Last Updated on April 19, 2023
Picture yourself, walking through the jungle, hearing strange noises, loud screams in the distance, something you had never imagined. Surrounded by wilderness, you’ll feel like having just stepped into a Jurassic Park movie.
But you know dinosaurs are not responsible for those screams, it must be something huge, and the guide keeps heading toward it. And then you see it, hidden in between branches, having a peaceful lunch while two dominant males are getting at it, the black howler monkey.
The experience is unique, impressive even. The chill you’ll get down your spine the first time you hear it is priceless.
Exploring the jungle, looking for monkeys, is a unique experience that you should definitely do when visiting Belize. The Monkey River is located near Placencia and tours depart daily from this charming beach town, a Monkey River eco tour is one of the best things to do while there.
So keep on reading to learn all there is to know about the Placencia Monkey River Eco Tour.
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
HELPFUL WEBSITES TO HELP YOU PLAN YOUR TRIP
Disclaimer: this post was kindly sponsored by Nite Wind Tours, as always all opinions are my own. This post may contain affiliate links.
Where to See Howler Monkeys in Belize
Howler monkeys are small primates from the New World family found around Central America known for their distinctive scream, meant to dissuade any other dominant male from entering the family’s territory. You can learn more about the Howler Monkey here.
While in Belize, you cannot pass the opportunities to see Howler Monkeys, and one of the best places to do so is the Monkey River, near Placencia. There’s also a sanctuary near Belize City but seeing them in the wild is way more interesting.
Placencia Monkey River Tour Review
You’ll need to book a tour with an agency in Placencia. I chose Nite Wind Tours for mine and it went great, I highly recommend them for that experience.
You can also book a tour with transportation from Hopkins, but I recommend spending a few days in Placencia to enjoy the beach and visit some of the nearby cayes.
The Monkey River Eco Tours are a half-day trip, starting with a boat ride on the river and then a short hike through the jungle.
Make sure to wear comfortable, lightweight clothing and shoes suitable for walking on uneven terrain, as well as bring insect repellent and sunscreen.
The best time to visit Monkey River is during the dry season, from February to May, when the weather is more predictable and the wildlife is more active – however, monkeys can be seen year-round.
The Monkey River tour starts in Placencia with a short boat ride to the entrance of the river, stopping at the Monkey River Town to pick up the local guide. Howler monkeys are not the only animals you’ll see during the day. Once you enter the Monkey River, the guide will start to look out for iguanas, crocodiles, birds, turtles, and bats.
The boat ride through the river is fantastic, once you pass the village there’s nothing, just lush jungle and birds singing.
The second part of the Monkey River tour is a trek through the jungle. There’s not a unique trail everyone follows, so it’s not overcrowded. The guide will look for monkeys and go wherever they are. Usually, monkeys stay near the river so you won’t have to walk too deep into the jungle.
If it has rained recently, I’d recommended having closed shoes, so it’s more comfortable when you have to step through the mud.
Hearing the howler monkeys is a unique experience, especially in the wild. We saw about 10 of them in different spots, some got really close to us, but they mostly ignore you and keep on eating.
Listen to their scream:
On the way back down the river, we spotted some more wildlife. We stopped at the Monkey River village to have lunch. Lunch is not included so tourists can have lunch at the restaurant there and, by doing so, support the community.
While the idea is great, in my opinion, the food is overpriced, and the meal I had was plain (there’s no menu, only the dish of the day). I would advise you to take a big breakfast, bring some snacks, and have lunch when you get back to Placencia around 2 PM.
If you want to support the village’s community, you can stop at the handicraft shop near the pier.
After lunch, we headed back to Placencia, trying to spot some manatees along the way. We had the chance to see several playing in the water, coming to the surface.
Overall, the Monkey River tour was great. It’s a unique opportunity to see wildlife and explore the jungle. Both the driver and the guide were friendly and knowledgeable, making the tour fun and exciting. They let us watch the monkeys for as long as we wanted and could answer all of our questions about the monkeys.
So if you happen to be in Placencia don’t hesitate to contact Nite Wind Tours to plan your Monkey River Tour. They also offer snorkeling trips to the nearby Cayes, a must-do if you’re visiting Placencia.
What to Bring for Your Monkey River Tour:
- mosquito repellent (and a lot of it) try to avoid wearing black as well;
- hat or cap;
- water and snacks;
- binoculars (always best to have a pair when trying to spot animals in the wild);
- Hiking shoes (preferably ones you can easily wash afterward);
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