You may have noticed that I love animals. Big animals, small animals, furry animals, not so furry reptiles - I love them all! One of the most exciting parts of traveling to Costa Rica was the possibility that I would see monkeys and other wildlife - in the wild - while there. Chris and I once saw monkeys chilling out on the side of the street while we were in Barbados, and ever since then, I have become obsessed with the idea of seeing monkeys in the wild. We have a small wildlife attraction in Miami called Monkey Jungle, where you walk through a fenced in area - only YOU are fenced in, and the monkeys run free. I wanted to get that same experience, without the fence, when I went to Costa Rica.
Everyone said "You will see monkeys!! They hang out by the hotels!" so my expectations were pretty high when we landed in Liberia and drove to Guanacaste on our first day. We immediately went down to the beach after checking in and getting settled, but alas, no monkeys.
We did see a mysterious creature playing on the beach, looking for food, which totally thrilled me. I soon learned from my friend Carolyn at CaroinCarolina.com, who is from Costa Rica, that it was a Coatamundi! A close relative to the raccoon, I found out through a little Googling that we actually have Coatamundi in the United States.
We booked a Palo Verde Jungle River Cruise & Local Village tour through Maleku Tours and when Eugenia picked us up, she excitedly told us that she had seen White Faced Monkeys driving into the hotel property! Of course we all ran to the truck to zoom out and see if they were still there!
And they were!
There were quite a few White Faced Monkeys eating in the trees, but as we parked and got out of the car to see them, they began to run away...
While we didn't get very close to them (these photos are all zoomed in), we were a little too close for their liking and they wanted no part of it! It was really fun to see them hanging out and eating their breakfast right outside our hotel gates.
I wish that they had been IN the hotel property so that we could have seen them even more!
On the way to our Palo Verde riverboat tour, our tour guide, Eugenia, stopped and told us that there were howler monkeys in the trees there and that we might see some. As soon as we got out of the truck, we came across another tour group who had already spotted monkeys!
I thought that seeing those white faced monkeys in front of our hotel was exciting, but these howler monkeys were even more thrilling! They were just lounging in the canopy and even howled at us every now and then!
There were about 6 that we could see, and the other tour group told us that there had been more but they'd already left the area.
I don't normally travel with my DSLR anymore, but I was so glad that I had decided to bring it on this trip - along with my zoom lens!
Angeline thought these monkeys looked like they were modeling for me. What do you think?
As we loaded up onto the boat, we began to see iguana and crocodiles right away. I'll share more about them in another post - this is all about the monkeys!
When in the Palo Verde wetlands, you aren't allowed to touch or feed the wildlife. While we didn't have any food for the monkeys, once we came across them along the riverbank, they came right up to our boat! They are familiar with humans - unlike the monkeys outside our hotel earlier that morning - because so many tours come through the area that they have become accustomed to seeing them every day.
These white faced monkeys were jumping all over our boat, tried grabbing one kid's watch and kept peeking into the windows.
They were so cute, their little faces remind me of a little old wrinkly man!
I really loved ziplining in Costa Rica, but the Palo Verde riverboat tour was one of the most amazing experiences I have had while traveling.
Cuz it's all about the monkeys. And I like monkeys.
If you are planning a trip to Costa Rica, I highly recommend that you book a tour or two (or five!!) through Maleku Tours. I can't rave about them enough! While their tour prices are the same as other tour companies in Costa Rica, their customer service, friendly attitudes and attention to detail can't be beat. My friend and I left Costa Rica feeling like we had just spent the last week with family and plan on returning to see them in the winter!