Puerto Morelos, Mexico

The Yucatán Peninsula’s east coast is revered as one of the top tourist destinations, resulting in a nearly endless row of resorts between Highway 307 and the Caribbean from Cancun to Tulum. One marvelous place to ditch the crowd is at Puerto Morelos. This small town is a tropical haven for people to enjoy their vacation in relaxed solitude.

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1 Welcome to Quiet Serenity of Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Puerto Morelos is a delightful small town of 9,000 residents facing the Caribbean Sea. It is located about 23 miles south of Cancun and 20 miles north of Playa del Carmen. This geographic isolation from the hype and hustle of Quintana Roo’s prime tourist cities offers you the unspoiled tranquility of a charming Mexican village. So if you are looking for a no-frills and no-crowd escape from reality, book a room in one of the many resorts on either side of Puerto Morelos. Then savor the quiet serenity and return home totally rested.

Carr Fed 307 & Rafael E. Melgar, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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2 Relaxing Shaded Town Square in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Judging from this relaxing, shaded square named Zocalo, it is hard to imagine Puerto Morelos was once a thriving seaport for mahogany and later gum resin. When the markets collapsed in the mid-1900s, PoMo (as the locals call it) slipped back into obscurity despite its still active container dock. The town’s namesake is José María Morelos, a priest who led the Mexican War of Independence against Spain in the early 19th century. He was also the first President of the Supreme Mexican Government for about a year until he was captured, tried for treason against the Spanish crown and executed in 1815. The town is justifiably proud of its national hero.

Carr Fed 307 & Rafael E. Melgar, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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3 Mayan El Castillo Replica in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

In town square is a water fountain with a replica of pre-Columbian Mayan architecture. It closely resembles the El Castillo at Chichen Itza and, to a lesser degree, at Tulum. It is a tribute to the Mayan civilizations that thrived in the Yucatán Peninsula until the Spaniards caused their collapse during the Contact period (1511 – 1697 AD). During your Mexican vacation, plan on visiting one or more Mayan archeological sites. Travel guides to the best ones near Puerto Morelos can be found in the Mexico section of this Encircle Photos website.

Carr Fed 307 & Rafael E. Melgar, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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4 Parroqua San José Obrero in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

For over a century, the bell tower of Parroqua San José Obrero has overlooked the town square of Puerto Morelos. In Spanish, the name of this Roman Catholic church means the Parish Church of St. Joseph the Worker. This is a reference to Joseph’s role as a humble carpenter yet worthy to help raise Jesus. American visitors will be delighted to learn the Sunday noon mass is in English (at least during the tourist season).

Av. Javier Rojo Gomez, Lote 3, Puerto Morelos 77580, QROO, MX
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5 El Cafecito de San José in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

“The Little Coffee Shop” is adjacent to the town church and hence borrowed its name. El Cafecito de San José seems ideally suited to serve whatever you need during the day. In the morning, their coffee tastes better than any retail chain. In the afternoon, when the average temperature reaches above 87 °F, an order of their yogurt or ice cream will help you tolerate the heat.

Av. Javier Rojo Gomez, Lote 3, Puerto Morelos 77580, QROO, MX
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6 Mesoamerican Barrier Reef in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

This view of the Caribbean Sea is serene and picturesque. Below the surface is another beautiful world waiting for you to explore. 300 feet offshore is the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This incredible marine reserve runs parallel to the Yucatán Peninsula’s east coast and stretches for over 600 miles to Belize. One of the best and shallowest sections is near Puerto Morelos. Contact a guide for an unforgettable snorkeling or diving adventure. Or make arrangements with a captain at the dock for a fun sightseeing ride. The water is so clear you can easily enjoy this underwater National Marine Park without getting wet.

Carr Fed 307 & Rafael E. Melgar, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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7 Faro Inclinado in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Although this leaning lighthouse has become the symbol for Puerto Morelos, it was not created as a marketing prop next to the pier (malecon). This 33 foot beacon was built in 1946 to replace the original light erected in 1905. On September 16, 1967, the high waves and sustained winds exceeding 100 m.p.h. from Hurricane Beulah weakened its foundation causing it to tilt. The locals then named it Faro Inclinado meaning Inclined Lighthouse.

Faro Inclinado, Puerto Morelos 77580, QROO, MX
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8 Third Lighthouse in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

In 1988, the town’s third lighthouse was constructed behind Faro Inclinado. In October of 2005, it was struck by the most intense tropical cyclone on record. Fortunately, Hurricane Wilma’s 150 m.p.h. sustained winds inflicted minor damage and the light is still active. The 46 foot, concrete tower has a range of 15 nautical miles.

Lighthouse, Puerto Morelos 77580, QROO, MX
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9 Sports Fishing in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Above the pier at Puerto Morelos is a sign reading, “La Diosa del Mar,” meaning The Goddess of the Sea. This touts the caliber of the local, year-round fishing. Several operators offer four and eight-hour charter boat tours for your chance to have bragging rights about the catch of the day. Often hooked game fish include blue marlin, barracuda, red snapper, grouper, sailfish and mahi mahi (dorado). The most productive waters are just off shore around the reef. So don’t just sit there. Let’s go fishing!

Carr Fed 307 & Rafael E. Melgar, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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10 Restaurants in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

For a small town, Puerto Morelos has a surprising number of restaurants. There are about two dozen eateries close to the square and along the beach with a wide range of prices and cuisine. A tasty example is Pelicanos. They specialize in fresh Mexican seafood such as pawns, lobster tail and octopus. After a delicious meal, do not be annoyed if the server seems slow in delivering your bill. A local custom suggests it is rude to deliver the check until you ask for it. Restaurateurs do not want to rush your leisurely enjoyment.

Rafael E. Melgar Manzana 2, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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11 Shopping in Puerto Morelos, Mexico

There are no brand retail stores or malls catering to foreign tourists in Puerto Morelos. Instead, you can browse along a block or two of vendors selling their crafts, souvenirs and items for your time in the sun such as hats, beach bags and hammocks. Yes, bargaining is acceptable. Surprisingly, credit cards are not accepted at most places in town. So make sure to convert your currency to Mexican pesos. If shopping is an essential ingredient to your successful vacation, then plan a day trip to Playa del Carmen or the Hotel Zone of Cancun.

Rafael E. Melgar & Av Tulum, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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12 Idyllic Beaches at Puerto Morelos, Mexico

Please remove your shoes before reading about Puerto Morelos’ best feature: the beach. The sand is soft and expansive. Except for a racing stripe of seagrass, it is also pristine. The warm glistening water is an incredible blend of aquamarine and turquoise. The barrier reef provides a protective breakwater so the surf is usually gentle. The environment is peaceful – no blaring music, spring breakers or annoying peddlers here – so you can enjoy the sounds of bobbing fishing boats and seabirds. This is the place where your bare feet dream about during the winter.

Rafael E. Melgar 4, Puerto Morelos, 77580, QROO, Mexico
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