Around 20 miles south of world-famous Cancun, you’ll find a small village that has steadily become a popular tourist destination in its own right. Puerto Morelos was once a sleepy fishing village, but these days has more than its fair share of beachfront resorts and tourist amenities. However, it has managed to retain its small-town charm and is worth spending a day or two if you’re traveling along the Mexican Caribbean coast. Here are the top 7 things to do in the coastal town of Puerto Morelos.
Visit the Ruta de Cenotes
One of the highlights of Puerto Morelos is the Ruta de los Cenotes, or Cenotes Route. An adventurer’s paradise, the route provides 60 cenotes to explore, from above ground pools to dark underground caves. There are adventure parks to enjoy, including Selvatica and Xenotes, plus plenty of tours include an adventure element, such as an ATV ride.
As the Cenotes Route isn’t easy to find independently, it’s best to hire a car or join a guided tour that includes transportation.
Snorkel in the National Reef Park of Puerto Morelos
Just 400m from the shore is the world’s second-largest coral reef, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This close proximity to such a rich stretch of reef makes for some unbeatable snorkel and diving opportunities.
Snorkeling off the shore can be fun, but the best way to explore the waters off the Puerto Morelos coast is on a tour – and there are plenty of well-rated snorkel tours to be had.
Check out the gorgeous beaches
If you’re not keen to snorkel or dive, another top activity in Puerto Morelos is just to relax and enjoy the beaches. Although the town has developed into a hotspot for tourists, there are still deserted stretches of beach to be found, away from the resorts and beach clubs. However, if you prefer your beaches with a few more amenities, there are some lovely beach clubs to choose from.
Get up close to rescued animals at Croco Cun
More an animal sanctuary than a zoo, Croco Cun is a great place for a family day out, where you can meet all manner of critters, from spider monkeys living high up in the trees, to snakes, iguanas, and birds. You can even pet a crocodile if you’re feeling brave.
Guided tours are available where you’ll learn all about the animals’ natural habitats, and how the Croco Cun is taking its conservation ethos seriously.
- The park is open every day from 9.30 am until 4.30 pm.
- Entry costs 627 Pesos for adults, 442 Pesos for kids aged 6-12 years, and kids 5 and under are free.
Visit the Leaning Lighthouse
Damaged by a hurricane back in the 1960s, the iconic symbol of Puerto Morelos town is its leaning lighthouse. Located right on the oceanfront, you can’t miss it, and although you can’t climb it anymore, it’s a great place to chill out and take in the views across the beach toward the ocean.
Go green at the Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden
Just 2 km south of Puerto Morelos is the ecologically important Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín Botanical Garden. Created forty years ago as a way of protecting the biodiversity of the Mexican Caribbean region, there are two main eco-systems represented – mangrove swamp and sub-evergreen forest.
A guided tour is recommended, to get the most out of your visit. You may spot monkeys and iguanas, and will see all kinds of local plants. You can enjoy lovely views over Puerto Morelos from the tower viewpoint, as well traversing a popular suspension bridge in the heart of the mangroves.
As a side note, mosquitoes are plentiful so make sure to bring repellent.
Pick up souvenirs at local markets and stores
You won’t find high-end clothing or international brands in Puerto Morelos, but if you want to spend an hour or two souvenir shopping, you’ll likely find something to your taste.
- Flea market
South of the Jardin Principal is a street filled with souvenir-shopping opportunities. Whether you’re looking for a locally-made artisan gift or authentic regional attire, this is the place to find it.
- Farmer’s market
If you visit between November and April, you may be lucky enough to catch the farmer’s market. A favorite with locals, and full of delicious fresh produce, the market runs two Saturdays per month.
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