Look at these photos of Puerto Morelos to get inspired by this small town south of Cancun.
Puerto Morelos Photos: Welcome to Town
Believe it or not, there is a sleepy town half-way between that monument to planned tourist development, Cancun, and fast-growing Playa del Carmen further south.
The Beach at Puerto Morelos has lovely sand, great for sand-castles. No dangerous areas with undertows -- a hazard with many Cancun beaches. No big hotels claiming private beach space. Walk along the beach as far as you like.* (At time of writing! Check for updates, as new resorts are built.)
Be sure to take a snorkeling trip out to the coral reef just offshore. A number of local guides organize excursions or will take you out privately.
Check for updates, as new resorts are built.
Small Street Restaurant
Yes, upscale dining is available too; increasingly so. But this little street restaurant was a fun place to eat a burger or a Mexican soup.
Whether you're dining upscale or down, be sure to follow health precautions: only drink water if it's bottled; follow the "peel it, boil it, or forget it" rule, for food; and clean your hands before eating especially if you've been handling money. (Carry hand sanitizer or baby wipes.)
Off-kilter and mysterious, this monument is located at the end of the town square and at the start of the town pier. (And it was leaning even before Hurricane Wilma came through in 2005.)