Puerto Morelos

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.


The Original Lighthouse at Puerto Morelos, Mexico in Feb. 2007. In 1967 the structure was tilted over in Hurricane Beulah. It has since survived Hurricanes Gilbert in 1987 and Wilma in 2005, but has not been knocked down. The new light house replacing this one is visible in the background.

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 known 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.

Get in

By plane

The nearest major airport is in Cancún International Airport (IATA: CUN) . It is 20km away from Puerto Morelos and is Mexico's second busiest airport.

By car

Puerto Morelos is situated at the junction of Route 307 and a paved road to Leona Vicario in the interior of the Yucatán Peninsula. This recently paved road is the eastern terminus of La Ruta de los Cenotes, a network of minor roads that allows access to many cenotes in the interior. At Puerto Morelos, the beginning of this road network is marked by an archway. The waterfront is about 2km from Highway 307. Puerto Morelos is about 30km south of Cancun, 30km north of Playa del Carmen, and one hour north of Tulum.

By bus

Buses from Cancun and Playa del Carmen traverse Route 307, the coastal highway and the main highway into town:

Cancún and Playa del Carmen buses arrive and depart from the highway, about 2km from town. Each side of the highway has its own small station and ticket office.

Frequent local buses travel between the highway/la colonia and the beach/el puerto for 4 pesos per person. Or take a taxi into town 22 - 25 pesos. If you decide to walk instead, ensure adequate insect repellent, as the road leads through a mosquito-infested mangrove swamp - and watch out for inquisitive crocodiles about half way, particularly on the northern side.

By private transfers

Private Transfers to Puerto Morelos start at $55 US each way for 2 people or $90 round trip.

Get around

There are many local taxis around, they gather at a taxi stand on the west side of the main square in Puerto Morelos. Bicycling is an excellent way to get around town, and they can be rented at a number of places in town. There is also a local car rental agency in the main town on the highway. Always make sure you find out the price of a taxi ride before you get in to avoid disagreements. At the car rental place you can bargain for a cheaper rate.





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.






All types of lodging are available, including modest hotels right on the beach. If you are booking within a few weeks of your travel date, you may have to contact several places to find a vacancy.




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