Our incredible weekend with monkeys

by Kim on November 11, 2012 · 45 comments

Puerto Maldonado, Peru is no place to write home about. It’s booming, as far as jungle towns go, with a frenzy of rickshaws and motorcycles zooming and beeping through the rutted, dusty streets.

Brian and I found ourselves here with two days to kill. We’d flown to Puerto Maldonado in order to visit the Amazon jungle and, because we’d found a cheaper flight back to Cusco a few days after our jungle tour was over, we were stuck here amongst the buzzing and honking and the thick Amazon heat.

The shuttle from our Amazon lodge had dropped our fellow jungle travelers off at the airport and, upon request, Brian and I off on the side of an unpaved road at the edge of town. We had no idea where to stay or what the heck we’d find to do. Lonely Planet told us that ‘at first sight a mayhem of mud streets and manically tooting mototaxis, Puerto Maldonado soon endears itself to you’ but Brian and I could both tell that that probably wouldn’t actually be the case. Sometimes even the travelers bible gets it wrong.

We trudged our way down the road towards the Anaconda Lodge, reputed to rent one-room bungalows to passers-through. We were met at the gate by a tiny Thai woman and shown to an adorable thatched roof hut.

We quickly learned that the Anaconda Lodge is a little oasis tucked into the bleak and beeping madness of Puerto Maldonado. They have hammocks, they have a pool, they even have a pancake breakfast. But most importantly they have monkeys.

And, OH MY GOD, we fell in love

These little monkeys roam the grounds of the Anaconda Lodge. Brian and I were so charmed by them that we didn’t leave the property. Not once. We just couldn’t pull ourselves away.

Each morning after breakfast Brian and I would lounge on the porch of our bungalow willing the monkeys to visit us reading until, like clockwork, the monkeys would run to us like a trio of hopped up toddlers.

They would swing from the rafters and climb about our hammocks or wrestle and roll around on the ground. Sometimes they’d pause long enough to groom their senior monkey.

They loved Brian. I think they could sense he was one of them. 

Each time I peeled myself away to use the restroom the monkeys would follow, squeezing themselves beneath the gap in the door to sit and watch as I did my business. It was awkward but, also, kind of awesome

But the best part? THE! BEST! PART!

When the monkeys tired of playing they would curl their warm, fuzzy, tiny, monkey bodies into our laps and fall asleep. 

They fell asleep!!!!!

And we fell hopelessly, jello-leggedly, heart-flippingly, knee-knockingly in love.

This must have been what Lonely Planet was talking about.

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{ 45 comments… read them below or add one }

Gillian @OneGiantStep November 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

OMG! They are the cutest ever! And I don’t like monkeys – I’m actually scared of them but these look so totally adorable and not scary at all!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:29 am

These guys were NOT scary. I’m scared of wild monkeys too but these little guys were more like puppies. I miss them!

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Michele C? November 11, 2012 at 4:15 pm

Okay….I am totally going to visit these monkeys one day. Seriously. OMG! They’re almost better than puppy bellies (almost).

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

They ARE almost better than puppy bellies. Michele, there is a dog that lives there too and they all play together. It is adorable!

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Lauren November 11, 2012 at 6:11 pm

You feel this way about these adorable monkeys, just imagine how mothers feel holding their sweet little babies :)

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

This sounds like a comment that a pregnant momma would make!

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Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) November 11, 2012 at 7:11 pm

This sounds absolutely AMAZING! I have absolutely planned vacations for far more frivolous reasons than getting to hang out with adorable monkeys, so one day, when Tony & I make it to South America, you can bet we’ll visit this place.

[Also, we have found that more often than not Lonely Planet gets it wrong…]

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

Oh, you really should!!! I think you might be able to volunteer too and stay for free. As far as we could tell volunteering pretty much amounted to raking leaves and playing with monkeys all day long.

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Arianwen November 11, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Wow. I am super jealous I missed this now. I nearly went there too. I love monkeys! – Except the one that bit me on the Jungle Trail to Machu Picchu!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

Yeah, biting monkeys are no good. I kept my distance from the monkeys in the jungle. These guys were a little different…

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Hannah November 11, 2012 at 9:52 pm

I wouldn’t have been able to leave the property either – those guys are completely adorable! What a magical place. And I LOVE that photo of them grooming Brian’s beard – hilarious :)

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:31 am

That picture is priceless, huh?! Love it!

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Erica November 11, 2012 at 10:29 pm

Ok, I wrote this down. Anaconda Lodge in Puerto Maldonado, Peru. GOT TO GO THERE!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

Totally, totally, totally. I want to see pictures when you do!

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Natalie Goff November 11, 2012 at 10:33 pm

That little guy is so zonked out. Trip highlight, for sure, hanging out with these little ones.

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:32 am

Yes, absolutely. It was amazing.

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Amy November 12, 2012 at 1:15 am

This is absolutely incredible – one of those opportunities you’d never get unless you travelled. I am so jealous; especially of the monkeys falling asleep on your lap. This place is going on my list of must-visit places!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

Sleeping monkeys in my lap is one thing I will never forget. I soooo badly want to go back. Our time there was too short!

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Henry Pench Resorts November 12, 2012 at 2:18 am

Your post very well describe about your weekend with Monkey. This post also inspired me too spend some time in Jungle. But i am no clue about this..please help me out!!!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:34 am

Henry, trips to the jungle in Peru are very easy to coordinate. You can read my post about it or email if you have specific questions.

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Marjorie@Histoire à Vivre November 12, 2012 at 4:43 am

Awesome ! I like so much monkeys ! So cute !
Kinds Regards from a French Reader

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

Marjorie, they were amazing. If you love monkeys you’d love this place!

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Tom @ Waegook Tom November 12, 2012 at 7:18 am

This has to be the most ridiculously adorable blog post I’ve ever come across! Those monkeys are SO CUUUUUUTE! I want a monkey to fall asleep in my lap. The best I currently have is my boyfriend passing out from exhaustion while trying to introduce him to Game of Thrones. Not quite the same.

By the way, I love your style of writing! Makes me chuckle.

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 8:36 am

Whahahha. I feel your boyfriends pain!

The monkeys were unreal! I want to go back so they can fall asleep in my lap again!

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Fran November 12, 2012 at 9:12 am

This seriously brought tears of joy to my eyes. How completely awesome

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

It was so, so amazing! Wish I could bring them with me!

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Jen M. November 12, 2012 at 10:26 am

OMG- cute overload! The picture of the monkeys grooming Brian’s beard- I die!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

I know! That one will go in a frame one day!

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Lucie November 12, 2012 at 10:28 am

Oh my god this is amazing! I have to remember thatplace!!!

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Kim November 12, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Remember it and go- so amazing!!

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Anne November 12, 2012 at 2:22 pm

They must have loved Brian because there was so much facial hair to groom. Where does the beard end and the monkey begin?

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Rhonda November 13, 2012 at 2:34 pm

wow..what a simply remarkable experience and made more fantastic by the fact that is was so unexpected!

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Kim November 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

Agreed! I think that the unexpectedness of it did make it that much more enjoyable.

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Maddie November 13, 2012 at 10:12 pm

Having an adorable monkey fall asleep on you? Cutest thing ever!

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Kim November 14, 2012 at 3:03 pm

No kidding!!

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Red Hunt November 14, 2012 at 9:59 am

Monkeys!!
Ha, this looks like so much fun and the monkeys all look so happy and healthy, no weirdo creepy monkeys! ;)
The Amazon is at the top of my South America wishlist for next time I visit….sometime in 2013!

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Kim November 14, 2012 at 3:06 pm

Nope, no weirdo creepy monkeys. The Amazon is amazing!

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Montecristo Travels (Sonja) November 14, 2012 at 1:14 pm

I wonder if we could go with our little dog. That for me would be almost more cuteness than I could handle. To see my dog play with the monkeys or be groomed by monkeys!! eeeeek! LOL amazing amazing experience! Jealous. Totally. Jealous.

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Kim November 14, 2012 at 3:10 pm

I bet you could! This place had a dog too. The monkeys loved playing with it!

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Sarah Somewhere November 14, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Oh My God!!! I don’t know how you left!! They are absolutely gorgeous, what a wonderful experience :)

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Kim November 15, 2012 at 6:06 am

I didn’t want to leave. It sounds weird but I still think of that baby monkey all the time!

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Tracey - Life Changing Year November 15, 2012 at 12:10 am

That’s it. I’m going to Peru next trip and staying there! Those monkeys are adorable!!!!

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Kim November 15, 2012 at 6:08 am

You totally should!! The monkeys alone are worth it!

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Ellen Keith - La Viajera November 15, 2012 at 6:49 am

I was in Puerto Maldonado about a week ago, and, although I went to a different lodge, I had a similar experience with the pet monkeys! Completely adorable, although I was a little on the fence about how tame they were letting them become, especially since the workers planned to reintroduce them to the wild eventually. What a beautiful place!

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Tom @ Active Backpacker November 17, 2012 at 5:45 am

This is like the greatest post I’ve seen in ages – nothing beats my love for playing with cute monkeys. IT LOOKS AWESOME! SO JEALOUS RIGHT NOW :D

Must have been such a rocking experience, this is what travelling is all about (monkeys?) right??

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