One thing I’ll give resorts is that they’re a lot like hostels, in that people talk to one another more than they do at hotels. You sit down in the lobby to check wifi, you start chatting. You sit down at lunch, you start staring at the crowing peacocks, look over at the person at the next table, and start talking. You go to the beach bar for a nightcap, and you…well if you’re me, you try to read a book, but people start talking to you.
Which is how we ended up chatting with people at a bar one night (they flagged us down to ask if we were from Holland. Which we’re not, for the record.)
They had booked a tour to Monkey Land before leaving home, and told us a bit about it. You hold a small bowl of food, and the monkeys come over and climb over you, jump on you, and just generally have a lot of fun playing around. This was about all the information we got – they weren’t even sure at that point what the name was – they thought it was on an island, in fact. So the next day we googled ‘monkey excursion punta cana’ and…voila. Monkey Land.
We booked online, and had no way to print the paypal receipt, but I screenshot the email, and that’s what we used when we were picked up. We had no problem with not having a paper receipt.
Runners Adventures picks you up in a new, well taken care of vehicle, and drives you to a meeting point (which happened to be just across from the dune buggies). From there, people climb into the correct vehicle (I guess occasionally, they have different vehicles pick up people from resorts in other locations) and off you go. The road at first is smooth, but eventually we pulled off onto a very bumpy back road.
From there, we wound our way through the mountains, before stopping at another typical house. Unlike our tour with the dune buggies, this one was more informative, with information on growing, harvesting, and roasting both coffee and cacao. Then it was another sales pitch and sample of the coffee and hot chocolate, before we were on our way again to Monkey Land.
At Monkey Land we were given a short “do’s and don’ts” list – don’t panic, don’t pet the monkeys, do allow them to use you as a climbing post, and then we headed into the monkeys’ enclosure.
The enclosure is pretty huge – the monkeys have more than ample room to play, run around, and live. There are sides, but no ceiling/roof, and there is plenty of vegetation. The monkeys are squirrel monkeys – they’re pretty small, about 2lbs full grown, so when they jump on you, you’re aware of it, but it doesn’t knock you over. They were even-tempered, playful, and very interested in our food bowls.
Once inside, we were handed a small metal bowl filled with peanuts, cucumber, bananas, melons, apples…lots of different fruit. We were lined up again a railing, underneath a tree, and the monkeys ran over to pick through our bowls for whatever treat they wanted. They climbed over us, stood on us, jumped on us…and it was the cutest thing ever.
After a few minutes, we walked down to a scenic lookout for photos, and more monkey mugging, and then around to a massive tree that the monkeys sleep in. Again, we were lined up for the monkeys to climb over, and after that it was back out of the enclosure.
All in all, we spent about a half hour in the enclosure, asking our guide a few questions, taking pictures, and getting lots of monkey loving.