We started our Yucatán adventure with some beach time in Puerto Morelos, a small town south of Cancún.
Hotel Ojo de Agua
Booking our trip last-minute, our hotel options for staying in town (as opposed to in a resort beyond walking distance from down) were limited. We stayed at Hotel Ojo de Agua, which is right on the beach. We arrived with low expectations — online reviews had warned us this place was anything but fancy, with photos of missing toilet seats. Sure enough, we were not disappointed: The rooms were basic, noisy, and the night manager was somewhat surly. There was repeated confusion with door locks and missing keys. Apparently there had been a recent change of ownership. There were new air conditioning units, but the window holes from old units were plugged with cardboard and styrofoam (from the new units' boxes, perhaps?). But the hotel location, restaurant, pool, and beach were just what we were looking for!
We were excited to meet some crocodiles! While we were waiting in the playground for our tour to begin, a wild monkey swung down and engaged Lyra in a big hug. (Lyra wasn't amused, as she is usually pretty shy about hugs from strangers.) I grasped this monkey by the wrists as if it were a two-year-old unfamiliar with social norms, and calmly explained that it wasn't to hug people unless it asked first. The monkey politely took my criticism, and than scampered over and sat on Laura's backpack. At this point, a Crococun Zoo staff person appeared and started describing the situation into his radio. He then explained to us that no one (not even the staff) was allowed to touch these wild monkeys. Eventually he shooed the monkey away. Perhaps I shouldn't have been so nonchalant grabbing that monkey. We later witnessed two monkeys squabbling, and it was pretty freaky — with lots of teeth and screeching.
Our tour began with a parrot kiss for each of us.
And then we held a baby crocodile. Its mouth was held shut with a rubber band. For safety.
...and then a rather frightening walk through the large crocodile pen! We were told they wouldn't attack us, as they had been recently fed and so weren't hungry. Quick, group photo!
We saw many more animals, including hairless dogs, more of our monkey friends (with baby), turtles, peacocks, and deer.
Eventually, it was time to leave Puerto Morelos, and start our driving tour of the Yucatán. On the way out of town, we stopped in at the large grocery store by the highway, and had a fantastic lunch at Quesadillas de la Colonia