Puerto Morelos – Riviera Maya – Mexico
The “Downtown” or Center of Puerto Morelos is still a charming fishing village located 40 minutes south of Cancún ( 15 minutes from Cancún International Airport ) and 20 minutes north of Playa del Carmen. A perfect place to enjoy life and relax, a unique vacation spot in the Mayan Riviera.
Puerto Morelos is situated in front of the Great Mayan Reef a part of the Palancar Reef System, the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world second only to the Great Barrier Reef of Australia and protected by The National Marine Park. Puerto Morelos is unique in that the reef is only 800 metres from shore and there are parts of the reef, smaller populations closer to shore where you can snorkel right from the beach. You can go swimming comfortably and the area is ideal for diving, snorkeling, windsurfing and other water activities.
The reef in Puerto Morelos is part of the National Marine Park and therefore all activities are governed by the federal government. Organized tour operators who take people to the reef to snorkel or scuba dive must not only have the permits from the harbor master for their vessels including insurance but also a special permit that allows them to be in the Marine Park. Operators with these permits must issue special bracelets to their clients that have a cost of $5.00 US dollars and are valid for your entire stay in Mexico.
Puerto Morelos is close to and protected by the reef, making it a especial place for safe swimming and for taking diving lessons, with easy access to the fascinating underwater world of the caribbean.
The Mexican Caribbean like the rest of the northern and central caribbean sea is known for its year round warm water temperatures as well as great visibility attracting thousands of scuba divers each month to destinations like Cancun, Cozumel and the Riviera Maya. Because of the constant currents that run from south to north the Mexican Caribbean is an excellent place for drift diving with the exception of bad weather in the way of Northeasters and Norths that come down particularly in January and February making the surface choppy sometimes with incredible whitecaps. During Tropical Hurricane Season the storms come up from the south making the currents stronger and creating high tides and swells.
Puerto Morelos to the North of the Town Center has now become like the rest of Mexico’s Riviera Maya with large all inclusive luxury hotels and resorts in great contrast to the small rustic and “quaint” hotels or hostels of the town center. Still just a 1 or 2 kilometer walk along the beach from the big hotels to the small town if you want to explore during the day.
The El Cid Marina and Resort opened in the South of Puerto Morelos town center and is considered as well as 5 star hotel or resort property with marina slips for up to 150 vessels. The project took years and years to finish because of ecological issues and environmental impacts as well as financial problems in the beginning but now open and operating.
Dining in Puerto Morelos is a challenge if you are not in one of the All inclusive Hotels along the north or south of town center but check out our Puerto Morelos Restaurant Section for more on where to eat.
Puerto Morelos is the first community or area of the Riviera Maya on the North side closest to the Cancun International Airport, situated between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Although part of the Riviera Maya, Puerto Morelos is a town in the County of Benito Juarez which is part of Cancun as opposed to just passing the Mayan Palace which is the beginning of Solidaridad the county where Playa del Carmen and Puerto Aventuras are located to mention a couple.