By: Susan Gerle
The white, silky sands of Puerto Morelos, and the turquoise blue of the Caribbean make a fantastic combination for visitors. With the second longest reef in the world, Palancar, just 600 meters off-shore the warm calm waters are great for swimming and snorkeling. Don’t be surprised if you end up swimming alongside a sting-ray, turtle, or barracuda in the calm waters. They come in closer to shore around the middle of February.
It used to be anyone who discovered Puerto Morelos would go home with the message, “don’t tell anybody else about this jewel.” Gradually more people discovered it though and the tourists came.
It’s a village that has attracted many Europeans as well as those from the United States and Canada often on their visits to the neighbouring cities of Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. As a result they have made it their yearly travel spot. In fact, many “snowbirds” return year after year. I don’t blame them. The Mayan Riviera is probably the only North American beach area that is guaranteed to be really warm and humid in January.
Walk along the streets of Puerto Morelos at 9 oclock at night. The crowd that is listening to music has already extended into the streets. Tables and chairs are placed where vehicles usually travel. The live music pumping out of the cantina is often full of Mexico but you won’t see many Mexicans, only North Americans and Europeans. There are no big discos or dance bars. Occasionally the local Mayan or Mexican population will put on a festival in the main square or “zocolo.” There is much American influence though, even in their productions.
Pretty well every type of culinary delight is available in Puerto Morelos, even Mexican and Mayan food if you know where to go. Places like Panza es Primero (the stomach is first) and offer traditional fare. If you can’t live without Italian, or Asian, or Vegetarian, it’s there. Puerto Morelos also has the largest English bookstore on the Mayan Riviera and I would even hazard a guess to say, in Mexico.
People who want to experience “real Mexico” can go over to the colonia of Puerto Morelos on the east of the main highway, but few gringos make the trip more than once a year. There are no warm beaches there. Just get on the local bus called Jakinto Kanek and pay your 5 pesos. You may end up going out to the marina and resort area before turning around and eventually crossing the highway. If you are lucky the bus driver may even put some English music on to entertain you on your journey.
There are no Spanish language schools in Puerto Morelos but you can still practice the language at a few places in town if you are so inclined. The cultural centre offers salsa lessons Monday, Wednesday, and Friday (in Spanish!) but check the posted schedule. No-one at the grocery stores around town speak English either. Then there is the farmer’s market on Wednesdays so it’s a good place to practice fruit and vegetable names. Some of the Mexican restaurants still only have Spanish speaking servers.
There is every type of accommodation available in Puerto Morelos. Whether you want 5 star all inclusive or Mexicn kitchen suites, it’s available. I stay at the Hotel Eden on Calle Andres Quintana Roo. It has everything I need and is only 2 blocks from the beach and a ¼ of the price.
No matter how long you are in Puerto Morelos, you will definitely enjoy your time there!
About the author:
Susan Gerle tries to experience as many new things as she can in her travels.