Observe monkeys from your whitewater raft
A two-day rafting trip down the thrilling Costa Rica’s Rio Pacuare gives our group a chance to get to know each other. Our adventure takes us through stunning canyons and lush lowland tropical rainforest, giving us our first glimpses of the ecosystems we’ve come to study and help protect, as well as ocelots, sloths and an astounding variety of birds.
Explore alongside naturalist guides
El Zota Biological Field Station in northeast Costa Rica is the perfect place to embark on our study of the rainforest and its primate inhabitants. The 2,500 acre reserve is home to white-faced capuchins, mantled howler monkeys and threatened black-handed spider monkeys that share their habitat with tapirs, armadillos, otters, parrots, toucans and poison dart frogs. We begin with discussions on rainforest ecology and primate natural history, biology and behavior. Learn field research techniques, then head out with naturalist guides to observe capuchins as they clamber through the trees or listen to the guttural howls of howler monkeys defending their turf. Explore a variety of habitats including lowland rainforest, lowland swamp forest, reforested areas, a small river and several freshwater lagoons. After completing your daily monkey observation logs, take a break to play soccer with the villagers or learn to salsa.
Examine existing threats to Central American primates
A short flight takes us to the tropical Isla Colon in Panama's Caribbean archipelago. We settle into our beachfront cabins with beautiful white Caribbean beaches on one side, mangroves on the other and a lush tropical rainforest in between. Here we examine threats to Central America's primates. Habitat destruction and fragmentation, development, domestication and poaching all contribute to the decline of healthy monkey populations in the region. We focus our discussions around ongoing efforts and potential strategies to counter and alleviate these impacts. As our academic understanding of these amazing creatures progresses, we expand our field studies… Search for monkeys and sloths in their beach and rainforest habitats. Take a break to enjoy an afternoon of snorkeling or kayaking. Head out on an evening quest to spot an elusive owl monkey, the world's only nocturnal monkey.
Conservation is in your hands
Travel to Manuel Antonio National Park on Costa Rica’s Pacific coast to observe the only New World monkey found in Costa Rica that we have yet to encounter, the squirrel monkey. Working alongside local educational and conservation organizations in one of the most beautiful and biodiverse areas in the world, we put our newfound expertise and experience to use… Help sustain the resident monkey population by assisting with reforestation projects and habitat renewal or surveying monkey bridges built to protect monkeys from encroaching roads and power lines. Help care for sick, injured or young monkeys, sloths and other animals at the animal rehabilitation center. Design and distribute educational materials about monkey and rainforest conservation to park visitors. As the trip comes to an end, we reflect on the fact that man holds the future of so many species in his hands. We are simultaneously their biggest enemy and the key to their survival. You leave amazed at the knowledge you’ve gained, the friendships made, the experiences shared and the small but meaningful impact you’ve made together to protect New World monkeys and their habitats for the future.