The Monkey River is a well-named watercourse in Belize’s southeastern Toledo District that has its outlet in the Caribbean Sea.
The Monkey River tour begins in Monkey River Town, a coastal village located just a short distance from the Placencia Village. From there, participants will board a boat and head upstream to explore one of the most pristine and untouched areas of the country, home to mangrove swamps and verdant jungles teeming with wildlife.
During the journey, an experienced tour guide will provide information about the wide variety of different plants, birds, and animals in the area, including giant iguanas, toucans, manatees, crocodiles, and different plants used for medicinal purposes by the locals.
Once deep into the heart of the jungle, the boat will dock on the banks. Participants will enjoy a light hike through the foliage, learning more about the plants and animals until they reach an area inhabited by black howler monkeys. These animals are renowned for having one of the loudest calls in the animal kingdom, able to be heard more than four miles away.
Although black howler monkeys flourish in this part of Belize, their numbers are dwindling elsewhere in Central America, making this region an important conservation area for these unique animals. Black howler monkeys live in troops of around a dozen individuals dominated by an alpha male.
Despite their name, only the adult males are black in color. Juveniles of both genders and adult females have a whitish-golden fur color with red highlights. Black howler monkeys are vegetarian, consuming a diet of mostly leaves but also some fruit. They have prehensile tails that act like an extra arm, helping them maintain a secure grip high up in the jungle canopy.
Black howler monkeys sleep or rest for up to 70% of the day. Because of the way their tails work with their arms and legs, walking on the ground is difficult for black howler monkeys. Normally, they spend their entire lives in the trees but do occasionally come down to the banks of the river to drink water.
After returning to the boat, participants will have a chance to enjoy a refreshing swim in the river in order to cool off from the heat. On the trip back to Monkey River Town, the tour will pass by several small villages where locals participating in daily tasks and fishing can be observed. Upon returning to Monkey River Town, participants will enjoy a delicious meal prepared onsite by a local family.
USD $120 per person departing from Placencia (for tours departing from Hopkins or Dangriga, the price is $150 U.S. per person)
Private guide, transportation to and from your accommodation, bottled water, lunch
Camera, sunscreen, Insect repellant
Walking shoes, wear comfortable clothing
My kids wanted to see monkeys, so where better than the Monkey River? Wow. That boat tour truly takes you to some remote places in the jungle, and it was cool to see the villagers along the way. My kids loved the monkeys, which were super loud (as advertised), but my favorite part was the home-cooked meal. Very delicious and big portions. Great tour if you want to learn more about nature in Belize.
Penny C, USA
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