Skip to Content

This Authentic Riviera Maya Destination Wants You To Visit Instead Of Going To Cancun This Year

Share The Article

Last Updated

Cancun may be known the world over for the luxuriousness of its resorts and the azure nature of its waters, and despite being truly stunning, we know it is not necessarily representative of the Riviera Maya as a whole. Other smaller, competing towns in the region are well aware of this, too, with one in particular going as far as encouraging tourists to skip Cancun altogether and vacation there instead.

Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Mexico is incredibly diverse and multicultural, and in recent months we have done our best to introduce you to other parts of the country you might not be entirely familiar with, such as the Pueblos Magicos or the colonial cities route. With that, we have been noticing a new trend emerging: visitors are now craving more ‘authentic' Mexican experiences.

Luckily, this hidden gem of the Mexican Caribbean seems to have understood the assignment:

What Makes Puerto Morelos Special Compared to Cancun?

Leaning Lighthouse Of Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Coming out ahead of other Riviera Maya destinations, the town of Puerto Morelos has quietly re-branded itself as an ‘authentic' destination in an area that has long been plagued by over-development. Sandwiched between the almighty Cancun and Playa del Carmen, it is located at the heart of Mexico's most famous resort strip, but it has a special something.

Being home to the coastal Puerto Morelos Reef National Park, it features numerous dive and swimming sites, as well as hotspots for sea life viewing. Inland, its largely-unheard of cenotes rival those of Tulum, which have recently been flagged as unsafe for swimming, while the town itself has preserved a traditional fishing village aesthetic.

Aerial View Of Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Here, tourists will not find wide pedestrianized boulevards overtaken by heavy traffic, the same that posed a problem for many travelers traveling to and out of Cancun this year, nor Tulum's crazy beach party scene. Puerto Morelos is much more quaint and lacks the others' hustle and bustle, and the municipality authorities have finally realized this is not a weakness: it's a powerful asset.

A Town Of Endearing Tranquility

Puerto Morelos Church In Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Presenting the town to travel agencies, tourist officials have just unveiled Puerto Morelo's new official website, explicitly highlighting its ‘authenticity' compared to its strongest rival, Cancun. They also state the town has an ‘endearing tranquility', a quality that will certainly help more reserved travelers entertain the idea of visiting.

Moreover, Puerto Morelos is noted for having ‘talcum-powder sand and turquoise waters‘, coupled with a ‘distinct Bohemian ambiance‘ and flavorful local cuisine. Even better: it is a short 17-minute drive from Cancun Airport, Mexico's number one international airport for U.S. travelers, making it easy enough to get to all year round.

Leaning Lighthouse of puerto morelos

We have noted an increase in cultural tourism in Mexico lately, powered by the nation's Mayan and Spanish-era heritage sites, and, as The Cancun Sun points out, Puerto Morelos is an old settlement linked to both Caribbean and Transatlantic trade, making it an unmissable gem for those keen on understanding more about Mexico's History.

What Are Some Of The Town's Top-Rated Attractions?

Young Woman At A Tropical Beach Drinking From A Coconut, Caribbean Travel

Of course, History is not the only aspect that will draw visitors to this little slice of heaven. The 9,188-people-strong town has plenty of small seaside hotels, offering guests a more relaxing and customized experience, narrow streets lined with shops where locally handcrafted items are sold, and friendly locals.

Other attractions include:

  • A flea market
  • A farmer's market (on certain dates)
  • A leaning lighthouse
  • A dolphin sanctuary and training center (Delphinus Puerto Morelos)
  • A public beach within walking distance of the town center
Beach Lounges In Malaga, Andalusia, Spain

At the same time, it is popular among adventure seekers, with The Cancun Sun reporting ‘many fishing and boating opportunities', including underwater excursions in one of the most beautiful sections of the Great West Atlantic Reef Belt. Foodies will love it just as much, especially if they're seafood enthusiasts.

Even if you end up deciding not to stay in Puerto Morelos in the end, the municipality makes for a fine day trip from Cancun's Hotel Zone or Tulum, and an escape from the opulence of five-star all-inclusives, even if momentarily. Once the new Tren Maya launches, Puerto Morelos will become even more accessible as one of the train's stops.

Woman Observing Ocean In Mexico

Ready to see a far more authentic side to Mexico? Make sure you check out their webpage for more information.

Read More:

Travel Insurance That Covers Covid-19 For 2022

Should You Attend A Timeshare Presentation On Your Next Trip To Mexico?

This Colonial City Has Been Voted The Most Beautiful In Mexico

7.5 Million International Tourists Have Already Visited Cancun and Cabo This Year

Los Cabos Is Challenging Cancun For The Number One Vacation Spot In Mexico

↓ Elevate Your Travel↓

Sign Up Now For Travel Off Path Premium! No ads, VIP Content, Personal Travel Concierge, Huge Savings, Daily Deals, Members Forum & More!


Enter your email address to subscribe to Travel Off Path's latest breaking travel news, straight to your inbox.

This article originally appeared on

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.