Puerto Morelos: Riviera Maya’s Hidden Gem

Last Updated Sep 29, 2023

Midway through the Carretera 307 that takes you from Cancun to Playa del Carmen there’s a little beach town that has managed to keep its old fishing village charm intact, staying away from the big resorts and mass tourism frenzy.

That little town is called Puerto Morelos and it’s one of Riviera Maya’s best-kept secrets.

Beaches in Puerto Morelos

The Untouched Beauty of Puerto Morelos

Puerto Morelos is the prototypical “off the beaten path” kind of town. You don’t come to Puerto Morelos to buy at its exclusive boutiques or eat at its gourmet restaurants. You come to Puerto Morelos to walk around its sandy streets and haggle-shop at its variety of small locally-owned crafts shops and eat fresh seafood while barefoot on the beach.

It is that kind of place.

The “Zihuatanejo” image evocated by Andy Dufresne at the end of “The Shawshank Redemption” film, that’s what you still can find here.

Forget about the cosmopolitan Hotel Zone of Cancun or the buzzing Fifth Avenue of Playa del Carmen, and you can throw in there the boho beach vibes of Tulum.

This town is about the authentic Mexican lifestyle of an old fishing village set in one of the most beautiful places on Earth.

The Exciting Side of Puerto Morelos

All that said, Puerto Morelos isn’t one of those sleepy fishing villages so common across the country where nothing happens at all, ever. On the contrary, the great thing about Puerto Morelos is that it hasn’t only managed to keep its charming nature, but it also offers plenty of things to do to its growing number of visitors who come here looking for the authentic Mexico and leave having had the time of their lives.

Top 5 Things to Do in Puerto Morelos

The following list includes our 5 favorite things to do in Puerto Morelos, although there are many more and all you have to do is come to this beautiful place and discover them by yourself.

1. Chill by the Beach

You can’t beat the beaches of Riviera Maya and Puerto Morelos’ beach is arguably among the very best of them all. Let the softness of this powdered white sand beach do its magic on your feet, while you ‘work’ on your suntan, enjoy a cool cocktail, and get served all kinds of exotic seafood without ever leaving your sun lounge chair and palapa.

2. Snorkel at the Puerto Morelos National Reef Park

One of the best things about this magical town is that about just 400 meters from the beach, you’ll find the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, second largest in the world and protected by the Mexican Government as it created around it the Puerto Morelos National Reef Park. Here, you can find lots of turtles, fishes of all colours, eagle rays, and the occasional small shark.

3. Visit Croco Cun Zoo

Located on Carretera 307 that takes you from Cancun to Playa del Carmen and right at the entrance to the road to Puerto Morelos you can find this gorgeous zoo/sanctuary, This place is a favorite of kids who learn a lot about the endemic animal species of the region such as exotic birds, snakes, and crocodiles while interacting with them!

4. Explore the Ruta de los Cenotes

One of the most magical experiences you can enjoy while visiting the Riviera Maya is swimming, snorkeling, and simply discovering the spectacular beauty of cenotes. A cenote is a “natural pit or sinkhole formed by dissolution of rock resulting from the collapse of limestone”, they form a network of underground rivers and are the main source of fresh water in the Peninsula de Yucatan. Well, just a few kilometers from Puerto Morelos you’ll discover the Ruta de los Cenotes, (Cenotes Route), an area filled with over 50 different cenotes of all types that offer a truly unforgettable experience.

5. Visit the Botanical Garden

Puerto Morelos is home to the best and largest botanical garden in the region, the Jardín Botánico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín, is a natural paradise with an area of 65 hectares and thousands of local plant species. It’s also a favorite of birds lovers as you can spot here plenty of different and colorful bird species in the wild.

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Where to Eat

Even though Puerto Morelos is a small town just opening up to the world and attracting the attention of travelers, it already has some really interesting dining options and a vibrant gastronomic scene.

Playa Xpu-Ha

1. MEM al Mare

This is a spot with great vibes and better cuisine. It manages a concept of planks as most of its dishes are served in an original plank with a variety of different food. Seafood, pizzas, and steaks are their specialty, although they also offer veggie dishes.

2. La Choza del Puerto

With an excellent location, this palapa roof restaurant serves a mix of tacos, seafood and delicious desserts. The atmosphere is quite relaxed and the food without been out of this world is very enjoyable.

3. Matea Restaurante

Discover the extraordinary Yucatecan cuisine in this unique spot where creativity is found both in their dishes as in their cocktails.

4. Unico Beach

The main asset of this restaurant is that it doubles up as beach club and allows its customers to spend an enjoyable day at the beach, while drinking refreshing cocktails and eating traditional Mexican dishes.

Come and Discover Puerto Morelos!

The unspoiled charm of Puerto Morelos is still there for you to enjoy it. Come to spend a relaxing day by the beach or stay a few days engaging in the different activities that it has to offer, and have a trip to the heart of the Riviera Maya, without the crowds and prices usually associated with it.

Puerto Morelos Lighthouse

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