Monkey Sanctuary in the Riviera Maya

monkey sanctuary


Howler and spider monkeys

Monkeys are one of the most famous animals in the animal kingdom. We share a lot of things with them, from the skills to build a community, to the abilities to use different tools to get food.

On the Mexican Caribbean we have two species of them. You may see some of them, playing, getting close to you! This reminds us the importance of conservation… The best place to encounter monkeys during your stay in the Riviera is to go to the national park of Punta Laguna, a natural Monkey Sanctuary located next to Coba ruins.

Howler Monkeys, the loudest animals!

If you are lucky enough you will encounter or at least listen to the Howler Monkey, the loudest animal in the world (according the Record Guinness). It can be heard 2 miles away (3.2 km) in the jungle and almost 3 miles away (4.8 km) in open areas. They use this magnificent sound to delimit their territory from other troops and basically to them to back off.

Other facts about howling monkeys are:

  • They are the second laziest animals in the wild (after the sloths). Spending the 80% of their time resting in the treetops.
  • They live in groups of 10-20 individuals called “Troops”
  • They are folivores (specialized in eating leaves)
  • This specie has a trichromatic color vision, helping them to choose the best leaves for their diets
  • Howling monkeys have a highly developed sense of smell- they can smell their food from 1-2 miles away
  • The females help to take care of other young monkeys

Most of the howling monkey species are found in abundance in the wild. But Mexican howling monkeys are critical endangered due deforestation and development.

Spider monkeys, the strongest tail!

We have the loudest one but also the strongest tail one in the animal kingdom!

Spider monkeys are the acrobats of the trees! Their prehensile tail is longer than the rest of their body and can measure around 35 inches/90 cm in length. The tail is strong enough to support more than the animal’s body weight.

Some other interesting facts about spider monkeys are:

  • They prefer to sleep in the trees to avoid predators, using the branches to alarm them in case of danger.
  • They don’t posses thumbs to grasp branches better.
  • Males raise the young ones.
  • Spider Monkey´s diet mayor is ripe fruits and seeds.
  • They are responsible for scattering seeds and are indirectly responsable in pollination.
  • The mexican spider monkey is critical endangered due deforastion and lost of the habitat.

If you want to have a chance to get around these monkeys, the best way is to get a tour to Punta Laguna, Monkey Sanctuary and help the local community to protect these species!

Punta Laguna

Punta laguna

Punta Laguna National Park

Are you interested in experiencing a living Mayan community and discovering aMonkey Sanctuary?

With a population of approximately 30 families, Punta Laguna Monkey Sanctuary is a thriving area that welcomes tourists! These natives welcome all individuals to visit and learn by participating in historic day to day activities.

Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh, or Punta Laguna, has been a protected area since 1982. It is home to the spider monkey and the puma cat. Spreading across 5,367 hectares, it is the perfect adventure for families and nature lovers alike. You can be sure you will be able to enjoy the beautiful landscape in a safe and respectful way.

Punta Laguna offers five possible activities:

  • A hike suitable for all ages in the jungle to get a glimpse of the spider monkey and hear the howler monkey’s famous cry. (encountering them is not guaranteed)
  • A relaxing canoe trip through the lagoon
  • An adrenaline packed zip-line tour over the lagoon
  • A descent into a cenote by way rappel rope (max weight 210 lbs / 95 kg)
  • A historic Mayan purification ceremony

This national park is a few miles from Coba ruins.  So it's a great idea to combine the visit of Punta Laguna with these ancient mayan ruins in one day trip!