Classic Fishing Village Meets Jungle Adventures
Located twenty minutes south of Cancun’s airport, and thirty minutes north of Playa del Carmen, the small fishing village of Puerto Morelos in Riviera Maya is a favorite for travelers who want to feel off the grid but still be within a quick drive of a big city.
The only time you’ll notice an influx of visitors is during summer when the annual fishing tournaments take place. Many of Puerto Morelos’ hotels are huddled around the 4-block-wide, 15-block-long seaside part of town and are on the smaller side (think less than 40 rooms), but for travelers who would like the amenities of an all-inclusive resort, there are some located just outside of town.
Strolling along the main beach in Puerto Morelos, you’ll come across El Faro Inclinado, or the leaning lighthouse, a symbol of the city. While you’re here, you won’t want to miss seeing the National Reef Park of Puerto Morelos, which is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef—the second-largest in the world. This reef also runs along the length of Quintana Roo. What makes Puerto Morelos unique is that this part of the reef is just 400 meters away from the shore! It only takes a few minutes by boat for snorkelers and divers to reach from the dock downtown.
The reef not only provides a breathtaking sight, but it serves as a natural barrier for the water right off the beach and in fact, almost reaches the water’s surface, making it great for swimming for families with kids.
Another of the natural wonders that you cannot miss when you are in Puerto Morelos is its famous Ruta de los Cenotes, a paradise that houses more than 60 of these enigmatic bodies of water, which are connected to each other through the longest underground river system in the world: the Great Mayan Aquifer. In addition to incredible nature and adventure parks, you can do exciting activities such as mountain biking, driving ATVs through the winding trails of the Mayan jungle, zip-line circuits, rappelling to the cenotes, horseback riding, bird watching, and so much more.
Nature lovers will be awed by the 160-acre Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden—one of the largest in Mexico—which makes for a great spot for a jungle trek by boardwalk through the mangroves and centuries-old trees. Get to know our local inhabitants in a more intimate fashion by visiting the Crococun Zoo, a wild animal sanctuary featuring spider monkeys, parrots, and crocodiles.
The area also offers plenty of options for those on the more adventurous side, from horseback riding to zip-lining through a forest canopy, where the exhilarating adventure ends by jumping into a cenote.
When it comes to dining, Puerto Morelos' restaurants offer plenty of authentic Mexican and international options, but what the beach town is really known for is its seafood, since the fresh catch of the day is practically guaranteed. You’ll find street vendors and several great eateries near the main square by the pier. The town also hosts a weekly market on Sundays where vendors sell handicrafts, and there is a flea market near the plaza that’s the perfect spot to snag locally made souvenirs.