In the Peruvian Amazon there is a noisy but charming place where various species of monkeys roam freely, in harmony with the environment and far from the fearsome illegal hunting.
This earthly paradise is located 30 kilometers from the city of Iquitos and bears a particular name: the Island of the monkeys.
A New Opportunity
This wonderful place, visited in normal times by the many tourists who come to the region, was born 20 years ago at the initiative of Mr. Gilberto Guerra Reátegui. This good man, aware of the constant danger to which the monkeys were exposed, decided to have his own home to set up a rescue center where these friendly animals could have a second chance at life.
In a conversation with RPP, Aníbal Flores, caretaker of this species from the Amazonian archipelago, said that the first ten years were used to adapt the place as a natural habitat for monkeys. Trees were planted to provide green areas.
What followed was to populate, little by little, that intimate space. The «island» became home to seven species of monkeys, loosed in almost 450 hectares of shelter. If they were not taken in, these animals would most likely have perished as victims of deforestation, poaching or animal abuse.
Among the species that inhabit the island, the woolly monkey, the stump, the lion, the spider monkey and the howler monkey stand out.
These mischievous mammals do not breathe anything other than tranquility. Once in the hands of the shelter, they are cured and fed. The ample space allows them to run, play and, of course, hang and swing in the trees.
Once fully healed, the furry tenants are returned to their natural habitat so they can once again be free. Some of them leave; others prefer to enjoy the tranquility and love that their caregivers offer at the shelter.
Monkey Island is sustained by self-management, thanks to the hundreds of visitors, both national and international, who come to the area to play with the loving primates.
How to Get to the Monkey Island?
There are various options. It is possible to arrive from Bellavista Nanay (located to the north of the city of Iquitos), through a river boat (it can be a “small boat” or also a fast boat, the difference is the arrival time).
Likewise, there is the route that begins in the port of Producers. First, you have to go by boat through the majestic Amazon to the Varadero de Mazán. Then, you have to transfer to a «peque peque» boat, which will leave you a few steps from this tourist attraction.
Once there, you must pay for the right of entry. Adult foreigners pay S/30, and children S/20. Adult nationals pay S/20, and children S/10. Each sol collected is invested in food, medicine and maintenance of the «island».
Once inside, we recommend you follow the following rules: You are allowed to interact with the furry friends without feeding or disturbing them. It is also possible to take photos hugging one of these loving primates. Of course, as long as the snapshots are not with flash.
Furthermore, if you are interested, you can join the work of the refuge through volunteering. The required information is on the official website of the shelter.
Monkey Island is an indisputable stop for anyone who decides to visit the Amazon. Don’t miss out on this heartwarming experience, of course, when the traveling backpack can circulate through Peru again.