Halfway between Cancun and Playa del Carmen, nestled along the Riviera Maya coast, lies the town of Puerto Morelos, named after Mexican War of Independence leader Jose Maria Morelos. The town harbors a rich past, and the following is a timeline of Puerto Morelos’ modern history.
In the 1900’s, Puerto Morelos was originally referred to as “Punta Corcho”, and it was chosen as a natural harbor that could offer safe navigation and protection as a result of the natural reef barrier.
However, in the 1920’s the population greatly diminished due to an influenza epidemic, and a census reported just 28 inhabitants at the time. Puerto Morelos was already considered a town at this time, with wooden houses built in a single lane along the coastal street and a pier for the fishermen, the exact spot on which today you can find Pelicanos Restaurant.
The turbulent 1930’s arrived on the heels of President Ortiz Rubio decreeing that the territory of Quintana Roo would belong to the states of Campeche and Yucatan. There was much administrative confusion, and as a result there are few records that exist today of those years. However, with the following president Cardenas, the territory of Quintana Roo was once again established in 1935.
The 1950’s saw growth in Puerto Morelos, with the population spreading towards the dense jungle areas inland from the coast, as a result of masses of people migrating from the Yucatan Peninsula and foreign countries. The demand for a labor force greatly increased during the 1970’s, and because of the proximity of Puerto Morelos to newly established resorts, a growth in the surrounding residential areas began.
A federal decree awarded the Puerto Morelos reef the status of protected natural area in the 1990’s. It is home to a wonderful and rich marine life and it plays an important role in tourist outdoor activities and deep sea fishing pursuits today.
The 2000’s welcomed neighboring cities, Cancun and Playa del Carmen, both of which rapidly developed into internationally sought after tourist destinations, a group to which Puerto Morelos has become a member as a 5-star hotel hub, where tourists can expect the best service. A lot of effort is being made with new developmental projects to ensure that natural, protected areas are not trampled and ruined in the process.
It may possibly be one of the few remaining small fishing villages on the entire Caribbean coastline of Mexico, but living up to its nickname (jewel of the Caribbean) Puerto Morelos has miraculously maintained its small town, laid back vibe. Despite its geographical location and proximity to expanding tourist cities along the same coastline, the unique list of what to do in Puerto Morelos, is continually growing, whilst staying true to its authentic backstory.