We were invited by our friends at Cancun Valet www.cancunvalet.com, the official transfer service for Loco Gringo, to join them on a tour of some of their favorite places in Cancun. This made us think about how little time most Akumalians actually spent in Cancun and decided it would be fun to see more of the city, something other than the inside of the airport and Cost Co.
We started at the Crococun Zoo www.crococunzoo.com on Highway 307. Now, this is actually located just outside of Puerto Morelos, but the location is so convenient anyone staying in Cancun can easily visit this little gem. Some of us admitted to having passed Crococun Zoo dozens of times and thinking, I wonder what that place is like.
The zoo’s menagerie included monkeys, giant snakes, talking birds and yes, lots of crocodiles! The tour took a little over an hour and we learned many amazing facts about the animals of the region. Did you know iguanas mate for life? We (well, some of us) held snakes and small crocs, we watched monkeys swinging freely from tree to tree with their babies clutched to their backs, we fed small deer indigenous to the Yucatan and we walked among full grown crocodiles. Yes, that’s right! We walked directly into their pen without any gates or walls between us and them. When our guide opened the gate and invited us into the crocodiles’ domain we admit there was a moment of hesitation. Each of us thinking, Is this going to be one of those moments I look back on and wish I had said no, thanks? We went inside. Turns out, the crocs were completely uninterested in us. With the exception of the Australian crocodile, these animals are non-aggressive and really very shy.
We were impressed with the park’s cleanliness and the happy, healthy condition of the animals. We recommend this park for the entire family. You don’t have to be a kid to enjoy this place.
Next we headed into Cancun to Mercado 23, not to be confused with Mercado 28 the touristy souvenir market. Mercado 23, the first market created in Cancun, is where one can find an array of local foods, herbs, grains, spices, fresh produce and so much more. The market is alive with vibrant colors and mouthwatering smells. This is where the locals shop so not many tourists here. There are also small food vendors here too. The meals are inexpensive and authenically Mexican. We sampled different Mexican cheeses and homemade candies. Mercado 23 is a true cultural experience.
For lunch, we went to El Fish Fritanga www.elfishfritanga.com – a popular place with Cancun locals and tourists alike. It is located in the hotel zone, but there is nothing glitzy or glam about it. This little seafood hideaway has tables surrounded by palms on the shore of the lagoon, a world away from the hustle and bustle of the street above. We took one bite of the house specialty, seafood pescadillos, and all agreed we were in foodie heaven. We feasted on the little, fried empanadas stuffed with fresh seafood goodness. iQue rico!
Our tour was rounded out with an afternoon of cold beers on one of Cancun’s stunning beaches. Designated driver included in tour package.
A big thank you to Cancun Valet for showing us Locos around their end of the coast!