Somehow little Puerto Morelos has escaped the megadevelopment that has swept up and down the Riviera Maya , despite being squeezed between the booming cities of Cancún  and Playa del Carmen . It remains, for the most part, a quiet seaside town.
Yes, the town fills up with foreign tourists in the high season—and more and more condos and resorts are cropping up—but it is still a place where a substantial part of the local population lives by fishing, where life revolves around the central plaza , and where kids and dogs romp in the streets.
The beach in Puerto Morelos  has improved significantly in the last few years, and more and more travelers are spending lazy afternoons in the sun and sand. But Puerto Morelos is best known for the reef system just offshore . Local residents fought tirelessly (and successfully) to have a large section in front of town designated a national reserve, and as a result the snorkeling and diving are superb .
A town cooperative and several local dive shops offer tours of various sorts, most highly recommended and quite affordable. Puerto Morelos also is gaining popularity as a destination for yoga and meditation groups—no surprise given its serene atmosphere—and a growing number of hotels and resorts cater to that market.
Be aware that the low season here is very low, and many businesses close in May, September, and/or October.
Puerto Morelos is 36 kilometers (22 miles) south of Cancún  and even closer to the airport, just 18 kilometers (11 miles). The town itself is compact enough that you can manage without a car (unless you’re staying at Ceiba del Mar or possibly Rancho Sak Ol). That said, having a vehicle makes exploring the Riviera Maya  beyond Puerto Morelos significantly easier.
Europcar (Calle Tulum near Av. Javier Rojo Gómez, tel. 998/206-9372, www.europcar.com.mx , 8:30 a.m.–5:30 p.m. daily) has a small office just off the main plaza, making it the most convenient option for renting a car. Otherwise, Cancún airport has a large number of agencies, and you can often find excellent deals online.
ADO buses pass the Puerto Morelos turnoff on Highway 307 but do not enter town. The northbound stop is right at the turnoff, while the southbound bus stop is across the highway and a block south. For Cancún (US$1.75, 45 minutes) and Playa del Carmen  (US$1.75, 35 minutes), second-class buses and combis (shared vans) pass every 10–15 minutes 5:30 a.m.–10 p.m. daily, though less frequently at night. Some go as far as Tulum  (US$5–7, 1.5 hours), but you should double-check before getting on.
Buses to the Cancún airport (US$5, 25 minutes) pass roughly every 30–60 minutes from 7:55 a.m. to 8:10 p.m. daily. Buy your ticket a day in advance, as buses often fill in Playa del Carmen.
Taxis line up day and night at the taxi stand on the northwest corner of the central plaza. Prices are fixed and prominently displayed on a signboard at the taxi stand. A ride to the highway costs around US$2.