Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Riviera Maya Journal 2 #1 - Puerto Morelos

I took my family to the Riviera Maya on August 12 for a week-long trip. They'd never been there, so everything was brand new for them. We decided to rent a beach house rather than stay at one of the large all-inclusive resorts, just to try something different.

The beach house, called Casa Sombra, was located in the town of Akumal, which is about 60 miles south of Cancun. We also rented a car, figuring that having our own transportation would give us more freedom and allow us to see more of the area. I'll put some stories about driving and the beach house in subsequent posts.

The Cancun airport is pretty small, and the rental car agencies are located less than a block from the terminal. It's very easy to exit the airport and get onto Highway 307, which is the main north-south road that serves all 80 miles of the Riviera Maya. About 15 miles south of Cancun is a tiny beach town called Puerto Morelos. If you blink, you'll miss it. But if you're in the area, it's a great place to visit for lunch or a cocktail.

The town is only a few blocks long, and like most other Mexican villages, everything is centered around the plaza. The Blue Marlin, a little grill on Tulum Street, has great food for 55 pesos (about $5) per plate. The waitress's name is Reina. She dosen't speak English, but a little high school Spanish goes a long way down here.

Across the plaza on Avenida Roja Gomez is Iglesias de San Jose, a beautiful Catholic church that's worth a quick visit. There's a stained glass window and some religious statuary inside. Puerto Morelos is pretty laid-back, what would have been called a "hippie" town 30 years ago. Residents include businessmen, painters, artisans, marine biologists, dive masters, doctors, and local fishermen. There are also three or four gift shops that sell souvenirs at better prices than you'll find in Cancun, and book lovers will want to stop in at Alme Libre, the Riviera Maya's largest used bookstore.
-Larry Widen
larry@funjet.com

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