Take a look at our Puerto Morelos photos.

The Grand Mayan Riviera Maya is a great place to stay for a day trip to Puerto Morelos

Do you know that the Meso-American reef, which hugs the coast of the Caribbean side of the Yucatan peninsula, is the 2nd largest barrier reef in the world?  It's beaten only by the Great Barrier Reef in Australia. Cool, huh?  It's closer to the shore of Puerto Morelos than at most other points along the Riviera Maya and a really easy day trip for snorkeling!

view in Google Maps here

In 2008, when our kids were 8 and 9,  we took a short taxi ride to the sleepy fishing village of Puerto Morelos, less than 10 miles north of the Grand Mayan Riviera Maya.  (The town is about a mile off the highway.)  At the main square (the zocolo), there was a booth for 2-hour snorkel tours to the Palancar Reef for about $25 per adult/$13 per child, which included the fee to the national marine park system of Mexico, since the reef is actually a protected area.  Don't consider snorkeling out to the reef on your own--you must be with an accredited guide and have purchased a wristband. Park wardens patrol the area by boat and could potentially fine you.

We had a guide who took the 4 of us out on the boat for a quick ride to the spots he'd consistently seen the most fish. The reef is only a couple hundred yards offshore and only about 6 feet below the surface.  Not only did the private tour give us the most bang for our buck, not having to wait for others, but our guide even towed the kids a bit on the life preserver ring when they needed a rest.  Be sure to tip your guide well!  We asked others who had taken a snorkeling tour booked through the resort and they said they didn't get very much snorkel time or individual attention.  Below are some photos from our waterproof camera.

One of the coolest sights in Puerto Morelos is the old tilted lighthouse and fishing pier.  The lighthouse was battered in 1967, survived all the hurricanes since, and is still standing albeit at a 45 degree angle.  The pier is so tilted, I couldn't believe the fishermen could walk on it without falling!

PM is great for walking.  Because of the reef, there aren't as many shells as other areas.  There's supposed to be a "magic beach" with lots of shells and driftwood in the area south of town with a break in the reef, but I've read that some of the large resorts have changed that somewhat.  Please comment if you have been there recently!
After snorkeling, we ate at Pelicanos Restaurant on the beach just to the right of the pier--yummy and what an awesome view! (The photo below is from our table)  Before catching a taxi back to the Mayan Resorts, we bought fish and shrimp from the local fishermen right near the taxi stand in the zocolo.  Easy and delicious dinner back at the resort with some pasta we had gotten from the grocery store on our first day.  FYI--Bring your own jar of horseradish from home if you want to make cocktail sauce.  Mix ketchup, lime juice and horseradish to taste to enjoy with your super-fresh shrimp.   I couldn't find it in any grocery store I went in.
🙂  Enjoy!


For a great map and guide of Puerto Morelos as well as many other areas along the Mayan Riviera, be sure to check out Map Chick!


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