One of the most enjoyable and educational day trips available for guests at the Yok Ha Island Resort is a nature cruise up the Monkey River. Leaving in the morning from the island to Dangriga, participants will head upland for a 60-minute drive to the coastal village of Monkey River where they will then board a boat.
A local guide will narrate your adventure as the boat leisurely makes its way up the pristine Monkey River. On the banks of the river lie mangroves where lizards perch on branches, tropical birds fly overhead, and the waters are inhabited by manatees, dolphins, and the occasional crocodile.
After about an hour, the boat will arrive at a small dock and participants will then be led into the jungle to search for howler monkeys. Along the way, your guide will point out interesting and colorful fauna, including plants still used today for their medicinal properties.
When your guide has sighted monkeys high up in the trees, he will then alert them to your presence, causing the monkeys to respond with the famous howls that gave them their name. Although howler monkeys weigh less than a small child, they are one of the loudest animals on the planet with a call that can be heard for miles through the thick jungle. Although many online videos can familiarize you with the sound of a howler monkey, the experience of standing in a patch of pristine jungle and hearing the echoing calls of these magnificent simians is truly an unforgettable experience.
During quieter parts of the inland hike, you may have a chance to spot tapirs (Belize’s national animal), coatimundis, agoutis, peccaries (a kind of wild pig), gibnuts (a large rodent whose meat is considered a delicacy in Belize), and deer.
Once back on board the boat, participants will head down the river to a small village where the whole party will be treated to a traditional Creole lunch at a family-run restaurant. Lunch will be followed by a tour of the village where people still pursue traditional past-times, and then the group will re-board the boat for the return trip back to Dangriga and onward to Yok Ha.