Cancún behind, the first town on the coast is PUERTO MORELOS, 20km
south. Formerly of little interest except as the departure point for
the car ferry to Cozumel, in recent years Puerto has seen a surge in
popularity, becoming a base for tours and dive trips. A number of
visitors on international flights bypass Cancún altogether, making
Puerto Morelos their first stop along the Riviera Maya. It's as good
a place as any to hang out for a while: it is a relaxing, laid-back
alternative to the bustle of Cancún with some lovely beaches and
pristine reef offshore. The pace is slow, the vibe is relaxed, and
the atmosphere bohemian enough to attract a cluster of artists,
painters, and poets. It's also the only working fishing village from
Cancún as far as Tulum that hasn't been entirely consumed by
been living full time in Puerto Morelos for more than 15 years and I
chose to move to Puerto Morelos for the ecologically oriented locals
and ex-pats that are in Puerto Morelos. Environmental laws and
building restrictions keep growth under tight control. This has
prevented Puerto Morelos from becoming the next Cancún or Playa del
Carmen—which many locals consider a blessing.
full of artists and musicians, archeologists, biologists, marine
biologists and many other great people The large ex-pat community is
very actively involved in the local life. "La casa de la Cultura" is
also very active and organize once a year a Music Festival (February
to March). There are many small (owners operated - not from any
brand chains) restaurants for unique healthy food and some great
coffee places, like Cafe d'Amancia by the square. There is also a
lot of yoga, and, a polo club called El Rey in the jungle. There are
also numerous cenotes and many ruins.
the second largest reef in the world, is part of a national park
with a half mile off shore, and you can get a boat for approx $25.00
per person to snorkel. The park includes the surrounding mangrove
forests and is home to 922 species of fishes, birds, wild life,
making it a great place for bird-watchers (36 different species of
birds). Many dive shops will give you the opportunity to explore a
sunken ship. The mangroves and botanical garden are educational and
there is a crocodile farm/zoo.
Archeological evidence has demonstrated that
Puerto Morelos belonged to the Old province of EK-KAB (means Black
Bee), one of the seventeen districts of the numerous Mayan
territory (1250-1541 A.D.).
In the coastal zone of today’s Puerto Morelos existed two Mayan
structures, their stones were used to build the leaning
lighthouse, next to the Fishermen’s Pier.
During many centuries the Spanish galleons would sail along the
coast of Quintana Roo. Historians mention the sea routes along the
southern territory, from Isla Mujeres to Tulum and even as far as
Any merchant vessels were shipwrecked among the reefs at Puerto
Morelos, their treasures have been lost in the bottom of the
Caribbean and it could be a strange and wonderful adventure to be
able to discover them.
The Puerto Morelos modern history begins in 1898, when the
Colonizadora de la Costa Oriental of the Yucatan Company was
founded to exploit and farm the agricultural and forest products
from the surrounding jungles.
In 1900, Puerto Morelos was referred to as “Punta Corcho”, and it
was chosen as a natural harbor that could offer safety to
navigation, good depth and protection because of the natural reef
On November 24th, 1902, President Porfirio Díaz decrees the
creation of the Territory of Quintana Roo, and then Puerto Morelos
was under the political administration of the Isla Mujeres
Around the year 1904, Puerto Morelos boasted a Post Office to
communicate correspondence with Cozumel and even as far as Puerto
Progreso in the neighboring State of Yucatan, and from there to
the rest of the country.
The first population census was done in 1910, with a result of 76
persons (41 male and 35 female). In this year, the Port was the
only coastal community with telephone and postal service.
In 1921, the population greatly diminished due to an influenza
epidemic which was recorded as very severe, and the census
reported just 28 inhabitants (18 males and 10 females).
In Puerto Morelos, in the year 1923, the “Colonia Santa María
Company” built warehouses to store mainly gum, which was harvested
in the surrounding jungles. This gave the Puertomorelenses great
Around the year 1929, the Puerto was already considered a town,
with wooden houses built in a single lane along the coastal street
and a pier for fishermen. Today you can find the Pelicanos
Restaurant in this same spot.
In 1931, President Ortiz Rubio decreed that the Territory of
Quintana Roo would belong to the States of Campeche and Yucatan.
There was much administrative confusion, and as a result there are
few records during these years, but with President Cardenas the
Territory of Quintana Roo is once again established in 1935.
On February 1929, the 55 inhabitants founded the “Ejido Puerto
Morelos”, with a Presidential grant of 21,420 hectares of jungle.
Now the Puertomorelenses could farm and exploit their own land and
the economy grew faster than ever. The 1950 census showed a
population of 80 inhabitants (43 males and 37 females.)
During the fifties, the growth of Puerto Morelos spread to the
jungle areas (two kilometers inland from the coast) because
migrations of people from the Yucatan and foreign countries.
With the beginning of Cancún as a resort destination in 1970, the
demand for a labor force was greatly increased, and because of the
proximity of Puerto Morelos to this new resort, a slow growth in
the residential area known as “Colonia Joaquín Cetina Gazca”
In 1971, the “First of June Fishing High School” was founded, and
today it trains youngsters as fishing technicians. The irony of
today's situation is that there are almost no fishermen in Puerto
Morelos. In 2009, only 11 fishermen's boats (out of 317 boats) are
registered in Puerto Morelos with 35 operators.
In the Decree of 1974, Quintana Roo becomes a free and sovereign
state with seven municipalities. Puerto Morelos is established as
a part of the Benito Juárez municipality with Cancún as it’s most
Puerto Morelos has been visited many times by researchers. In
1978, The Fishing Ministry creates the Aquaculture Research
Center, to study turtles.
The Research Center of Quintana Roo (CIQROO) was established in
1979, to do investigations for the proper development of Quintana
Roo. In 1980, The Institute of Oceanography from UNAM University
opens its doors in Puerto Morelos researching marine habitats, due
mainly to the great international importance of The Arrecife de
Puerto Morelos National Park.
On December 2nd of 1981, “The Puerto Morelos Cooperative for
Fishing Production” is inaugurated with the goal of doing
controlled exploitation of lobster fishing. Urban land lots were
assigned to it next to the “Colonia de Pescadores”. Around this
time, and under the Federal Government Administration, the
“Alfredo Barrera Marin” Botanical Garden was founded. It is
sanctuary to the Mayan jungle “Yaax-ché”.
Since the 1990’s Puerto Morelos has had a balanced growth. People
from all over Mexico and many other countries have made it their
home. Several public schools have opened, and in 1995 the
“Mauricio Sánchez Jimenez” library was founded.
On February 2nd 1998, a Federal Decree gives the Puerto Morelos
reef the status of Protected Natural Area. It is home to a
wonderful and rich submarine life (more than 922 species) and it
plays an important role in tourist and fishing activities. The
park is divided in 9 different zones that are closely monitored by
the local guards.
In Puerto Morelos you can find the only ecological crocodile farm
and native zoo in the region; “Crococun”, where visitors can see
from very close the natural habitat of these prehistoric animals.
It opens daily from 9am to 5pm.
At Central Vallarta the “Verde Lucero Cenote” and some time later
the “Tres Bocas Cenote”, the “Boca de Puma Cenote” and "7 Bocas
inaugurated. These natural sinkholes are only part of what
visitors to the “Cenote Route” can enjoy. There are more than ten
of these around the area. Some, like “Selvatica” and “Boca del
Puma” also have zip lines, bike trails and other services for the
From the year 2000, the neighboring cities of
Cancún and Playa del Carmen develop rapidly into internationally
known tourist destinations. Also in Puerto Morelos, but to a lesser
degree, we see some tourist projects develop, since we are also part
of The Mexican Caribbean and The Mayan Riviera.
sound appealing to your