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Touring Puerto Morelos, Mexico

If you’re looking to escape the crowds of the Riviera Maya, don’t miss Puerto Morelos, just 20 minutes south of Cancún.

By Carrie Nieman Culpepper

Stay

The new Azul Villa Carola (from $3,500 a week) is a 10,700-square-foot, six-bedroom former residence with its own outdoor pool, butler, chef, and a spectacular beachfront location. For a more affordable option, Rancho Sak-Ol (doubles from $95) has simple, breezy rooms with covered terraces.

Eat

Up-and-coming chef John Gray and his Mexican mother-in-law opened the 36-seat waterside restaurant La Suegra de John Gray (dinner for two $40). Locals gather for Sunday dinners of fresh fish, ribs, and vegetables, grilled on the barbecue.

Do

The area’s cenotes can be overrun with tourists, but Mayan Jungle Tours takes small groups on snorkeling trips to lesser-known underground rivers like the recently opened Kin-ha. Divers shouldn’t miss an excursion with Aquanauts Dive Adventures to see the first phase of artist Jason de Caires Taylor’s underwater sculptures series, a collection of 400 sunken works off the Caribbean coast.

Shop

A group of palapas by the town square make up the Mercado de Artesanías, where you’ll find traditional textiles and handcrafted, painted pottery made by Mayan artisans.