Many regular visitors to Cancun know that Laguna Nichupte (the large lagoon that separates the Hotel Zone from the downtown mainland) is full of crocodiles. Over the years the government has blocked off some of the lower lying areas to prevent tourists (and locals) from putting themselves in danger by getting too close.
If you’re fascinated by crocodiles but would like to get up close & personal in a safer way, Crococun Zoo is the perfect place to head to. Crococun is one of those lesser known attractions but it’s completely worth highlighting as a fun spot to head for a morning or afternoon out with your little one! I’ve taken my toddler daughter twice and both times she loved it. The main attraction is the crocodiles but there are lots of different animals & reptiles you can get up close to.
With admission into the zoo you are given a 60-75 minute interactive guided tour. You can make sure you request a bilingual guide who speaks both English & Spanish. They’re incredibly knowledgable and passionate about all of the animals & reptiles in the zoo. I found it to be a really relaxed tour in the way that guests are encouraged to ask lots of questions along the way to start fun discussions on each animal. They automatically provide basic info but are more than happy to dig deeper into conversations. They were also pretty patient with my toddler as her interest faded & she bounced around wanting to look at everything. They helped show her the right way to hold each reptile so her & her friend weren’t excluded from being able to participate.
Animals & Reptiles
The main highlight of course is the crocodiles. The baby crocodiles are kept in a fairly open smaller area that they will lift out so you can have a closer look. As you pass through the larger fenced in area with the adult crocodiles just hanging out, they will ask you to carry small children as you walk through which makes perfect sense but is also quite terrifying.
There’s a variety of tropical birds you can feed. My daughter who was 2 at the time & we went with another mom friend and her daughter who was just 1. The girls were both given the chance to see the birds up close, pet snakes, crocodiles and feed the deer. There are even some Xoloitzcuintli dogs you can see up close which are known as ancient Aztec dogs here in Mexico.
Often throughout the Riviera Maya you can find spider monkeys. Places like Crococun Zoo won’t capture and contain any monkeys but instead usually just have a designated spot where they can feed them. to draw them closer. The wild monkeys will pop by for something to eat climbing across the treetops. This way it gives guests a pretty good chance at spotting them. We’ve had some of our best monkey encounters at Crococun Zoo but after the actual tour itself. They have a little park area on the premises just outside of the cafe & gift shop that you’re welcome to spend some time in after. Both times I’ve been to Crococun and hung out with Isla afterwards in the little park area we’ve had curious little spider monkeys come by to say hi. Granted I’m sure they’re after food which for obvious reasons you’re not supposed to give them. Guests in the past have likely given them food but we weren’t about to give them anything because I am also fully aware that wild spider monkeys can be quite unpredictable. Instead we just watched them explore all around us.
One of our favourite moments at the park happened while playing in the playground after our tour. We headed to the swings and next thing we knew the spider monkeys in the area, who all freely roam overhead in the canopies above, were making their way a little closer to us to say hi. The zoo staff encourage you not to feed or touch the monkeys as they are wild and unpredictable but it’s still an incredibly memorable experience to have spider monkeys swinging overhead or climbing on the playground structures.
Kids 5 & under receive free entrance into the park. Kids 6-12 & seniors over 60 years old get 40% off the cost of regular admission (right now regular adult admission is $32 U.S.). Residents of Quintana Roo pay just $360 pesos. Group rates are also available for 10 or more adults. The zoo is very easy to find as it’s located right off our main stretch of highway that connects all of Cancun & the Riviera Maya if you decide to go by car.
- Be sure to buy a small bag of animal food at the entrance before you start the tour. You will have to give the bag of food to the tour guide before entering the zoo area and the guide will hand various food items back as you make your way through
- Stop at the Coffee Cafe cafeteria on the premises after the tour. They offer some surprisingly yummy frappes, coffees, sandwiches & salads
- Be sure to spend some time in the playground! It’s the best way for a chance to see some monkeys up close
- Bring snacks for toddlers that don’t require them to have to wash their hands first before having it (like a fruit puree squeeze pouch, fruit that can be eaten out of the peel like a banana or with a fork). My friend and I both brought things like goldfish crackers and realized we couldn’t give them to our girls during the tour because they had just been handling the reptiles
- Bring eco friendly mosquito repellent. Here throughout the Riviera Maya one day you might not need repellent and then two days later you feel as if you’re being eaten alive. I always try and keep a small bottle of repellent handy for those moments when I can feel mosquitoes are on the prowl
- I’ve never seen the park super busy so my guess is there really isn’t a bad time to go. I believe they just form small intimate groups for the tours as people arrive and buy tickets
Overall at the park you will able to touch, hold and feed a variety of wild local animals. Especially if you’re staying in a hotel fairly close by in Puerto Morelos or Cancun, t’s a great spot to visit if you’re just looking for a fun half day outing with kids.
Park info, operating hours, directions & to purchase tickets in advance…
- Crococun Zoo-Interactive Tour