Puerto Morelos

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Puerto Morelos is a town in Quintana Roo on the Yucatán Peninsula, about 20km south of Cancún. It is both a fishing village and a resort and diving destination. It is located roughly halfway between Cancún and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast of Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula. The pier in the center of town hosts snorkel and sport fishing boats while yachts dock in a man-made harbour just south of town. The village used to be the embarkation point for the car ferry to Cozumel, but that now leaves from Calica, a major port south of Playa del Carmen. (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Puerto Morelos

  • Sit on the white sand beach in the shade of a thatched palapa
  • Visit the Jardin Botanico just outside town and watch out for the spider monkeys.
  • Birdwatching in the mangroves.
  • Browse the various shops around the central square.

Crococun Zoo

Puerto Morelos Town Square

Ojo de Agua Beach

Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden

Arrecife de Puerto Morelos National Park

Parque Cenote Las Mojarras

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Popular events in Puerto Morelos in the near future

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About Puerto Morelos


It's the ideal location for those who want a quiet beach vacation away from the glitz, but with ample tourist amenities. The town has just two principal streets and you can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes.

You can get by with English, but Spanish is not superfluous. Most places accept US dollars but not credit cards. Almost all prices are quoted in Mexican pesos and it is generally cheaper to pay in pesos, than in US dollars. There is no bank in town, but several bank cash machines for withdrawals.

The reef just off shore is part of the Great Mesoamerican Reef, the second largest reef system in the world and the largest in the Western Hemisphere. In 1998 the reef in front of Puerto Morelos became a protected National Marine Park, preserving its rich biodiversity and making this area one of the best preserved of the Great Mesoamerican Reef. Buildings in Puerto Morelos are limited to three stories by local bylaws, to preserve its village character.

Puerto Morelos' reputation as a laid-back Caribbean destination is supported by its scattering of boutique hotels, condominiums, villas, plus various small restaurants and tourist shops. Its appeal is especially strong to travelers who eschew all-inclusives and built up "touristy" attractions. For the most part, the town is a residential community with a mix of Mexicans, Canadians, Americans, and Europeans who live there full or part time.

Just across the Highway 307, the main north-south route on the peninsula, is Colonia Zetina Gazca, commonly know as "La Colonia." This inland community is mainly single level dwellings for local Mexicans and a few ex-pats, and contains amenities such as small food stores, pharmacies, and several casual restaurants serving simple fare.


  • Scuba Diving. Puerto Morelos offers a large variety of marine life on one of the most beautiful reefs in the world. The dives inside the reef can be from shallow up to dives where you can see large coral formations at greater depths. For more advanced divers there a few wrecks and the cenotes to explore. Also has easy access to various dive sites ranging from very easy to very challenging ones. For those who are looking for some relaxed diving there are some beautiful shallow reef formations in water of 40 feet/12 meters depth where you can dive among turtles, schools of colorful fish, eagle rays, and many species of crabs and lobsters only to name a few.For wreck lovers, there are two accessible wrecks near Puerto Moleros. The nearest is the C-56, a navy boat that has beautiful coral and which is home to very large pelagics at 60-90 feet/18-27 meters). For more experienced divers there's the Tulum which is at a depth of about 120 feet/36 meters. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef lies about 500 meters offshore. It is closer to the shore near Puerto Morelos than it is at most other points along the coast of Quintana Roo. Several dive shops and nearby resorts offering diving on the reef.
  • Swimming. Near the shore, water temperatures average about 27°C (80°F) year round. Freshwater swimming is available inland, at several cenotes. At cenotes that are not exposed to sunlight, temperatures are colder, and a partial wetsuit may be necessary for anything more than a brief dip.
  • Reef Diving. The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef lies about 500 meters offshore. It is closer to the shore near Puerto Morelos than it is at most other points along the coast of Quintana Roo. Several dive shops and nearby resorts offering diving on the reef.
  • Snorkeling. Guided trips by boat are offered to the reef. Snorkeling out to the reef from shore on your own is not permitted. To protect the reef against intentional and unintentional damage, you are only allowed onto the reef in the company of an accredited guide and wearing a life jacket. If you do go it alone, you risk being picked out of the water by park wardens who may just tell you off and take you back to the shore, but are within their rights to fine you. Note that these rules are not clearly signposted anywhere. A light wetsuit is welcome certain times of year.
  • Cenotes. Cenotes are sinkholes in the native limestone that are filled with crystal-clear groundwater; some are large and deep, while others are small passages through a cave. Inland from Puerto Morelos, many cenotes are accessible along the road from P.M. to Central Vallarta, some with really good swimming in clear blue water; To take local transport to the cenotes take colectivo bus "jacinto kanek" from Puerto Morelos to the other side of the highway get off at pemex station (colonia zetina gasca) once there go to the main zocalo two blocks west of 7 eleven and take the bus heading to Leona Vicario, they leave Morelos at 7.00, 8.00, 9.00AM and return from Leona at 12.00,13.00,16.00,and 17.00PM you can get off at Boca del Puma, just past central vallarta at km16, which has nice trails through the forest and a cool snorkel through a cave passage, the owner Jesus will rent you a bicycle if you want to explore the nearby cenotes on your own. Snorkel in a cenote a few meters out in front of the Ojo de Agua hotel or the Puerto Morelos Reef, about 500-1000 meters from shore. You can rent equipment at the dive shops around town and swim there yourself, or book a boat trip outside the Casita del Mar (north end of town, on the beach) for USD22. Downtown operations offer trips for USD25.
  • Walk on the boardwalk through the mangroves behind Ceiba del Mar resort (N end of town), and look at birds, fish and cool plants.
  • Marina La Bonita (in Hotel Zoetry Paraiso de la Bonita, +52 9988728300 ext 8066, info@marinalabonita.com). Offers high end catamaran sailing tours to Puerto Morelos, Punta Maroma, Cozumel, Cancun, Isla Mujeres and Isla Contoy. They also offer private deep sea fishing trips, snorkeling and scuba diving tours and PADI certified scuba diving training.
  • Almost Heaven Adventures +52 9988710230. In Puerto Morelos, - Offer scuba diving, reef snorkeling, fishing trips and jungle tours. They also sell equipment. For those who want to try out scuba diving but are not certified, you can try a resort course and dive today. Night snorkeling trips and cenote diving are also popular.
  • Jungle Spa, Calle de Las Reinas (Zona Urbana),  998 2089148 or Cell 044 998 1805424, e-mail: starseed@prodigy.net.mx. Make an appointment Tues, Wed, Thur, Fri and Sat. Reservations 10AM, 12PM, 2PM or 4PM. Limited time Sunday - 1.30PM and 3.30PM after Jungle Market. Closed Mondays. The spa is operated by non profit organization and directed by Sandra A. Dayton. The spa was created so that the Mayan women could benefit from the tourists coming to the area and provide for their families. They provide an authentic Mayan massage.
  • Aquanauts Dive Adventures (in Hotel Carmen Hacienda), Ave. Rafael E. Melgar (one block south of the town center),  998-206-9365. 8AM to 4PM. Offers scuba diving tours, PADI certification classes, snorkeling tours, and fishing.
  • The Little Mexican Cooking School (Cooking in Paradise), Avenida Rojo Gomez 768 (On the main avenue facing the beach),  52 998 2518060. 10AM-4PM. The cooking school offers a fun day of learning how to cook all your favourite Mexican foods and teaches you about the flavours and ingredients used in this fascinating cuisine. The school has classes during the week in CAsa CAribe (cat@puertomorelosliving.com) with an experienced local (English-speaking) chef, and students receive an apron and recipes to take home with their memories. USd90-130.
  • El Rey Polo Country Club (Horseback riding, polo and fourwheelers), Ruta de Cenotes 11.5km (On highway 308 turn right at Ruta de Cenotes, the club is 11.5 km down the road). An attraction in the middle of the jungle. A huge green polo field, club house with restaurant and bar surrounded by pristine tropical forest. Here you can take a trail ride on horse back take riding and polo lessons, hire a four wheeler to visit the cenotes or just relax at the bar. Regular polo matches are on the calendar and visitors are welcome to watch.
  • Diverspoint, Ave Javier Rojo Gomez lote 18 (before posada el Moro),  +52 998 206 9051, e-mail: info@diverspoint.com. 08.00 - 17.00. Offers diving, snorkeling and fishingtrips. Offers PADI certification training until Divemaster. Also rents bicycles and snorkeling gear.


Most places don't take reservations, and there can be a wait for dinner, especially around 7 or 8 in the evening. Sundays are the most crowded. There are a number of very cheap restaurants not listed here. If you eat at these places, stick to food that is cooked to order, as some dishes may not be fresh.

If you have a kitchen, you can buy groceries at Casa Martin on the town square, a mini-supermarket.


  • El Tio. Tiny place across from the lighthouse; very inexpensive tortas, soup or Mayan food.
  • Le Café D'Amancia, on the square. Best coffee and healthy breakfast.
  • Fresh fish - buy from fishermen at the pier or at their stall on the north side of the zocalo, and cook it yourself.


  • La Marina El Cid, a little south of town. Overlooks the marina and serves a fresh seven-seas ceviche, as well as other good seafood and Mexican standards. Service is as good as the food and view.
  • Posada Amor. Great Mexican food, and the best ceviche in town. This restaurant, the oldest in Puerto Morelos, has retained a loyal clientele for nearly three decades. In the palapa-covered dining room with its picnic-style wooden tables and benches, the gracious staff serves up terrific Mexican and seafood dishes, including a memorable whole fish dinner and a rich seafood bisque. Sunday brunches are also delicious.


  • John Gray's Kitchen, Avenida Ninos Heroes. More upscale and pricy; excellent food by a former Ritz Carlton chef - reservations recommended. The duck breast is a must. Also makes one of the better margaritas along the riviera; not too sweet. Not to be confused with the related, casual beachfront restaurant La Suegra de John Gray (John' Gray's mother-in-law) is in Pto. Morelos.
  • El Pirata, a popular spot for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or just a drink from the bar, this open-air restaurant seats you at the center of the action on Puerto Morelos's town square. If you have a hankering for American food, you can get a good hamburger with fries here; there are also great daily specials.
  • Terraza Serves juices and vegetarian items. Seemed healthy enough, but the piña licuado may seemed like naranja instead and the eggs may seem more like tofu than real eggs. Rosy's is a better choice for juices and breakfast.
  • Los Pelicanos, a windy beachfront place to have your first drink and nachos in Puerto Morelos nothing spectacular about the nachos but the guacamole, like most places here was abundant and quite good.


  • Bara Bara bar. From 8PM onwards, a place for Martinis and good music. Fridays is for House music, with national and international DJ's. Saturday expect Dance Hall, Reggae, Drum and bass and more.
  • Posada Amor Terrace. Terrace bar with live music somedays, great drinks and relax atmosphere.
  • Cantina Habanero's, - Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner serveing a variety of food, from delicious baby-back ribs and grilled steaks to regional mexican food. Live music most Friday nights. A gathering spot for locals and tourists alike. Located 1/2 block north of the town square. English and Spanish spoken.
  • Unico Beach Club, Palapa beach bar located 5 blocks north of the square on the beach. Chairs and umbrellas available, light lunch fare and friendly bartender. English and Spanish spoken.


  • Alma Libre Bookstore. Large selection of used English paperbacks, plus new books of local interest. They take trades too. Sign up for their free monthly newsletter, full of updates about the town. Only open during high season.
  • Check out the local crafts at the Mayan Handicraft Center.
  • Buy a hammock, a serape, or a postcard at the souvenir shops off the town square.
  • Centro de Mioterapia Correctiva, Av. Rojo Gomez (North of Square),  998 103 8791. by appointment. Body Balancing Therapy and Manual Therapy Solutions geared towards well-being and fitness focusing on muscle imbalances, related pain and discomfort. Keen evaluation and multi-disciplinary techniques identifying physical limitations and restrictions focusing on the origin of a particular condition. Example of benefits include but not limited to health care preventive, corrective injury, enhanced physical fitness and performance. International client roster - private practice since 1997. Visit web site for credentials and more information.
  • The Little English Schoolhouse. Purchase unique, hand made ceramics created by the well know local artist, Ricardo Arias Alcantara. Proceeds from the sale of items goe to support the The Little English Schoolhouse, a non-profit project to bring English to the children and adults of Puerto Morelos.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Puerto Morelos on Wikivoyage.