"From Minnesota to Puerto Morelos"

That’s the sign on the awning of Caffetto’s. It’s a coffee shop in Puerto Morelos, a town about 20 minutes south of Cancun. There’s a Caffetto’s here, at 22nd and Lyndale. Same owners. There’s a photo on the wall showing all three of their locations.

I had the pleasure of spending a week in Puerto Morelos. Apparently, there’s a huge Twin Cities connection. There are lots of people from here who have houses, condos, hotels, stores, tour outfits and whatnot down there. There are lots of people from here who retire down there. There are lots of people from here who just visit a lot down there.

If you know the right person, you can rent a house or arrange some other things for yourself if you go down there.

Puerto Morelos is a small town. It has a town square, a few snorkel/dive shops, some restaurants, some small hotels, a few streets worth of houses (both American-owned and Mexican-owned), banks and money-changers, a grocery store, a health food store, a liquor store, a couple internet cafes, some shopping, and that’s about it. They also have a great artisan market, selling all sorts of handmade goods (which happened to be conveniently located across the street from the house we rented from — you guessed it — someone who lives here in Minneapolis).

There’s plenty to do. There’s snorkeling and diving. There are Mayan ruins to see in various places. There are cenotes everywhere. There are great beaches everywhere. There’s shopping. If you prefer the all-inclusive resorts, then Puerto Morelos is not the place for you. But those are no fun, I say, unless you’re looking for one of those vacations in which you do absolutely nothing but eat and drink.

And the food. Lawdy, the food! Since we had the facilities, we cooked a lot. Mexican food is easy like that. Fresh fruit and guacamole every day. There were a couple houses in the neighborhood with big grills out front, and they’d barbecue whole chickens. For $6 (or 60 pesos) you could get a whole chicken and a plate with rice, beans, salsa, and cabbage salad. There was fresh fish and jumbo shrimp on the pier every afternoon.

So, if you’re looking to visit the Yucatan, want to stay in a centrally-located spot, and want to stay the hell away from Cancun, skip on down to Puerto Morelos. But ask around here before you go.

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