Monkey River is one of Belize’s major waterways. Two water courses join to form the Monkey River: the northern headwaters, Swasey Branch, originating in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and the more southern, Baiden Branch water course, draining from the eastern slopes of the Mayan Mountains. The Monkey River is navigated throughout the year using small boats. Navigation above the major confluence (of Baiden and Swasey Branches) becomes more difficult, due to shallow water, when the dry season starts about February. Habitats in this watershed provide cover for diverse species such as the ocelot, jaguar, howler monkey, bare-throated tiger heron, Morelet’s crocodile, fer-de-lance (Copperheads) and manatee.

From Villa Verano, we drive down the Southern Highway and Placencia peninsula for about an hour. Embarking from here by boat, our tour cruises along the south coast, then inland, up the Monkey River through the beautiful flora and fauna of the broad leaf, subtropical forest. Iguanas dive into the water, howler monkeys race through the forest, birds jump from tree to tree and crocodiles sun on the riverbanks. Stooping to hike, your guide will point out herbal medicinal plants, birds, insects, monkeys, snakes and maybe even a tapir! Lunch is enjoyed at the hospitable village of Monkey River, home to about 200 residents.


Depart: 7:30 am
Length: Full day
Terrain: Dense tropical rainforest with trails and streams
Difficulty: Easy to moderate
Recommended to Bring: Bottled water, sunscreen, bug repellent, cap or hat, sunglasses, long pants, shirt and long sleeved shirt, sturdy shoes or boots, camera, binoculars, swimsuit, beach towel and extra (dry) clothes for the end of your day.

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