Puerto Morelos

Just 36 kilometers south of Cancun lies one of the most enchanting and history-filled villages in the Mexican Caribbean.

A jewel in the rough, Puerto Morelos invites you to enjoy its peacefulness surrounded by an extraordinary environment. Quiet beaches, warm people and a friendly welcome make this an outstanding place to visit.

A lively community of foreigners from around the world also gives Puerto Morelos a slightly cosmopolitan air a special twist of seaside simplicity.

The town´s history dates back to 1898 when the “East Coast Development Company” based in the neighboring state of Yucatan began exploiting the area for its natural resources, mainly Mexican logwood, precious tropical hardwoods, chicle resin, and copra.

Products harvested from the jungle were put on board ships in Puerto Morelos for the U.S and Japan. Merchant ships docked at the same location where the ferry terminal stands today, to be loaded up from mule trains bringing in precious timber and other valuable raw materials from the interior.

puerto-morelos-amanecerIn 1904, Puerto Morelos had a telegraph and post office which served as a distribution point for correspondence going to Cozumel Island and various isolated jungle communities.

By 1923 international demand for Mexican logwood had fallen sharply and the Mexican government gave the Bank of London a new concession to exploit the northern region of Quintana Roo. To do this, the Bank created a new company named “Colonia de Santa Maria” whose sole activity was harvesting chicle resin to make gum.

Already, in those days Puerto Morelos was a true port with wooden houses, a dock, a street parallel to the coast and warehouse. That period of prosperity lasted until the cicle market collapsed during the depression years starting in 1934.

With the creation of Cancun which began in the early ‘70s, came tourism. Once again Puerto Morelos began to grow with a new population, now mainly characterized by an influx of people from other parts of Mexico and foreigner.

puerto-morelos-nursesharkThis resurgence was concentrated in a neighborhood named Colonia Joaquin Zetina Garza, located two kilometers from the coast along both sides of the highway.
Puerto Morelos is also home to educational and research centers such as the National Fishing Institute´s Regional Fish Research Center, and the Quintana Roo Research Center also known as “Colegio Frontera Sur”.

In the early ‘80s the National University of Mexico established a research station managed by Institute of Ocean Sciences and Limnology. Thanks to its work, the barrier reef running parallel to the coast facing Puerto Morelos is probably the best preserved and most studied formation of its kind in Mexico.

Today Puerto Morelos has a population of 5000, it is estimated that more than half of them earn a living from the reef, some in a direct manner, like the fishermen who or to businesses that service tourist who come to visit the reef.

We mustn´t forget that the main attraction for visitors to this area is the Caribbean Sea with its clear turquoise blue water and abundant marine life.
The Puerto Morelos reef has been in constant use throughout the years, harvested by fishermen of a living and hosting tourism activities with low environmental impact.

It has been the object f constant research and monitoring by academic institutions whose findings are used to measure and preserve the reef´s condition.

In a effort to defend their reef from the ravages of accelerated development going on throughout the Riviera Maya, in 1995 lobbied and joined efforts for a period of three years to focus the government´s attention on their village and on preserving its natural environment.

They were rewarded with the creation of the Puerto Morelos Reef National Park by the federal government on February 2, 1998.
The coral reef is now a protected ocean wildlife area that can be enjoyed by visitors under special conditions that will keep it thriving and healthy for generations.