Searching for your next great adventure? This Sweet July series taps top travel enthusiasts to share first-hand insight into their ventures across the country and world, so you know exactly what to expect and how to prepare once you book your ticket. Wishing you safe—and sweet—travels!
Today: Imani Bashir shares her top tips for vacationing in Puerto Morelos, Mexico.
Puerto Morelos is a beautiful and alluring fishing village in Mexico that’s tucked between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. It has a small population of just under 30,000 people, but so much charm lies in its laid-back vibe, picturesque beachy landscape, and tasty cuisine options. Whether you’re into watersports or just looking for a zen spot to relax, you’re traveling solo or with a group, Puerto Morelos is the perfect destination.
For a budget: Local Coffee + Shop
Their menu had many tasty and healthy options on a smaller menu that ranged from a fruit bowl to coconut french toast. I opted for a hot chai latte with avocado and mango toast and scrambled eggs on the side. During my last visit to Puerto Morelos, I ventured here two days in a row and ordered the same thing both times—it was just that good. They also have various freshly made juices, smoothies, coffees, and an assortment of muffins.
For a splurge: RoMarley Beach House
One of my favorite places to eat in Puerto Morelos is at RoMarley Beach House, owned by Rohan Marley (Bob Marley’s son). It’s located within The Fives hotel. You’ll get traditional Mexican cuisine here, but Rohan also brings Jamaica to Mexico with this menu. I enjoy their take on beef patties as an appetizer, in addition to the homemade guacamole.
I have also enjoyed RoMarley’s jerk chicken platter, which comes with rice, peas, and plantains. Sunday is the best day to go. They host a “Catch of the Day” from noon to 5 p.m. with a live reggae band. They offer options of fresh seafood that’s grilled on the spot. It’s really a vibe. You don’t need to stay at the hotel to dine there and can get a table upon arrival.
For a budget: Layla Guesthouse
One of the highlights of travel experiences is being able to immerse yourself in the destination, and Layla Guesthouse allows you to do just that. The property is very chilled and offers a relaxed vibe that complements the surroundings of Puerto Morelos. For 2022, they were voted TripAdvisor’s Travelers’ Choice, “Best of the Best.”
There are six different fully-equipped apartment-style options at the guesthouse. The interior aesthetic gives a modern rustic feel with hammocks hanging and a wooden structural design. In addition, the Layla Guesthouse has two cafes, including Café Layla, which serves Asian-fusion, Mexican, and plant-based cuisine. At night, I suggest indulging in Layla Vegan Pizza.
For a splurge: Fives Hotel Puerto Morelos
The Fives Hotel Puerto Morelos location is a great option if you’re looking for a resort-like experience. Its popularity only gained more traction when Rohan Marley opened his restaurant here. When I first stayed at The Fives, we had a suite that overlooked the water and came with a jacuzzi on the balcony. They also have the option of penthouses, some with a two-floor balcony and an outdoor bar area. The Fives not only has open beach access but also a rooftop pool and another pool that’s adjacent to RoMarley Beach House. I also enjoyed that I could get a massage right on the beach, and with an all-inclusive option, you get a cabana to relax the day away.
The true essence of Puerto Morelos can be found on its beaches (really one beach stretching across the entire town)—where wellness offerings are everywhere to be found. It is something that I highly recommend—considering research actually shows beaches can do wonders to reduce stress and anxiety.
Puerto Morelos is also home to many who participate in wellness practices such as yoga, pilates, and massage therapy. You will find that a lot of specific wellness offerings—such as yoga, pilates, and massage therapy—will be offered by the water. Booking is an easy process that you can do online, through your hotel’s front desk, or by walk-in.
As a PADI-certified scuba diver myself, I love Puerto Morelos for all its water activities. There are options for novice divers who’d like to scuba dive and options for more experienced divers to get their fins deep near the National Reef Park of Puerto Morelos. You’ll find many reputable diving and snorkeling companies along the beach that can help you with bookings, payments, and equipment rental.
There are other water sports you can also partake in, such as jet skiing or kite surfing. And if you’re looking for a more relaxing experience on the water, there are also catamaran boat rides that’ll do the work for you.
I prefer to set up my booking online with a credit card to ensure that there are no hiccups. However, if the spirit moves you in the moment, ask the hotel front desk or restaurant staff to point you in the direction of the activity booking people they trust!
What To Pack
I cannot stress the importance of making sure you have the correct essentials for this trip. One of the things people often overlook is the need for insect repellent. The mosquitos in Puerto Morelos show no mercy, and before you know it, you’ll have bites in random places like your forehead and knuckles.
In addition to the repellent, I’m never without a great SPF to help protect my skin from the sun. I love Black Girl Sunscreen because it’s made with melanated skin in mind and it melts into the skin without leaving any white streaks. They also have an option specifically for children, which I use faithfully for my son, who loves to swim the day away.
Ditch the heels
My style for Puerto Morelos is cute and comfortable—heels are totally unnecessary. Pack some cute strappy sandals, flats, flip flops, and/or water shoes to walk around the town in. Breathable clothing that’s more loose and flowy and will keep you cool is a smart move: think maxi dresses, tunics, and wide-legged pants, especially anything made out of cotton or linen. Anything tighter, outside of your bathing suit, is only going to attract sweat. A brimmed hat and sunglasses are also great for protecting your eyes and shading you from the sun.
And although you’re in Mexico, keep in mind that as the sun sets, it may be cooler. So if you like to go out at night, I highly suggest bringing a cardigan, sweater, or light jacket.