During our trip to Costa Rica, my husband and I decided to take a day trip to Nicaragua. As part of our tour we got to ride in a small boat around gigantic Lake Nicaragua. The lake is home to many small islands- from private residences to hotels and restaurants, and even an old Spanish Fort.
One particularly interesting island on Lake Nicaragua is Monkey Island- A small island whose only inhabitants are a group of monkeys. Here is the story of our short visit to Monkey Island.
Our boat pulled up close to the shore of a teeny island, where a fruit tree hung over the water. Our tour guide stretched his arm out to pick a handful of the fruit. It was about the size of a ping-pong ball, and green like a tennis ball.
“It’s for the monkeys” we were told.
The boat steered toward another island, where a few other boats congregated. In the trees we could see movement, as monkeys jumped from limb to limb. Our boat floated beneath an overhanging tree limb, where a small Capuchin monkey sat, eyes locked on us.
Our tour guide handed a piece of fruit to me. “You want to feed the monkey?”
Heck yes. Heck yes I wanted to feed the monkey.
I took the small fruit between my finger and inched up to the front of the boat. “Here ya go, Monkey” I said as I stretched my arm out.
Without pause, he snatched the fruit and backed away to enjoy his treat.
“Didn’t even say Thanks. Rude.”
A few other people in our group were given fruit to feed the monkey as our guide told us the story of how Monkey Island came to be.
Apparently this rich guy decided he wanted to buy one of the islands on Lake Nicaragua. He found a listing online and bought up this piece of property, with visions of building his own vacation dream home. Well, when he got to the island it turns out it was nothing like what the online description read. With barely enough space to set up a cluster of tents, there was no way his dream home would land here.
Basically, this guy was ticked.
So like any rational thinking person, he retaliated by bringing a bunch of Capuchin and Spider monkeys and dumping them on the island. The ultimate way to say “suck it“, in my book.
And here the monkeys are today.
Well…most of them. Turns out these two breeds of monkeys don’t exactly get along. Over time, they’ve had a West Side Story-esque rumble and most of the Spider monkeys have been killed by the Capuchins.
“When you’re a Capuchin, You. Stay. A. Capuchiiiiiin!” *Jazz hands*
Anyone else? No?
Do it Yourself
We visited Monkey Island as part of a day tour with Mardigi Tours. You can sign up for a tour leaving Guanacaste, Costa Rica here.
Or you can hire private boats in Granada, Nicaragua to take you to the islands. Expect to pay around $20 per person.