This is just to cover the basics and give a glance of things that might be important for you to know, like location, how to get oriented in town, safety, using your money, tipping, etc.
Puerto Morelos, México is just 15 minutes south of the Cancún Airport, in the State of Quintana Roo, situated in the Yucatán Peninsula and starting point of the famous Riviera Maya. We enjoy quiet waters that are a National Park and some of the best snorkeling in the world!
It is also 25 minutes from Playa del Carmen. The Mayan Ruin sites of Tulum (1 hour), Coba (1.5 hours), Chichen Itza (2 hours), and Ek Balam (1.5 hours) can be easily viewed on a day trip.
The little town of Puerto Morelos is really broken into two separate areas.
The beautiful sea side section of town, has an island feel since it is only 4 blocks wide and about 15 blocks in length, with just two principal streets that parallel the coast, Rafael Melgar and Javier Rojo Gomez, and a third that is largely flanked by Mangroves, Ninos Heroes. You can walk from one end to the other in about 15 minutes.
Then there is “La Colonia” (the neighbourhood), which sits on the west side of Federal Highway 307 that runs north and south along the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. This inland community is mainly single level dwellings for local Mexicans and a few ex-pats, and contains amenities such as small food stores, pharmacies, and several casual restaurants serving simple fare where you can truly get a feel for México.
This is a very unique infrastructure, as the towns are separated by 2 Km of protected mangrove. Even though it’s somewhat spread out, you can still easily catch a cab or bus, ride a bike or walk back and forth between the two sides of town. If you have a rental car, it’s even easier to make the short trip, if you so desire.
We are in the Eastern Time Zone. We do not go Daylight Savings Time, so we are permanently on Eastern Standard Time (EST). This is our current time and date (in 24 hour format)
SAFETY AND SECURITY
Most of the Yucatan is very safe in general, and we are no exception. Puerto Morelos offers a tranquil and safe atmosphere for families, friends and couples alike. You’ll feel comfortable walking its streets at any time of day or night. Locals are very friendly and looking to help wherever they can.
Be aware, petty theft does still exist here, as it does nearly everywhere. In this day and age, you aren’t going to leave your valuables unattended without fear of them getting snatched, so use that same common-sense principle here.
We have the same power as the rest of North America, it is 120 volts give or take. The power in México has greatly improved in the last few years, but there are always exceptions. (Power is expensive here so please don’t waste it. We find the fresh ocean breeze is much more pleasant than air conditioning.)
Brownouts and blackouts are not uncommon in the town, particularly after a heavy rainstorm. Just go with the flow, light a candle and the electricity will soon return.
Mosquitoes don’t tend to be a big problem in town, the breeze keeps them down. If they do come out, it will be at dusk. Avoid being out at that time or use a little repellent. You can find organic repellent at Chedraui and other local shops.
DRINKING WATER AND ICE
All the restaurants in town use purified drinking water and ice. They wash the veggies in purified water. There is no reason to worry. Bottled water is inexpensive and available everywhere. You can brush your teeth with the tap water, and if you open your mouth in the shower you will not die. You are far more likely to get sick from too much sun or tequila than the water, salad or ice.
While we’re on the topic, to stay healthy be sure to pace yourself and keep your hands clean, especially before you eat. Hand gel is a great thing to carry.
USING YOUR MONEY
México has its own currency with bills and coins called the Mexican Peso. (Currency symbol MXN) Pesos are written with a dollar sign just like Canada and the US. Almost all prices are quoted in Mexican pesos, although most places accept US Dollars it is generally cheaper to pay in pesos. Note: All taxes and fees are listed in the price. Nothing can be added to the ticket or menu price.
Some places take credit cards, but this are not generally accepted, especially in little shops or small restaurants.
A tip (called a propina in México) is the best way to show appreciation for good service. Tipping is customary in México, and is expected in many situations. Do keep in mind that most of the people working in México’s service industries earn very modest salaries and rely on tips to earn a living wage. And they give good service to prove that it makes a significant difference to them. Although 10% is suggested, the amount you tip is at your discretion and should be based on the quality of service you received. So if you receive good service, it is a good idea to show your appreciation accordingly.
Keep change handy for those unexpected moments when you might need a few pesos to pass along to someone who has been helpful. You can even tip in US Dollars, but only use bills as foreign coins are not exchangeable for pesos. Make sure to give the tip directly to the server to avoid it landing in the wrong hands.
Pedestrians do not have the right-of-way here. Do not wander out into the street or you are likely to become part of it.
In México locals may stand closer to you when speaking, regardless of gender, unlike in Europe and North America. Physical contact is customary when meeting or greeting someone. A handshake is usual when meeting someone for the first time, although women may kiss once on the cheek. A hug or one kiss on the cheek is normal if you’ve already meet someone. Time is more flexible in México than in most western countries. Don’t be surprised if someone arrives late. Try to speak a bit of Spanish, locals will always appreciate you making the effort to speak their language and you will not be ridiculed.
This is just to cover the basics and give a glance of things that might be important for you to know, if you have any more questions please feel free to ask, we are here to make your stay more pleasant.
WHAT IF I DON’T SPEAK SPANISH?