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Why This Laid-Back Resort Town In Mexico Is The Perfect Alternative To Busy Cancun

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Home to the most luxurious resorts in the Caribbean and the top-ranking airport in all of Mexico, as well as famous for an award-winning hospitality industry and lively nightlife, Cancun is indisputably the number one destination for Americans going abroad.

Puerto Morelos Town In The Mayan Riviera, Mexico, Mexican Caribbean, Latin America

However, if you're wary of crowded spaces, it might not be your best bet for a truly relaxing vacation: while a resort is typically peaceful, the combination of a round-the-clock busy Hotel Zone, daily traffic congestion, and raucous revelers can sound overall unappealing.

Thankfully, this smaller town in the wider Mayan Riviera, further away from the bustling Hotel Zone and Cancun's, can feel a lot more tranquil, especially for those seeking exclusivity:

Why You Should Visit Puerto Morelos Instead Of Cancun This Spring

Puerto Morelos, Riviera Maya, Mexican Caribbean, Mexico

Puerto Morelos is a small municipality about 22 miles south of Cancun and 19 miles north of Playa Del Carmen, with around 19,202 inhabitants and a more laid-back atmosphere than your average Mexican resort city. That's not to say it's underdeveloped:

Over 70 hotels, guesthouses, and other accommodation providers are listed on Booking.com, in or around Puerto Morelos, and its strategic location on the clearest extension of the coast, as well as near the historical Mayan cenotes, makes it a trendy spot to be.

aerial view of puerto morelos, Mexico

In a way, Puerto Morelos is Cancun on a much smaller scale and arguably more authentic, as it has retained that charming fishing village character and it's a cultural Mayan stronghold amid the fast-developing coast while still boasting 6,000 hotel rooms and tourist-friendly services.

Puerto Morelos Can Feel More Authentic

If you normally eat outside resorts to sample more local flavors, you'll be glad to know Wanderlog lists at least 50 restaurants in town, from mid-range seafood and Mexican to more upscale dining spots, and most of them are within walking distance of the development strip.

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

Additionally, Puerto Morelos has one of the most scenic public beaches in Mexico, an elongated stretch of white sand bounded by turquoise waters, great for swimming and snorkeling, and it's a great starting point for exploring the wild nature around.

Catamaran excursions are incredibly popular among tourists, as they bring them closer to the multicolored Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, one of the most famous attractions off the coast, as are cenote excursions:

puerto morelos, mexico

These bright-blue natural sinkholes used to be held as sacred by the native Mayans but are now open for visitation. Puerto Morelos is close to the 21-mile long ‘Route of Cenotes', and several Riviera-based companies offer ATV tours starting from as cheap as $83.

Other attractions in the town include Crococun, a crocodile zoo where tourists can touch and feed the toothy reptiles (under supervision, of course), the verdant Botanical Garden, full of rare tropical specimens, and the charming center, full of shops and casual bars.

How Expensive Is Puerto Morelos?

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

As for the affordability of resorts, overnight rates are not much cheaper than in Cancun or Playa Del Carmen – the Mexican Caribbean is one of the most expensive destinations South of the border, after all – and occupancy rates above 90% will probably push prices up further.

Nonetheless, there is reasonable pricing to be found here if an all-inclusive luxury getaway is what you're aiming for. In that case, you should look at the Royalton Riviera Cancun, which, despite its name, is situated in Puerto Morelos and costs $466 to book per night this spring.

beach in puerto morelos, mexico

The Hideaway at Royalton Riviera Cancun, the Sensira Resort & Spa Riviera Maya, and Dreams Sapphire Resort & Spa are three other listings with room rates ranging between $445 and $499 (hey, at least you know you'll be getting your money's worth).

Soon enough, getting to Puerto Morelos from Cancun will be far less complicated than it is currently: the newly-launched Maya Train is making its inaugural journey to Playa Del Carmen, calling first at Puerto Morelos this spring.

Happy Traveler Boarding A Train In Unspecified Location

No more unreliable public buses or overpriced taxis. Puerto Morelos-bound tourists can switch to the railway straight out of Cancun International Airport and get to the paradisaical beach town in the safety and comfort of the budget-friendly Maya Train.

Start planning your Puerto Morelos getaway and learn more about the long-anticipated train route here.

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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.