|Picture yourself on a fast boat,
wind in your face, blue sky overhead, sun sparkling on
clear water, winding through narrow channels in the mangrove forest.
Finally, you turn into the mouth of a jungle river, and find yourself surrounded by dense, unspoiled rainforest habitat, with its tall canopy reaching up to the clear morning sky...this is the Monkey River.
a shadow in the treetops
At the base of Richardson Peak, one of the highest mountains in Belize, is the origin of the mighty Monkey River, which winds its way southeast through dense jungle and empties into the Gulf of Honduras. The area's only human population of about 500, lives at the mouth, in Monkey River Village, and the surrounding undisturbed wilderness is home to a multitude of wildlife.
Placencia is only 14 miles north of the mouth of Monkey
River and is a good place from which to take the Monkey River Tour.
Around 8 a.m., your guide will pick you up by boat, and travel
through the lagoon and in among the red mangrove fringe forest along the
coast, habitat of the manatee and many species of birds. Most of this trip
is in protected waters and will be relatively smooth. It takes about 35
minutes to reach the mouth of the river.
A huge, bright orange iguana finds his
place in the sun.
Up the river...
The native guide points out numerous iguanas, turtles and birds as you motor slowly up river. Not long into the trip the jungle erupts with the bizarre sounds of the Black Howler Monkey as the troupes communicate with each other to declare their territory. Nothing you read could prepare you for the adventure of hearing these monkeys for the first time...you just have to experience it!
...and into the bush
An hour into the trip, disembark to venture into the jungle and "see the howlers close up." Imagine being guided through the bush by someone who spent their childhood there! Learn about the different plants and trees as he cuts a new trail and wander (sometimes through water) further from the river. The sound of a troupe of howler monkeys as they burst out in a raucous chorus tingles the hair on the back of your neck! It's hard to believe an animal that weighs 35 pounds can sound as big as a bull elephant.
Return to the mouth and Monkey River Village for a lunch of genuine Creole food at Alice's Restaurant. You will have worked up a great appetite hiking through the jungle. then a guided tour through the small village before boarding the boat for the trip back to Placencia. You will be back at your hotel about 3 p.m. and ready for a refreshing swim in the blue Caribbean. Monkey River Tour is one of the "don't miss" tours in Belize!
|Global Travel Club
|Tel: +44 (0)1268 541732
|Fax: +44 (0)1268 541363
|Photographs and text courtesy of Ms. P. Picon/Belize Report