• Marine Conservation
  • Volunteer and Adventure

The best things to do in Puerto Morelos

Article by Zaytoen Domingo

Zaytoen Domingo

Posted: November 21, 2022

6 min read

Ready to volunteer in Mexico? Head to Puerto Morelos! Nestled between lush mangroves and colourful coral reefs, Puerto Morelos is one of the most picturesque towns in Mexico. 

With unspoiled beaches, you’ll have a slice of the Mexican Caribbean all to yourself, and the chance to fully experience the Riviera Maya region. 

With the town having doubled down on restricting commercial growth in the area over the years, you won’t find luxury Cancun resorts or massive crowds of spring breakers. Instead, Puerto Morelos is a haven for travellers looking to unwind and enjoy a slower pace of life. 

Here are the best things to do in Puerto Morelos, Mexico!

Go snorkelling or scuba-diving

Puerto Morelos is one of the top scuba-diving destinations in Mexico.

The seaside town is right beside the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System – the second largest coral reef in the world! It stretches from the northern tip of the Yucatan region all the way to Honduras and is a haven for endangered marine life.

Since the coral reef became a national marine park in 1988, Puerto Morelos has done an excellent job of preserving their natural heritage. The town boasts the healthiest section of the reef, making it an excellent destination for travellers who want to spend as much time as possible in the water.

It’s home to more than 500 species of fish. It also includes endangered species such as sea turtles, the West Indian manatee and the splendid toadfish. This makes snorkelling and scuba-diving in Puerto Morelos a perfect way to experience marine biodiversity.  

Visit the botanical gardens

One of the best things to do in Puerto Morelos is to visit the Jardin Botanico – Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin botanical gardens. It’s the largest in Mexico and sprawls across a 65-hectare reserve.

Inside you’ll find two kilometres of scenic walking trails with sections dedicated to the different types of plants found in the Yucatan. Expect to see beautiful orchids, succulents and flora used in traditional Maya medicine.

While you’re strolling around, keep an eye out for the garden’s animal population. It’s home to the only troops of coastal spider monkeys left in the region.

Learn to cook traditional Mexican food

No trip to Mexico is complete without filling up on tacos, chilaquiles, cochinita pibil and taquitos!

But instead of getting your fix at the delicious restaurants in Puerto Morelos, improve your cooking repertoire and learn how to make your favourite Mexican dishes.

Puerto Morelos is home to one of the top cooking schools in the Yucatan – The Little Mexican Cooking School. Use your time off from your volunteer project and sign up for a delicious class that includes a light breakfast, festive drinks and hearty Mexican lunch.

Swim with whale sharks

The Mesoamerican Barrier Reef System attracts one of the world’s largest congregations of whale sharks. Plan to volunteer in Mexico between mid-May and September, and you’ll see hundreds of migrating whale sharks around the island of Isla Mujeres.

The sharks are attracted to the reef during the summer months to feed on the plankton.

Sign up for a Puerto Morelos diving or tour with an ethical company that practises responsible tourism practices, and spend the day swimming alongside the world’s biggest fish!

Visit the Mayan Ruins

The Yucatan Peninsula is where you’ll find some of the most impressive Mayan Ruins. If you’re looking for things to do in Puerto Morelos on the weekend, visit one of the five major sites that are only a short drive or day trip away.

Tulum and Coba are the easiest and quickest to reach from the city. If you want to explore Chichen Itza or Ek Balam, you’ll need to wake up early – but it’s worth it! Chichen Itza is considered the most important Mayan site and is believed to have been a major trade centre and capital city.

Uxmal is a two-day adventure and an excellent weekend getaway option. While it’s one of the lesser-visited Mayan ruins, it’s still impressive with beautiful examples of Puuc-style architecture.

But what sets it apart from the other ruins in the Yucatan is its layout. Instead of being arranged geometrically, it’s designed according to astronomical events.

Go swimming in a cenote

Besides its ancient ruins and delicious food, Mexico is famous for its beautiful cenotes.

Cenotes are large natural sinkholes filled with water. They are created by limestone caverns collapsing. The Ruta de Los Cenotes are a short distance away from Puerto Morelos and visiting them is one of the best things to do in the region.

You can spend an entire day exploring Mexico’s natural heritage, made from a network of underground streams and rivers in the Yucatan Peninsula. 

La Ruta de Los Cenotes is a 32-kilometre stretch of road that winds its way past the lush vegetation from Puerto Morelos to the small town of Leona Vicario.

As you drive along, you’ll see the beautiful cenotes in a variety of sizes that you can explore. Some of them have been transformed into adventure parks where you can zip line above the canopy, hire mountain bikes or learn about Mayan rituals.


Plan a weekend trip to Cancun

The famous Cancun, on the Riviera Maya, is only a short 40-minute drive from Puerto Morelos. 

Once a sleepy fishing village in the 1970s, Cancun has transformed itself into a top spring break destination and a city that has something for everyone. Whether you’re looking to go on an adventure in the jungle, relax on the beach, or visit the nearby Mayan ruins – you won’t run out of things to do.

It’s the perfect destination for volunteers in Mexico that want to re-energise on a break from the laid-back atmosphere of Puerto Morelos.

Volunteer in Puerto Morelos

Out of all the things to do in Puerto Morelos, volunteering is one of the most rewarding activities you can do. Spend your vacation on a choice of Mexico volunteer projects, working on marine conservation or community development initiatives in collaboration with the local community.

You’ll have the opportunity to explore one of Mexico’s most beautiful regions while making a sustainable impact that will affect the region long after you’ve returned home.

Want to learn more about our Mexico volunteer projects, or have questions about safety, or our goals as an organisation? Speak to a member of our team today.

By Zaytoen Domingo

Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.
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