Me and my monkey went in search of the sun....
19/05/2008 - 21/05/2008 27 °C
Monkeys are cool. There's no denying the fact. So we went in search of the little critters near Coroico, 3 hours from La Paz, at small animal sanctuary called La Senda Verde
The question was - how to get there? in the local bus, which takes 3 hours or so down the new road and is...well just a bus really. OR.......to mountain bike down Death Road once again and get dropped off at Coroico which just so happens to be at the end of it? Guess which one Ian chose, folks?
We arranged with the mountain biking people (Aka Pacha tours by the way, not the hideously expensive Gravity tours) that Ian would do the biking, and i would pay just under half price to just ride down in the car behind them with the driver and the equipment etc....cos i still wasn't prepared to do the biking but it was still a fun way to get there!
So, we set off at 7am, has breakfast and drove off to where the biking begins - i have to say, i was a little nervous at even being in the car but it was absolutely fine - good car, good driver, and the views are so beautiful it's hard to even remember that it's supposed to be dangerous! All in all it was a great journey - we stopped a lot to jump out and take photos of ian and the others, and the views, and had breaks for snacks and drinks etc. At the end they took us to a hostel/restaurant where we all had showers, played in the pool, and had a great lunch in the hot sunshine, before making our way to La Senda Verde.
Getting there wasn't as easy as we thought - our tour didn't actually return that way, so they dropped us at the closest point and told us to wait for a taxi. Then the locals told us no taxis came by that way, and that we should get a bus to Coroico....except that the place is about 15 mins away from Coroico. so we got the bus to the turning for Coroico and then started to walk....it was a long, hot, dusty walk which took almost an hour, but eventually we made it!
We arrived to find many bikers there too - Gravity Tours, the first and largest biking company, take their bikers there every day for their lunch and showers, which means that the place is pretty much overrun every afternoon! So we settled into our cabin and had a look around the place.
We found....Spider monkeys, Kaputchin (?) monkeys, howler monkeys, 2 dogs, one puppy, 2 Coatis (like raccoons), guinea pigs, cats, guineafowl, geese, ducks, rabbits, a donkey, an ocelot, and many many parrots!
As soon as all the bikers left and things quietened down, the animals became much bolder and came out to play. Watching them was so much fun, they have a wicked sense of humour - the spider monkeys particularly! we saw them terrorising everyone else in the vicinity, from raiding the bins, to stealing tools from the workmen, stealing food from the kitchen, and of course winding up their favourite target; the puppy.
The poor little thing probably doesn't even know he's a dog he spends so much time playing with the monkeys...they hang from a branch by their tails and just bat him around the head, then drop down and wrestle with him on the floor! It's great the way they all get on though, and observing the pecking order...clearly the monkeys rule, and the Coatis (who run around causing havoc most of the time) are put in their place when they get out of line...we saw one monkey just pick up the baby coati by its tail and fling it out of the way cos it wouldnt leave him alone!
Anyway we had many hugs from the monkeys, especially the two smaller spider monkeys who just love to climb on your knee and curl up, preferably inside your jacket where it's nice and warm
They are absolutely gorgeous, and although they're very cheeky they can be really loving too, and it's great to watch them with the long term staff - it's just like one big family.
p.s. go to the photo gallery for a few more photos!