Puerto Morelos is situated between the upscale neighboring cities of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, sits cozily on the Caribbean.
It retains its rustic charm as a Mexican fishing village of days gone by. While other areas of the Riviera Maya have exploded with resort development, it seems miraculous that this small village remains simple, quaint and authentic.
The Puerto Morelos marine coast stretches for miles and is one of the best preserved and protected reefs in the Riviera Maya region. From these shores, you can experience exotic aquatic life as it looked generations ago.
The reef in front of Puerto Morelos, a Marine Park with an enclosed fringing reef, has been protected by the Parque Nacional Arrecife Puerto Morelos since 1998. It helps to ensure and preserve one of the most pristine parts of the Great Maya Reef. Within the Marine Park, divemasters and snorkel guides emphasize the importance of protecting the reef with a “look but don’t touch” policy.
The bay is quite shallow, dropping off from the beach to a maximum depth of about 20 feet. The enclosing reef, located about 400 yards out, ensures calm waters perfect for snorkeling most days.
There are multiple options for exploring Puerto Morelos’ Marine Park’s amazing coral reefs and tropical sea life. Snorkel tour operators conduct excursions across the expansive bay and out to the barrier reef.
Most provide equipment – dive mask, snorkel and swim fins (feel free to bring your own equipment if you prefer). Life vests are mandatory at all times while on or in the water, and these are provided as well. Your guide will issue your equipment once you’ve boarded your panga boat, and after a quick, friendly safety briefing, you’ll find yourself submerged in an undersea wonderland few have experienced.
The waters teem with Sergeant Majors, French Angelfish, Triggerfish, Blue Tangs, Southern Stingrays, and the occasional fierce-looking yet docile Barracuda. Keep your eyes peeled for Green Sea Turtles, as spotting one is a rare and mystical sight. If you’ve snorkeled other areas in the Riviera Maya, you’ll truly appreciate the sight of majestic, pristine, healthy coral.
Tour operators are easy to find along the beach, where you’ll find well-marked booths and signs. Several tour operators can be found on a small stretch of beach just north of the lighthouse, and you won’t have to look hard as they may very well approach you.
Tour costs generally start at about $25 US per person for 1.5-2 hours in two different locations on the bay, and $75-$80 US per person for a full day of snorkeling including lunch.
In recent years, snorkeling the reef alone has been banned by the Marine Park. That said, the tour operators are extremely professional and will ensure you have a safe and fun-filled day on the bay.
If you’d prefer to book a dive trip, there are several dive operators in Puerto Morelos, working out of well-marked and well-organized shops along the beach.
The village square is the hub of life here, and restaurants serving authentic Mexican Caribbean seafood abound, along with other, international, fare. The smells wafting out of the kitchens and food stands, combined with great music, a gentle breeze, and the sound of distant surf make for an unforgettable day.
Along the beach, you’ll find plenty of bars and grills offering traditional bar snack food. Given the laid-back quintessential tropical atmosphere, the prices and service here are an incredibly inexpensive trade.
Accommodations are inexpensive and modern. Numerous boutique hotels have popped up in the last few years.
Puerto Morelos is easily accessible via Highway 307, roughly a 35-minute drive from either Cancun or Playa Del Carmen. The town and beach are only a 1.5-mile drive from the highway turnoff.
Without a rental car, you’ll still have no problem getting to the village, as collectivo vans, taxis, and bus runs to and from Puerto Morelos are common.
Perfectly designed to be explored on foot, golf cars and scooters are the preferred mode of transportation around the town.
Puerto Morelos is a gem, a rare occasion to go back in time and experience the Mexican Caribbean of old. The town has the kindest, friendliest people you could ever hope to meet. Locals, expats, and tourists all blend here. Waters shaded in jolting aquamarine and blue hues, swarming with life, hugging a fishing village that, somewhere along the way, decided to never give up her soul.
For help in planning your day or week in the gorgeous paradise that is Puerto Morelos, contact LocoGringo today! We’ll be glad to assist you with more information on snorkeling tours, diving, and accommodations as you plan your next trip to paradise.