Looking for things to do in Puerto Morelos? One of my favorite places to visit in the Riviera Maya is Puerto Morelos. In this article, I have tried to cover everything you need to know about visiting this fast-growing Mexican fishing village.
Where is Puerto Morelos?
You will be forgiven for not knowing anything about Puerto Morelos, many people completely overlook it in favor of its larger neighbors: Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum. Puerto Morelos sits tucked between Playa and Cancun and is the place to go if you want to enjoy the Mexican Caribbean without the crowds and inflated prices.
How to get to Puerto Morelos
How far is Puerto Morelos from Cancun airport?
Puerto Morelos is only 25 kilometers from Cancun airport making it a quick onward journey for anyone to get here. Check out prices and schedules to get to Puerto Morelos from Cancun airport with GuateGo here.
Need to book transportation in Mexico?
I highly recommend booking all of your Mexico transportation with GuateGo. You can search for buses, shuttles, ferries, and Flights on their website. What I love most about them is their customer service. I know these guys personally from my time living in Guatemala and they really do look after their customers. So if anything happens and you get delayed and miss your bus, you can just call them and they are always there to help.
If you book through them you will pay a little more than if you book in person at the bus station. But it’s worth it for the ease and security in my opinion. Click here to search for transportation in Mexico.
How to get to Puerto Morelos from Cancun airport
You have a few different ways to get to Puerto Morelos from Cancun airport:
Taxi – If you are flying into Cancun you won’t have any difficulty in finding a taxi to bring you to Puerto Morelos. They will be waiting outside the airport. This is probably the easiest way to get to Puerto Morelos from Cancun, but not the cheapest. You should expect to pay around $60.
If you need a taxi to get you to the airport from Puerto Morelos, or to get you around in Puerto I can’t recommend this driver enough. He saved my ass one morning when I almost missed a flight as I’d left my laptop, kitten documentation, and passport at home! He drove to my house and brought the bag to me in Cancun airport. Send him a message on WhatsApp to book him, Piter Ventura.
Uber – there is no uber in this part of Mexico. Please, I beg you don’t risk trying to use Uber even if you log in and can see drivers. It is very unsafe here. I don’t want to go into this too much but there have been a lot of violent clashes between Uber drivers and Taxi drivers. If a taxi driver suspects someone of being an Uber driver thing can get nasty. Any brave Uber drivers attempting to pick up at Cancun airport are very unlikely to pick up non-Mexicans anyway.
Private Transfer – If you prefer to be a little more organized and don’t want to take public transport then booking a private transfer is a great idea. I tend to book mine through Viator as they often give discounts making it great value for money.
Last time I took a private transfer I was greeted with a cool damp towel to freshen up and a bottle of cold water. After a day of travel, it was very welcome!
ADO Bus – This is the cheapest option and one I (almost) always take, especially if you are traveling solo or as a couple. The ADO bus is so easy to use, the buses are clean, run on time and it is cheap!
To take the bus just follow the signs for ADO or ask someone “Donde puedo tomar el bus ADO?” buy your ticket and hop on board. Puerto Morelos will be the first stop. Once you get off the bus head towards the taxis and get a taxi to your accommodation in Puerto Morelos. The taxi should cost no more than $50-$100 pesos (depending on where you are staying).
Car Rental – Renting a car is a great option if you know you want to get out and about in the area. Although colectivos and buses between towns and cities in the Riviera Maya are great, anywhere off this main road can be hard to reach. Having a car means you can visit everywhere with ease and save you having to book on an official tour. For example, Cenotes, Coba, Tulum, and Chichen Itza are so much easier to see by car.
You can rent a car in Cancun Airport or when you arrive in Puerto Morelos, however, I recommend renting from the airport as you can normally get some great deals.
On a Tour – I’m not always a fan of group tours but my friend Vanessa runs a company called Turismo Channel and they have some great deals of tours to Puerto Morelos from Playa del Carmen. If you send her a message on WhatsApp and tell her Claire’s Itchy Feet sent you then she will give you a great price on anything!
Why Visit Puerto Morelos
Okay, so now you know a little bit more about Puerto Morelos you may be wondering why you should visit Puerto Morelos. What makes it such a great place to go?
The Riviera Maya is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in the world. Each area along the coast offers a visitor something different.
Cancun is huge, it is full of big resorts and somewhere people visit and stay in the resort for the whole vacation.
Playa del Carmen is more budget-friendly, it attracts a much more diverse crowd and it is especially great for families on a budget and those wanting to party Mexico style.
Looking for a reputable tour company in The Riviera Maya?
I’ve been working with Turismo Channel in Playa del Carmen for years and they are who I send all of my family and friends to when they visit the Riviera Maya. I really can recommend them enough for tours, private airport transfers, and rental cars. Vanessa and Oliver are personal friends of mine and I have 100% faith that you will have a wonderful time with them.
You can check out their tours by clicking here and using the following discount codes for the best prices clairecaroff (car rental), claire10off (for 10% off group tours), claireprivate (for a discount on private tours). You can also send her a WhatsApp message quoting the above codes to receive the discount.
Tulum is getting more and more popular especially with those wanting a more holistic vacation full of yoga and vegan food, or on the flip side, you have the jet-set crowd to fly in for a long weekend of luxury accommodation, fine dining, and cocktails. To truly appreciate Tulum you need money!
Puerto Morelos has something none of these places have, a glimpse into the real Mexico.
It is actually one of the oldest towns in the area and although it has grown substantially over the past few years it still remains a small (slightly sleepy) fishing village. It is lively enough that you can have a good night out with friends and family but just don’t expect to be partying until dawn to EDM DJs here like you would in Cancun, Playa, or Tulum.
In Puerto Morelos, you can expect great food, great beaches, friendly locals, excellent snorkeling and it won’t break the bank.
Of all of the main tourist places in the Riviera Maya, I have found Puerto Morelos, in general, to be the best value if you are eating and drinking in the ‘tourist places’. The only downside is there isn’t much on the side of budget food and accommodation for the backpackers. I didn’t see a single food cart although they do have a supermarket now in the town center so you would easily be able to cook cheaply for yourself.
Things to do in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos may be a small town but that doesn’t mean there isn’t plenty to do if you get bored of lazing on the beach every day. As well as the obvious excursions to the Mayan Ruins at Tulum, Coba, and Chichen Itza, you can visit the neighboring destinations of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
Visit the Cenotes near Puerto Morelos
There are also a lot of Cenotes near Puerto Morelos, in fact, there is an entire road full of them! It is called Ruta de Los Cenotes and you are going to need to either rent a car or book a tour to get to it. You could also just take a taxi but if you do that make sure you plan ahead so you know which Cenote near Puerto Morelos to go to.
My personal favorite Cenote is Cenote Kin Ha. Now it isn’t the cheapest Cenote I have visited but it is the most developed and fun! This is a Cenote you can go to in the morning and stay for the full day. Most of the other Cenotes I have visited have very little in the way of facilities, ie nowhere to eat or get a drink. Here there is a restaurant and bar as well as changing facilities, and even hammocks and other chillout areas where you can sunbathe or cool off in the shade.
It is also more of an outdoor adventure place, they have horse riding, ATV tours, zip lines, and more. My recommendation is to do a ATV tour for $1200 pesos ($60 USD it is a bit cheaper if there are two people booking) for this price you go to the two Cenotes I visited, traveling between them on the ATV’s, the zip line (see the below video of me doing it), and food.
Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos
Sadly the first time I went to Puerto Morelos the port was closed so I was unable to go snorkeling. But I did manage to go back and did the bike and snorkel tour with Lighthouse Tours. It was a lot of fun and I highly recommend it. Sadly I had some issues with my GoPro that day, but I’ll be heading back soon to snorkel again and finish up making the vlog… stay tuned!
Puerto Morelos scuba diving
In Puerto Morelos, one of the top things to do is go Scuba Diving there are plenty of dive shops in Puerto Morelos to choose from. You can read more about my experience diving with Rodman Divers here.
Puerto Morelos shopping
There are some really nice shopping spots in Puerto Morelos, especially if you want to buy local crafts. On Friday and Saturday evenings you will find a local market in the central square and twice per month, there is a craft market at My Paradise beach club where you will find over 40 different vendors.
Spend the day at the Beach
You can not go to Puerto Morelos and not spend at least one day at a beach club! My personal favorite is My paradise beach club. They have a low minimum consumption for the sunbeds. A great menu and from 4 pm every day it is happy hour. I highly recommend the fish tacos and Guacamole. They also have amazing Cocktails!
Swimsuit from Be Karibbean
In peak season it is recommended that you book a sunbed in advance as it does get very busy. They will only hold the bed for you until 11 am though so be sure to arrive early.
Go Salsa Dancing
As you may know, if you have read a few other blog posts of mine, I am a dancer, and so, every opportunity I get to dance salsa and bachata, I take it! If you are looking to have a great time and learn or undust your Latino moves, The Salsa Dance Academy in Puerto Morelos run by Steve and Mariane is a great option.
Where to eat in Puerto Morelos
It is no secret that I love nothing more than eating. Especially in Mexico. Puerto Morelos has a lot of great options for food. Remember, it is a fishing village so be sure to make the most of all of the super fresh fish available here.
Puerto Morelos restaurants I have personally eaten at and highly recommend are:
Known for their ‘comfort food’ this was one of my favorite spots to eat in the evening. They also have an open mic/ jam session on a Thursday at 9 pm which I really enjoyed.
I recommend the Fish Fajitas. Served in a traditional Mexican Molcajete with fresh tortillas it tasted as good as it looked.
They also have an outdoor grill where they prepare a lot of food. The most popular grilled dishes are the whole arrachera, the whole artichoke and the whole octopus (sorry I didn’t get a photo!).
The Burger Underground
Good quality fast food can be found at The Burger Underground. I ate lunch here and it was delicious. My favorite thing is that if you are a vegetarian they can adapt anything on the menu for you. So many options! Make sure you get the combo as the fries are soooo good!
I Wanna Pizza
Oh, I do love Pizza. This place is super cute with twinkly lights everywhere and a relaxed vibe. It seemed like a very local place which I enjoyed and the pizza was very good.
If you are looking for the best breakfast spot in town then this is it. They have a huge variety of different breakfast/ brunch items from bagels to traditional Mexican dishes such as Chilaquiles.
I highly recommend any of the eggs benedicts. I personally had the Benny Lox and I was in breakfast heaven!
Puerto Morelos Nightlife
Wondering how to spend an evening in Puerto Morelos. If I’m honest you aren’t going to find the best places to party here. If your idea of a top night out is dancing in a club until the sun comes up then you probably need to consider Playa del Carmen or Cancun. But if you want to spend the nights eating amazing food and sipping cocktails with friends in a more relaxed low key environment then Puerto Morelos won’t disappoint.
For those of you who like to dance Salsa or Bachata, or who would like to learn, there are some great schools that regularly run classes and social. Even if you aren’t that into dancing but like to watch you would be welcome to go along to the socials and enjoy the show!
Where to stay in Puerto Morelos
So now that I have convinced you that Puerto Morelos is a great place for your vacation or to stop off at on your trip through Mexico you may be wondering where to stay!
There are three main areas that people stay in Puerto Morelos:
- In the tourist area by the beach (known as The Hotel Zone)
- In the town on the other side of the federal highway (a taxi ride away, known as The Colonia)
- On the outskirts of Puerto Morelos in one of the huge resorts
If you are a backpacker on a tight budget then you will find a few options for hostel-style accommodation but over in Colonia. Expect to pay from $15-25 for a night in a dorm but be aware it is a 4k walk into town (in the Caribbean sun) so you will either need to hire a bike, take the local bus, or take taxis so be sure to budget that in.
Here are a few places I recommend staying in Puerto Morelos, depending on your budget
Multilevel Modern House with Rooftop Pool, TV + WIFI– It’s a large house that sleeps up to 12 people outside on the main town. Perfect for families or groups of friends. Best to rent a car if you stay here.
Brand New Apartment in Puerto Morelos– This is one for the budget travelers who still want some perks. It’s around $40 a night to stay here and you still have a rooftop pool and ocean views.
Suite at Caribe Suites – If you have a bit more money to spend then this is a really amazing option. It’s got everything you would need for the perfect stay in Puerto Morelos.
Oceanfront Apartment with Balcony – You can get a lot for your money in Puerto Morelos, like this oceanfront apartment. Something like this in Tulum would set you back over $1k a night easy. But here it’s a fraction of the price.
I personally stayed in Kaam Condos and I highly recommend them if you are looking for somewhere central, with great amenities, and who are eco-friendly.
I’m all about the plastic-free life and so being given a reusable water bottle was a big tick from me. Plus they use reusable coffee pods. Disposable coffee pods kill me!
In my condo, I really appreciated the attention to detail. It made me feel really at home there and I loved that they displayed work by local artists which you could buy and take home with you.
They also had a fully equipt kitchen, plus dining and living space, not to mention the two balconies and walk-in shower I had. Winning!
Being a solo traveler I’m always very conscious about the area I stay in and I prefer to be a little more central so I can easily walk everywhere. I avoid anywhere with concealed entrances or that feel a bit unsafe at night. I’m pleased to say the location for me was one of the key selling points. I felt completely safe walking back alone at 1 am after a night of salsa dancing.
Oh, and they also have a pool!
Plus a rooftop area perfect for watching the sunrise over the Caribbean sea.
The staff at Kaam were so lovely and helpful too and gave me so many recommendations for things to do locally.
The price is also very reasonable especially if you are a couple with prices starting from $150 per night which includes a continental breakfast.
However, if you want to stay for 1 month then the price drops a lot especially out of season. This would be perfect for Digital Nomads wanting somewhere quiet to work and enjoy the Riviera Maya for a while (breakfast not included with the monthly rate). Check them out here on Booking.com.
Did You Get Travel Insurance Yet?
If 2020 taught us anything, it’s that you need to be prepared for anything! Travel insurance has always been high my list of things to get before I travel but now more than ever its at the top of my list.
I’m pretty sure we have all had travel plans messed up because of COVID and not all insurers covered this. So when looking for travel insurance it’s important to check it covers travel disruption due to COVID-19, Hey Mondo, Passport Nomads, Safety Wing, and Travel Insurance Master all provide cover for this.
Hey Mondo is great if you are looking for a great value flexible policy. They offer single trip cover, annual multi trip cover, and long term travel cover. You even have the option to start the cover when you are already on your trip, although you won’t be covered for the first 72 hours. For me my favourite feature is their app which offers you a 24/7 Dr chat and the ability to file a claim direct in the app.
Passport Nomads provides the most comprehensive cover for Digital Nomads. The game changer with them is that you have a red card and if you find yourself in need of medical care you just contact them and they will pre load your card with the funds to cover your treatment, meaning you won’t need to pay out of pocket and then put in a claim later.
Safety Wing is great value with monthly cover starting at $39. It’s super easy to use and it just renews each month. They have an excess of $250 and it’s simple to make a claim through their website. I currently use them as they offer me free cover for my son as part of my policy and I like that it renews on a monthly basis, so I don’t have to pay out a big lump sum up front.
I also use Travel Insurance Master for some short vacation type trips.
If you are doing shorter trips or an extended backpacking trip then Hey Mondo or Travel Insurance Master are the best option. If you are a digital nomad or planning travel of at least 6 months then go for Passport Nomads or SafetyWing.
How Safe is Puerto Morelos
If you have been paying attention to the media you may be wondering: How safe is Puerto Morelos? I won’t lie to you and tell you there are no safety concerns, this whole area of Mexico has issues with organized crime. There are often targeted shootings and attacks in all of the towns and Cities from Cancun to Tulum and beyond.
But what I can give you is my personal perspective as a woman living and traveling alone here as well as the inside information from the people who actually live in Puerto Morelos.
In the summer of 2018, there was a small explosion in a popular bar in Puerto Morelos, one local person was injured and after the attack, that bar closed and has not reopened. Leading up to this there were several targeted shootings. I’m sad to say this is very normal in this part of Mexico, it is something that happens often.
I know it may seem crazy but it is not something I personally worry very much about. As a tourist in Mexico, you are very safe in general. There is very little petty crime or theft. The biggest issue is low-level scams like taxi drivers overcharging of service staff adding extra on to your bill. But I have never personally experienced any of these things. In fact of all of the places, I have visited in Latin America it is in Mexico, I feel the safest.
While I was in Puerto Morelos I felt completely safe. I walked home alone at 12:30 pm after spending the evening salsa dancing. Just to show how safe I felt.
I spoke to a local resident about safety and she told me although she was initially a little worried after the bar attack right now she has never felt safer living here. There have been no more shootings or incidents since that one due to an increase in security from the police and military.
What you have to remember is this area of Mexico depends on tourism. The bad guys causing the issues depend on tourism. So no one wants any harm to come to tourists or for things to get out of hand so tourists stop coming to visit. So is it safe to come to Puerto Morelos? In my opinion yes, it is very safe.
I really enjoyed my weekend in Puerto Morelos and I’m already planning another trip back here to explore the local area a bit more. So I will continue to update this post adding on any new experiences I have.