It was time to go to the monkey island!! I was so excited to see monkeys up close and as our canoe approached the island Lena told me they will jump on us as soon as we arrive… my heart started beating really fast. “But I don’t want them to touch me, I just wanna take pictures of them playing in trees.” Famous last words!
We arrived and the lady took us to our rooms in the hut on stilts, it was very basic and to be expected, I didn’t like the holes between the planks of wood and I spotted some creepy crawlies trying to invade so I covered my bed with the mosquito net but it was only big enough to cover half. We dropped off our bags and went outside, I saw these cuuuute little monkeys that looked a little like squirrels and I wanted to play with them. I went near them and started making kissy noises, one ran up to me, jumped all over me, bit me everywhere and ran away. He was like the Tasmanian devil, I didn’t really know what was happening and then he was gone. They weren’t as cute as they looked! One of the keeper’s came up to me and told me those ones were small but evil, he was violent and vicious and I had learnt to stay away. I was a little bit shocked by what just happened so I walked back to the hut and thought I should go in and just watch them from where I was safe but then some bigger monkeys ran to the door and were hanging over it, I felt like they were waiting for me. “Just pretend they aren’t there, ignore them and just walk in they wont come near you”, that’s what I told myself but this is what happened:
That monkey was naughty, his name was Panchito and he was the most mischievous of them all but could also be very cute. At one point he pulled Lena’s top down and flashed me, it was hilarious! All of that specie behaved like that, very naughty little monkeys but then they can also be calm and cuddle you and come and sit on your lap quietly. I realised there was no getting away and if I was going to enjoy the two days on monkey island, I had to embrace monkeying around. One Monkey, Karina, came up to me and held out her hand, she was the most human of all of them, a spider monkey. I took her hand and she pulled me into the forest, eventually she decided to jump into my arms and wanted me to carry her around…so I did. I think because she was so friendly I lost my fear and she was not aggresive or naughty like the others. We played, she would hang onto me with her tail and I would swing her around in circles, she loved it. When we got back the other little monkeys like Panchito jumped on me again, they cover your eyes and swing on your hair and bite you but then you realise they are playing and the less you struggle the more they just relax and chill with you.
There was a young boy working at the sanctuary, Juan, he was about 17 and he asked if we wanted to go to a nearby village, we just said yes and didn’t ask any questions. We thought you walk there but you get the boat, it was just across the river, a small village called Santa Victoria. Karina really wanted to come and wouldn’t let me put her down, eventually a keeper had to come and hold her while we left, I felt really sad like I had just left a child behind lol. On the way Juan told us he goes there to play football, while he played we explored. It was really hot and we didn’t take any water, I asked the villagers if they had any but they didn’t. All these kids were playing with us and we went and sat in the shade watching football and playing with the children. Me and Lena had explored enough and were ready to leave, we didn’t realise we would be there that long so we told him that we would wait on the riverbank for the boat and sat there. The children followed and sat with us, they had never been to the monkey island although it was so close you could see it.
As the sun set, our boat came into view and we went back. Karina was waiting for us on the riverbank and jumped into my arms, she was so cute and I loved playing with her. She would take me for walks all the time, I would just hold her hand and follow her until she found a tree to climb, she would hang on it and then jump on me. The island wasn’t very known to tourists, I think they had tours every few days where they spend 30 minutes there but we were the only crazy ones who wanted to stay there for 2 days!! It was basically a monkey sanctuary that was not enclosed so the monkeys were free to roam the Amazon. None of them ever left that area though because they loved it and got fed and even made money…I saw one steal the wallet of an American tourist – it was hilarious (he got it back eventually).They had two bedrooms in the house where the keepers lived and me and Lena took one. The house had no electricity and as night fell the keepers gave us candles. We had dinner in candle light and then sat at the table talking and playing cards. The forest sounded sooo loud around us, I could hear all kinds of animals and insects and HUGE bugs kept flying into our candle. I couldn’t relax and decided to go to bed. I took all my sheets off, shook them all and then got into bed because I was sure there were creepy crawlies waiting for me and my mosquito net was useless. I couldn’t sleep.
Karina came to our net windows and it felt like she was asking me to go and play with her, she just hung there watching us, and then suddenly a huge roar of thunder came out of nowhere and lightning followed with a torrential downpour of rain. The storm continued for hours, it was so windy and sometimes I could feel the spray of rain blowing on me. The lightning lit up the whole hut and I could see the creepy crawlies in all the corners, I got up, shook all my sheets again and got back into bed and as the storm stopped I finally fell asleep at around 4am. We got woken for breakfast at 7.30, we ate and then I smuggled some food outside for the monkeys. It was like a marshland, soaked with rain and muddy. Karina spotted me from a mile away and I could see her running towards me, she jumped into my arms and grabbed the banana. She was soaking wet and full of mud and dirt and now…so was I. All the monkeys started running towards us, I felt under attack and then the keeper came out with a stick and they all saw it and behaved. He fed them and I helped him, it was great and some of them were eating on my head lol.
I walked around taking pictures of them, fighting with them not to take my camera as they kept trying to pull it from my hands, I pulled it back from one and he lay on the floor covering his eyes and peeking at me through a little gap in them, he was upset. Another monkey saw him and came and hugged him, they hugged for ages rocking from side to side and then they both decided to attack me together so I stopped feeling sorry for them. They were so human it was crazy, I would even speak to them like they were babies except I felt like Karina was older then me haha. She was so sad when we were leaving, she tried to jump into our boat and then she just stood on the riverbank waving until we had gone.
I had such a good time, I would encourage anyone going to Iquitos to book a stay at the Isla de Los Monos, they told us people only stay once a month or so but it was really cheap and worth it if you can handle the bugs, personally one night was enough for me!
Ciao for now x