tulum monkey sanctuary
the hard truth is that monkeys are not pets.
it's not easy to accept- they're just so damn cute and fun to play with. owning a monkey as a pet is illegal in mexico, which is insane when you consider that almost everything is legal in mexico. a spider monkey hits adulthood around six years old. if they grow up without meeting other monkeys, they can't fit back into jungle monkey society. and that's how they end up in the tulum monkey sanctuary. like pancho:
pancho can't hang out with other monkeys because he's missing a forearm- they'll think he's weak and beat him up real bad. this guy's been through enough. he doesn't need to deal with other monkey's attitudes. the photos of him above are when he tasted a lime (for the first time in his crazy life). he swings around in his house with a gal named mimi.
further into the jungle was another monkey house filled with ladies. they enjoy eating, grooming, napping, and swinging around. like this:
it's freaky to watch these monkeys walk around upright on their back legs. we weren't fast enough with the cameras to catch it happening. it's effortless to interact with them when footage isn't being shot, but they all get real disinterested when cameras come out.
the monkeys are in various stages of rehabilitation with the final goal of getting them to monkey island- an open air jungle part of the sanctuary. it's surrounded by a low electric fence, which i'm guessing is mandatory when you have people and wild animals checking each other out. the monkeys in this section seemed to have a pretty sweet life. worrying about their belly fat and getting annoyed by the kids. monkeys- they're just like us!
there are wild monkeys on the property too, and plenty of other animals to see- horses (a colt!), white tail deer, bunnies, dogs, creepy ducks, a cranky burro, and a very photogenic crocodile. he's on proud display in the first photo below. there are also two cenotes on the property that you're welcomed to swim in after trekking through the jungle. the water in the second photo is deep enough that you can jump into it from the log, 12 feet above the surface. the water is not greenish/brown- it's so clear that you can see the bottom.
the whole trip was spent with our guide, john. he was fantastic and informative and super pleasant. he gave hilarious, and sometimes heartbreaking, back stories for all the animals. a few tips if you plan to visit this magical place:
- i wore flip flops, because i didn't want to trash my nice shoes traipsing through the jungle. it wasn't the best idea, but they worked out in the end. it is all terrain, so be aware.
- no joke about bringing bug spray. this is the jungle and there are mosquitos everywhere. long sleeves and pants helped too.
- the tour lasted about 3 hours, i think. it's pretty casual- we were the only people with our guide and he was super accommodating.
- i didn't notice any bathrooms. not sure how that works.
finally, tulum monkey sanctuary is not a zoo. it's not even a petting zoo, although you can pet and feed some of the animals. don't come here thinking this is a big time tourist attraction. it's just a small sanctuary for discarded animals that are given a good life. let's finish it off with some shots of the bebe's. you'll want to take them home! until you remember that's how they got here in the first place.