Puerto Morelos is a coastal town in Quintana Roo, Mexico, that has not been invaded by mass tourism, despite being between Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
It is a privileged oasis of relaxation between the famous Cenotes Route and the 2nd largest coral reef in the world.
It boasts crystal clear waters, animal sanctuaries, and eco-tourism parks.
To help you plan your trip, here is my definitive guide to Puerto Morelos with the best things to do and places to visit, with my recommendations for the best restaurants and hotels for all budgets.
Does Puerto Morelos have nice beaches?
Puerto Morelos has beaches as spectacular, if not more so, than those of its famous neighbors, Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Furthermore, the nearby reef provides some of the most fantastic diving in the Mexican Caribbean.
TOP 12 things to do in Puerto Morelos, Mexico
1. Enjoy the “Day & Night Beach Club”
Day & Night is a fantastic beach club in Puerto Morelos, located in lots 3 and 4 of the Federal Maritime Zone between Javier Rojo Gomez and Rafael E. Melgar.
Bathrooms and showers are available, and there is an excellent musical atmosphere.
The beach in front of the Day & Night Beach Club is quiet, shallow, and warm, making it suitable for families with children.
There’s live music on the weekends, and many couples choose the club to celebrate their weddings.
Waitstaff service is excellent, both in the beach palapas and the interior.
The variety of food and drinks is wide, and it is the ideal place in Puerto Morelos to enjoy a Margarita cocktail while admiring the turquoise blue sea.
2. Dive the Cannon Boat
During colonial times, many ships filled with precious metals and other valuables were sunk in the Caribbean and are now sought after by treasure hunters.
Still, the C-56 Juan Escutia Gunboat was not one of them.
This ship was deliberately sunk on October 28, 1996, as an “artificial reef” and is located 30 meters deep and about 2 km off the coast of Puerto Morelos.
Wreck diving is of particular interest because of the unique and rich ecosystem that develops inside the rusting hull of the ship and is a tourism trend with a life of its own.
Just as climbers keep track of the peaks they have topped, many divers have their list of wrecks they have explored.
The gunboat is approximately 50 meters long and has three decks for diving (cabins, engine, and ammunition room).
On the upper deck, it is common to see giant rays and other fish up to 140 kilos, including groupers.
The site is reached by boat ride about 20 minutes from Puerto Morelos.
3. Experience an aquatic adventure with Snorkel Native Park
If you want to live the ultimate snorkeling experience in Puerto Morelos reefs, this aquatic adventure takes you to discover the best underwater life in the Great Mayan Reef with two snorkeling sessions in the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park.
On this excursion, you will discover the fascinating multicolored world of the fauna and flora of the Puerto Morelos reef and learn exciting facts about the biodiversity in these majestic ecosystems.
The package includes the entrance fee to the national park, the necessary equipment, expert guides, lockers, and a stop at a beach club with a typical buffet and open bar.
4. Tour the town of Puerto Morelos
The modern history of Puerto Morelos began in the late 19th century when the Compañía Colonizadora de la Costa Oriental de Yucatán (which exploited forest products and other plant species in the forests near the coast) began using the area as a transshipment point.
Before the construction of the dock, the logs were thrown into the sea and dragged with boats to a steamer that anchored offshore in front of present-day Puerto Morelos.
The pier’s construction brought a new impulse, and the population grew, becoming the most crucial port in Quintana Roo.
Puerto Morelos preserves its traditional atmosphere of a fishing village.
The town’s nerve center is its picturesque square with the central kiosk and a church where the local patron saint, San José, is venerated, whose festivities are celebrated on March 19.
Around the square are cafes, restaurants, bars, stores, and ice cream parlors.
A conversation with the local old-timers will take you back to the times when Puerto Morelos lived from the exploitation of dye sticks, gum, cork, and vanilla.
5. Explore Playa del Secreto
Playa del Secreto is 15 km south of Puerto Morelos, heading to Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya highway.
This is truly a wonderful beach and is considered one of the most beautiful in the Mexican Caribbean and, without a doubt, one of the most peaceful and uncongested.
Despite its paradisiacal beauty, it has remained off the radar of mass tourism because public access is an adventure through a mangrove swamp and does not have many infrastructures.
The beach is a turtle sanctuary where the chelonians go to lay their eggs, and it is not unusual to see iguanas in this almost virginal habitat.
Some tourist service establishments in Playa del Secreto use the sun and winds to cover their energy needs.
It is a beautiful, crystal clear turquoise blue water and soft white sand beach.
The main beach activities are swimming, paddle boarding, and kayaking.
6. El Merkadito, a unique gastronomic corner in Puerto Morelos
Few gastronomic corners have surprised me as much as El Merkadito in Puerto Morelos.
The flavor and quality of its dishes, its look full of tasteful details, and the original and magical surroundings of Puerto Morelos make it a place hard to forget.
El Merkadito is inside a house built in 1979 in the old town of Puerto Morelos, Quintana Roo, facing the Caribbean Sea with a terrace and Caribbean palapa just a few meters from the emblematic leaning lighthouse of Puerto Morelos.
This restaurant is far from formalism and pays its decoration homage to the fishing villages.
Traditional shrimp tacos and the Pacific-style smoked tuna are not to be missed, although the restaurant offers options for all tastes.
All the restaurant accessories are made of authentic Mexican materials; I was struck by the fact that both the dishes and the drinks are served in pewter utensils, as the workers say that this is the traditional way food is consumed in the local’s homes.
The food is always fresh from the sea, which has allowed it to become a reference in the area.
7. Visit the Sanctuary of Hope
According to the Popol Vuh, the spiritual and historical book of the Maya, the gods create a new human being, better than the previous one, at the beginning of each era.
Thus, December 21, 2012, popularized by the media as the day of the end of the world, supposedly predicted by the famous civilization, was nothing more than a new rebirth of humanity and a new stage for the harmony of the universe.
You may want to read: Where Are the Best Cenotes in Mexico?
As a tribute to the Mayan culture, a monument was built in Puerto Morelos consisting of a column inspired by an eye to symbolize the interest of the Maya in the study of the universe, which led them to develop advanced astronomy.
The monument is located at the entrance of the Cenotes Route and is a must-stop for taking photos in Puerto Morelos.
8. Interact with animals at Toolok Kaa’n Wildlife Sanctuary
It is a Wildlife Conservation Management Unit located at km 2 of the Cenotes Route in Puerto Morelos.
The Mexican government created these units to promote wildlife protection actions and production strategies that favor their preservation.
At Toolok Kaa’n Wildlife Sanctuary in Puerto Morelos, you can take a tour with a specialized guide and learn about the habits of the animals, especially reptiles, interact with them, and even touch and hold them.
Among the species in the sanctuary are Mexican crocodiles, babillas, green iguanas, and various kinds of snakes.
A visit to Toolok Kaa’n is recreational and teaches kids and adults about preserving biodiversity and protecting endangered Mexican endemic species.
9. Visit Punta Maroma beach
About 19 km from Puerto Morelos, along the Riviera Maya Federal Highway, is Punta Maroma, a spectacular beach with crystal clear water and soft white sand.
In Punta Maroma, a small Mayan community disappeared due to the diseases brought by the Spaniards. The place remained a virgin until it was developed for tourism.
You must cross a jungle stretch from the federal highway to reach the paradisiacal beach shaded by coconut trees.
Some cozy resorts and hotels provide all the services for a wonderful stay at the foot of the sandy beach.
Scuba diving and snorkeling in the nearby barrier reef are two of the favorite entertainments in Punta Maroma.
Although just a few meters from the beach, among the transparent waters, it is possible to admire the fish swimming from the reef.
10. Enjoy the nightlife in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos has an active nightlife.
After tourists return to the hotels after their activities and get some rest, the town’s nightclubs and bars come alive with relaxed people who go to enjoy their favorite drinks, tasty snacks, and music.
El Pirata Puerto Morelos is located on Avenida Javier Rojo Gómez and is decorated in an urban Mexican style.
It plays different danceable rhythms, with house music being the weekend king. It is famous for its caguamas and mezcals.
Único Beach Club invites you to enjoy a good cocktail and an excellent selection of music in front of the healthy breeze of the Caribbean.
It has a good bar and is located on Javier Rojo Gómez Avenue.
If you are a fan of beer cocktails, in Puerto Morelos, you must go to Las Micheladas del Semáforo, where they make the best Michelada in town.
They also serve beer on tap and prepare delicious hamburgers with a pleasant musical atmosphere.
It is on the federal highway in front of the Puerto Morelos bridge.
11. Savor lunch at Muelle Once
Muelle Once is the best place in Puerto Morelos to eat seafood and enjoy the ocean view.
The food is excellent, and the prices are reasonable, complemented by its cleanliness, simple atmosphere, and the attentive service of its hosts and waitpeople.
It has a varied fish and seafood menu, generous side dishes, fresh salads, and tasty rice and beans.
The beer is always cold, and you should enjoy it while waiting for your order because the service can take a while, as happens with many restaurants that cook fresh meals.
Among the most popular dishes are coconut shrimp and octopus.
For people allergic to seafood or not very fond of seafood cuisine, Muelle Once offers excellent chicken and beef options and vegetarian items.
Muelle Once is located at Rafael E. Melgar Sm 1 Mz2 Zona Hotelera Nte – Entrance through Hotel Hacienda Morelos, Puerto Morelos 77580 México
12. Stay at Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya
For luxury and comfort near Puerto Morelos, stay at the Valentin Imperial Riviera Maya, a 5-star, adults-only, all-inclusive resort located at km 311 of Federal Highway 307, 15 km south of Puerto Morelos.
It is an all-inclusive full of attention and details that give the vacation a unique charm, in front of a private area of Playa del Secreto with blue tones that change from turquoise to marine and a wide sandy beach of white and fine grains.
The pool system is spectacular and has islands of greenery connected with picturesque wooden bridges.
The suites are spacious and comfortable with whirlpool tubs and high-speed internet, and the spa, gym, and beauty salon offers the best in facials, massages, healing rituals, and exercise equipment.
A buffet restaurant and seven a la carte outlets include Mexican, French, Italian, Japanese, Indonesian, seafood, and steaks.
Tips for enjoying Puerto Morelos
- Take some time to chat with the friendly locals who reside in Quintana Roo’s most traditional coastal town
- Try to travel between November and March, when the weather on Quintana Roo’s Caribbean coast is milder
- Remember that December-January is the most expensive season because of the high influx of international tourism
- If you travel between June and October, the probability of rain will be higher, so you should take the necessary precautions
- Going to Puerto Morelos and not diving into the reef is almost a sin. If you have no experience, consult a local dive center, such as Wet Set Diving Adventures
- There are hotels of all types, including all-inclusive. All of them are on the beach or very close
- The beaches of Puerto Morelos are ideal for swimming, so get your swimming gear and get a good tan
- In Puerto Morelos, there are pet-friendly beaches. Ask your hotel for more information
- Don’t forget to reserve at least one day to visit the beautiful cenotes of Puerto Morelos
12 best hotels in Puerto Morelos
So you decided to visit Puerto Morelos on your next vacation? Good choice.
I’ve selected 12 of the best hotels in Puerto Morelos for all tastes and budgets. I’m sure you will find the right one for you.
1. Hacienda Morelos Beach Front Hotel
Hacienda Morelos is a three-star hotel in front of the beautiful Caribbean Sea, surrounded by restaurants, bars, beach clubs, and many agencies where you can hire tours to admire the attractions of this area.
It has an outdoor pool, Mexican cuisine restaurant, snack bar, terrace, and internet in common areas.
You can lie under an umbrella on the beach or do water activities such as snorkeling, kayaking, or fishing (extra charge).
The rooms have an ocean view, air conditioning, fan, big screen cable TV, closet, bathroom with shower, safe, and balcony.
2. Catalonia Playa Maroma All Inclusive Hotel
The Catalonia hotel has a children’s club, tennis court, fitness center, sauna, massage area, disco, billiards, entertainers, non-motorized activities on the beach such as snorkeling and scuba diving (extra charge), and nightly entertainment with excellent shows.
Fresh seafood and other specialties can be enjoyed in the restaurants: Beloved, El Pajarito, Terrace Tapas, Lounge & Bar, Adelita, Toscana, Ayami, and Grill.
Cool palapas and abundant vegetation surround it and is very close to Kool Beach Club, Quinta Alegria Shopping Center, and Playa del Carmen, among other attractions.
The rooms have a balcony, sitting area, air conditioning, closet, television, cable TV, telephone, bathroom with shower, bathrobe, hair dryer, complimentary amenities, and excellent reviews for the comfort of their beds.
3. Ojo de Agua Beach Front Hotel
Feel the gentle ocean breeze as you lie on the warm sand under the shade of a palapa at Hotel Ojo de Agua Puerto Morelos.
A few feet from this three-star hotel, there is a restaurant area where you can enjoy delicious regional cuisine.
It is also close to the Riviera Maya Botanical Garden and the El Meco archaeological site. The Cancun International Airport is 17 kilometers away.
You can have fun in the pool, on the beach snorkeling or scuba diving (extra charge), or enjoy relaxing massages in the spa.
It has a gazebo where you can sunbathe and enjoy the beautiful scenery of the Riviera Maya.
It has a double bed, family, and non-smoking rooms, all equipped with air conditioning, internet, a balcony with outdoor furniture, a large screen with cable TV, a bathroom with bathtub or shower, complimentary toiletries, ironing equipment, closet, safe, etc.
4. Now Sapphire Riviera Cancun All Inclusive
This beautiful and huge five-star resort in front of the sea offers you live shows, movie nights, nightly shows, and a wide variety of activities to enjoy as a couple or family.
It has a kids club, temazcal steam bath, spa, gym, kids club, disco, bike tours, umbrellas, and palapas in front of the sea to enjoy the sun or activities such as kayaking, snorkeling, scuba diving, or request a free round at the nearby golf course.
Its six restaurants serve delicious seafood, grill, and international cuisine, either buffet or a la carte, and room service is available 24 hours a day.
The rooms are spacious, with air conditioning, Wi-Fi, views of the gardens or the sea from the balcony, a bathroom with shower, bathtub, bidet, slippers, bathrobe, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, and other amenities.
5. Grand Hotel Gota de Sal
Also located in front of the beautiful blue Caribbean, this is an excellent lodging alternative with comfortable service and facilities, a central location, and affordable rates.
At Hotel Gota de Sal Puerto Morelos, a beach club is next to the hotel where you can rent a deck chair and enjoy the beautiful sea view under a palapa.
This three-star hotel has Internet access, a swimming pool, a restaurant, a bar, and a massage area.
It is accessible for people with reduced mobility and accepts pets (charges may apply). For more information, please call +52-998 871 0118
The rooms have a view of the garden or the sea, equipped with wooden furniture.
The decor has a rustic style with a seating area, air conditioning, large screen TV, closet, safe, bathroom with shower, and complimentary toiletries.
6. Hotel Eden Puerto Morelos
Hotel Eden Puerto Morelos is a complex of 20 impeccable apartments close to the beach and downtown Puerto Morelos.
Although this two-star-rated complex doesn’t have a pool, you can swim and enjoy the beautiful beach just a few meters from the hotel.
The rooms are equipped with a kitchenette, refrigerator, microwave, kitchen utensils, dining room, air conditioning, sitting area, cable TV, two double beds, a bathroom with shower, complimentary amenities, and a balcony with views of the city or the sea.
7. Caracol Hotel
This three-star hotel is located on lot 29 of Niños Heroes Avenue, block 5 in Puerto Morelos, a building with a “colonial house flair.”
Hotel Caracol Puerto Morelos is a good lodging alternative if your budget is tight, but it has what you need to rest.
Breakfast is included, and very close to the hotel, there are several restaurants where you can try local dishes.
The rooms include air conditioning, a bathroom with shower, cable TV, a closet, cleaning products, towels, and internet in common areas.
8. Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa
Facing the calm and turquoise water of the Caribbean Sea is this grand hotel that offers enormous and comfortable facilities to enjoy a well-deserved rest.
Only a 15-minute drive from Playa del Carmen, the Dreams Riviera Cancun Resort & Spa offers various water activities to enjoy as a couple or with the family.
It has a children’s club, infinity pool, entertainment staff, free bicycles, a DJ, and different types of massages at the spa.
Its four restaurants offer the best French, Italian, Asian, and international dishes.
Evening entertainment is guaranteed with themed dinners and movie nights after a day of fun on the beach, enjoying the ocean waves, snorkeling, windsurfing, or other water sports.
The rooms have a balcony with an ocean view, a bathroom with a whirlpool tub, slippers, complimentary toiletries, a bathrobe, large screen cable TV, Internet, and ironing equipment, among other amenities.
9. Arena Beach Club
This 4-star hotel has a private beach area with umbrellas and lounge chairs to enjoy the sun and sand.
The restaurant serves a buffet or “American breakfast,” as well as international lunch and dinner; at the pool bar, you can refresh yourself with cocktails and drinks.
The rooms have air conditioning, large cable TV screens, internet, mosquito net, closet, minibar, shower, balcony, and towels.
Just a 5-minute walk from the hotel, you will find La Noria cenote, the Puerto Morelos Flea Market, and other places of interest, such as bookstores, restaurants, handicrafts, and gift stores.
10. Ocean Coral & Turquesa Resort
The Ocean Coral & Turquesa is another beautiful five-star all-inclusive resort for you to enjoy days of relaxation and fun without limits.
Among other attractions, it offers scuba diving to explore the second-largest barrier reef in the world, located here in Puerto Morelos.
The hotel has a business center, tennis courts, four outdoor pools with excellent entertainers, a kids club, a massage bathtub, beach activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, windsurfing, and fishing (extra charge), as well as nightly entertainment.
It also offers bicycle rentals if you want to explore the surroundings since nearby are the Croco Cun Zoo, the Único Beach Club, and Ojo de Agua Beach, among other places of interest.
The rooms have a garden or ocean view, cable TV, air conditioning, coffee maker, minibar, ironing kit, closet, bathroom with shower and bathtub, hairdryer, and complimentary toiletries.
11. Hotel El Moro
A centrally located, rustic, and cozy hotel with an outdoor pool, terrace, and lounge area perfect for enjoying the warm evenings in peaceful Puerto Morelos.
It also offers bicycle rentals if you want to explore the surroundings since nearby are the Croco Cun Zoo, the Único Beach Club, and Ojo de Agua Beach, among other places of interest.
It has 24-hour front desk service and internet and is easily accessible for people with reduced mobility.
The restaurant serves American-style breakfast (included), lunch, and dinner a la carte.
Restaurants, cafes, and bookstores are very close to the hotel.
A few blocks is the beach, whose shallow water allows swimming, snorkeling, or scuba diving activities. The Arrecife National Park is just a four-minute walk away.
The rooms have air conditioning, large screen cable TV, minibar, kitchenette, bathroom with bathtub, complimentary toiletries, safe, closet, and balcony overlooking the garden or pool, among others.
12. Hotel Casa del Puerto
This hotel offers you rest and comfort in a quiet environment away from the hustle and bustle, located on the shores of Puerto Morelos Beach.
All rooms are handicapped accessible, and rates start at 2,160 pesos (110 USD). Click here for more rates and discounts.
The pool is heated, with a whirlpool tub, terrace, spa, ping pong table, bicycle rental, and restaurant bar with continental breakfast (included).
Rooms have a balcony overlooking the beautiful Caribbean Sea or the pool; air conditioning; cable TV, closet, safe, kettle, coffee maker, minibar, bathroom with bathtub and shower, hair dryer, complimentary toiletries, internet, etc.
Hotel Casa del Puerto is conveniently located close to attractions such as Arrecife National Park, Croco Cun Zoo, Unique Beach Club, Wet n’ Wild Park, restaurants, cafes, and other typical places.
What are the Best Cabins in Puerto Morelos?
And for those looking for lodging in a more rustic and natural environment, there are cabins and bungalows for short or extended stays, as a couple or with the family.
Some suggestions about the best cabins in Puerto Morelos are:
If you know which hotels in Puerto Morelos you would like to visit, check the calendar, your budget, and what attractions you want to visit, and book early to find reasonable rates.
I hope you enjoy your trip to this part of the Mexican Caribbean, and don’t forget to share your experiences with us. Vamonos!