Riviera Maya - Tulum vs Puerto Morelos vs Akumal

Old Jan 31st, 2017, 06:38 AM
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Riviera Maya - Tulum vs Puerto Morelos vs Akumal

I am planning a trip for the first week of March (getting a late start) and we would like to try the Riviera Maya. There will be my husband and I and our 19 year old daughter. We have only been to the west coast of Mexico (and some interior), but never the Caribbean side. We prefer places that still feel Mexican, so have ruled out PdelC and Cancun. Can anyone give me a sense of the feel of the different towns along the coast. Places to avoid as too touristy?
mcboulder is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2017, 07:43 AM
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I have been to all 3 places several times - in a nutshell:
Puerto Morelos is the most 'authentic', at least in the town itself. It has the feel of a real Mexican fishing village. There are a handful of restaurants, lots of small hotels and condos, and a nice but somewhat seaweedy beach.
Akumal is a quiet enclave of condos and small hotels, about half a dozen restaurants, and two beaches - both are fairly calm and good for snorkelling. No Mexican culture unless you cross the highway and visit Akumal pueblo which is where the locals live.
Tulum is made up of two areas - the beach front and the pueblo which are about a mile apart. The Tulum beach front is miles of white sand beach with a pretty good surf, lined with small cabanas and hotels of every description - lots of new agey yoga retreats and such. The down town pueblo is a funky, hopping little town of restaurants, souvenir shops, and actual Mexican businesses. Once you get off the main drag it is quite non touristy.
Realize these descriptions are for the actual towns, not the vast resorts on the highway.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 07:50 AM
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"Places to avoid as too touristy?"
You answered your own question: "Tulum, Puerto Morelos, Akumal", all very touristy.

"We prefer places that still feel Mexican" For this you have to rent a car and get way off the beaten path.

Tulum has some Maya culture to find in the pueblo and surrounds, away from the hotel zone and ruins and main drag. Great beach! You can get away form other tourists by frequenting the less fancy beach huts, going into the Sian Ka'an, going further afield (Bacalar, smaller cenotes).

Akumal is fun for snorkeling with turtles. Lots of tourists. Lots of people trying to take advantage of tourists.

The "local side" of Puerto Morelos is across the 307 highway where no tourists venture. Despite what you might read, the beach side is full of condos, no longer really an authentic little fishing village (except expensive fishing trips for foreign tourists).
SambaChula is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2017, 10:38 AM
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What zootsi said is spot on. I'll add to that that P Morelos is the least costly and Tulum is the most costly so it does depend on your budget.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 12:38 PM
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Tulum is only most costly if you choose to stay ON the beach. There are nice, economical posadas and AirBnBs in the pueblo.

I feel sad for any deluded soul who thinks PM is still a little authentic Mexican fishing village.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 01:24 PM
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I've stayed in both Akumal and Puerto Morelos and spent a lot of time in Tulum either visiting friends who are staying there or checking out the various beach clubs.
Puerto Morelos is nice, decent restaurants and hope to try the Jungle Spa next trip, but can get more seaweed than other beaches (and I am not referring to the sargassum explosion of last year).
Been going to Akumal almost every year since 1999 and it has always felt like coming home to me. It is getting overrun with group tours, so last 4 trips we stayed in Aventuras Akumal and Half Moon Bay.
I dearly love Tulum but want a pool and AC which puts most places on the beach road out of my price range for what you can get. The pueblo doesn't do it for me, getting picky in my old age.
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Old Jan 31st, 2017, 01:56 PM
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Jamie,
Akumel has now set limits on the tours allowed off the beaches in Akumel. It's made a difference.


Of the three mentioned Akumel is my favorite plus it's affordable.
Tulums beaches are too die for but I can no longer afford to go there.

P Morelos is also our favorite for diving, the location and the cost. We also go because our favorite restaurant is there. We do like the local flavor of the square, as well.

That said. All of the above are on the Caribbean and are beautiful IMHO. What's not to like about sipping a cocktail while looking at that amazing azul water.
cybor is offline  
Old Jan 31st, 2017, 03:43 PM
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Puerto Morelos is my ideal spot of the three. ANd if you go to the puebla across the highway, you will see a much more Mexican town. It is the least expensive of the 3 and is really charming (IMO). Have a look there
maried11 is offline  
Old Feb 1st, 2017, 05:19 AM
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If you want places that are still real Mexican and not too touristy, you will need to go inland as the whole Riviera Maya and Cancun is permeated with foreigners from around the world. IMO, this regions success is also it's weakness. It is so popular now that hundreds of Mexicans from all over Mexico come over for better paying jobs and they are well received. The playa times classified is filled with job offers and they keep coming and they keep building. If you want to stray from touristy areas, then you should avoir Cancun, Playa de l Carmen, Tulum, Puerto Aventuras, Paamul,Puerto Morelos and everything in between, in other words, Riviera Maya...
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Old Feb 1st, 2017, 12:27 PM
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cybor,
My travel buddy was just in Akumal in early November and the crowd control efforts are largely ineffective per her. The CEA has no powers of enforcement, which may in retrospect be a good thing since they seem to have abandoned doing turtle hatching walks and encouraging folks to watch their educational video and other educational efforts. PROFEPA now has an office that seemingly does nothing. Hope to be back in May on HMB.
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Old Feb 2nd, 2017, 07:04 AM
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Jamie, I'll be checking it out myself in April. We did notice fewer buses and water tour groups when we last went in Oct. That said, one can still see the turtles privately or with a secret tour group. I fully expect the poor turtles to pack up one day and relocate.
cybor is offline  
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