the most beautiful in the Mexican Caribbean and, without a doubt, one of the most peaceful and uncongested.
Despite its paradisiacal beauty, it has remained off the radar of mass tourism because its public access is quite an adventure through a mangrove swamp and does not have many infrastructures. The walk through the mangrove allows you to see birds and other animals. The beach is a turtle sanctuary where the chelonians go to lay their eggs and it is not unusual to see iguanas in this almost virginal habitat.
Some tourist service establishments in Playa del Secreto use the sun and winds to cover their energy needs. It is a beach of intensely beautiful and crystal clear turquoise blue waters and soft white sands. The main beach activities are swimming, paddle boarding and kayaking.
Enjoy Day & Night Beach Club
It is a great beach club in Puerto Morelos, located in lots 3 and 4 of the Federal Maritime Zone, between Javier Rojo Gomez and Rafael E. Melgar avenues. It has palapas, tables, hammocks and deck chairs and serves exquisite Caribbean dishes, such as ceviches and fried fish, and Mexican food, as well as delicious tropical drinks and cold beer.
Bathrooms and showers are available and there is a good musical atmosphere. The beach in front of the Day & Night Beach Club is quiet, flat and warm, making it suitable for families with children. On weekends the music is live and many couples are choosing the club as a place to celebrate their weddings. The service of the waiters is excellent, both in the palapas on the beach and in the interior of the club. The variety of food and drinks is wide and it is the ideal place in Puerto Morelos to enjoy a Margarita cocktail while admiring the turquoise blue sea.
Swim with dolphins at Delphinus
In the marina of the El Cid Hotel in Puerto Morelos is Delphinus, an organization that provides one of the most enchanting dolphin experiences in the Mexican Caribbean.
The park offers five swim with dolphins experiences:
Duration: 30 minutes in the water, plus 15 minutes of training. Maximum number of people: 10 Price per person: 1806.7 MXN (94.9 USD). Supreme
Duration: 45 minutes in the water, plus 15 minutes of training. Maximum number of people: 4 Price per person: 2635.4 MXN (138.4 USD). Nature Connection
Duration: 45 minutes in the water, plus 15 minutes of training. Maximum number of people: 4 Price per person: 3298.4 MXN (173.2 USD). Couples Dreams
Duration: 45 minutes in the water, plus 15 minutes of training. Maximum number of people: 2 Price per person: 3306.7 MXN (173.6 USD). The One
Duration: 45 minutes in the water, plus 15 minutes of training. Maximum number of people: 1 Price per person: 8270.9 MXN (434.3 USD).
The most complete experience (The One) includes 21 activities with the dolphin. Delphinus Puerto Morelos has lockers, bathrooms, showers and dressing rooms and its schedule is from 8:30 am to 5 pm.
Visit the Sanctuary of Hope
According to the Popol Vuh, the spiritual and historical book of the Maya, the gods create a new human being, better than the previous one, at the beginning of each era. Thus, December 21, 2012, which was popularized by the media as the day of the end of the world, supposedly predicted by the famous civilization, was nothing more than a new rebirth of humanity and a new stage for the harmony of the universe.
As a tribute to the Mayan culture, a monument was built in Puerto Morelos consisting of a column inspired by an eye to symbolize the Mayans’ interest in the study of the universe, which led them to develop an advanced astronomy. The monument is located at the entrance of the Cenotes Route and is a must for photos in Puerto Morelos.
Interact with animals at Toolok Kaa’n Wildlife Sanctuary
It is a Wildlife Conservation Management Unit located at km 2 of the Cenotes Route in Puerto Morelos. These units were created by the Mexican government to promote wildlife protection actions and production strategies that favor their preservation.
At Toolok Kaa’n Wildlife Sanctuary in Puerto Morelos you can take a tour with a specialized guide and learn about the habits of the animals, especially reptiles, as well as interact with them and even touch and hold them. Among the species in the sanctuary are Mexican crocodiles, babillas, green iguanas and various kinds of snakes. A visit to Toolok Kaa’n is recreational and teaches young and old about the importance of preserving biodiversity and protecting endangered Mexican endemic species.
Visit Punta Maroma
20 km from Puerto Morelos, along the Riviera Maya Federal Highway, is Punta Maroma, a spectacular beach in the municipality of Solidaridad with amazingly crystalline waters and soft white sand where it is a delight to lie in the sun. In Punta Maroma there was a small Mayan community that disappeared as a consequence of the diseases brought by the Spaniards and the place remained virgin until it was developed for tourism.
To reach the paradisiacal beach shaded by coconut trees you have to cross a jungle stretch from the federal highway. At the foot of the sandy beach there are cozy resorts and hotels that provide all the services for a wonderful stay. Scuba diving and snorkeling in the nearby barrier reef are two of the favorite entertainments in Punta Maroma, although just a few meters from the beach, among the transparent waters, it is possible to admire the fish swimming from the reef.
Enjoy a charming night at the best nightclubs in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos has an active nightlife and after visitors return to the hotels after their day and a restful rest, the nightclubs and bars of the city come alive with relaxed people who go to enjoy their favorite drinks, tasty snacks and music. Bar Bara Bara is located on Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez and is decorated in an urban Mexican style. It plays different danceable rhythms, with house being the king of the weekend. It is famous for its caguamas and martinis.
Único Beach Club is a beach club that invites you to enjoy a good cocktail and an excellent selection of music in front of the healthy breeze of the Caribbean. It has a respectable bar and is located on Javier Rojo Gómez Avenue. If you are a fan of prepared beers, in Puerto Morelos you must go to Las Micheladas del Semáforo, where they prepare the best in town. They also serve beer on tap and prepare delicious hamburgers, with a pleasant musical atmosphere. It is on the federal highway, in front of the Puerto Morelos bridge.
Dinner at Chilpayas
This restaurant has the reputation of being the best place in Puerto Morelos to eat seafood. The food is excellent and the prices are reasonable, which is complemented by its cleanliness, simple atmosphere and the attentive service of its hosts and waiters. It has a varied menu of fish and seafood, with generous side dishes of fresh salads and a tasty rice and beans match. The beer is always cold and you should enjoy it while you wait for your order because the service can take a while, as it happens with many restaurants with tasty food and many diners.
Among the most popular dishes are coconut shrimp and octopus. For people allergic to seafood or not very fond of seafood cuisine, there are some tender and exquisite cuts. Chilpayas is located at Calle Almendro, N° 513, in Colonia Joaquín Z. Gasca in Puerto Morelos.
Settle in at Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
For luxury and comfort near Puerto Morelos, stay at the
Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, a 5-star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort located at km 311 of Federal Highway 307, 15 km south of Puerto Morelos. It is an all-inclusive full of attentions and details that give the vacation a special charm, in front of a private sector of Playa del Secreto with blue tones that change from turquoise to marine and a wide sandy beach of white and fine grains.
The pool system is spectacular and has islands of greenery connected with picturesque wooden bridges. The suites are spacious and comfortable with whirlpool tubs and high-speed internet, and the spa, gym and beauty salon offer the best in facials, massages, healing rituals and exercise machines. There is a buffet restaurant and seven a la carte restaurants, including Mexican, French, Italian, Japanese, Indonesian, seafood and steaks.