If you ever visit Panama, you should take the Panama Channel Cruise. Not only because this legendary channel separates two Americas, but also because it is a chance to get a very close acquainted with the numerous monkeys, inhabiting Panama’s rainforests.
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Monkey Island in the Lake Gatun
Panama’s travel agencies offer a great variety of wildlife tours, and naturally, foreign tourists get fascinated by a single thought of visiting an island completely overrun by monkeys. Locals call it the Monkey Island. You can get there by boat, passing through the green labyrinth of the jungle-covered islands.
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Loud mantled howler monkeys
The first thing you hear coming close to the island (even if you are still 5 kilometers away), is the sounding call of the howler monkeys. These guys communicate with each other by using loud howling sounds. There is a chance of seeing them in the woods, hanging upside down with a help of their mighty tails, supporting the weight of their whole bodies.
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Cute and friendly capuchins
Get ready to welcome a troop of white-faced capuchin monkeys right on the board of your boat, so prepare some snacks! They can eat bananas out of your hands and even step on you a little bit. Capuchin monkeys are very versatile and intelligent. They got their name after an order of monks because of the visual similarity with Franciscan’s robes.
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Geoffroy’s tamarin monkey
Not that friendly and easy to see a monkey, a tamarin will hide from you between the leaves. However, this guy has a really unforgettable face, so if you are lucky enough to spot this tiny ½ kg primate, you will really remember it for a long time.
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Panama Rainforest Discovery Center
Monkeys are really cute creatures, so for more communication and a bigger variety, there is one more place to visit – Panama Rainforest Discovery Center. This is a huge park with trails, 40-meter observation tower, special programs and basic facilities, located 40 minutes away from Panama City. Except for monkeys, you can find a variety of tropical birds and butterflies there.
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Stay in a monkey hotel
Another option, offered the by hospitable Panama citizens, is to stay at the small bungalows, surrounded by the rainforest. One such jungle hotel, Monkey Lodge, has a group of rescue monkeys, extremely friendly and fun to interact with.
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Among the fun inhabitants of Monkey Lodge, there is a couple of spider monkeys. These guys got their names because of their unusually long legs and a very long tail. When they climb the trees, they really look like five-legged spiders.
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Panamanian night monkey
If you are very lucky or become really good friends with the local guides, they can take you to the places where Panamanian night monkey (also called Chocoan night monkey) can be spotted. An animal and nature blogger Rob Ripma was happy to find the two of these one night and take a quick photo.
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In the latest Panama Canal excavation, seven fossil teeth of the monkey related to the capuchin were discovered. The age of the teeth proved that Panama was the native land for the first North American monkeys.
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