Puerto Morelos Travel Guide
Let’s play a little game: when you imagine the eastern coastline of Mexico, or more specifically, the Yucatan Peninsula, do you think party-hard Cancun, vibey cool-kid Tulum, or eurotourisme Playa del Carmen? While these destinations still hold a place in many beach-seekers heart, sometimes the sheer number of people in search of their own private palm tree can be a bit much.
Will the real Mexico please stand up? Enter Puerto Morelos (pronounced Porto-Morelo), a sleepy little seaside fishing village about 1 hour from Cancun, still fairly untouched by tourism.
This quiet little seaside village is so memorable that in the summer of ‘09 its greatness was forever preserved in the eternal beauty of a Haiku, made up by my boyfriend at the time. He proceeded to sing this little Spanish-Japanese jig at the top of his lungs, non-stop, to any living being who would listen. Favourite Haiku bust-outs include the time he shouted it while swiftly retreating from a couple of not so happy guard dogs, and the time he serenaded the bartender at our hotel. I am pretty sure every single local knew the song by the end of the trip; it should have been adopted as the unofficial village anthem.
It went a little something like this:
Es Bueno, jardin al Mar
Which effectively means:
It is a great, garden by the sea
…You get the gist.
Getting To Puerto Morelos
From Cancun airport take the Riviera/ADO bus to Playa del Carmen, which runs hourly from 10:30. The bus departs from Terminal 2, east end (terminal faces north). Buy a ticket for Puerto Morelos just inside the terminal or on the bus. Ask the driver to stop at Puerto Morelos.
Puerto Morelos Travel Guide – See/Do
Hire a bike …and roam around the place, view the colourful neo-modern Spanish Colonial architecture of some of the holiday homes in the village outskirts. Watch out for guard dogs. The Port itself isn’t big, and it’s your best form of transportation getting to and from your digs. Try not to drunk/cycle. Hire Bicycles from $10AUD/day from DiversPoint.
Go snorkelling…along the coral littered reefs directly opposite the port. Go to the village and walk up to the most eager-looking dude with a tinny you can find. Offer him $10-15AUD to take you out. You won’t regret it.
Go green in the Botanical Gardens…Jardin Botanico to be exact. Most noteworthy claim to fame is being the birthplace of the aforementioned Haiku in this article. Oh and the fact there’s many different native plants and animal species. Plus it’s really pretty. Be sure to bring your mosquito-repellent and watch out for monkeys! You can take daily tours to the Jardin Botanico for $8.50 AUD from Puerto Morelos using www.ecosur.mx.
Visit the Mayan Handicraft Centre…Where you can see local artists working in their shops as they create something special. Buy a kick-ass blue and white turtle thingy like I did!
Take a clichéd photo…of the slightly lopsided lighthouse located next to the Port. It’s Mexico’s version of the Leaning Tower of Pisa!
Go Fishing…Puerto Morelos offers world-class fishing for Marlin, Sailfish, Dordao (Mahi Mahi), Bonito and Barracuda. Tours can be arranged through the local dive shops or right under the Pier. If you’d rather let someone else do it for you, stroll to the Fishing Co-Op on the square and reel in the catch of the day for a low price.
Bask in the awe-inspiring Cenotes…which are ‘underwater caves’ or scientifically termed ‘sinkholes’ which have etched themselves into the native limestone. They 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 blissfully enchanting swimming in clear blue water.
To take the 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.
And if the above instructions make your head spin, just join one of the 48597 tour groups that go from PM each day for around $25 AUD.
Put on your Chef’s Hat…At The Little Mexican Cooking School. The school offers a fun day of learning how to cook quintessential Mexican favorites such as fajitas and cerviches. It also preaches about the flavours and ingredients used in what is probably one of the best cuisines in the world. Especially for hangovers. Avenida Rojo Gomez 768 (On the main avenue facing the beach).
Puerto Morelos Travel Guide – Stay
Hotel Hacienda Morelos…This charming yet simple getaway hotel has 30 rooms with beautiful ocean views and direct access to the pool. It is located directly on the beach in the center of Puerto Morelos, at half a block from the town square. Each room has two double beds and bathroom with shower. This isn’t luxury at its finest but it’s not the most budget option either. All rooms have ceiling fans and air-conditioning. Rooms from $68AUD/night.
Excellence Riviera…The Excellence Riviera Cancun is an adults-only, all-inclusive Resort & Spa. This is the mother of all Riviera beach resorts so if you like boutique and intriguing this isn’t going to be your cup of tea. On the contrary, if your ideal holiday is to gravitate between your room, the pool and the beach, with the entertainment and cocktail nights all planned for you – this is for you! Inclusive packages start from $350 AUD/night.
A Guide to the Yucatan Peninsula Puerto Morelos – Eat/Drink
Posada Amor…has 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.
Que Hora Es…Is a little hole in the wall bar that is a popular nightspot among expats. It doesn’t have an address per say, but it’s in the village next to Posada Amor. If you get stuck just ask a local.
Bara, Bara Bar…Is located 1 block to the left of Puerto Morelos Park. It’s an urban style bar playing reggae and hip-hop popular with the younger crowds.
Café Finca la Chiquilla…is a one of a kind place, and a great little spot with occasional live music. It has a full bar and coffee that is not only freshly ground and roasted, but even grown and picked by the owners from their coffee plantation in Puebla. It’s very popular with locals and tourists alike. Avenue Rojo Gomez, Puerto Morelos.
La Aldea del mar Cafe..is a shack on the beach just next to the port that serves the most refreshingly cold Dos Equis and Coronas. It’ll entice you to settle in for a lazy afternoon session in the shade.
A Guide to the Yucatan Peninsula – Tried and True Tips
1. Put your hand up if you’ve seen Sex and the City – The Movie? Nod your head if you saw Charlotte’s quick descent into food poisoning hell? This is still a very real problem and is only an iced water or shower swallow away. Be careful. It’s not fun to live in the bathroom on your holiday.
2. If you’re on a budget, visit in Mexico’s summer. Not only will you half your hotel budget form will peak times, there will be even less people around to distract from your being at one with the palm trees. Be prepared for some fairly serious humidity though. Get a room with air-con for a much-needed respite and you’ll be all systems go.