Although still part of the Cancun-Benito Juarez municipal district, the fishing village of Puerto Morelos is the first stop on the Riviera Maya tour for many visitors. Only 20 minutes to the south of Cancun International Airport, Puerto Morelos' appeal lies in its peaceful ambiance, its beaches and reefs, and the seafood served up in local restaurants. The main square is the meeting place for locals and visitors alike after dark and there are craft shops, a bookshop selling new and used books and several bars and cafes for people watching. Snorkeling and diving trips are available to the offshore reef, which was declared a National Park several years ago.
There is a crocodile farm and nature park to the north of Puerto Morelos and immediately to the south of the village is the Yaaxche-Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden, over 60 hectares of jungle and marshland rich in wildlife. There are also jungle jaunts featuring zip lining and bird watching and you can also explore the Ruta de Cenotes, a road through the jungle to the old chicle camp at Central Vallarta and Leona Vicario. Cenotes worth visiting along the way include Las Mojarras, Siete Bocas, Boca de Puma and Verde Lucero.
The area between Puerto Morelos and Playa del Carmen is dotted with small ranches and large resorts. You can relax on the beach at Punta Maroma, embark on a catamaran cruise or visit the art gallery at Maroma to see the work of local painters.
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