There are four species of monkey found in Costa Rica, and over the winter we saw them all! In fact, we saw them so often that we became accustomed to them to the point of absurdity- more on this later.
This spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi) was foraging with its family in the mango trees above the road in Palo Verde. Among Costa Rican monkeys, spider monkeys are unique because of their ability to swing through the trees (brachiate, like humans do on monkey bars)- their thumbs are reduced to pretty much nonexistent nubs, but their prehensile tails and long limbs make up for that. This one looks awfully sweet, doesn’t it? Its friend/relative threw a hard mango at Seth’s head not long after I took this shot. They were cute, but not so friendly.
This White-Faced Capuchin (Cebus capucinus) was another cute-from-a-distance kind of monkey. We saw them very frequently in Palo Verde, and they let us get quite close a lot of the time… but we had to watch our backs. Sometimes the big males would try to sneak up on us from behind, purpose unknown but undoubtedly unwanted. The last monkey for this post is the squirrel monkey (Saimus oerstedii oerstedii), that I spotted finally in Corcovado after quite a few weeks in Costa Rica. Tyler pointed out one group, scampering through the trees, on our very first orientation walk in the jungle. I had to wait a few days to get a good photo, though- one of the awesome guides of Corcovado let me take this shot through his scope once his clients had looked at the adorable baby and mother resting in a tree near camp.
The final Costa Rican monkey is actually quite dear to my heart, as much as its noise-making tendencies bother other people that I know. More on the howler monkey in the next few days.