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Home to one of the best protected sections of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, Puerto Morelos offers easy shore diving or boat trips to nearby Cancun.

Highlights

Cenote Diving in Yucatan

Hundreds of crystal clear cenotes (caves) can be found throughout Mexico. Cenote Dos Ojos near Tulum is the most famous and is easily accessible to most divers.

Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen

From November to March, large bull shark females arrive in Playa del Carmen in order to breed. Get up close and personal with these amazing sharks.

Puerto Morelos National Marine Park

Protected since 1998, Puerto Morelos National Marine Park represents the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef section that is most preserved and closest to land.

El Museo Subaquàtico de Arte (MUSA)

The MUSA, located next to Cancun, is an underwater contemporary museum of art consisting of over 500 permanent life-size sculptures from English artist Jason deCaires Taylor.

Whale Sharks in Isla Mujeres

Isla Mujeres, just off-shore from Cancun, sits at the join of the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean. As such, it attracts hundreds of Whale Sharks from June to September each year.

Diving in Puerto Morelos

Quick facts

Thanks to the work of local environmental activists, Puerto Morelos is home to the best preserved section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef. This piece of the second largest barrier reef in the world is also closer to land in Puerto Morelos than anywhere else in Mexico. This means that many of the sites in this small tourist center are easily accessible from shore although most shops still prefer to dive from a speedboat.

Furthermore, Puerto Morelos is conveniently located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, so you’ll have access to the amazing dive sites in both of these destinations as well as those of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres.

Keep in mind, a 16% tax is levied on all diving activities in Mexico.

When to go

You can dive from Puerto Morelos during any month. For uncrowded dive sites or whale sharks, book between May-Nov. For pelagic encounters, pick Dec-Apr.

December to April

There is no bad time to dive in Puerto Morelos. In fact, the water temperatures remain relatively constant year-round and cool only slightly during the winter months.

December to April is considered the best time to visit Mexico and therefore is the most popular time to dive in the Caribbean. Because the winter months constitute high season, you should make sure to book as early as possible in order to secure the best rate.

On average, water temperatures vary between 77 and 82ºF (25 and 28ºC) in this part of the Caribbean. From November until March, Bull Sharks are commonly found off the coast of Playa del Carmen, and many other pelagic species are attracted to the area by the slightly cooler temperatures during the winter months.

May to November

The best time for cenote diving throughout the Yucatan Peninsula is between May and September. These months bring the best light to the caves and result in the better photographs.

Also note that diving in the Caribbean is possible year-round, but you’ll find the best visibility throughout the summer.

Do keep an eye on the forecast during the summer and early fall. These seasons are subject to the occasional hurricane. When there isn’t a hurricane, the weather during the summer is hot and humid with the occasional rain shower.

Furthermore, June to September in particular is best for whale sharks near Isla Mujeres should you choose to take a day trip from Puerto Morelos. And from May to September, green and loggerhead turtles arrive to lay their eggs along the Riviera Maya.

As an added bonus, the summer months are low season throughout Mexico. At this time, you’ll find the best deals on diving and accommodation. If you enjoy uncrowded, Caribbean dive sites, travel to Mexico between May and September.

Rain and temperature

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Water temperature

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Where to dive

Beginners should stick to the shallow sections of the reef in front of town. Advanced divers can explore the 2 wrecks and tec divers will want to dive the cenotes.
    USD 1,780Per person for 7 nights for 2 divers

    Snorkeling in Puerto Morelos

    Because the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park is very close to shore and relatively shallow, Puerto Morelos is the perfect destination for snorkeling in Mexico. You’ll have the opportunity to glide over colorful corals and come face-to-face with hundreds of colorful fish. For the best visibility, be sure to book your trip during the summer months.
    Puerto Morelos is home to dive sites to suit every level. Directly in front of the town, you’ll find Puentes and The Gardens. Both are healthy reef sites that lie between 45 feet (17 meters) and 60 feet (20 meters). The natural bridges and swim-throughs add an exciting element to these colorful environments. For divers who are just blowing their first bubbles, a section of reef just offshore lies between 30 and 35 feet (10 and 12 meters). Here you’ll find many tropical fish and even the occasional turtle. More advanced divers may wish to explore the wreck of Juan Escutia, a C-56 Minesweeper. This artificial wreck (at 100 feet/30 meters) includes swim-throughs large enough that a wreck certification is not required. Finally, tec divers may wish to head to the area’s cenotes. Further south, Dos Ojos is a favorite among divers, but you’ll also find several cenotes closer to Puerto Morelos including Cenote Las Mojarras. As an added bonus, it’s also possible to dive the sites surrounding Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Isla Mujeres and Cozumel on a short day trip from Puerto Morelos.

    What to see

    As a long protected coral reef with a variety of natural environments, the Puerto Morelos National Marine Park is home to an astounding amount of biodiversity. Here you’ll find an abundance of tropical fish, Green sea turtles, Loggerhead sea turtles, barracuda, eels and rays. Nurse sharks hang out in dark swim-throughs, and various species of crabs and lobsters scuttle along the bottom.

    For those willing to venture further afield on a day trip from Puerto Morelos, you can dive with Bull Sharks in Playa del Carmen from November to March. Or you can snorkel with whale sharks at Isla Mujeres from June to September.

    Calendar

    For better readability of the table, pass into the landscape mode.

    Most likely sightingsPossible sightings

    Location

    Located directly in the middle of Cancun and Playa del Carmen on the Caribbean coast of Mexico, Puerto Morelos enjoys a strategic position on the Yucatan Peninsula. Most importantly, Puerto Morelos is home to the largest and oldest port in the region.

    Since 2010, this small coastal fishing village has grown rapidly due to an influx of tourism. Today, all-inclusive resorts as well as mindfulness retreats abound in the area. As an interesting fact, Puerto Morelos only recently merged in December 2015 with the village of Leona Vicario to become the 11th largest municipality in the state of Quintana Roo.

    Other attractions

    The location of Puerto Morelos between Cancun and Playa del Carmen means that there is plenty to do in the area without feeling overwhelmed by kitschy tourism. If you’re traveling with children, you’re sure to enjoy a day at Croco Cun Zoo. Even if you aren’t diving in the cenotes, make a point to stop by one to take in these unique environments and perhaps even splash around in one. Parque Cenote Las Mojarras is nearby. Finally, make some time to discover the region’s Mayan ruins. Tulum and Chichen Itza make great day trips from Puerto Morelos.

    Getting there

    The simplest way to reach Puerto Morelos is to fly into Cancun International Airport. Then, catch a bus or arrange a private transfer or taxi to this laidback beach town. Alternatively, you can drive or take a bus from a different region in Mexico by use of Highway Route 307. Once you’ve arrived in Puerto Morelos, use taxis, a rental car or a bicycle to travel around town.

    UTC-05:00

    Time zone

    MXN

    Currency

    +52

    Calling code

    127 V

    Electric volt

    A, 

    B

    Plug type

    CUN

    Main airport