Decide to do a short exploration trip to Puerto Morelos, Mexico. been a long time since we have done one of these, and need to do this more often.
Puerto Morelos (PM in short) is a small town on the Yucatan Peninsula, between Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. Arrived late at Cancun airport, and rented a car (renting a car always takes a long time in Mexico, so have to allow time for this), and drove straight to Puerto Morelos town. We had pre-booked a small casita at Casita Kinsol, in PM as I did not want to be searching for hotels in the middle of the night. Our host, Alain was waiting for us. Very nice operation, which is basic, but clean and safe. We stayed in a rustic casita, with private bath, in a nice natural setting full of trees and birds.
We were hungry, and Alain was very helpful recommending a small taco place just around the corner. This was a small place, with father and 2 young sons running the place. The owner was the chef, and would sing while preparing the tacos; to attract customers. Though it was late, they had a stead string of customers coming through (all locals). Had a few beef tacos and then decided to visit the beach.
Drove the 1 mile from the town of PM to the beach which is the rest of this fishing village of PM, which is not a touristy as other places along the Yucatan peninsula. The beach was nice, but had a lot of seaweeds. Heard a live band playing nice music in a nearby restaurant, so decide to go there (La Sirena), have a beer, listen to music and catch the nice sea breeze. Unfortunately, the band decided to pack up after just 1 more song, so we had to settle for the drink with the sea breeze only 🙁 . Drove back to our casita, and called it a night around midnight.
Our hut at Casita Kinsol
Next day, decide to visit the beaches south of Playa, between Playa and Tulum. So picked up breakfast fruit and coconut water from the nearby local fruit market store, and headed out. The road from Cancun to Tulum is all a 2 lane divided highway, with a few small towns along the way, so driving was easy.
Upon arrival in Akumal, we drove into where the beach was. Having been here 10 years ago, we were very surprised by how much development has taken place, with large expensive houses and hotel complexes along the beach, catering to wealthy Americans and tons of tourists. PM was at the other end of this spectrum. Anyhow, the beach here was excellent 10 years ago, so parked (need to pay for parking), and headed to the beach area.
Lots of tourists learning to snorkel here as the snorkeling is very good here. Unfortunately, there was tons of seaweed here also, which the workers were loading into wheelbarrows and carting away from the beach. Seemed like a losing battle. So after lunch on the beach, we decide to head down to Tulum, where we would hopefully get weed free beach.
After driving another 45 mins, we arrived at Tulum fort ruins, something we had always wanted to see. After a stop for coconut water, we walked to the ruins; there was a large line up for the tickets, so we just decide to walk to the ruins and pay there instead. Got to the entrance and the guy there taking tickets decide to let us go in for 100 peso’s cash instead of 128 pesos for tickets. Win-win situation 🙂
Inside, walked the old Mayan ruins, which are right on a bluff over the ocean with a beautiful beach at the bottom. The ruins are remarkable as they have been there for over 1600 years, and survived countless hurricanes. It was hot and humid by now, so decided to go to down to the fort beach; which was lovely and free of seaweeds 🙂 . Spent some time there on the beach, and then headed back after stopping for coconut water of course (it gets hot out there).
On the way back, decided to try out the restaurant “Alux” in Playa Del Carmen that was recommended by Alain, our casita proprietor. Drove into Playa, and promptly got lost. But soon found our way to Ave Juarez which is where Alux was.
Alain was right, this Alux restaurant is incredible; it is built inside a dried up cenote or grotto (cenote is a fresh water underground cavern). So we headed down the stairs into this set of caverns that were natural, and had different areas for bar, club (yes, dancing) and restaurant tables inside various caverns, with 5 star dining and nightclub.
The cavern is very large, and as you walk through it, you come across different caves, which had 1 or more “private” dining areas. They also had a wine cellar (temp and humidity controlled) in one of the caverns. The whole area must have been half a city block wide at least.
Highly recommend going there to see it, after all, when did you last eat/drink in a natural underground restaurant 🙂 , that is in the middle of the city. See pics below
After a tour and drinks at Alux, we decided to head to a restaurant on the beach in Playa. Found the main square of Playa right on the beach, with the obligatory beautiful whitewashed church, with a service in progress, with lots of locals using the square and adjoining children’s park. Nearby was a pedestrian street complete with thousands of tourists and tourist trinket stores and restaurants.
Headed to the beach area and ended up at La Tarraya on Calle 2, by the beach. Got a table on the beach, and ordered the fish. Not a bad meal on the beach for $9 for 2 people.
Next day, decided to join some friends who were staying at one of the Iberostar resorts (all inclusive). Drove there (between Playa and Akumal), and purchased day passes for $80 each, which entitled us to full use of the facilities, all drinks and meals and non-motorized sports for the day. The beach was fortunately free of seaweeds, so pampered ourselves for the day. Good food restaurants, and great facilities
Went back to our Casita for the night. After breakfast of ranchero huevos the next morning at the local roadside eatery in PM, headed back to Dallas; end of a short trip. Hopefully a longer trip coming up soon to Panama.