The Reef: In short, the Reef rocks.
It's our pride and joy and we protect it like our child. Therefore, you can't go
out to the Reef without a guide. You must also wear a life vest. These
precautions protect you and the Reef. Our over protectiveness means the Reef is
very healthy and you will see a good variety of sea life. We can't recommend a
trip out to the Reef enough (picture jumping into an aquarium.) You can go with
one of the dive shops in town, or to go in a hurry, go out with the next boat
going out from the dock. The price will be around $25 USD or equivilent pesos. Make sure you
get a park bracelet. (The bracelet fee goes directly to reef protection) They will
take you to two different locations for about two hours. The guides are trained
The Beach: The beaches belong to
the people of Mexico and they don't mind if you use it, so go ahead. There are
no private beaches in Mexico. The only stopping point in our area is the Federal
Dock (where the big ships are). You can't walk across it, but you can go around
it. The big hotels can't and won't stop you from walking on the beach. Our sand is clean and white and stretches forever. We do get sea grass on
our beach, it's a by-product of a healthy reef. The good news is that the reef
calms the big waves so our beach is easy to swim.
Groceries: There are no big chain stores
in the main part of Puerto Morelos. Our biggest market is on the square called "Casa Martin". It
has most of your basics. There is a good fruit and vegetable market every
Wednesday morning beside the Church. There is a very good produce and juice
store called Chulim on Ninos Heroes, the road just west of the main road, see
our Puerto Morelos map for exact location. Alma Libre sells high-quality Mexican
coffee and some specialty gourmet items.
In town there are dozens of "mini-supers"
that offer everything you would expect to find in a convenience store.
In the Colonia, on the other side of the
highway, we now have a full supermarket called Chedraui. There you will find
everything you would expect to find in a supermarket. There is also another big
store called Super Aki. Aside from some excellent beer sales, there is almost
nothing you can get there that you cannot get at Chedraui, so no real need to go
there. It's on our map too. The
Colonia has some other smaller grocery stores and a couple of produce stores. For a
wider selection, Playa del Carmen has a couple of large supermarkets on the highway (Chedraui
and a Sam's Club. They also have a Mega and a Wal-Mart. Cancun has everything including Costco, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Soriana, Chedraui and Commercial Mexicana.
You should not have to go to Cancun or Playa for groceries anymore. Chedraui and
the local places should cover you.
This is a fishing town, so if fish is your wish, you cannot....mish. Fishermen
go out every day except Sunday. Their catches will show up at the fish
co-operative (the building with the big gates between the supermarket and
the corner.) Prices are good and the fish are as fresh as they can be.
You can also go fishing. Trips are usually half-day and can be arranged
on the dock, at one of the dive shops, or ask us and we'll hook you up.
Drinking Water & Ice: All the restaurants in town use purified drinking
water and ice. They wash the veggies in purified water. There is no reason to
worry. Bottled water is inexpensive and available everywhere. You can brush your
teeth with the tap water. If you open your mouth in the shower you will not die.
You are far more likely
to get sick from too much sun or tequila than the water, salad or ice.
Staying Healthy: While we're on the topic, to stay healthy be sure to pace
yourself and keep your hands clean, especially before you eat. Hand gel is a
great thing to carry. Be careful of taking too much sun. It is very powerful here. Bottled water is cheap and plentiful in Mexico.
Doctors: We a couple of medical
options in Puerto
Morelos. Dr. Veronica speaks English and will make housecalls! Her office is on
the main square at the back of the mall on the north side of the square. We have not used the doctor;
but we have
only heard good things about her.
There is also a clinic in the Pescadores neighbourhood just east of the highway.
We've heard good things.
Veronica Serrato Quezada
998-253-4118 Cel: 998-147-7034
Clinic (Office in Pescadores just east of the highway)
998-251-1478 / 998-201-2456
Benjamin De la Vega
||998-285-9186 / Cel:
The Red Cross also has a clinic
in the Colonia, their hours are Monday-Friday, 8:30am to 10:00 pm and
Weekends 8:30 to 8:00.
Dentist: Dr. Carlos Escalante has
an office just west of the square. 998-206-9157 NEXTEL 185-2583
Website Here. We've used him ourselves and would recommend him. He speaks
excellent English. Dr. Gena Reys Herrera speaks some English. Her office is in
the Colonia. Call 998-251-7595. You can save hundreds of dollars having dental work done
here. Many people take "dental vacations". They save big bucks, get all their
dental work done, and recover on the beach. Nice!
Dress Code: In Puerto Morelos? Uh...no. We're a very casual town.
shoes in restaurants of course and proper attire is expected if you are entering
the church, but you won't need your jacket and tie here, (though wandering about
town in your Speedo will not make you too popular.)
This will be the least of your worries.
Days tend to be hot & sunny. If we do get rain, it will likely come down with
attitude and then move on. Evenings in December and January can be "coolish",
you may wish to carry a light jacket. Beware of regular weather sites, they
often show us with rain when there is none.
WindGuru is the only
site we believe.
Long, lingering, lazy meals will be one of
the highlights of your visit to Puerto Morelos. We have some great restaurants
here, ranging from cheap local places to world-class cuisine. Please note that
your waiter will not bring you your bill until you ask for it. Bringing the bill
before you request it is considered rude, and simply not done here. Your bill
will will include tax (IVA) but will not include service (propina). The
exception is Playa del Carmen, where a 10% tip will often be included on the
tab. Watch for it in Playa, so you are not tipping twice.
Tipping: Wages are
low in Mexico, so your tips do make a big difference. Standard is about 10-15%
at restaurants. If you go into Cancun or Playa, you may encounter more tipping
opportunities. The person who bags your groceries for example is a volunteer and
only gets paid in tips. Also anyone offering to help you with your bags or
helping you back your car out of your space. We tip the Pemex guys if they clean
Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way
here. Do not wander out into the street or you are likely to become part of
Forget the "chicken bus" imagery in Mexico.
Buses are great here, much better than in the US or Canada. Always buy the best
class ticket you possibly can to get the most direct and best service.
To take a bus to Playa or Cancun, you must get up to the highway using a cab or
collectivo or your feet (2kms). There is a bus station on the east side of the
highway. Buses to Cancun
or Playa depart every 15-20 minutes and cost a mere 22 pesos. From Cancun or
Playa's bus stations, you can literally go anywhere in Mexico.
Check the ADO website for prices
and schedules. At the time we wrote this, a new daily service to Merida from
our town had started, with a stop in Valladolid.
Mexico could simply not run without
collectivos. These are white
vans that run a set route, in town or between towns. Prices are similar to a
bus, but much less than a taxi. The
in-town collectivo (5 pesos) runs a route around the
goes to the
and runs a route around the
Tell the driver where you want to go and he
will work with you. You can use the
collectivo to get
bus station on the
are other collectivos that
run to Playa and Cancun. You can catch
on the highway. If you are going to Cancun or Playa, take the bus over the
collectivo. Less crowded and direct.
Puerto Morelos may be a small town but we
have more than 100 taxis. Rates are set, not metered. Agree on a price before
you get in. There should be a rate card in the taxi, you can ask to see it, or
look at the big rate sign on the square. You
are not expected to tip, but we always do if he gets us to our destination
safely...without running over anyone. You may be able to work out a deal on long
distance destinations or have the taxi wait for you while you visit or shop
along the Mayan Riviera.
a taxi rate sign at the taxi stand on the square,
here is a
look at it.
Yes you can drive in Mexico! Renting a car
is not necessary as the bus system is excellent here, but it does give you the
most flexibility and freedom. Rates tend to be best if you rent for a week or
more and book a week or more in advance and pick up at the airport. To rent for
a short period of time, you can get a car in town.
credit card car rental insurance may not cover you in Mexico, check with
your company. Whatever insurance route you choose, make sure there is a
toll-free number you can call if you have problems. In case of an accident,
police can throw all parties in jail until they determine who is at fault. You
will want to be able to call someone to help you.
you get your car, go over it with a fine-tooth comb and point out any scratch,
dent, defect, chip or blemish to the rental guy. They will charge you for any
new dings. Check your tires and spare for air and tread. Check your windshield
too, look AT it not through it and point out any chips or cracks.
Driving is relatively easy here. Roads are good and the whole peninsula is flat
as a tortilla, so you don't have to deal with hills. The toll road to Chichen
Itza/Merida is freakishly expensive, but sometimes worth it. See
DAYTRIPS for more information. There is now a shortcut now to the free road
which saves a lot of time. The free road to Chichen is narrow, slow and
laden with topes (speed bumps) but is perfectly safe. The Cancun/Puerto
Morelos/Playa del Carmen/Tulum road is very fast and very good. Cancun has traffic circles and aggressive drivers. Give the
taxis (there are a million of them) and the buses a wide berth and you will be
fine. Use your turn signal when you turn, and know that you and I are the only
ones using them.
car rental agreement will likely state that you can't take the car to Cozumel or
speed, wear your seatbelt, stay off the phone and you won't have to worry about the police. If you do get stopped, be
calm, cool and dim. Really dim. If they really want to give you a ticket, ask
for the ticket. They will likely let you off. If you decide to settle things by the side of the road,
talk the price down like you are bargaining for a blanket in the market. No more
than 200 pesos should do it. There are police checkpoints outside Cancun and
Playa. They may stop you. They likely just want to know where you are going and
where you are coming from. Again, be polite and calm and you will be on your
Please note that traffic around the Puerto Morelos square is one-way (clockwise).
Where to Stay:
Like all of Mexico, you have a wide variety
of choices of where to hang your hat, depending on what you want, need and are
willing to spend. Alma Libre can help fix you up with a cool condo or
fully-equipped apartment for your stay of a week or more,
CLICK HERE or you can choose from a
variety of hotel rooms, from all-inclusive resorts, spa resorts, beachfront
hotels, or inexpensive rooms or hostels...all in Puerto Morelos!
Money and Banking: There are several bank machines in Puerto Morelos, two in
town are affiliated with national banks which have lower fees than private ones. One
machine is in front of the police
station the other is in the OXXO on the square. There are more in the
Colonia, the best being at the Chedraui grocery store or CI Banco. The
machines work well with cards from all over the world, but occasionally run out of money, especially on weekends.
The machine in the OXXO off the
square appears to be private, so likely has higher fees. Do not use the
"Cashola" machines in front of the little mall on the north side of the square.
High fees! Always check the machine over carefully before using.
Pull on the card reader and keyboard to see if it is loose or suspicious. We
have had card skimming incidents in Puerto Morelos, though not in recent years.
Chip cards have made cloning much more difficult.
There are independent bank machines at the mall on the square and at
Fees are higher at the private machines. There are no banks in town the main
part of town, there is
one called CI Banco at the Chedraui and one called Bancomer in the Super
Aki Plaza. There is an exchange booth right on the square to exchange your
cash dollars (US
or Canadian) or Euros. You need a passport to get pesos for U.S. dollars. If
you use the exchange booth, count your money before you leave. Short
changing is very common at this location!
recommend changing your money and using Pesos in Mexico. Using the ATM is the
best way to get pesos. US dollars are usually
accepted, but you will likely not get an attractive exchange rate. Credit cards
are NOT accepted at most businesses and restaurants in Puerto Morelos. You can
likely get pesos from your bank at home for a pretty decent rate.
Post Office & Stamps: We now have a small post office depot on the other side of
the highway, but it is much more convenient to get stamps at the supermarket.
The Mexican postal
system is improving, but is still quite undependable and slow. You will likely
beat your postcards home, but they are still fun to send. There is no mailbox in
town. Mail them at the airport on the way home or, if you bought your cards from
us, we will post them for you if you buy the stamp. Alma Libre has the
only postcards in town that feature Puerto Morelos. We also have blank all-occasion cards.
There is a laundromat on the main
road just north of the square and one more on the road behind. Prices tend to be around 10 pesos for 1
kilogram of laundry. Drop it off and pick it up later. No need to waste valuable
vacation time rinsing out your unmentionables.
This has improved greatly in the last few
years in Mexico, but you still need to be careful. The easiest way to phone home
is to use Skype or get a "Telmex/Ladatel" phone card at the pharmacy. They come in three
sizes, 30 peso, 50 peso or 100 peso. Calling the US or Canada will cost 5 pesos
a minute, so you are getting 6, 10 or 20 minutes depending on which you buy.
Local calls (including Cancun) are about 1 peso a minute. Calls to Playa del Carmen
and beyond cost more. To call a Mexican mobile phone, you need to dial 044 + area
code + number.
Insert your phone card with the computer chip facing up and towards the phone,
then hit the "abc" button. This changes all the instructions to English and makes
things so much easier...assuming you speak English...which you must if you are
reading this. To dial Canada or USA dial 001 + area code + number. The card will
count down your time and mercilessly cut you off when your time is up.
you have time left over, keep your card for your next call or next trip to
Mexico, they don't expire.
not recommend using your credit card to call. Charges can be outrageous. Also
calling from your resort or hotel room can be an orgy of overcharging, check
their rates first. There are other calling cards you can buy locally, but we
have never had any luck with them, except to jimmy open doors. Don't call
collect, unless you really don't care for the person...they will likely get nailed big
time. A recent collect call from Puerto Morelos cost us $50 for eight minutes!
If you must call collect, dial 090 to get the operator.
Skype, Google Phone or Magic Jack work well here.
When it's working it is 120 volts give or
take, same as
Canada or the US. A good idea is to pack a little surge protector if you are
bringing sensitive electronics. The power in Mexico has greatly improved in the
last few years, but there are always exceptions. (Power is expensive here so
please don't waste it. We find the fresh ocean breeze is much more pleasant than air
The cheap and easy way to stay in touch.
Available at the internet cafe beside the OXXO and there are several restaurants
where you can get WiFi free with a purchase.
Mosquitoes don't tend to be a big problem
in town, the breeze keeps them down. If they do come out, it will be at dusk.
Avoid being out at that time or use a little repellent. You'll need bug spray if
you go to the Botanical Garden. We sell organic repellent at the bookstore.
There is now a public bathroom on the
open most hours in the morning and evening. One of our sage pieces of advice for travel in
Mexico is, never turn down an opportunity to go to the bathroom...so if
you are in a restaurant or bar, take advantage of the facilities! There is also a
public bano on the dock.
all banos, you will find a wastepaper basket beside the toilet. You are
supposed to throw all your paper in there, not in the toilet. This is
true in small hotels, restaurants, bars and people's homes. It may seem
strange, but please don't mess up their plumbing because it feels weird
Massage: There are a few places in town that can rub your troubles away. The
best deal by far is the Jungle Spa, where all treatments are available
from professionally trained Mayan women for less pesos. You can contact them to book an appointment for
most days except Monday.
Call Sandra (998) 208-9148.
Gasoline: A Pemex is located on the highway at the Puerto Morelos turnoff.
Pemex is the only gas station in Mexico, and all the prices in the country are the
same. They don't post their prices on the sign. There are a billion stories of
people getting ripped off at the gas station. Get out of your car after you pull
up and keep an eye on everything and it won't happen to you. Make sure they
reset the pump to zero and count out the cash when you hand it to the pump guy.
Most of our fuelling experiences have been positive, including the occasional
Pemex that cleans your windows and (gasp) vacuums your interior as you get gas.
Tip 10 pesos or less for good service. Fuel price in December 2016 was 13.98 pesos a litre.
Everyone is welcome at the big Catholic church on the square "Iglesia de San
Jose". Services are at 7:30PM on Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday.
Services are in Spanish as you might expect. They have recently posted a sign
that they have English services Sunday at noon. I am not sure if it is just for
the season, or permanent.
Zone: We are in the Eastern Time Zone. We do not go Daylight Savings Time,
so we are permanently on Eastern Standard Time (EST). This is our current time and date
(in 24 hour format)
Have we missed anything? Write us and let us know
if we have left a gap in your knowledge.
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