Puerto Morelos is a small beach town in Mexico

Puerto Morelos Travel Guide

Nestled about half-way between the resort city of Cancun and the vibrant town of Playa del Carmen, Puerto Morelos offers a serene and charming escape that captures the essence of the Mexican Caribbean. This quaint fishing village has evolved into a beloved destination for travelers seeking a blend of natural beauty, rich culture, and laid-back vibes. Whether you’re an adventure enthusiast looking to explore the vibrant coral reefs or a foodie eager to savor the local cuisine, Puerto Morelos has something for everyone.

In this comprehensive travel guide, we’ll take you through the best that Puerto Morelos has to offer. From stunning beaches and top-notch snorkeling spots to charming hotels and delectable dining options, you’ll discover why this hidden gem is a must-visit. So pack your bags and get ready to uncover the magic of Puerto Morelos!

Table of Contents

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Where is Puerto Morelos?

Puerto Morelos, Mexico is a small fishing town located about halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. I originally heard about this town from YouTube creators like Tangerine Travels and My Trish Advisor (follow them both to learn lots of great things about Mexico!!!) and am so glad I visited. I found out Puerto Morelos might be the best beach town in Quintana Roo.

Puerto Morelos is a beach town near Cancun, Mexico
Puerto Morelos Beach

How to Get to Puerto Morelos

To get to Puerto Morelos, you will want to fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN). The drive from the Cancun airport to Puerto Morelos is only about 20-25 minutes. These are the various transportation methods you can use to get there.

Only authorized taxis and shuttles can pick you up at the Cancun airport, though any can drop you off. Do not get in a taxi or shuttle with an individual who does not have a badge and appear to be affiliated with a company operating there.

Cancun Airport to Puerto Morelos

Private Transfer: If you are with a large group, I always recommend you schedule a private transfer before arriving. Some of the preferred transfer companies are CARM Tours & Transfers, Happy Shuttle, or Canada Transfers. They will know when you land be waiting at the exit for you holding a sign with your name. Check their websites for current rates.

Taxi: Upon exiting the airport in Cancun, you will find many taxis that can take you to Playa del Carmen. The Cancun airport website will warn you that all taxi rides are supposed to be prebooked online. While this is the easiest way to get there if you didn’t book a private transfer, you’ll find the prices are not fixed and will be more expensive. The price will depend on what the driver thinks he can charge you and how open they are to negotiating.

Car Rental: Cancun airport has an extremely large rental car center, and most international and local rental companies have desks here. Car rentals are available 24 hours a day with registration ahead of time.

Note: Ado Bus doesn’t currently run from the Cancun airport to Puerto Morelos (they used to). In theory, you could take the bus to downtown Cancun and then take a bus heading towards Playa del Carmen, get dropped off in Puerto Morelos, and then take a local taxi to the beach area. This seems like too much of a hassle for me.

Where to Stay in Puerto Morelos

There are three main areas to stay in Puerto Morelos:


The Colonia is the section of Puerto Morelos where most locals live. It is on the west side of the highway, a little over a mile from the beach.  You might only want to stay here if you are a budget traveler, digital nomad, or someone who knows the area and stays longer term. This is where you’ll find most of the local restaurants. Accommodations will mostly be apartment rentals and a few smaller bed and breakfasts. Regardless of where you stay, I do recommend you come visit this section of town at least once.

Puerto or Portside

This is the section of town along the beach. Most people staying in this area will be tourists, expats, retired foreigners, and foreign residents. This area has mostly condo rentals and small unpretentious hotels. Some of the accommodations I like are the We Hotel, and the more upscale Fives Oceanfront. This is where I prefer to stay to enjoy both the beach and restaurants in town. You can also find many apartment rentals here.

Beachside Resorts

The large resorts are located both north and south of Puerto Morelos. Many of these resorts are all-inclusive and can be priced from mid-range to luxury. If you want to come into the town, you will need to take a taxi. Stay here if you want to spend most of your days at the resort pool or beach, take excursions, and occasionally visit the town. 

Some of the best resorts to the north are Excellence, Dreams Sapphire, and Dreams Riviera CancunWhile the best to the south are Dreams Jade Resort & Spa and Grand Residences Riviera Cancún. A bit further down towards Playa del Carmen is the Nickelodeon which is one of the best (and most expensive) resorts for families with young children.

If you are looking for a sexy vacation, then Desire Riviera Maya Pearl is a resort that caters to couples “in the lifestyle” though participation is not required. They also have a slightly larger resort a little further north called Desire Riviera Maya.

Recommended Hotels

Here are my top two recommended hotels within Puerto Morelos, at different price points.

The Fives Oceanfront

The Fives at a Glance


  • Located right on the beach
  • Has two pools and a beach club
  • Good restaurants


  • Located at the north end, so a bit of a walk to the restaurants in town

Check Prices

The Fives Oceanfront Hotel is quite simply the best hotel in Puerto Morelos that is both on the beach and near the town. It’s pretty much the last hotel on the beach to the north, so it’s about a 15-minute walk to the busy area with most restaurants and bars. But don’t let this stop you from staying here.

You can choose the all-inclusive option or forgo it. I don’t necessarily tell people to skip the all-inclusive in Puerto Morelos, but there are so many great restaurants in town that you would be seriously missing out by having all your meals here.

There are two pools – one beachside and also a rooftop pool. And for restaurants they have the Italian Al Mare and Romarley Beach House with a reggae vibe beside the beach.

We Hotel Puerto Morelos

We Hotel at a Glance


  • Located in the center of town
  • Clean and nice at an affordable price


  • Rooftop pool isn’t heated so can get cold in winter
  • Not right on the beach

Check Prices

If you don’t care about being directly on the beach, then the We Hotel is the best budget hotel in Puerto Morelos. It is only a few years old, so it’s very clean and nice for a no-frills hotel. There is a small rooftop pool, but it can be cold in the winter months. If you want to spend your time checking out the town, visiting cenotes, or exploring the surrounding area rather than spending your days lounging at a pool, then this is the best option. The Italian restaurant on the first floor is pretty good too.

When I came to Puerto Morelos for the first time, I booked one week at this hotel and ended up extending to three weeks.

Dining & Nightlife

I was surprised at how many great restaurants there are in this small town. Some of my favorites are below.

Breakfast & Coffee Shops

Lola y Moya: It feels like you went over to your grandmother’s house for breakfast.

Mangata: Great breakfast and a menu of both healthy and not-so-healthy smoothies.

Janice having a smoothie at Mangata, one of the best breakfast places in Puerto Morelos
Jancie having a smoothie at Mangata

Top Restaurants

Restaurante Boquinete: Overlooking the beach, this is my favorite restaurant in town. They have excellent seafood options.

El Campanario: If you like steak, this Argentinean restaurant is the place for you.

Tanino’s: The live music and large back courtyard make this one of my favorite spots in the evening, for a full meal or even just for drinks

Read More About my Favorite Dining Options in Puerto Morelos

Beach Clubs

Downtown Diving Lodge: If you watched my video about Puerto Morelos, you’ll know I love this beach bar. It’s not the fanciest and it’s the furthest walk from town, but I got to know many of the expat regulars who come here and felt right at home.

Romarley Beach Club: Located in The Fives Oceanfront Hotel, this is a fancier and pricier option, with good food and atmosphere.

My Paradise Beach Club: Another casual beach club loved by expats and visitors.

Diving Lodge Downtown is one of the best beach bars in Puerto Morelos, Mexico
Diving Lodge Downtown, Puerto Morelos

Live Music

You will find plenty of live music here in the evenings.

  • Beach Clubs: Several beach clubs have music leading up to sunset
  • Restaurants: There are many restaurants that have some form of live music in the evening. Typically, it will be acoustic guitar sets or someone singing to a backing music.
  • Lauro’s: While they do serve food, I consider Lauro’s to be move of a live music venue and bar than a restaurant. And it is one of the best bars for live music in the area. If you are in town for at least a few nights, you’ll likely see the owner on stage playing guitar.
Lauro's is the best bar for live music in Puerto Morelos
Live Music at Lauro's

Top Things to do in Puerto Morelos

While Puerto Morelos is a smaller town along the Riviera Maya, you should be able to stay busy during your stay.

Relax on the Beach

The beach in Puerto Morelos is one of the most underrated in the area. It runs a total of about 12.4 miles and is walkable and not crowded. You will find beach clubs spread out along it where you can grab a beach chair and order food and drinks.

Visit the Crococun Zoo

Crococun Zoo offers a unique interactive experience with a variety of animals. You can walk through the zoo and even hold some of the animals. It’s a great spot for families and wildlife enthusiasts.

Snorkel the Reef

The Puerto Morelos Reef is part of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System, which is the second-largest coral reef system in the world. This natural wonder is a protected area within the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park and lies only about 500 meters form shore.

Swim in a Cenote

The Ruta de los Cenotes is a route lined with beautiful cenotes where you can swim, snorkel, and explore. This road lies just west of Puerto Morelos, but you will need to rent a car or take a guided tour to visit them. Some of the most popular cenotes on this route are Cenote Verde Lucero, Cenote La Noria, and Cenote Kin-Ha.

Wander the Colonia

Take a taxi, bike ride, or 30-minute walk to the other side of the highway and see what the more local side of Puerto Morelos is like. Stop for tacos at Taqueria Neza or one the many other spots around town. You’ll find the prices are considerably lower here.

Day Trips From Puerto Morelos

It is just a short drive to either Cancun or Playa del Carmen, both of which make excellent day trips. And Chichen-Itza is approximately a 2.5 hour drive away.


Is Puerto Morelos Good for Digital Nomads?

Yes, for a small town, Puerto Morelos is excellent for digital nomads. Your hotel is very likely to have WiFi, though speeds can vary. These are some of the places I found that were great to work remotely during the day.

  • Cafe Amancia: This coffee shop and breakfast spot has some of the best WiFi in town
  • Mangata: One of my favorite breakfast restaurants in town also has smoothies and strong WiFi
  • Local Coffee + Shop: Work outside at this coffee shop
  • Puerto Morelos Coffee Company: This coffee shop in the Colonia often has people working remotely
  • Downtown Diving Lodge: This is a small hotel and beach club that was a great place to work in the afternoons.

Is Puerto Morelos a Party Town?

No, I would absolutely not classify Puerto Morelos as a party town. The beach clubs may have live music during the late afternoon but close by sunset. And in the town most establishments are restaurants that close early in the evening. Lauro’s has live music at night and is one of the latest places open, but there are no nightclubs or late-night bars. The closest party scene is in Cancun or Playa del Carmen.

Is Puerto Morelos Safe?

Puerto Morelos is very safe. It is a small beach town with a large ex-pat community, many of whom are retired. I have never felt unsafe.

Should I Use Pesos or USD?

The local currency is the Mexican Peso (MXN). While most places will accept US dollars, they will give you a very unfavorable exchange rate. And because the locals use Mexican Pesos, if you leave another currency as a gratuity, they will then have to exchange that back to Pesos for use. ATMs are available and many places accept credit cards.

When is the Best Time of Year to Visit Puerto Morelos?

Like with the other towns in this part of Mexico, the best time to visit is typically from November to April. This is when the area is warm and there is little chance of rain. This is when most foreign residents move down for the winter. February to April is the busiest tourist season and so prices are generally the highest at this time.

You will find slightly cheaper prices and fewer tourists come summer, the Yucatan Peninsula gets very hot and humid during this time.

The cheapest time to visit is August through October during hurricane season. While they rarely hit this part of Mexico, they do occasionally happen, and you are more likely to experience rain or a tropical storm.

Can you drink the Water in Puerto Morelos?

Like the other towns in the Riviera Maya, drinking water and ice cubes served at the restaurants use purified water. I wouldn’t drink from the tap unless your hotel specifically says it is fine to do so.

Do I need to Know Spanish?

No. While Spanish is the official language, English is widely spoken in Puerto Morelos.

Is Puerto Morelos Walkable?

The beach side of Puerto Morelos is walkable. But if you are traveling between beach and the Colonia near the highway then you will want to travel by car, taxi, or bike. And if you are staying at a resort, you will need to take a taxi to go elsewhere.

Do I Need a Car?

You generally won’t need a car if you stay near the beach, unless you want one to make it easier to take daytrips to other towns or to the cenotes. But there are plenty of tours that provide transportation. I stayed near the beach for over three weeks without a car.

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Thanks for reading and I hope my Puerto Morelos travel guide is helpful! Check out some of my other blogs about the other great towns nearby in the Riviera Maya.

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