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More Diving in Puerto Morelos

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We’d had such a great time learning how to dive in Puerto Morelos, that we couldn’t resist making a return trip to see our friends at WetSet and to get back into the water.

Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market

It’s hard to imagine a better spot for a novice diver than Puerto Morelos. The reefs are a perfect depth, at around fifteen meters. Not too shallow, not too deep. The water is generally calm, with good visibility. The amount of underwater life is stunning, and you don’t have to venture all that far off-shore. My only worry is that by learning how to dive here, we’ve spoiled ourselves. Future dives at other locations are almost guaranteed to be more difficult and less amazing.

We showed up early, happy to see the team at WetSet, whom we got to know fairly well during the certification process. Today, though, there would be no books nor studying involved; we would just be diving for fun. After picking out a couple routes with promising names, Aquarium and Fish Market, we donned our gear and set off in the boat.

Aquarium and Fish Market. You might assume that with names like these, we’d be seeing a lot of fish. And you would be correct. On our first descent, I almost came down right on top of a stingray and just a few meters away, a giant puffer fish was nervously monitoring our incursion into his underwater home. The most exhilarating sighting of the day was a massive moray eel… without exaggeration, it had to be three meters long. (The great thing about diving? When terrified, you can go right ahead and pee yourself).

We can’t recommend WetSet enough. Such cool, relaxed and fun people. If you want for an excellent shop with whom to do some easy and affordable diving in the Caribbean, head to Puerto Morelos and look them up.

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Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
Diving In Puerto Morelos Fish Market
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February 4, 2014 at 10:06 pm Comment (1)

Where to Eat in Puerto Morelos

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For such a small town, Puerto Morelos has a number of great places to grab a bite. There were a few we loved so much, we returned to them over and over again. Here are our favorites, and one that we would urge you to stay away from.

Our unofficial office for the week was at Restaurante La Pirata. When we’re traveling, it’s always difficult to find a comfortable place in which to work, so we were thrilled to discover La Pirata. Speedy internet, friendly service, and a pleasant and relatively quiet atmosphere. Great food, as well. Apart from our hotel and Wet Set, this is where we spent most of our time during the week. [Location]

To eat like a local, head to Mimi’s, where the tables are packed, decor is kept to a bare minimum, and the tostadas are delicious. Outrageously so. Seriously, outrageous. After biting into one of Mimi’s tostadas (which cost next to nothing, by the way), I was outraged. How dare they make something so good?! I was furious. Those incredible tostadas covered with insanely delicious beans and perfectly seasoned meat… damn you Mimi, where do you get off?! I’ll have three more. [Location]

For great value set lunches on weekdays, our favorite was Al Chile. For about $5 USD, you get an appetizer, main dish and drink. The place is cute and the food is great. And if you get sleepy after such a big lunch, grab a cup of the best coffee in town at nearby Cafe de Amancia, on the corner of the main plaza. [Location]

If you’re in the mood for amazing fish tacos, search out Caribe’s, a small and speedy cafe near the water. When we ate there, a group of kids was playing around our table and teasing us, but the fish tacos I was scarfing down were so good, I likely wouldn’t have noticed if they’d been smacking my head with baseball bats. [Location]

With so many good restaurants to choose from, you have no excuse to waste your time at Olé, on the “other side” of town away from the beach. Our hotel warned us that they have a reputation for ripping off foreigners, but we went anyway. It looked like such a cool little place! The food was alright, but unspectacular and, as warned, our bill was more than double what it should have been.

Great Place To Stay In Puerto Morelos

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December 5, 2013 at 11:15 pm Comment (1)

Learning How to Scuba Dive

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One reason Jürgen and I chose the Yucatán Peninsula as our home for 91 days was our desire to learn how to scuba dive. This is one of the best places in the world to do so. After some research, we decided on the four-day certification course offered by Wet Set, a scuba-diving shop found in Puerto Morelos.

We were introduced to scuba diving almost ten years ago, when we participated in a two-hour beginners-level course offered on a cruise ship. Being able to breathe underwater was an exhilarating experience; the course gave us a tantalizing sample of scuba diving, and we immediately wanted more. But the years passed by, and we never found ourselves in a position to properly learn.

Until now. Puerto Morelos was the perfect spot to complete our certification. Just offshore is the world’s second-longest reef, and the town itself is peaceful and quiet, ideal for studying. Most importantly, the pros at Wet Set couldn’t have been more helpful. This small shop near the Ojo de Agua Hotel, run by an American/Scottish husband and wife team, boasts a tremendously friendly and qualified staff.

Under the watchful, critical supervision of our instructor, Lisa, we went from clueless scuba newbies to certified divers in four days. Scuba is a lot more knowledge-based than I realized. There are a lot of facts and skills with which to become familiar. Now that I’m certified, I can tell you what nitrogen narcosis is and, without any problems, could calculate your post-dive pressure group. I can confidently assemble your diving equipment and communicate potentially important phrases like “I’m out of air, give me yours”, using my hands.

Of course, the classroom was just part of it. A huge chunk of our time was spent in the water, practicing and demonstrating necessary skills. Things like taking our masks off underwater, recovering our regulators, providing air to our buddies, ascending to the surface in one breath, and hovering mid-water without moving a limb. These skill checks were not just important, but kind of fun. Upon completing each, I felt a little less anxious about diving. It’s a relief when you know that you can now deal with a situation as serious as running out of air.

We made four dives as part of our course, visiting various spots along the reef. These initial underwater forays were split between fun and work; we had to practice specific tasks, but also had time to sight-see. We swam past a giant sea turtle, trumpet fish, and even found a moray eel staring at us from his cave. And with each dive, our confidence grew.

After four exhausting days, we received our Open Water Certifications with a feeling of accomplishment. If you’re looking for a great place to learn how to scuba dive, make your way to Puerto Morelos and find Wet Set. If you’re already certified, they offer good-value dives in various spots along the reef and, for those not into scuba, they do snorkeling, as well as something called “snuba” diving: a hybrid between scuba and snorkel.

Location of Wet Set on our Map
Wet Set – Website

Great Place To Stay In Puerto Morelos

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December 4, 2013 at 8:21 pm Comments (7)

Puerto Morelos: Chilling in the Shadow of Cancún

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After a week in Mérida, we took our first road trip, venturing east to the neighboring state of Quintana Roo. But unlike the majority of visitors to Mexico’s Caribbean coast, our destination wasn’t the party mecca of Cancún. Instead, we hopped a bus headed for the quiet village of Puerto Morelos, about a half hour south.

Puerto Morelos Yucatan
The Leaning Lighthouse is Puerto Morelos’ most well-known sight

With an agreeable blend of locals, expats and tourists, the small town of Puerto Morelos is found directly between Cancún and Playa del Carmen. But in spirit, it’s worlds away from either. No clubs in Puerto Morelos will blast their speakers until dawn, and there’s not a theme bar in sight. And since we were hoping to complete a scuba certification course, a task requiring a lot of study, work and rest, the relaxed vibe was exactly what we wanted.

Puerto Morelos is split cleanly in half by the highway which runs north-south along the coast. The side closer to the beach is the tourism zone, with restaurants, souvenir shops and a large population of American and Canadian expats who have moved in for good. The other half, referred to as La Colonia, is where the majority of locals live. We were usually on the beach-side of town, but spent our nights in La Colonia, in the Casitas Kinsol. The division between the two sides of town is real; moving between them requires a trip of two kilometers through a swampy marsh, but a taxi only costs about 25 pesos ($2 USD) each way.

Although we eschewed our characteristic program of sightseeing in favor of learning how to dive, we became very familiar with Puerto Morelos during our week there. It’s not a town which will appeal to those looking to dance the night away, enjoy a luxurious weekend at a high-end hotel, or mack on sexy bikini bunnies. But if you want a quiet vacation on a gorgeous beach, delicious and affordable food, friendly locals and excellent diving, you could hardly do better.

Location on our Yucatán Map

Great and affordable place to stay in Puerto Morelos

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Casitas Kinsol
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
Puerto Morelos Yucatan
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December 4, 2013 at 3:19 pm Comments (4)
More Diving in Puerto Morelos We'd had such a great time learning how to dive in Puerto Morelos, that we couldn't resist making a return trip to see our friends at WetSet and to get back into the water.
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