Planning Our Puerto Morelos Family trip

Planning Our Puerto Morelos Family trip

Our next trip is our summer family vacation.  We’ll be visiting Puerto Morelos, a not-so-touristy fishing village in between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen on the Riviera Maya.

Why We’re Going to Puerto Morelos:

Mama needs beach time!

puerto morelos

And when I was searching for cheap airfare several months ago, I found very reasonable airfare via Southwest to Cancun.  Once we had a major city to fly into, I started looking more specifically at where we wanted to stay.  I wasn’t particularly interested in super-touristy areas or party towns, and we didn’t want an all-inclusive.

We also considered Tulum, Isla Mujeres, and Akumal, but ultimately decided on Puerto Morelos based on the description of the beaches, the walkability of the town, and the affordability of a rental there. It is also centrally located within an hour or so from most of the sites we want to see.

How we’re Getting To Puerto Morelos:

Part road-trip, mostly flying.  The best flight deals were out of Houston, and when you’re multiplying costs times five, even a modest increase can add up.  So we’ll be road-tripping to Houston–about a 5-hour drive–and then we’ll fly directly to Cancun. I had enough hoarded Rapid Rewards to book me and the kids, so this is definitely a budget-friendly trip.

Where We’re Staying in Puerto Morelos:

We’ve rented a 2-bedroom, beachfront condo. This is a small condo–not high rise beach condo. Total cost is about $1200 for a week.

Thoughts on What to Do in Puerto Morelos:

Our first plan of action is to chill on the beach with a frosty beverage.

frosty beverages

Number 2 is snorkel, snorkel, snorkel! I love snorkeling, and the beach in Puerto Morelos is just  400 yards, or a very short boat ride, to the reef. The reef is the Great Mayan Reef which extends from the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico all the way to Honduras. We’ve snorkeled other parts of the reef on cruise excursions in Belize and Honduras and it is nothing short of amazing.  I’m really looking forward to easy access to the reef.


The third must-do on our list is to visit Mayan ruins. Our kids actually asked to do this–yay! Kenny and I visited the Lamanai ruins in Belize, and it was unforgettable. There are plenty of options for us to choose from.  We’ve looked at Chichen Itza, Tulum, Coba and Ek Balam.

Chichen Itza
Chichen Itza

Chichen Itza is the largest and best-preserved ruin in the area and has been designated one of the New 7 Wonders of the World and a Unesco World Heritage Site.

Right now we’re leaning toward visiting Tulum–the only ruins located right on the beach–and possibly Coba–one of the few ruins that you can still climb.

Tulum Ruins
Tulum Ruins

Essential Planning for Puerto Morelos:

Passport Required!


You must have a passport to visit Puerto Morelos, so make sure all of your documents are in place when booking your trip. The U.S. Department of State lists passport requirements and travel warnings for foreign travel.

Get Pesos!

Also, although U.S. dollars are widely accepted in the most tourist-friendly parts of Mexico, smaller and remote areas may not accept U.S. currency or credit cards. You should plan to get Mexican Pesos before going to Puerto Morelos and day trips from the area.  I suggest using the ATM at the airport to withdraw pesos, as I have found that to be the most cost-effective way to obtain foreign currency. If you don’t feel comfortable entering a foreign country with no local currency, you can exchange currency before you leave, but expect to pay a premium.


You’ll need to grab reef-friendly sunscreen at some point.  The chemicals in most off-the-shelf sunscreen can damage the coral reef and you are required to use reef-safe sunscreen. I picked up this Badger Anti-Bug Sunscreen (since we’ll be in the jungle as well as at the beach) locally at Whole Foods, but you can also get it from Amazon (this is a referral link).  You should consider a rash guard, which will help protect you from sun damage and the reef from sunscreen damage.  Win-win!


I am a 40-something lawyer and mom of 3 teenage girls. I love exploring new places, and when I can't be on the road, I'm planning my next trip. Over the years, I've learned a lot about how to travel in a pack of five. Our trips range from budget-friendly road trips with the family, to more luxurious trips for work, either solo or with my husband, Kenny.

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