Sights Archives

July 22, 2009

Croco Cun Zoo

You don't have to be a kid to enjoy Croco Cun Zoo, an animal park located on Highway 307, a few miles north of Puerto Morelos, but unless you have kids with you or you are a kid inside, you may not want to spend the US$20 entrance fee (US$12 for kids over 6) to do so. While the zoo it's cool, in my humble opinion, it's not worth such an exorbitant entrance fee. But what do I know? My kids (7 & 4 yo) rated it as their favorite experience of the trip, along with playing with puppies at Ek Balam.

Your visit to the zoo consists of a 1.5 hour guided tour of the facilities. They have tours in English and Spanish, but you may have to wait until there are enough people to start a tour (we did the Spanish one to skip the wait). Our tour guide, at least, was very knowledgeable on the animals at the zoo and able to answer all my questions. Signs at the zoo suggest guests tip tour guides - we gave her MN$20. You will also want to buy a bag of food to feed the animals (or rather, one bag per kid you bring along), they are a couple of dollars each.

The tour starts with a visit to some parrots - the colorful birds come from all over the continent, one is free but the other ones are in cages. The parrots love to be fed peanuts, make sure you give one to each, as they get jealous!.

Next stop are the crocodiles. Here you will find some of the smaller members of the family - babies up to 4-5 years old. It will be just your first opportunity to see them. Croco Cun is very aptly named, they have TONS of crocodiles. If you like to see inert lizards holding still for hours, you will have no better opportunity. And indeed, you will have the opportunity here to walk along a path within the crocodile enclosure, with dozens of seemingly satiated relatively small (as in 1m or so) crocodiles inches away from your ankles. All they'd had to do was to jump and off with your feet, but for some reason they prefer to just stay there completely immobile. Still, it's a cool experience.

You will also get to look at a number of snakes, most of them in cages, and hold one or two around your neck. They have iguanas of different colors (you'll get to pet one) and turtles (no petting these, but you can feed them grapes). There are a couple of very cool tigrillos, which were laying in a worrisome small mesh cage, and a deer enclosure. The native deer are pretty short, and impossibly cute. You can feed them local leaves - they'll come to you when you shake them - and they will go crazy over the carrots, sunflower seeds and peanuts in your food bag. I think feeding them (and petting them) is the part the kids enjoyed the most.

The part that should be the most fun is the feeding of the monkeys. There are a number of wild and "freed" spider monkeys hanging around the zoo, and they will play for food: grapes, when they are really hungry early in the morning, and bananas later on. Alas, by the time we got there, around 12:30 PM or so, they were fully satiated and they couldn't care less about our food offerings. I think the experience would have been much more rewarding if the monkeys had approached us. So if you go, go before other tourists have had the chance to feed the monkeys.

And that's pretty much it. If you go, make SURE you use a lot of mosquito repellent - the mosquitoes are merciless here. You can buy drinks, snacks, ice cream and mosquito repellent at the entrance.

In all, it was a nice experience, just too expensive for my taste.

Croco Cum Zoo

Parrot kissing Mika

Mika holding a crocodile

Mika with snake around her head

Kids feeding deer

Deer eating from Mika's hand


July 24, 2009

Snorkeling at the reef - Puerto Morelos - Riviera Maya

The coral reef in front of Puerto Morelos is supposed to be one of the best places to snorkel in the Riviera Maya - so of course, we gave it a try. You can go to the reef from different locations, but Puerto Morelos is the closest, and therefore the cheapest. We had a car, so getting there was easy. We were able to park on the street on the western side of the main square. You will find outfits that will take you to the reef across the street from the square, on the northern side. They all charge the same: $25 per person for a 1 1/2 to 2 hour trip, including life jackets and snorkeling equipment. It also includes the entrance fee to the reef (yep, there is one). They will take you to 2-3 different locations, and the experienced guides will show you the best places to snorkel. There is a cooperative of boat owners that has a booth on the northeastern corner of the square, but we went with an independent boat owner who caught us as we were walking that way. His name was José (I think) Morelos and he owns two boats. He belonged to the cooperative for many years but decided he could do better on his own. I can recommend his outfit as honest and laid back, but bear in mind that neither the guide nor the captain that we had spoke English (not an issue for us).

While we were very happy with the service we received, neither Mike nor I were awed by the reef. I have to say that my only previous snorkeling experience was in the Big Island of Hawaii, where I saw TONS of fish and giant turtles. There definitely wasn't the quantity and variety of sealife here that we experienced in Hawaii. Of course, I can't possibly say if that's because we didn't snorkel in the appropriate places, or Hawaii just has better snorkeling.

The highlight of the trip for Mike was encountering a skate.

In all, we thought it was a fair price for the service we got, and we did not regret going.

Reef at Puerto Morelos

Reef at Puerto Morelos

Reef at Puerto Morelos

skate in the Reef at Puerto Morelos

About Sights

This page contains an archive of all entries posted to Marga & Mike's Yucatan Adventure Blog in the Sights category. They are listed from oldest to newest.

Ruins is the previous category.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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