Monkey Business in Costa Rica

The rainforests of Costa Rica, swarm with exciting animals, noisy, but often elusive birdlife, crawling insects, lazy swamp caiman, dozens of species of monkeys, and even the fabulous jaguar. It was one of the things which appealed to me most when visiting the country, exploring the forests in the clouds.

A howler monkey in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9166 howler_monkey A large type of New World Monkey. Named because they are louder than any other types of Monkey. They often call at sunrise, and sunset. They also howl to warn of dangers. They are believed to be the loudest of all land animals. They have a long tail, growing to the same size as their body. They have a tail that they can use to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like humans do. A genetic difference accounts for this ability. They are large in size and move very slowly. They don’t have the swiftness and agility of most monkeys

A chilled out howler

“best impression of an excited primate”

Considering my experiences with baboons in The Gambia, I might be forgiven for not being overly enamoured by primates. However, any wildlife encounter, is exciting, and monkeys are also fun, but keeping my camera out of reach seemed wise.

One of these encounters occurred in Monteverde, while crossing a hanging bridge in the cloud forest with Daniel, our guide from Sky Adventures. Videographer Guillermo had gone ahead to film the crossing, when he suddenly stopped in his tracks. Gesticulating, animatedly for us to keep quiet, and doing his best impression of an excited primate. He may not be a natural at charades, but the message was clear …. he’d seen a monkey.

A howler monkey troop in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9231 howler_monkeys A large type of New World Monkey. Named because they are louder than any other types of Monkey. They often call at sunrise, and sunset. They also howl to warn of dangers. They are believed to be the loudest of all land animals. They have a long tail, growing to the same size as their body. They have a tail that they can use to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like humans do. A genetic difference accounts for this ability. They are large in size and move very slowly. They don’t have the swiftness and agility of most monkeys

Troop of howler monkeys in the canopy

A howler monkey in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9174 howler_monkey A large type of Monkey. Named because they are louder than any other types of Monkey. They often call at sunrise, and sunset. They also howl to warn of dangers. They are believed to be the loudest of all land animals. They have a long tail, growing to the same size as their body. They have a tail that they can use to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like humans do. They are large in size and move very slowly.

You looking at me?

As we approached quietly, I couldn’t see anything, whispering my frustration at this unexpected bout of myopic vision, then seconds later tripping over my jaw as it hit the ground. There wasn’t just one monkey, but a whole troop of howler monkeys, leisurely playing, and relaxing in the canopy just a few feet from the bridge.

Instantly there was the click of several camera shutters as we excitedly chattered in hushed whispers like schoolchildren in a library sweet shop. Everywhere there appeared photogenic primates, posing contentedly for their portrait. Sitting in the branches, sprawling out, completely relaxed, and unconcerned by our presence.  Babies climbed over mothers, jumping over the gap between branches, and basically making mischief, like any self-respecting juvenile.

A howler monkey baby in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9197 howler_monkey A large type of Monkey from the americas. Known for their loud call. They often sound the alarm when danger is around. Their long tail, grows as long as their body. They can use it to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like us. They are large and move very slowly.

Time for mischief

Some were genuinely so close they were within touching distance, and one especially curious, and camera friendly young monkey used his mother as a climbing frame, showing off his agility right in front of our eager lenses. His long-suffering parent however, had been chilling moments earlier, now rudely disturbed by his antics, she may have considered adoption.

“only be described as a sexual deviant”

A sexually aroused male howler monkey in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9186 howler_monkey A large type of Monkey from the americas. Known for their loud call. They often sound the alarm when danger is around. Their long tail, grows as long as their body. They can use it to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like us. They are large and move very slowly.

Other things on his mind

A howler monkey mother and baby in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9192 howler_monkey A large type of Monkey from the americas. Known for their loud call. They often sound the alarm when danger is around. Their long tail, grows as long as their body. They can use it to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like us. They are large and move very slowly.

Awww c’mon mom

It was mesmerising watching this relaxed monkey troop, they all had very different characters. Some remained quiet, almost in self-reflection, or meditation, others very curious, while one can only be described as a sexual deviant, his picture tells all! Their facial expressions alone were enough to keep us entertained, yawns, tongue poking and evil grins were just a small part of their repertoire.

Howler monkeys are usually heard long before they being seen, their booming calls carrying far in the rainforest, warning all wildlife of potential intruders, or danger. This was the closest we came to them, on every other occasion they were high up, in the upper branches of the highest trees in the forest.

A thoughtful howler monkey baby in the cloudforest of Monteverde in Costa Rica, in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_9185 howler_monkey A large type of Monkey from the americas. Known for their loud call. They often sound the alarm when danger is around. Their long tail, grows as long as their body. They can use it to pick up items with. They can see in all colors just like us. They are large and move very slowly.

Ain’t he cute?

We stayed for at least ten minutes, and would have happily stayed for longer. Daniel however, ushered us along once he determined we had enough shots, and before we over stayed our welcome.

White-faced capuchin monkey raiding party at Tortuguera National Park, Costa Rica in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_CR1404064 capuchin_monkey The Capuchin Monkey of Central and South America. only live in the trees and active only during the day. They are possibly one of the most intelligent of New World Monkeys. For this reason they are often used in lab experiments. They are dark in colour, with white or cream coloured face and shoulders. They have a black cap on top of the head. They can be nearly 2 feet long for the body and the tail can be equally long. Weighing about 2 pounds when they are fully grown.

I’m all for low-calorie sweeteners

Several days later we came across a mischievous troop of white-faced Capuchins raiding the rubbish bins of our hotel in Tortuguera. They were rooting through the trash with ruthless efficiency, jumping down from the roof of a nearby outhouse, snatching anything within reach, and squabbling over precious titbits. They eventually knocked one plastic bin over, scattering like startled mice, but returning to their raid moments later.

The howler monkeys had seemed calm, almost benign, these characters however, seemed much more mischievous, and almost sinister. Appearing like a group of bored delinquents, just itching for trouble. It came as little surprise to discover they can be aggressive towards people, and even steal the young of other primates for food.

White-faced capuchin monkey raiding party at Tortuguera National Park, Costa Rica in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_CR1404067

I’m on a calorie controlled diet too

White-faced capuchin monkey raiding party at Tortuguera National Park, Costa Rica in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_CR1404090

This is my bin

Costa Rica is home to an amazing variety of exotic wildlife, living in the primary, or newer secondary rainforests, or cloudforests. The places we visited during this trip were relatively accessible, easy hiking trails, hanging bridges high in the canopy, or boat tours along the swampy canals, monkey business, and other wildlife encounters are never too far away in this exciting destination.

White-faced capuchin monkey raiding party at Tortuguera National Park, Costa Rica in Central America on Mallory on Travel adventure, adventure travel, photography Iain_Mallory_CR1404086 capuchin_monkey The Capuchin Monkey of Central and South America. active only during the day. They are possibly one of the most intelligent of Americas monkeys, often used in lab experiments. They are dark in colour, with white coloured face and chest. They have a black cap on top of the head. They can be nearly 2 feet long for the body and the tail can be equally long. Weighing about 2 pounds when adults

How’s my camouflage?

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Comments 6

  1. Cristina ✈ (@travelingjourno)

    This post makes me so jealous! When I was in CR last I tried so hard each day to spot a monkey. Once I even slept in the middle of a jungle and still couldn’t get them to come close enough to see. I did wake up at 3 in the morning once to a bunch of really loud laughing monkeys. I didnt see them but I got it on audio recording!! Best souvenir I’ve ever brought back from a trip!

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