In the region of La Fortuna there are three of the four species of monkeys that exist in Costa Rica. The howler monkey, the white-faced monkey and the spider monkey. Just a few kilometers away from La Fortuna, go to the forested areas of the slopes of Arenal Volcano and Cerro Chato, or go into the plains and wetlands of the lowlands of Caño Negro and Boca Tapada, and you can see the Howler Monkey, the White-faced Monkey and the Spider Monkey.
The howler monkey is an icon of the rainforests, precisely because of its howl, which can be heard from miles away. This large monkey, with dark brown and black fur, usually walks in large groups, among which there are several males, one of them a leader, several females and almost always a juvenile or even a newborn monkey. They feed on leaves and fruits of the forest and like to choose a residential area, where they usually stay for a long time. They have a sometimes almost predictable ritual, and it is easy to hear them early in the morning, when it rains or also with the sunset, in the evenings, when the sun is not so hot.
The White-faced Monkey
The White-faced Monkey also moves in groups, which move quickly through the treetops. It is smaller than the Howler Monkey, however, Howler Monkeys and Spider Monkeys tend to fear the White-faced Monkey because of its fearless and to some extent aggressive attitude towards other monkey species. Its fur is a combination of black and white, and the face is very distinctive, with white and dark spots in distinct patterns. Contrary to the howler monkey, the White-faced Monkey is omnivorous, and eats everything from fruits and leaves to animals, including reptiles such as basilisks, iguanas, birds and even other monkeys. They are often heard from a distance because of their high-pitched sounds, similar to those of a screeching bird or other animal.
The Spider Monkey
The Spider Monkey is extremely agile thanks to its long arms and long tail. It is the longest of the monkeys, although the Howler Monkey is usually the heaviest. It has a brownish-brown color, with some dark and light spots. Like the Howler Monkey, it eats fruits and leaves, and usually walks in groups not as numerous as the Howler Monkey. Its movements are less electric than those of the White-faced Monkey, and it also has a more timid attitude.
Where to see monkeys in La Fortuna
If you are staying in or around La Fortuna, it is very likely that from your hotel you will have the chance to see monkeys, especially the Howler Monkey. The creeks and interconnected forest areas are often frequented by Howler Monkeys, although they do require a certain rurality and abundance of nature.
That is why the best areas to see monkeys from La Fortuna are usually the areas that are visited on ecotourism and nature tours, including the Peñas Blancas River Safari, and especially the tour in Caño Negro.
In Caño Negro it is very common to see monkeys, and in this area there is a particularity, which is that there are orange howler monkeys, which, it is assumed, are the result of the abundance of chemicals that once existed in the area surrounding the wetlands.
During the tour to Cerro el Burrito it is also possible to see monkeys in the trees, which always attracts the attention of the hikers who take the tour with us.
The riverbanks, especially the Rio Tres Amigos, the Peñas Blancas and the Rio San Carlos are excellent areas to see various species of monkeys among other wildlife.
The best thing to do during any of our tours is to keep your eyes open, and listen to the sounds emanating from the jungles. Especially during the morning hours, between 5 and 8 am as well as the afternoon hours, after 4:30 PM until 6:00 PM are ideal times to see some or several species of monkeys in La Fortuna and the area around the Arenal Volcano.