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16. April 2018 · Comments Off on Before You Book Your Next Vacation Rental · Categories: Beach Reads The Blog · Tags: , , , ,

Before you book your next vacation rental online there are few things you should know. Many people are turning away from hotels or all inclusives and spending their time in vacation rentals. These are homes, apartments, condos etc. that are individually owned and rented out by the night, week or month. If you are considering renting a home in Puerto Morelos or anywhere else, there are many website to choose from and frankly it can be a bit overwhelming. The sites include: Airbnb, VRBO,, HomeAway, Expedia, TripAdvisor, etc. Or you may book direct from the homeowner.

Many people find a sense of security booking with these companies, but keep in what mind you are paying for the use of these websites. Renters don’t always know, but all of these companies add a fee to the booking. These fees can be anywhere from 8-25% of the rental price. Also, all of the websites charge the homeowner a service fee (3% or more and/or an annual rate), so some owners increase their rates to compensate for this. So what are you getting in return for these substantial fees?

One thing is that you get the option of using your credit card. Most small business home owners (especially in Mexico) do not take credit cards; however, there is a way around this. Most home owners do take PayPal which will let you to use a credit card, normally for an extra 3% charge. This allows you to use your trip cancellation insurance that many cards give you or perhaps earn points.

Many of these big companies do offer some sort of insurance policy on your rental. For example, VRBO has these suggestions for its renters (research that Airbnb does for you), but when you go to their carefree rental guarantee at the bottom of the page, you get an error message. Airbnb has this policy which covers situations like the host cancelling at the last minute or if the place is not as advertised. We have heard that Airbnb does honour their policy, whereas some of the other big companies have been a bit iffy on this. One problem we have found with Airbnb rentals, is that some of their units are not just vacation rentals, they are actually people’s homes that they move out of temporarily to make some extra cash. It’s something to be aware of before you rent. Airbnb tends to have low rental rates for guests and they do break them out so that you can see the fees before you book.

For example here is a recent Airbnb that we booked in Europe. Note all prices in this post are in US dollars.

The top line is the rent, $86.28 a night.

Cleaning Fee: “One-time fee charged by the host (owner of the property) to cover the cost of cleaning their space.” (some owners include this in the rent, some do not)

Service Fee: This is how AirBnb makes their money, or as they put it: “This helps us run our platform and offer services like 24/7 support on your trip.”

As  you can see, the service fee on this short three day trip is almost 19% plus there is a cleaning fee. The service fee does decrease in percentage the longer you stay. On a six day rental it works out to just over 12% and so on. Airbnb also charges the owner of the property for the privilege of listing their property, as do all the other companies.

Here is an example of what fees you would pay if you are booking a two week stay for two people with Airbnb. The following is for a one bedroom apartment that normally rents directly from the owner for $1600 USD for two weeks during high season. Here is what you would pay with Airbnb. If you are renting in state of Quintana Roo (where Puerto Morelos is located) there is an automatic state tax of 3% added to your rental. Most owners build the taxes right into their rates, but you should ask about this when booking.


Here is that same booking on VRBO.

VRBO,, HomeAway and Expedia (which are all part of the same big happy corporate family and charge the same rates) break down their fees as follows. We’re not sure why the tax being collected is only 1%.

And here is that same booking on TripAdvisor/Flipkey. 
TripAdvisor/Flipkey, comes out to $232USD over the owner price with no tax collected. Each of these sites have very different cancellation policies, so make sure you understand them when booking.

So here is what you would pay:

Rent from  Difference
From Owner  $  1,600.00
Airbnb  $  1,858.00  $       258.00
VRBO  $  1,807.78  $       207.78
TripAdvisor  $  1,832.00  $       232.00

Note: Full taxes may not be included on VRBO (2% more) & Tripadvisor (3% more) rates.

Full disclosure, we do have vacation rentals ourselves and we list them on many of these big sites, just because we have to.

We also travel a lot ourselves and we are big users of Airbnb. Why do we use Airbnb? They have a large number of listings and we also like their search engine and review system. We value the opinions of people who actually stayed at the property, especially when we are traveling to a city or country we have never visited. We value the reviews of the place, the location and even people’s thoughts on the host. Also, we have found the reviews to be mostly accurate, or at least we have found enough information to know whether or not we will be comfortable at a certain property.

So, the big question is, should I be booking my next vacation rental online with one of these companies or am I better to book directly from the owner? We will give you some more tips in one of our next blog posts.

Recently we had some family visit, which gave us a chance to play tourist and go to the glass factory. My cousin and his wife were in search of Mexican glasses and we knew just the place to take them. Fabrica de Vidrio Soplado Mexicano in Playa del Carmen. Now normally we would not support a trip to another town to go shopping, but this is a truly unique experience that we do not have here in Puerto Morelos.

Our new lamp. A beautiful piece of art.


Two years ago this Vidrio Soplado Mexicano was a small, dusty warehouse of glass just off the highway going into Playa del Carmen. Since then they have moved to a new location on the non-touristy west side of the main highway. Now they have a large showroom filled with glass, anything you can possibly think of, from swizzle sticks to chandeliers and everything in between. The artists at Vidrio Soplado Mexicano have created some beautiful works of art.


Now in their new location you can watch the glass blowers at work over their red hot furnace. They are heating and blowing glass into unique shapes right in front of you. The glass blowers begin with a small blob of dense glass which they heat in the kiln on the end of a pole. They remove the blog of red hot glass from the flames and blow into the pole, which forces the glass to blow up like a balloon. From there the creation of art begins.

Not only did we find a great selection of unique items at Fabrica de Vidrio Soplado, we also found reasonable prices. Most items in the store were marked, but it was nice to see that a discount on those prices appeared when you went to purchase your new treasures.

And of course we didn’t leave the glass factory empty handed. We walked away with a beautiful new lamp that is truly a piece of art, along with a few gifts for family. As for my cousin’s wife, she almost emptied the store, much to her husband’s shagrin. They were happy to report that all of their new treasures made it back to Canada safe and sound. All and all a successful mission and worth the trip to Playa del Carmen.

Wine at Super AkiWe set out looking at liquor prices in both Cancun and Puerto Morelos thinking there would a big difference in prices between stores. We were surprised by what we found. We tried to pick items that were commonly found in most grocery or liquor stores here in Mexico and are the most popular to drink. All prices are in Mexican Pesos. To find out what items cost in your own currency convert here.
Bacardi Rum

Bacardi White Rum  Price Size in Litres Price/Litre
Chedraui (in Puerto Morelos)  $  289.00 1.75  $        165.14
*Costco (in Cancun)  $  249.00 1.75  $        142.29
La Europea (in Puerto Morelos)  $  170.00 0.98  $        173.47
Off the Vine (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
*Sam’s Club (in Cancun)  $  149.00 1.4  $        106.43
Super Aki (in Puerto Morelos)  $  169.00 0.98  $        172.45
Wal-Mart (in Cancun)  $  136.00 0.75  $        181.33

Baileys Irish Cream

Baileys Irish Cream Price Size in Litres Price/Litre
Chedraui (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
*Costco (in Cancun)  $  355.00 1  $        355.00
La Europea (in Puerto Morelos)  $  308.00 0.75  $        410.67
Off the Vine (in Puerto Morelos)  $  307.00 0.75  $        409.33
*Sam’s Club (in Cancun)  $  340.00 1  $        340.00
Super Aki (in Puerto Morelos)  $  289.00 0.75  $        385.33
Wal-Mart (in Cancun)  $           – 0  NA

Licor 43

43 (Liquor) Price Size in Litres Price/Litre
Chedraui (in Puerto Morelos)  $  445.00 0.75  $        593.33
*Costco (in Cancun)  $  369.00 0.75  $        492.00
La Europea (in Puerto Morelos)  $  415.00 0.75  $        553.33
Off the Vine (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
*Sam’s Club (in Cancun)  $           – 0  NA
Super Aki (in Puerto Morelos)  $  405.00 0.75  $        540.00
Wal-Mart (in Cancun)  $           – 0  NA

Controy Price Size in Litres Price/Litre
Chedraui (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
*Costco (in Cancun)  $  125.00 1  $        125.00
Off the Vine (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
La Europea (in Puerto Morelos)  $  141.00 1  $        141.00
*Sam’s Club (in Cancun)  $  125.00 1  $        125.00
Super Aki (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
Wal-Mart (in Cancun)  $           – 0  NA

 Centenario Gold Tequila

Centenario Gold Tequila Price Size in Litres Price/Litre
Chedraui (in Puerto Morelos)  $  205.00 0.7  $        292.86 (white)
*Costco (in Cancun)  $           – 0  NA
Off the Vine (in Puerto Morelos)  $  260.00 0.98  $        265.31
La Europea (in Puerto Morelos)  $  250.00 1  $        250.00
*Sam’s Club (in Cancun)  $  205.00 0.95  $        215.79
Super Aki (in Puerto Morelos)  $           – 0  NA
Wal-Mart (in Cancun)  $  235.00 0.9  $        261.11

All Prices are in Mexico Pesos
*Membership required
NA (not available in this store at the time of our visit)

As you can see Sam’s Club came out as the clear winner as far as best price goes. This was surprising to us as we have always shopped at Costco in Cancun for our liquor, thinking it was cheaper. But the question is “Would it be worth it to go all the way to Cancun?” We guess it depends on how long you are staying or more important how much you are drinking. If you are already a Sam’s Club member, and are staying for more than a few weeks, the trip to Cancun may be worth it.

Of the local liquor stores the one thing we did notice was the variety of products they carried. Super Aki in the colonia did tend to have low prices generally, but they have a small selection of items. Chedraui had a larger selection, but tended to run out of a lot of the basics because they are a very busy store. Off The Vine, on the port side, also had a few liquors to offer. Their speciality is wine and they are a great place to stop if you are looking for a nice bottle of red, they know their stuff! The real gem was La Europea, which many people may not know about. It is located at the Pemex on Calle Jose Maria Morelos, the road which stretches between the port and the colonia. They are tucked to one side inside the Go Mart. They may not have the cheapest prices, but they consistently have a good selection of items in stock.


30. March 2018 · Comments Off on Cash Exchange Rates for March 29, 2018 · Categories: Beach Reads The Blog

Here are the cash exchange rates for March 29, 2018 at CI Banco in Puerto Morelos. I post these rates on occasion so that you can compare these rates with the rate your bank or the ATM may offer. To see where the rates have been in the last couple of years, search “exchange rates” on our page at 

Cash Exchange Rates Buy Sell
US Dollar $ 17.20 18.54
Canadian Dollar $ 13.20 14.50
Euro € 21.54 22.84
Pound Sterling £ 24.73 26.12

23. March 2018 · Comments Off on Best In Puerto Morelos Survey Results · Categories: Beach Reads The Blog · Tags: , , , , , ,

2018 Annual The Best In Puerto Morelos Survey Results

Many thanks to those who took part in our annual “Best In Puerto Morelos” survey. We started the survey years ago when we owned Alma Libre Bookstore so that visitors could share their favourite things about Puerto Morelos with other visitors. As residents, we also wanted to make sure we weren’t missing out on anything. Over the years, our most popular category has been favourite restaurant. So without further ado, here is the list:

2018 Best In Puerto Morelos Survey Winners

What is your favourite restaurant in Puerto Morelos?
1. La Sirena
2. El Campanario
3. El Nicho
4. Taninos
5. El Pirata
6. Cantina Habanero
7. Los Gauchos
8. Al ChimichurriSpaghettino
9. John Gray’s Kitchen
10. Blue Morelos / Chilpayas / El Pesquero

Congrats to Anthony and his staff at La Sirena for taking the number one position this year! They were also high up in the ranks for the best place to have a drink on their new rooftop patio. With honorable mentions going to DK and Caribelos that were bubbling under with a tie for 11th place. Congratulations to all the restaurants in town. And a special shout out to Blue Morelos which is the new kid on the block and Chilpayas which was the only restaurant in the colonia to make it into the top 10.

The restaurants were chosen by our readers who were asked to rank their three favourite restaurants. Their first pick was awarded three points. Their second choice was given two points and their third choice was awarded one point. In all, more than 43 (previously 28) restaurants were chosen as readers’ favourites. Very impressive for a town our size. If you are wondering how many resturants there are in town, check out our restaurant guide here. You will be surprised!

2. What is your favourite place to have a drink? (Does not have to be alcoholic)

My Paradise Beach Club By a long shot! We would like to say that there was a close non-alcoholic second… but there wasn’t. Also mentioned were La Sirena and Cancun Billy’s.

3. Best pizza in town?

I Wanna Pizza Marco, Paco and the team at I Wanna Pizza had more votes than all of the other pizza places in town combined. Way to go!

4. Best vegetarian?

Aarom came out on top! Big congrats to Louise and her crew since this is their first year in business.

5. Best burger in town?

Cantina Habanero With honourable mentions going to Burger Underground, La Sirena and Fonda Americana. This was a close race.

6. Favourite “local dish”. (This can be anything that is best to enjoy in Puerto Morelos)

Most people mentioned shrimp or fish tacos, empanadas followed by guac and chips. We have lots of restaurant choices for all of these foods. Have fun exploring to find out who has the best in your opinion.

7. Where is your favourite Happy Hour?

My Paradise Beach Club By a long shot again! Puerto Morelos loves a good happy hour and theirs is the happiest by far. Other favourites were Unico and La Sirena.

8. Where is your favourite place to stay in Puerto Morelos?

An overwhelming number of you stay in vacation rentals rather than hotels. Many of our readers suggested that people rent a local house or condo and stay in town. “Forget the resorts–you can have a wonderful time without being in a total bubble, because it is so easy to be here as a tourist!”

9. What is your favourite inexpensive or free thing to do in Puerto Morelos?

Most people said “walk the beach” or “watch the sunrise”. Visiting the square at night was also very popular.

10. What topics would you like to see more blog posts on? Or do you even read blog posts?

People told us they are reading the blog and find it a good source of factual information. You also told us you would like to see more features on local resturants, day trips (which we have here) and features on local people. We look forward to writing and researching all of these. Especially the resturants (YUM)!

11. Complete this sentence: Whatever you do, do not miss (BLANK) in Puerto Morelos!

“The friendly people”, “the square at night”, “the reef” for snorkeling and “the cenotes” where the most popular answers. One person even said, “whatever you do, do not miss a chance to go underwater and see the amazing ocean life!” Followed by “wander aimlessly, discovering as I go along”, “bike around”, “don’t miss the Wednesday morning market (by the church)”.

12. Where do you currently get your news/information about Puerto Morelos?

By far the majority of you get your information from the FaceBook group Friends of Puerto Morelos or our blog 

13. Where would you prefer to get your information on Puerto Morelos from?

Given the choice of a book, an app, a website or a FaceBook group most people prefer to get their information from or Facebook.

14. What is your best tip or hint to give to a new visitor to Puerto Morelos?

“Come!” “Relax”  “Don’t try to change things” and “Tip big” were the most popular responses. Followed by “don’t miss the Marquesitas in the square at night” and “check out all the restaurants including those in the Colonia”.

15. Where are you from?

Most of you are from Canada or the USA.

Thank you again to everyone who took part in the survey. We hope you enjoyed the results and we look forward to doing it again next year. Make sure you subscribe to our blog (top right hand side of the page) so that you don’t miss out on everything going on In Puerto Morelos.

12. March 2018 · Comments Off on Cash Exchange Rates in Puerto Morelos for March 12, 2018 (updated) · Categories: Do not use

Here are the cash exchange rates for March 12, 2018 at CI Banco in Puerto Morelos. I post these rates on occasion so that you can compare these rates with the rate your bank or the ATM may offer. To see where the rates have been in the last couple of years, search “exchange rates” on our page at 

12. March 2018 · Comments Off on Restaurant Survey · Categories: Beach Reads The Blog · Tags:

2018 Annual The Best In Puerto Morelos Survey

Back by popular demand! Here on our new Beach Reads Blog we wanted to continue on with an old tradition, the annual Best In Puerto Morelos Restaurant Survey. Tell us what you think! What is your favourite place to eat, drink or be merry In Puerto Morelos!

We encourage you to take part. We want to know what you think, what your favourite places are in town, and a few other questions thrown so that we can make your InPuertoMorelos experience better.

You have one week to complete the survey. Polling will close at midnight on Monday, March 18, 2018. Then watch for results to be published on

Please note: One survey per person please. No stuffing the ballot box!

Please note: One vote per person please. No stuffing the ballot box!



08. March 2018 · Comments Off on A Trip South · Categories: Day Trips · Tags: ,

If you take a trip south in Puerto Morelos, you will find “South Beach”, as the locals call it, an area you may not know. It is a long strip of wide, white sand beach, scattered with shells and strong waves that break on the shore.

There are a couple of different ways to get to South Beach. The easiest would be to take a cab to Marina El Cid and then just head straight to the beach and walk south. But if you do this, you will miss out on the sights along the way. We recommend that you either take a bike or walk. If you take a bike, which we recently did, it takes about 30 minutes to get out to the furthest point, Punta Bravo. If you were to walk you are looking at over an hour. The total length of the trip is about 6 km (3.7 miles) each way.

If you are biking you can follow this google map, it will get you most of the way there. We have filled in the rest of the missing path.

To bike or walk, you take Ninos Heroes as far south as you can, then turn right and then left as the road dead ends. Continue to walk or bike south until you come to a gate/guard house on the road, the guard will wave you past. If you are walking, at this point you want to turn left and take the road on the right side of the cement wall. The road will take you toward the beach where you will see a small path. Take the path to reach the beach.

You can stop there and enjoy the beach. or you can head south and walk along the sand to Punta Brava.


If you are biking, you continue south at the guard house. To your right you will pass by a natural area that is a great place to see birds in the early morning. But also, keep you eyes open for crocodiles. We recently spotted this guy. You will pass by Hotel El Cid and then you will ride through the middle of the Grand Residences. After this the road quality will go down, but you should still keep going. When you pass the last building, Hotel Los Angeles, the road will end. At this point you can push your bike a few hundred meters to Punta Brava.

Chances are you will find yourself alone out on the point with nothing but the sun, sand, shells and surf. So take a picnic lunch, some water, sunscreen, a big floppy hat and enjoy your stay. It’s a great way to spend a day InPuertoMorelos.


05. March 2018 · Comments Off on The Other Lighthouse · Categories: Day Trips · Tags: , , ,

Did you know that besides our famous leaning lighthouse and the new lighthouse beside it, there is a third lighthouse in Puerto Morelos? There is! It’s called Punta Brava and most people have never been there. It may take a bit of a walk or a bike ride to find it, but it is worth the trek. We recently took a bike ride out there…. and at the end of the road, after about 30 minutes…. you will find this!

As you venture further south, you will find a beautiful beach that is much different from the beach in the center of town. Once you get past the hotels, there are only a few houses, then nothing but beautiful, white, deep sand! And very few people.

The reef is much further from the shore here, so you will find the beach scattered with shells. The shoreline is a little rocky in places, but it makes for a great place to watch tiny crabs jump in and out of the tide pools.

Further up the beach you will find leafy green plants that help keep the sand in place. The plants are dotted with theses pretty purple flowers.


The white sand with the rugged, rocky coastline are a sharp contrast from the tranquil beach in Puerto Morelos. Punta Brava is beautifully natural with the waves crashing against the rocks.


So when you want to get away from the “crowds” of Puerto Morelos, head to Punta Brava. We’ll show you how we get there on our next blog post. Be sure to subscribe to so you don’t miss any new news about the town we all love.

03. March 2018 · Comments Off on Cash Exchange Rates in Puerto Morelos for March 3, 2018 · Categories: Beach Reads The Blog, Photo Post

Here are the cash exchange rates for March 3, 2018 at CI Banco in Puerto Morelos. I post these rates on occasion so that you can compare these rates with the rate your bank or the ATM may offer. To see where the rates have been in the last couple of years, search “exchange rates” on our page at