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5 Ways to Meet Monkeys in Costa Rica

Date Published:
Jan 15, 2019
5 Ways to Meet Monkeys in Costa Rica

From snapping selfies with curious capuchins to rainforest adventures amid a symphony of howlers, trips to Costa Rica present unique opportunities to meet monkeys on amazing nature excursions.

1) A Trio of Monkey Species at Manuel Antonio

A great place to see monkeys is Manuel Antonio National ParkNational Park. One of the country’s most bio-diverse nature getaways, Manuel Antonio is home to three different types of furry friends. Arguably the most famous and most playful are white-faced capuchin monkeys, which rarely show fear of humans and are apt to swipe your lunch if you’re not looking. A species you will probably hear before you see are the aptly named howler monkeys, which prefer to steer clear from people and stay in the treetops, adding only their signature calls to your walk along nature trails. For acrobatic shows, it’s hard to beat squirrel monkeys, which flip through the trees with amazing agility.

2) Monkey Home by Tortuga Island


Tortuga Island is famed for snorkeling in turquoise waters along white-sand beaches and an idyllic setting that resembles a Caribbean paradise. The scenic isle is also close to a unique monkey habitat. Tours to Tortuga often include cruises to the shores of Isla Nancital, better known as Spider Monkey Island. Sometimes confused with squirrel monkeys because of their mix of light and dark fur, spider monkeys are another species that wow with their aerial shows among the treetops. Named for their long limbs, spider monkeys are incredibly social and often rush to the coastline to check out any visiting boats.

3) View Monkeys from Above on a Canopy Tour

One of the surest ways to meet monkeys is to get up into the treetops they call home. There’s almost no better way to do this than with a canopy tour. Costa Rica is famously home to some of the best zip lines in the world, spanning dense tropical terrain that is notably populated with white-faced monkeys. Thrill-seekers can plunge down harrowing rides and novices can enjoy more leisurely runs. For a tranquil trip above monkey territory, consider an open-air tram ride through the rainforest canopy.

4) Take a Monkey Mangrove Tour


As you can probably guess from the tour’s title, you’re bound to come across a bounty of monkeys on a Monkey Mangrove Tour. Board a shaded tour boat and set off through verdant wetlands with riverbanks that are rich with tangles of mangrove roots. You’ll glide past a host of wildlife including majestic ospreys in flight and silky anteaters wandering through foliage on shore. But it's monkeys you came to see. While the mangrove retreat is home to howler and squirrel monkeys, white-faced capuchins are the more-social creatures that make the trip special. On a tour-boat stop, curious capuchins often descend from the treetops to check out their visiting guests.

5) Rafting Down the Pacuare River


Adventurous visitors to Costa Rica delight in the opportunity to take on the challenging whitewater rapids of the Pacuare River. But the high-adrenaline trip also offers tranquil runs and the chance to view an amazing assortment of wildlife. Along with sloths, otters and ocelots, you will pass stunning tropical terrain where howler monkeys reside in towering trees and white-faced capuchins swing through a dense canopy.

Winter is the perfect time to leave the cold behind and embark on a tropical zip line adventure, river rafting trip or escape to Manuel Antonio National Park and meet a multitude of monkeys.