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However, there are so many lesser-known, inexpensive, and just as beautiful areas to explore in the Yucatán, which is why we want to tell you about Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Puerto Morelos originated as a fishing village, which can be seen in some of the infrastructures of this town situated between Cancún and Playa del Carmen on the Riviera Maya. It’s a beautiful place to explore with pristine beaches and authentic Mexican culture.
The only downside of a less touristy location is that there are fewer recommendations to be found. No worries, though, because you have a better shot at being the only person visiting some of these spectacular spots!
If you’re looking for Puerto Morelos attractions but don’t know where to start, stick with us! We have the 21 best things to do in Puerto Morelos, Mexico, and we know that you’ll find even more amazing adventures once you set foot in this beautiful place! We’ve also included other essential info about visiting – so this is your complete guide to visiting Puerto Morelos, Mexico!
Things to do in Puerto Morelos, Mexico
1. Go on a catamaran tour
If you’re looking for an adventure in the water, a trip to a secret sandbar, or a snorkel with marine life, then a catamaran tour may just be the thing that you’re looking for during your time in Puerto Morelos!
Not only is this a great way to spend the day, but it combines a range of activities which is great for those who want to enjoy the warm waters of the Caribbean. Personally, this was my favorite way to get out there and do something relaxing that also allowed me to see a beautiful area that you may not have otherwise had access to.
The tour I went on cost $85 USD and lasted 4 hours. I was visiting in the peak season (January), so the tour was full, and we actually got the last two spots! However, the tour included everything you needed, from drinks to lunch, and the boat didn’t feel crowded.
You bring yourself and the excitement, and the tour company handles all the rest!
Related Read: Going on a cruise is also one of the best activities in Bacalar, Mexico!
2. Relax at Playa Publica
Trying to find the best beach to soak up the sun, eat lunch, or take an afternoon walk? Playa Publica, or the ‘public beach of Puerto Morelos,’ is one of the most beautiful beaches in Mexico and another one of the best things to do in Puerto Morelos. You can bank on finding space for any beach activities you’re hoping for, and the water is calm – perfect for swimming!
If you’re like me and enjoy getting to see the more authentic side of a place you’re exploring, maybe you’ll choose to walk to the beach and stop at some local food stands along the way.
Then, when you arrive at the unbelievably blue water and white sand beach of Playa Publica, you’ll be ready to enjoy your day at the beach. Bring some sunscreen, a towel, and bottled water to stay hydrated.
This is one option where hours and costs don’t apply- the beach is open to everyone for free unless you decide to opt for a beach club or restaurant, which brings us to our next activity in Puerto Morelos…
Related Read: Because of it’s close proximity to Cancun, Playa Publica is often considered one of the best beaches near Cancun!
3. Spend the day at My Paradise Beach Club
If you’ve decided to visit the beach in Puerto Morelos, you may be looking to elevate your experience even more and lean into the finer side of this beautiful location.
Combining the beach with A-class service, My Paradise Beach Club is also located on the Playa Publica. Don’t let the ‘club’ name fool you – this beachside amenity is a relaxing, laid-back area that focuses on the experience more than the drinks. It’s all about comfort here!
While there, we rented two large beach chairs with an umbrella and also got access to the other amenities. This did cost us 500 pesos or around $25 USD. However, we got to use most of the fee (400 pesos) for our drinks. Which were fantastic, by the way!
My Paradise Beach Club is open from 10 am until 6 pm every day (hours can change) except Wednesday.
4. Enjoy the beautiful coastline and a walk around town
Puerto Morelos is a low-key destination, a quiet, quaint, and eccentric little town of about 9,000 residents. It has that ‘small fishing village’ vibe I love to explore!
Puerto Morelos is a place where you can get a breath of fresh air and escape the swarms of people you find in so many other tropical destinations, such as the Cancun Hotel Zone! The Caribbean sea calms you, and the friendly locals will make you smile.
A day I often enjoy the most while traveling to tropical destinations is going to the beach and enjoying a nice walk around town to meet the locals and find some great food. There is something extraordinary about how the old Mexican ambiance in small towns, such as Puerto Morelos, makes you feel just as if you stepped back into simpler times.
And it’s true. Life down here in Puerto Morelos is simple in the best way possible.
I found the people of Puerto Morelos to be friendly, and I felt welcomed. You will have no problem finding friendly faces and cute streets. Be sure to pop into the smaller establishments; it’s where you find the biggest smiles and great deals!
5. Go snorkeling
There are so many things to do in Puerto Morelos, but the most popular activity is their world-famous snorkeling. Puerto Morelos is home to a world-class barrier reef, which is about 400 meters from shore.
Close to shore, you will find seagrass beds. These are the best places to view green sea turtles and several species of rays. Out further in the middle of the reef you can spot eels, large fish, and colorful coral. It’s really one of the best snorkeling experiences in Mexico, and I was very surprised at how much marine life I saw!
Due to the reef’s protected status, snorkelers must be accompanied by an accredited guide, and although this may be inconvenient, it is a strong factor in protecting the reef from tourism. I’d rather the small inconvenience than see the reef destroyed.
The tour we did was fantastic value at only $35 USD. It didn’t include much except your snorkeling gear and a life jacket, but we visited two sites to experience all the reef has to offer. They offer both morning and afternoon tours, but I highly suggest going at 8 am or 4 pm as these are the best times to see marine life.
6. Swim in cenotes
One of the most popular attractions in Puerto Morelos are the cenotes. Cenotes are naturally created deep-water wells fed by the filtration of rain and the currents of underground rivers. Think of sinkholes, but bigger and full of beautiful, clean water.
Whether you are feeling energetic or a little tired from a late night, a swim in any of Puerto Morelos’s cenotes will have you feeling refreshed. Some cenotes are just deep-water wells, but certain ones have structures built-in for a more exciting experience, such as ziplines and jumping platforms for those who want to test their luck a bit.
To get to La Ruta de Las Cenote, you would need to rent a car or book a tour – there is no public transportation available. Depending on the season, there is a small fee to visit each cenote of around 200 to 400 Mexican pesos, and they are all open from 11 am to 4 pm.
Cenote La Noria is partially open, so you would be swimming inside a cavern. You can see some small birds and bats flying around you while you enjoy its beautiful water. This is a hidden spot inside the jungle with no crowds. It is a relaxing place with very few people. This cenote costs 250 pesos.
Verde Lucero is a medium size open cenote. It is a beautiful place with hammocks, rope swings, and some small ziplines. It’s often pretty busy, and here you’ll even have a chance to enjoy a Temazcal – a traditional Mexican sauna. For a surcharge, you can experience the pre-Hispanic way of the sauna. It costs 300 pesos to visit.
Cenote Mojarras is a big open cenote with a long zipline over it. In my opinion, it’s the least beautiful but can be the most fun – especially for kids who love ziplining. They have hammocks and a picnic area, but the water can become murky because the cenote is so big.
Cenote Sol y Luna (pictured above) is another built-up establishment where you can swim in a cenote. Here, you’ll find a small hotel as well as a restaurant. Swim in the open cenote and enjoy a meal or drink at the same time. Cenote Sol y Luna is also known to be one of the least crowded in the area.
Selvatica is a big eco-park located inside La Ruta de Las Cenote. If you are up for a jungle adventure, this is your place. There are many options to choose from, but all of them have this in common, they are centered on eco-tourism. Cenote swimming is not the only activity you would find there.
You can enjoy camping, horse riding, zipline canopy, 4×4 ATV riding, and bungee swing are just a few of the things to do over there.
7. Go scuba diving
Trying to find a way to be adventurous, but with a guide? Scuba diving is one of the best things you can do in the crystal-clear waters of the Yucatán Peninsula.
But that doesn’t mean you have to head to the ocean. I myself am PADI certified and wanted to try something new. So, we decided to do a scuba diving tour with Scuba Puerto Morelos in a cenote. We dove into two cenotes and felt like we were exploring underwater caves. Seriously, one was pitch black, and we needed flashlights to see anything!
Although a tad scary at first, I loved the expereince, and it was a great way to expand my diving expereince.
With Scuba Puerto Morelos, you can also work to get your scuba diving certification or simply just go on a scuba tour, as we did. There is everything from diving in cenotes to dive packages that last up to 5 days with 10 dives included. You can also snorkel, do deep dives, attend fishing tours, or even dive on your wedding day with an extra special package!
Note: These sessions are non-refundable because of the equipment and preparation that goes into planning them, so keep that in mind as you make your plans.
8. Drink Craft Beer at Fábrica Casa Cervecera Pescadores
What’s better than drinking local craft beer on a hot day in Mexico? Oh wait, that’s right… nothing!
As long as you love beer as much as I do, you’ll love Fábrica Casa Cervecera Pescadores. Head over to their tasting room a short drive south of Puerto Morelos to see the brewery and how beer is made.
The beer selection is limited, however, they have a fantastic IPA and Habanero Ale. There were three other choices while I was there too. Although they were not serving food while I was there, you can often find a food truck out the front!
The brewery is open from 11:30 am to 6 pm every day of the week. This hangout is free to enter but offers tours and, of course, beer for purchase. They have two daily tours, one at 12 pm and the other at 3 pm. We skipped the tours and just drank the beer instead!
This is a great way to dip inside during the heat of the day or cool off after a tour (maybe a scuba tour, for example) and kick back with a local brew.
9. Take a photo with the Puerto Morelos Sign
Even though I’m all about taking a step off the beaten path, you always need a good photo to send home during trips, and this is it!
Check out the Puerto Morelos sign while you’re in town for a fun, free photo op that you’ll be able to look back on while reminiscing about your trip.
The best part is that this sign is out in the open, so it’s available for photos any time of day or night that you happen to be close by.
You can find it in front of the beach, just behind a place called Pangea Cafe. The background is the ocean, which makes for the perfect photo-op!
10. Go on a full-day adventure tour
When you’ve had enough of the beach, why not head to the jungle instead for a full-day adventure tour? During our stay in Puerto Morelos, we opted for an all-inclusive tour package that included so many activities – it’s perfect for those short on time!
The tour we did has it all, and you’ll want to check it out if you enjoy adrenaline in any way, shape, or form. From start to finish, we had fun! And for $150 USD, the tour included a fun ATV trip, horseback riding, ziplining, lunch, and a refreshing swim in a cenote! We hit so many bucket list experiences in Mexico all in one tour.
The best part is the staff are super friendly, and even though during some activities I was a little scared, they made me feel safe, and in the end, I had a blast.
There’s no doubt this is one of the best tours in Puerto Morelos!
11. Reptiles Toolok Kaa’n
Reptiles Toolok Kaa’n is a wildlife sanctuary that is located in the jungle (about a 10-minute drive from Puerto Morelos) and offers a great, family-friendly experience. This is a fun opportunity for those hoping to learn more about wildlife rescue and connect with the animals from the region.
Tours of the center cost 200 pesos (around $10 USD) for adults and 100 pesos for children. During the tour, you’ll learn so much about the animals and even get to hold them. During our tour, we held multiple animals, including a turtle, a crocodile, and my favorite, a snake!
People of all ages can enjoy this opportunity to be immersed in an authentic side of life in the Yucatán.
Open from 10 am to 5 pm every day of the week, you can go early morning to beat the heat or later in the afternoon to cap off a morning at the beach.
12. ATV Tour
Looking for an adventurous day of exploring? ATV Adventure Puerto Morelos is the perfect tour for you- it’s fun, engaging, and changes up the scenery.
This tour focuses less on packing in as much as possible and more on allowing you to experience the jungle via a four-wheeler. Not to worry, though. You’ll have an opportunity to take a dip in an open-air cenote and enjoy some Mexican snacks before the 3-hour experience ends.
Safety equipment, snacks, bottled water, air-conditioned transportation, and enthusiastic guides are all a part of the fees for this tour. It’s pretty similar to the full-day adventure tour I did but focuses more on the ATV side of adventure, which I think many would prefer (Daniel loves a good ATV adventure!)
With a departure time of 9 am, you’ll be back in time for lunch and can rest assured that you’ll have so much more of the day left to explore, relax on the beach, or do some shopping in Puerto Morelos.
13. Visit the Leaning Lighthouse
If you have any interest in the architecture of the area or find yourself intrigued by life at sea, visit the Faro Inclinado, or the “Leaning Lighthouse” in English.
This attraction is a beautiful lighthouse that is sinking diagonally into the sand. This is like the Leaning Tower of Pisa – if it were on a beach instead of in a plaza, a lighthouse instead of a tower, and in Mexico instead of Italy. You get the gist, though. This is a cool place to stop by during your time in the area!
This site is just slightly north of the Puerto Morelos sign so that you can check both off of your list in one outing.
After checking out the lighthouse, perhaps you’ll want to spend the rest of your day lounging on the sand or swimming in the water before grabbing food at one of the many spots along the beach.
This part of Puerto Morelos may be relatively touristy, but it also has some great sights to see and things to do that you shouldn’t overlook.
14. Explore the ancient ruins of Chichén Itzá
This may be one of the least surprising activities on the list. After all, how can you visit the Yucatán without going to see one of the Seven Wonders of the World?
I know there are many different lists nowadays, like the Seven Wonders of Nature, Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, Seven Wonders of the Modern World, and more, but Chichén Itzá falls under the ‘main’ Seven Wonders list and is a place that is so worth visiting.
Learn about the history of the region, the truth behind the Mayan calendar design, the class and religious structures of Mayan civilization, and see an ancient pyramid, El Castillo, that is sure to be an amazing part of your trip.
The biggest issue with visiting Chichen Itza from Puerto Morelos is the long drive to and from the ruins. From Puerto Morelos, the ancient city is 3 hours away. For that reason, if you want to visit in one day, you’ll either need to rent a car or take a tour.
If you rent a car, be sure to leave as early as possible so you can get to Chichen Itza before the bus loads of tourists arrive. If you’d prefer a tour, this Chichén Itzá private tour offers round-trip pick up from Puerto Morelos and takes you to the sacred cenote, the town of Valladolid, and gives you guidance as well as free time to explore on your own.
Thankfully, the tour also covers your local taxes and national park fees so that you don’t have to pay more out of pocket than expected.
You’ll also have bottled water, alcoholic beverages during the transportation, snacks, free time, and a guide that is an archaeological professional. If you can’t tell, this trip is all about mixing fun and vacation with real experiences and amazing history.
Another option is to take the bus. However, you’ll need to make this an overnight trip to make it worth it. To do so, book yourself a hotel near Chichen Itza around the town of Piste.
Related Read: For a unique experience, visit Chichen Itza at night when it is dark!
15. Visit Cozumel
If you start feeling like you need a break from mainland life, visit the island of Cozumel! This beautiful island off the coast of the Yucatan is the perfect place to head for stunning beaches, cheap drinks, and a huge variety of fantastic things to see and do!
You can drive (or take a taxi or shuttle) to Playa del Carmen, and from there, you can take an inexpensive ferry to Cozumel. The ferry runs almost every hour and takes around 20 minutes. I recommend taking Ultramar Ferry, which costs 250 MXN each way for adults.
Thanks to the need to drive and take a ferry, this destination is a bit further from Puerto Morelos than some of its counterparts, at around 1.5 hours each way (including the ferry.)
Cozumel itself is great for a day trip, but you could also easily spend a few days exploring the island and enjoying the laid-back vibe, good food, and cool shops. There are lots of great hotels in Cozumel to choose from, and there is even an international airport!
Related Read: Cozumel is also one of the best days trips from Cancun!
16. Shop at a local market
Another wonderful way to experience Puerto Morelos is to shop at one of the local markets.
Similar to the difference between a big expensive restaurant and a local taco stand, the local markets offer a more immersive experience than heading directly to the bigger shops that are geared toward tourists.
Head over to the Puerto Morelos Flea Market not only for souvenirs but for artisan clothing, jewelry, pottery, and more.
This is one of my favorite things to do on trips because so often there are incredible finds that are affordable and also give me a chance to connect with the people I’m surrounded by. In recent times, the market has gotten a reputation for being a little pushy. However, many of the market stall operators are coming off a few bad years without tourists, so this will likely calm down soon!
The Puerto Morelos Flea Market is on between the months of November and April at the My Paradise Beach Club. The market is on two Saturdays every month from 11 am to 5 pm. The best way to find out if the market is on during your stay is to head over and ask. They often have random dates and don’t always follow their own schedule (it is Mexico, after all!)
17. Day trip to Cancun
We’ve mentioned Cancun quite a few times now, and a visit may be something you’re wondering about. If you’ve been to the markets and walked along the beach, perhaps headed to Cozumel, or road-tripped inland a bit, this popular location may be next on your list.
There are many things to do in Cancun, and this could be a great addition to your stay in Mexico.
With a drive time of only 40 minutes, this popular vacation destination is just North of Puerto Morelos and can add a fun twist to a more laid-back beach trip.
While you can do many of the same things in both locations, you may find that the nightlife in Cancun is a bit livelier and that there are different places to see when it comes to natural beauty, like cenotes and other island spots such as Isla Contoy or Isla Holbox. I also love the food. Cancun is filled with fantastic restaurants, including some great Mexican restaurants.
You may even decide to trade a beachside AirBnB or hotel in Puerto Morelos for a 5 start treat in the Cancun Hotel Zone – it’s a luxury beachfront area of Cancun made for tourists. With that said, don’t shy away from downtown Cancun. It’s where you’ll find the friendly locals and a more authentic side of the city!
One of my favorite things to do is take a trip to Cancun Scenic Tower regardless of where you are staying, because those views aren’t something you want to miss, trust me. It’s one of the best places to take in the Caribbean from this part of Mexico and worth the trip! Aside from that, join a tour, ride a jet ski, or party at Coco Bongo!
18. Jardín Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín
Did someone say botanical gardens? Yes, please!
Head over to Jardín Botanico Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marín for an hour or two of walking among beautiful nature and wildlife.
The gardens are open from 8 in the morning until 4 in the afternoon, Monday to Friday, and offer a great place to get into nature and take a calm walk. The gardens are more of a jungle than manicured gardens, but that makes the wildlife and plants you see more authentic. There are spider monkeys, viewpoints, hanging bridges, waterfalls, mangroves, and more.
Conveniently enough, these botanical gardens are situated not far from the Toolok Kaa’n wildlife sanctuary. So, you could make a day out of those two more nature-based experiences (like I did).
If someway somehow, you are tired of walking by the beach, this is a great way to get outdoors and see another part of the Puerto Morelos area. The entrance to the garden is 125 MXN per person.
19. Swim with Whale Sharks
Ever had the desire to swim with sharks? Well, here’s your chance! The Yucatan is one of the best places in the world to swim with whale sharks. These huge animals are actually not sharks at all and are the largest fish in the world. They also eat plankton, so don’t worry. This tour is safe!
This tour allows you to swim with whale sharks in the warm Caribbean waters off Puerto Morelos and get an up-close encounter with one of the coolest animals of the sea. The best time to go is from May to September, and during this time, your chances of swimming with a whale shark are fantastic.
You can opt-in to pick up in the area to one of the locations, or you can drive yourself if you’ve got a rental car and would prefer to make your way independently.
Not only is the trip designed for small groups to give you the best time, but it is also eco-friendly, includes lunch off the coast of Isla Mujeres, and has comprehensive narration so that you can make the most of the experience.
You can swim, snorkel, and get close to whale sharks, turtles, manta rays, and dolphins in an environment that allows you to soak in the beauty of the ocean and its creatures.
20. Day Trip to Playa del Carmen
This one is just over half an hour’s drive (with no traffic from Puerto Morelos). It’s about the same distance as a drive to Cancun but in the other direction since Playa del Carmen is South of Puerto Morelos.
Similar to taking a day trip to Cozumel, you’ll head to Playa del Carmen but instead of opting to take the ferry to the island, stop there.
Instead, stay in town and experience all the amazing things that this beachy area has to offer.
From crystal-clear water and white sand beaches with beautiful hotels and restaurants lining the shores to the dancing and music throughout the streets, there is so much to do in Playa del Carmen that won’t disappoint.
21. Visit Croco Cun Zoo
Last but not least, take a trip to the Croco Cun Zoo if you’re looking for an interactive way to experience the conservation efforts of the area.
This unique zoo hosts a variety of animals, most of which are reptiles, such as snakes and crocodiles. A tour of the facility costs $33 USD for adults and $25 for children. That fee includes a 70-minute guided tour where you can touch, hold and walk among crocodiles and snakes. You can also add things such as a feeding bag so you can feed the animals.
You can visit any day of the week from 9:30 in the morning until 4:30 in the afternoon. Kids 5 and under can also get in for free, which is a plus when you’re looking for the perfect family-friendly activity.
Whether you decide to get an early start or head over at midday, I recommend leaving yourself plenty of time to experience the guided interactive experiences and just simply enjoy the nature and animals in this incredible spot.
Where to Stay in Puerto Morelos
Puerto Morelos certainly isn’t the resort town Cancun is. However, you can still find some fantastic places to lay your head during your stay.
For budget travelers, Cuca Macuca is a top choice and a great place for backpackers or solo travelers on a budget. The hostel only has 4-bed dorm rooms available, which cost less than $20 USD per night. The location is also really convenient and only two blocks from the beach! The facilities are typical of a hostel with a communal kitchen and even a common area on the roof, complete with day beds.
For medium-budget travelers, I really like Arrecifes Suites. I love the beachfront location, and although this hotel is nothing fancy, it has everything you need, such as a small pool, clean and comfortable rooms, and helpful staff. All that for rooms starting at less than $100 USD per night!
For luxury travelers, check out The Fives Oceanfront. This gorgeous oceanfront hotel is one of the best in Puerto Morelos and offers suits all the way up to 3-bedroom apartments. Everything about his hotel is luxurious, and they even have two pools, with one on the rooftop! They also have an onsite restaurant, room service, and fitness center and offer all-inclusive packages.
Renting a car in Mexico
Undoubtedly, one of the best ways to get around Mexico is in a rental car.
I struggled to get around by bus and taxi for the longest time. But after renting a car in Mexico in 2019, I never looked back. It allowed me to explore the country without worrying about tours or taxis. It was why I fell in love with Mexico and eventually decided to live here periodically.
I refuse to use local services whenever I rent a car in Mexico. The truth is they sometimes can’t be trusted or come with hidden fees (or costly insurance that doesn’t make sense.) There are even rental car scams! So instead, I use Discover Cars, the company most experienced travelers or ex-pats in Mexico recommend.
The rates on Discover Cars are cheap, too, with the average rental costing around $25 USD per day. Full coverage insurance can be added for an extra $10 USD a day too.
Driving in Mexico also only requires a driver’s license using the Roman alphabet. If yours uses another like Japan and China, you simply need an international driving permit.
Insurance is required, but if you book with Discover Cars and get the full coverage, that’s all you need! Oh, and being over 18 is required, and if you’re over 25, your renal will be much cheaper!
Thanks for reading!
Puerto Morelos is really the only small town left on the Yucatan, yet to become a resort town filled with tourist traps and a lack of Mexican culture. This makes it one of my favorite places to visit on the Yucatan.
I mean, who wouldn’t want to relax in paradise while intertwining with the culture that made me fall in love with this country!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope this guide to Puerto Morelos has helped plan your upcoming visit. If it has, be sure to browse around more of our Mexico content. We have so much to share with you such as: