Posts Tagged monkeys

Monkey Fail

Posted on March 5, 2013 by 15 Comments

With our recent wildlife-spotting success, we figured we could at least spot some monkeys at a national reserve. These are supposed to be the largest primates in the Americas, standing 1.5 meters tall. And, the rarest.

Well, at least we heard them.

Don’t try to visit Rppn Feliciano Miguel Abdala without an invitation.  You can get in… but it’s just you and the snakes.

Reconsider your footwear options when hiking in Brazil. Giant black snakes will freak you out if you’re wearing flip flops.

Caratinga is not a good place to visit. Trust us.

Ipanema is only marginally better – at least it’s smaller. There’s a decent lunch buffet at the gas station, and the owner used to live in Boston.

Coffee. Finally, this is where it’s at.

Brazil has lots of National Parks that seem to be permanently closed without for prior reservations… and no camping.

We went by ‘Pedra Azul’. No access without a guide and no camping permitted. Seems to defeat the purpose – to us anyway.

Now, it’s good to be back on the coast.

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Filed Under: Brazil

Back to Puerto Iguazu

Posted on June 7, 2012 by 3 Comments

When I suggested to my Mom that perhaps she could remember today’s experience and use it in one of her novels, she said she didn’t have the words.

I have one: terrifying.

The road from Posados to Carlos Pelligrini was said to be impassable in the rain. The night before we left the Ibera wetlands, we were treated to an incredible rain storm.

The alternative to driving north would be a 6 hour detour, but luckily the lodge manager said the road was passable.

I’m happy to report it was passable, but only via a slippery, slidely, muddy messy drive. Jason (who has a giant steering wheel and better knowledge of which way the bus might go) wasn’t as worried. And my mom, bless her – she didn’t complain a bit. She did commiserate with me later, though.

And perhaps it was just the back seat – we were flailing around and fish-tailing the entire ride. Bode loved it – he said it was like a roller coaster and he was on the verge of puking… in a good way.

Later, Jason did offer to stop once we hit the pavement… so that we could kiss it.


Back in Puerto Iguazu, we stopped by the Guira Oga Animal Rescue Center. When asked before the tour, Bode told the guide he wanted to see an ocelot and bats. Unfortunately, there were no cats or bats,  but we did seem some owls (though too far away to get a good shot). The center seems to do a lot of great work rehabilitating and releasing animals. There was an impressive falconry area.

Mostly, they had birds. And, what was most interesting to me, were the animal visitors outside the caged habitats – a parrot outside of the parrot cage, a toucan hanging out by the toucan cage, even a monkey gal that fell in love with a very old caged howler male. Apparently, she comes by every day. Twice, they have driven her to a park miles away and she’s returned.  Ahh, true love.


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Filed Under: Argentina

Hey Hey, we’re the…

Posted on June 10, 2011 by 4 Comments

A funny thing they do here is make a little juice pouch out of grapefruit. They peel the outside skin off, leaving a thin layer of pulp. Then, punch a hole in the top. It’s a spill-proof juice bag: just squeeze and suck the juice out the top. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen Bode eat a grapefruit, but he’s been going through these juice pouches as fast as they can peel them. Good thing there’s a huge tree out back.

Anyway, there are monkeys all over the place here. Howler monkeys lazily lounge up high, but the Capuchins are down at river-level.

We came upon a group of about 20 or so and pulled in for a closer look. These little guys are pretty cute and don’t seem to be too threatened by people. They’re curious little monkeys.

One was a little too curious and hopped on the boat. As soon as he spotted Bode’s grapefruit pouch, he went right for it. We did our best to fend him off (mostly by pushing the button on the camera) but he was just too quick. Grapefruit down.

Of course, you’re not supposed to feed the animals and we had no intention of giving up the fruit. We tried to get it back, but once he was off the boat, he had his own battle with 19 other monkeys.

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Filed Under: Bolivia

Monkey Rescue

Posted on September 3, 2010 by 5 Comments

After Cahuita, we went the 10 or so miles down the road to Puerto Viejo. This town is a real tourist draw, but the precise reason why escapes me. There is plenty of infrastructure in place, with restaurants,  hotels, grocery stores, etc,  but the beach out front lacks appeal. Many of the people we talked to were dropped here ‘for free’ after some other tour in Costa Rica. It is definitely on the backpacker circuit and seems to be Party Central on the Caribbean side of the country.

Only Bode was up for an all-night party, so we started creeping out of town until we found the Jaguar Rescue Center. Despite it’s name (there are no jaguars,) it’s actually a really great stop if you are interested in getting up close and personal with some local animals.

All the animals here get brought in after being confiscated pets, found injured, illegally sold, etc. They take care of everyone until they are able to be released back into the jungle. In some cases, they can’t be released, which also makes this a bit of a personal zoo for the owner.

Of course, we went for the monkeys. The tour starts by walking right into the monkey pen. They have 10 or so howlers of various ages – all of whom are eager to jump right on your head. There is no prodding or training here. The monkey do whatever they want, but it mostly involves using the visitors as climbing structures. Heads make good chairs.

There were a few rambunctious tenants, so the guide told us that if we needed to, we should pick them up by their tails. Bode was clearly listening, because right then he leaned over and picked up an unsuspecting monkey by it’s tail. He must have needed to do it.

The tails are pure muscle and more like a long finger. Pretty cool.

Every afternoon, they open the pen and take all of them out to the jungle to frolic. If they find another group and want to leave, they are free to go. So far, two of them have found a mate (for some reason they are all females.)

Next were the sloths. They have two of them and the same rules apply. They take them our every afternoon and hang them on a tree and see if they will go anywhere.  They have a two-toe and a three-toe sloth sloth here and they are pretty interesting to see close-up.

Last were an endless line of snakes and one jungle cat – the name escapes me, but not a jaguar – a small one that was actually being sold along with a box of kittens (or so the story goes.)

Cahuita National Park

Posted on September 2, 2010 by 1 Comment

We pulled into Cahuita and found sleepy little town right on the edge of the National Park. You follow the main road into town and after that it sort of aimlessly meanders off in different directions and narrowly weaves between people’s houses and cabinas.

There’s a beach right in town, but you are better off crossing the footbridge at the southern edge of town into the National Park. Here, they appreciate a donation for admission and you can hike their trails to find your own little slice of beachfront for the day.

Angela was talking to the park ranger and mentioned off-hand that she hadn’t seen a sloth in Costa Rica yet. The ranger walked about 10 meters, looked up into a tree and pointed. There you go.

They like to sit curled up at the tree-tops for week-long stretches. From a distance they just look like a furry bird’s nest. They don’t really move around, so you really have to be deliberately looking for them.  Apparently, they only come down for their weekly poop at the base of the tree.

We hiked into the park and put Bode in charge of the day’s photos. He though it would be a really good joke to cut our heads off in all of them, but we were on to him… eventually.

Not far down the trail, we spotted (heard) howler monkeys and we looked up to find they were all around us. We’ve been around monkeys for so long it almost feels normal to have them in the trees above us.

We plopped down in a shady spot in the sand and commenced our day at the beach. Now, white faced monkeys appeared directly above us and started dropping their fruit peelings on us.

A good hike. A beautiful beach. An animal show.

This isn’t quite paradise, but I think we’re getting close.

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Filed Under: Costa Rica

Bugs, Monkeys and Lizards

Posted on August 26, 2010 by No Comments

We took a river boat cruise to spot wildlife in Palo Verde National Park. It had been 3 days since my parents got here, and until then they had only heard the monkeys in the distance. It was time to see some.

The guided river cruise was great in that they told us all the species you are seeing – especially the birds. We’ve traveled quite a bit to areas where the guidebooks say it’s great for bird watching, but we’re not birders. It definitely makes it more interesting when you have someone to identify them and tell you all about them . We saw at least six types of heron – we even saw a nest with blue eggs.

Up next were the iguanas. We saw plenty along the riverbank, but in one particular spot they seem to be lounging around waiting for us. The guide threw out bits of banana peel and they gobbled it up as quick as they could.

We pulled over and picked a few long seed pods, which the guide said were nicknamed Monkey Guaba. Bode thought they were delicious, the monkeys seemed to prefer the bananas.

When the boat pulled over to a group of Capuchin (white faced) monkeys, they were shy at first. But after a while they were jumping on the boat. We got to feed them bits of banana. We’re not sure this was technically allowed in the park, but the guide provided the bananas and encouraged us. It sure was fun.


Filed Under: Costa Rica

Gone Bananas

Posted on August 13, 2010 by 5 Comments

It rained all night in Quepos and was still raining when we woke up late and lounged around the casita. Anna’s house is up a steep hill and her back deck sits at tree level. What you can see at this level is truly amazing. There are all sorts of birds hopping between the trees and iguanas slithering on the rocks below.

The coffee is strong and good and none of us seem to be in any hurry to get to the beach.

Ed had loaned us his iPhone in case we needed anything and it starts to ring. We thought we might need to ask Bode how to answer it, but Bree finally managed. It was our morning Monkey Call.

We made our way down to her deck at the main house where they have a Monkey Bridge. It’s basically just ropes between trees to keep them off the electrical wires. The monkeys learn quick and its a monkey highway at certain times of the day.

We all sat on the back deck and watched one monkey stare at us from a tree. After the kids tired of the occasional monkey siting they went back inside to play. We lingered outside talking with Dan and his family. There was a huge blue-headed iguana coming down for some fruit. Ed cut up some bananas and set them out on the railing. Eventually there were monkeys checking us out from every tree.

Once the first monkey finally had the courage to go for the banana, it was Grand Monkey Central. Soon there were 30 monkeys clamoring for the banana pieces and they were coming from all over. Some from the rope, others jumping from trees. Some would go on the roof and look at us upside down over the edge. The males would try to grab 2 pieces and we’d stand up to scare them away from the second and get a scary Monkey Shine face. As soon as we would run out of bananas, Ed would provide us with more. Dan’s sisters sat inside, accustomed to the monkeys but amused by our group so excited to see them.

The whole thing was unreal, and definitely another highlight of the trip for me. I am a bit over the top with my love of monkeys, though. Once, I convinced Jason to take a 4 hour round trip train to see a town in Thailand that had been taken over with the primates. Go Monkey!

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Filed Under: Costa Rica

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