Home to some of the world’s most famous beaches, ancient Mayan ruins, tropical jungles, and abundant wildlife, Mexico’s Riviera Maya has transformed into one of the globe’s most popular destinations. With attractions ranging from visits to pristine beaches and mystic archaeological sites, to zip-lining and underwater excursions, the Riviera Maya has something to offer individuals of all ages and types. One of the region’s biggest draws, however, is it’s unparalleled flora and fauna. If you are someone who loves to explore earth’s natural wonders, one special Riviera Maya beach town is sure to suit your fancy. Take a look at the small, but majestic town of Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Situated along Highway 307 just 22 miles (36 kilometers) south of Cancun and 16 miles (26 kilometers) south of Cancun International Airport, the town of Puerto Morelos is every nature lover’s paradise. Harboring a remarkable biodiversity, visitors can expect to discover hundreds of bird and animal species, along with 1,200 different kinds of plant species, including 150 different varieties of orchids. In addition, the famous Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, also known as the Great Maya Reef to locals, is located just 550 yards (500 meters) off shore, which is home to more than 2,500 marine species, including 500 hundred species of multicolored tropical fish.
Whether you’re interested in exploring life below the water’s surface or scanning the sky for the hundreds of Riviera Maya birds that call it’s jungle home, Puerto Morelos is sure to please those looking to catch a glimpse of the area’s most exotic habitants. With options to explore both above and below the tide, visitors will no longer be asking what to do in Puerto Morelos – the answer is simple – get up close and personal with its wildlife! Below are a few of the town’s most popular activities that offer guests the opportunity to observe these remarkable land and marine creatures up close.
Puerto Morelos Botanical Gardens and Bird Watching
With over 150 species of birds calling the mangroves & jungle near Puerto Morelos their home, it’s the perfect site for observing the region’s most tropical birds and wildlife. Birds local to the region include the Ocellated Turkey, Yucatan Poorwill, Yucatan Flycatcher, Yucatan Jay, and Yucatan Wren to name a few.
With nearby attractions such as the 150 acre (60 hectare) Jardin Botanico del Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin (Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden) and Croco Cun Interactive Zoo, visitors are given the chance not only to see these unique creatures in action, but also to interact with them. With both attractions wedged between the natural shores, mangroves, and forest of the region, hundreds of species of birds, flowers, plants, and land mammals are sure to be sighted, including hundreds of types of orchids, colorful Toucans, snakes, monkeys, and even alligators! Don’t miss out on all the action that these Puerto Morelos attractions have to offer.
Explore Life Below the Tide
Due to the great efforts of local environmental activists, Puerto Morelos is home to the most well-preserved section of the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef, the second largest barrier reef in the world, making it the small, fishing town’s most spectacular attraction. Being within close proximity to it’s shore, visitors at Puerto Morelos are able to witness hundreds of varieties of tropical fish, marine life, and vibrant corals during their stay.
Home to some of the world’s most renowned snorkel and dive sites, the Mesoamerican Barrier Reef truly makes Puerto Morelos a natural treasure. With 66 species of stony corals, over 500 species of fish, and several species of sea turtles visiting Puerto Morelos without getting to know life below its shores would be one regrettable mistake. With multiple underwater excursions available to guests, visitors can witness the reef’s diverse inhabitants up close and personal.
While all marine life is enjoyed by those lucky enough to witness their beauty, the region’s sea turtles and whale sharks (these visit the region north of Puerto Morelos from June through September) add an extra spark of excitement for visitors who take the plunge. Snorkel and diving activities are available both onshore and offshore via tours and private Riviera Maya boat rentals. Don’t let the tranquil town of Puerto Morelos fool you – deep in its surrounding environments, both above and below the water’s surface, you will find one busy natural habitat!
While nearby Cancun and Playa del Carmen continue to receive more attention from visitors around the globe, the charming, yet typical Mexican fishing village of Puerto Morelos is sure to stand out from its neighbors for those who discover it. Its unmatched coral reefs, mangroves, and botanical gardens make this a destination sure to leave nature lovers of all kinds mesmerized. Whether searching the sky, walking on the beach, or snorkeling near Puerto Morelos, travelers are sure to feel emotions they have never felt as they witness nature and wildlife like they have never seen.