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Where To See Monkeys In Cancun – Complete Guide

If you’re looking for somewhere to see monkeys in Cancun then you’re in the right place.

Nothing can beat that amazing feeling of seeing a monkey up close and personal in their natural habitat! Why not try it for yourself?

This post will tell you all of the best places to see monkeys in Cancun and includes all the information you’ll need for a fun day out. 

Are There Monkeys in Cancun, Mexico?

Yes, you can see wild monkeys near Cancun. 

The center of Cancun is filled with tourists, hotels and businesses so most of the wildlife has moved out of this area to the outskirts.

There are still plenty of places where you can see wild monkeys though that you can easily visit on a day trip from Cancun.

The two most common species of monkey present in Cancun are the spider and howler monkeys.

For the best chance of seeing monkeys, I’d recommend joining this day-tour to Xcaret park from Cancun.

This ancient Mayan archaeological site and nature reserve is filled with monkeys and includes lots of additional activities including snorkeling, Mayan ruins and more.

There are many locations close to Cancun where you can see monkeys playing and you can get up close to them.

Keep reading to find out where to see monkeys in Cancun without fail.

Where To See Monkeys in Cancun

You can see monkeys near Cancun but they don’t just hang around in the street so you need to know where to go to have a chance of seeing them.

Monkeys thrive in lush tropical rainforests and wetlands so this is where you’ll find them.

Below I’ve listed the BEST locations near Cancun where you have a super high chance of seeing monkeys.

I’ve also included handy links to the best-rated tours. These are all provided by reputable companies and have excellent reviews so you can put your mind at ease.

Monkeys in Playa del Carmen

The best place to see monkeys near Cancun is at Playa del Carmen which is a coastal resort town in Mexico known for its palm-lined beaches and coral reefs.

From Cancun, it takes just over an hour to get there so it makes for a perfect day trip.

For an almost guaranteed chance of seeing monkeys, head over to Xcaret Park in Playa del Carmen which is a nature and Mayan civilization archeology park.

If you’re staying in Cancun, I’d recommend joining this day tour to Xcaret which includes comfortable transport to and from Xcaret.

On the tour, you’ll get the chance to see monkeys, swim in a lagoon, snorkel with a range of wildlife, explore Mayan ruins and enjoy an evening show of Mayan music. 

Did you know that you can also swim with turtles in Cancun? Yep, it’s actually pretty easy if you know where to go (I list the exact locations in my post).

Sian Ka’an Biosphere

Another place near Cancun where you can see monkeys is in the Sian Ka’an Biosphere which is located a couple of hours south of Cancun.

The Sian Ka’an Biosphere covers 2,000 square miles and features tropical forests, lagoons, mangroves, beaches, palm savannahs and wetlands (a.k.a an ideal monkey habitat).

Among the many different species of animals that call this region home, you will find both spider and howler monkeys here.

As this area is huge, I’d recommend booking a guided tour like this one as this gives you the best possible chance of spotting monkeys.

Your experienced tour guide will know where to find monkeys without fail so it’s definitely the best option if you REALLY want to see monkeys.

Punta Laguna Monkey Reserve

Another place where you can see monkeys from Cancun is at the non-profit Punta Laguna Monkey Reserve which is located less than 2 hours south of Cancun.

This area, which forms part of a 5000-hectare nature reserve, is famous for being a haven for both spider and howler monkeys.

Located literally in the middle of a jungle, you definitely won’t have a hard time spotting monkeys here. 

Most people hike through the forest watching the monkeys playing, eating and living in their natural habitat.

If you want to see as many monkeys as possible, you can get a guide who will know where to find the monkeys without fail. If not, you can explore on your own and you’ll likely still find a few. 

I highly recommend this day trip to Punta Laguna as it also includes a stop at the nearby ancient city of Coba.

It also includes transport to and from Cancun (you just need to select Cancun as your pick-up location when you book).

There’s tons of fun activities that you can take part in here including a guided tour of the monkey reserve, canoeing across a lagoon, visiting an archaeological site, riding a zipline and more.

There is also a nearby Mayan village which gives you the chance to see an indigenous way of living. Here you can tour the thatched-roof houses and watch locals cook over open fires.

The monkey reserve is run by the Mayan community so by visiting, you are actually supporting the local community which is great to know.

Check out this cute spider monkey spotted at Punta Laguna in the video below:

Iberostar Tucan

For something a little bit different, you can book a stay at the 5-star beachfront Iberostar Tucan hotel in Playa del Carmen.

This hotel has a resident population of wild howler monkeys that roam the resort. 

Guests have reported that you constantly see monkeys and other wildlife walking around all day long and even sometimes have a monkey visitor on your balcony.

Check out what you can expect from a stay at Iberostar Tucan hotel in the video below:

Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden

Another place where you can see monkeys close to Cancun is at the Dr. Alfredo Barrera Marin Botanical Garden which is just 30 minutes from Cancun.

These gardens feature a large forest with extensive walking trails. You can often spot spider monkeys here as well as many different bird species.

This is actually the largest botanical garden in Mexico and covers 65 hectares which is plenty of space for monkeys to roam around.

Monkey Sanctuaries

Another place where you can see monkeys near Cancun is at a monkey sanctuary.

Before visiting a monkey sanctuary, make sure you research the company as there are some ‘sanctuaries’ in Mexico that are far from ethical.

As a general rule, if the sanctuary offers services where you can touch the monkeys or take photos with them, it’s not a good one as this can be extremely traumatic for the monkeys.

Additionally, try to find non-profit sanctuaries where all the funds go straight to caring for the monkeys.

The Jungle Place

One of the best sanctuaries is The Jungle Place which is about 1 hour 30 minutes from Cancun. 

They provide food, shelter, medical care and love to spider monkeys that have been victims of illegal pet trade, habitat destruction and more.

They take care of monkeys that can no longer survive in the wild, giving them a good home with other monkeys.

They are a non-profit organization. 100% of donations go towards caring for the monkeys.

Tips for Seeing Monkeys in Cancun

First time spotting monkeys?

To ensure both you and the monkeys remain safe, there’s a few key things to bear in mind when seeing them in Cancun.

  • Keep your distance. It is best to watch wild monkeys from a distance whenever possible so you don’t disturb them.
  • Don’t feed the monkeys. The monkeys don’t need help finding food and this can actually be detrimental to their health.
  • Try to be quiet. Monkeys are much more sensitive to sound than we are so try to be as quiet as possible.
  • Try not to get in their way. If you block a monkey’s path they may think you’re a predator and become scared. Try to observe from the side and not get in their way.

These key tips protect both you and the monkeys.

Fun Monkey Facts

To get you prepared for your trip to Cancun where you’ll hopefully see some beautiful monkeys, here’s some fun monkey facts.

  • Howler monkeys are the loudest animals in the world.
  • Howler monkeys can be heard from almost 3 miles away.
  • Howler monkeys are the 2nd laziest animal in the world (after sloths) as they spend 80% of their time resting.
  • A group of monkeys is called a troop.
  • Howler monkeys can smell food from 1 to 2 miles away.
  • Spider monkeys have tails which are longer than their bodies and measure around 90cm in length.
  • Spider monkey’s tails are strong enough to hold their entire body weight.
  • Male spider monkeys raise their young rather than females.
  • Spider monkeys can travel up to 40ft in just one swing.
  • Both howler and spider monkeys are endangered due to loss of habitat, capture and disease.

Thanks for reading this post on where to see monkeys in Cancun. 

Although you will have to travel a little bit out of the city to see monkeys in their natural habitat, it’s well worth it.

Why not use these awesome Cancun Instagram captions when you post photos from your stay in Cancun?

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