The Mayan ruins of Chichen Itza are only about one hour away from Puerto Morelos. Everyone who goes of course has to have his or her picture taken in front of the pyramid!
We risked life and limb by climbing that thing. To this day, climbing up and especially down, is one of the scariest things I've done in my life. The steps are narrow and steep and there is no handrail, only a chain strung down the middle. I had the weirdest sense of vertigo on that pyramid, and I'm not prone to vertigo.
I did it only because I didn't want to spend the rest of my life regretting that I had not climbed the pyramid. I really don't know if I could do it today if I were there now. I guess I just have fewer regrets nowadays.
Puerto Morelos pier is a place to be every day, morning, evening and night.
That's where you can watch local fisherman cleaning their fish.
Catch the boat to go snorkeling.
Or just watch people, fish, birds, clouds.....
Puerto Morelos pier is a place to be.
If you go for a lunch to La Petita, you will have:
1. FANTASTIC FOOD
2. GREAT ATMOSFERE
La Petita is often visited by the local band.
It is really great experience and it puts you in the mood.
A lot of mystery shrouds the Mayans and the ancient city of Chichen Itza. While the precise dates differ, depending on which source you consult, the history goes something like this: Between 500 A.D. and 900 A.D., Chichen Itza was the site of a prosperous and large Mayan community. It was abandoned in 900 A.D., and then somewhat resettled in 1000 - 1200 A.D., this time with a Toltec influence. The Mayans never regained their former prosperity. The civilization dwindled and the Mayans completely abandoned the city for good in 1500 A.D. The reason for their dramatic decline and ultimate disappearance is speculative, at best. It could have been due to disease brought by European explorers, slaughtering of the natives by the Spanish, tribal wars, or all of the above -- no one is absolutely certain.
In this picture, you will see the Temple of the Jaguars and Eagles, as seen from the top of the Pyramid. Behind the Temple is the Ball Court. Most of the major Mayan sites have their own Ball Court. The ruins of Chichen Itza show that there were 13 such ball courts at this location.
The ball games played here were rather gruesome. Players played to the death, although the object of the game isn't known today. It was possibly played to punish the losers by death. Or it was played to sacrifice winners to the gods. Either way, Mayan ball games make US Major League Baseball seem mild in comparison -- assaults on the players by fans notwithstanding.
One of our favorite activities in Puerto Morelos was snorkeling. We rented gear at a tiny dive shop in the center of town. The shop also hooked us up with a guide. Much to our delight, we were the only people going out with him, so we had our own private guide. Things got even better when we noted that he was one of the few males in town NOT wielding a machine gun.
The guide took us out in a little motor boat to the coral reef right off the beach. He showed us beautiful coral, tropical fish, sea urchins, eels and other marine life. The water is very warm, even in January. What a pleasant way to spend an afternoon!
This picture was taken when my husband and I were walking along the beach at Puerto Morelos on our way to the dive shop. See that lonely white building? That was the condo complex we stayed at. The one that is now a nudist resort. I have no idea if the place is still this remote or whether there has been new development. I haven't been back since 1994.
The top of the pyramid is covered with ancient Mayan carvings. I dutifully spent a long time contemplating the carvings, rather than thinking about the fact that I would have to, at some point, descend down the pyramid.
I read that the Mayans used to punish people by throwing them down the pyramid. I tried not to think about this little historical tidbit either while I was at the top of the pyramid.
As soon as we arrived and headed for the beach, we were greeted by this tiny and crooked leaning white lighthouse. Immediately we thought of hurricane Wilma and imagined the lighthouse had been damaged in that occasion.
The day after our Puerto Morelos trip we found a town's crest on a newspaper... annd what did it have? A leaning lighthouse. Obviously it's a sort of landmark left in this way for some obscure reason totally unconnected with Wilma
Many of the ancient Mayan sites have their trademark Mayan pyramid, but only Chichen Itza has its Group of the Thousand Columns. Pictured here is the Temple of the Warriors and part of the Group of the Thousand Columns. No one is certain of the purpose of these columns. The intricate carvings of warriors are still very visible on many of them.
The Group of the Thousand Columns is significant because it is evidence of the Toltec influence. The Mayans didn't build columns before 1000 A.D. The column was an architectural feature used by the Toltecs, who had a major presence the second time Chichen Itza was inhabited between 1000 ad 1200 A.D. So significant was the Toltec influence that Chichen Itza is sometimes referred to as Toltec ruins, rather than Mayan ruins.
YOU MUST GO SNORKELING when you are in Puerto Morelos.
It costs only $25 per person.
You don't need to make reservation to do so.
Just go on the pier and hire one of the fisherman.
All the boats are the same. They all go in the same places.
All fisherman are nice guys and they will be extra careful if it is your first time (it was mine) or if you have a child with you.
Don't be afraid if Puerto Morelos beach!!!
Yes, I know you are used to nice white sand manicured every day by the resort landscaper, where the service pick up the chewing gum wrapper before it fells on the ground.
Puerto Morelos beach is nothing like that. Puerto Morelos beach is a natural beach, maintained few times a week, but you will find there not only the chewing gum wrapper but also plenty of dry seaweed about 4 feet from the water.
ABOUT THAT SEAWEED - IT DOES NOT BITE!!!
Puerto Morelos is located in National Marine Park and the reason why the seaweed is not pick up during regular garbage pickup it is BECAUSE IS NEEDED. The birds eat little living things that eat seaweed.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SEAWEED?
It does not smell, it does not stick to your feet. It is a line about 2-3 feet wide that you simply need to step over on your way in and out of the water.
ABOUT THE SAND.
Sand in Puerto Morelos is not only natural but it is delightful. If feels like baby powder. It is almost white in color and very, very fine. It is a great idea to shelter yourself from the sand on the windy day. Elevated chair may help, or umbrella placed on the ground.
We also try to stay farther away from the boats (pier area). There is always possibility of little spill form the boat engine also, local fisherman tend to clean their fish on the pier throwing (for probably thousands of years) leftovers to the water.
We usually stay in the area across from Villas Latinas as it tends to be less crowded and there is nice marine life underwater you can swim from the beach ( for free) and snorkel.
Puerto Morelos is a quiet and friendly little town whare you can observe local life just by taking the longer way to your hotel.
Here is the Map of Puerto Morelos that we found very helpful in our first day. Print it out and take it with you.
There is also my googleEarth image with few remarks on it.
Couldn't help but post some more picture of that amazing beach where locals mix with the tourists...or rather tourists disappear among locals....unless of course they are loud and obnoxious ;-) tourists I mean...not locals ;-)
We loved to go to the beach on the evening just before sunset. Especially on Sunday evening when the whole families were arriving in their little VW Beatle. Mexicans really treasure their family and they take care of each other.
Here are few pictures of some cute local boy ;-)
A coral reef is very close to shore and the sea is usually quite calm making it a favorite location for snorkeling or scuba divers.
There are aaalso fishing trips and tours through the mangroves, where you will see many birds.
This is also the only place where you can catch the car ferry to Cozumel.
There is a small reef in Puerto that you can hire a boat trip to see or you can swim out from shore depending on your swimming ability. The beaches here are protected by the reef so you won't find any waves just pleasant bath tub warm shallow water to swim around in.
Just outside Puerto Morelos is the Crococun Crocodile Park. The Park is a bit rundown by American standards, but on the positive side, we had the zoo to ourselves and received special attention from the zookeepers (and animals).
Here I am, sporting a boa constrictor, who was trying to decide if he wanted me for an appetizer or the main course.
As I had this boa wrapped around my neck, the thought did occur to me - what does this Park have to lose if I get stangled to death? The answer is nada. This is Mexico, not litigation crazy America, so the Park has nothing to fear if the boa slithers amok and decides to have pressed American tourist for lunch. The show would go on. Play with the boas at your own risk.