It’s hardly surprising that the Dominican Republic is the second most popular travel destination for Americans. The Caribbean island has a lot to explore from its natural beauty and plentiful beaches to a variety of family-friendly attractions.
One of these attractions is Monkeyland Punta Cana, one of the few places in the world where you can get up-close to adorable squirrel monkeys. Here’s everything you need to know about visiting this top family excursion.
You Need to Book a Tour Reservation to Visit
The first thing you need to know about visiting Monkeyland is that getting there requires booking a reservation for a tour. The five-acre sanctuary is a little off the beaten path, nestled in the Anamuya mountains. Because it is a popular tourist attraction, reservations are required to give all visitors adequate time with the monkeys.
Prices start at $75 per adult and $50 per child. It takes about five hours to visit Monkeyland. Tour options may include the zip line adventure, which makes the visit last the entire day.
What a Typical Visit Looks Like
No matter which tour option you choose, all Monkeyland visits include the same basic itinerary. A safari bus will pick you up between 7 and 8 AM and transport you to the Monkeyland sanctuary. Be prepared for some bumps along the way as the bus makes it way over unpaved roads through the Punta Cana countryside.
Upon arrival the staff greet guests, explain the history of the sanctuary, and go over the rules for visiting the monkeys. Monkeyland was founded by a Canadian couple that worked at the Toronto Zoo. They decided to move to a warmer climate and started Monkeyland to give people an interactive animal experience.
The squirrel monkeys themselves are not native to the Dominican Republic. They come from South America, but the sanctuary mimics their natural habitat. Monkeyland is not a zoo in the traditional sense in that the monkeys are not caged, and can roam freely about the premises.
Monkeyland also features a botanical garden teeming with medicinal plants. After visiting the monkeys, guests are given a tour of the garden and an explanation for each plant’s use.
Rules For Interacting With Monkeys
One important thing to remember about visiting Monkeyland is that there are rules for interacting with the monkeys. As tempting as it may be to pat or cuddle them, both are off-limits because the primates don’t like affection. They may also consider it an act of aggression.
Guests are also not allowed to wear sunscreen or insect repellent as the smell and chemicals used can discourage the monkeys from getting close.
Visitors are allowed to take as many photos and videos of the monkeys as they like. The animals are very friendly and gentle. They will often climb atop arms, shoulders, and even heads.
You’ll also be supplied with a variety of food for hand feeding the monkeys. Peanuts are one of their favorite snacks, so guests with peanut allergies may want to skip a visit to Monkeyland. The monkeys also carry peanut residue on their feet and hands so the chance of having a peanut allergy attack runs high.
Guests have about a half hour to 45 minutes with the monkeys. When the food runs out, they tend to scamper back into their trees.
Visiting a Traditional Dominican Home
Most Monkeyland tours also include a stop at a Dominican home on a coffee plantation on the way to or from the sanctuary. Guests will get to see how Dominicans live, which is usually without electricity or running water.
The back yard of the home is where visitors gather next for a coffee and cocoa bean roasting demonstration. After a talk about how these goods and others such as coconut oil are cultivated, visitors are invited to sample some local fruit. You’ll also have an opportunity to buy some of the native goods.
Zip Line Adventures at Monkeyland
For an additional cost, you can also book a Monkeyland and Zip Line tour. The Monkeyland zip line is the longest one in the Dominican Republic and perhaps one of the most scenic in the world, as you glide past the Anamuya mountains. Visitors as young as six are permitted to ride the zip lines.
There are 12 zip lines to be conquered. Guests receive safety training and the cost includes helmets and all equipment. Your tour may also include a traditional Dominican lunch of chicken and beef creole, rice, beans, and salad bar.
Tips For Visiting Monkeyland
Before you visit Monkeyland, here’s a few helpful tips to know about that can make your visit more pleasant:
- Bring bottled water and a snack; it can get hot under the Dominican sun
- Bring an over-the-counter painkiller in case the bumpy bus rides brings on aches and soreness
- People with peanut allergies should not visit Monkeyland; even with an epi-pen, there are no hospitals or medical care nearby
- The tour is not accessible for people with physical disabilities and limited mobility
- The tour is not recommended for those who have asthma, heart conditions, and back problems
- Wear comfortable walking shoes or sneakers and dress appropriately for the warm weather
- Don’t wear sunscreen, insect repellent, or fragrance
- Bring extra money to tip the bus driver and Monkeyland staff
Keeping these tips in mind for allow for an enjoyable Monkeyland tour and visit.
Visit Monkeyland Punta Cana
Now that you know more about what to expect when visiting Monkeyland Punta Cana, perhaps you’d like to visit the Dominican Republic and see the monkeys for yourself. TravelSearch Guru makes it easy for travelers enjoy the most popular attractions throughout the Caribbean, Spain, Mexico, and more.
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