The Jungle Place
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- 98%Family Travelers
Member Reviews (2)
- The Jungle PlaceFirst to ReviewJul 04, 2012
This is a tricky review to write. The two hours we spent here were among the most amazing experiences we've ever had on a family vacation, but the owner does NOT want to make this a tourist attraction and has tried to discourage the TripAdvisor reviews that have been posted. She takes in only one small group or family PER DAY, and only on about 3 days per week. This is a true rehabilitation facility, lovingly run by Heidi and Joel who have built this amazing place in the Yucatan jungle to care for these often neglected or abused monkeys. She discourages publicizing or reviewing the place as it increases the pressure on her to take more visitors. She does not let tour busses come and does not let hotels promote her facility. You must email or writer her, weeks or even months in advance to try to get a slot, and she may or may not ever respond. She does not permit "walk-ins"., not that walk-ins would be very easy to try as it's an hour or more from Playa del Carmen towards Tulum, on rough roads (4x4 vehicle recommended) into the Yucatan jungle.
BUT, that said, it's absolutely incredible. IF you pay attention to her briefing, and IF she feels the monkeys are amenable on that day, you will get to enter their very elaborate enclosure, carefully supervised by the owners, and see if the monkeys will come interact with you. It's up to the monkeys, no one forces them to come play with you, but they almost always will... and when they do, your heart will melt and it may forever change you. These gentle monkeys (only the more docile females will be allowed in your structure) will play with you, and invariably give you hugs, often curling up for a rest in your arms like a baby, or hugging you with true affection. If you have kids that love animals, this is a magical experience. The monkeys may groom your hair, play on your back, or hold on to you, even stroking your arms or legs. You may get to feed them, but apparently the length and type of interaction is entirely up to how the owners feel things are going and if the monkeys are amenable.
One other note of caution - if you do get a spot and are invited to visit be sure to set the expectations for your kids very low... the monkeys choose if they want to interact, and with whom. They may pick one child over another, and the owners will not interfere. One child may get lots of attention, and the other will inexplicably be ignored by the monkeys despite seemingly the same gentle disposition. The monkeys may pick one of the parents, and stay away from the kids... you just don't know. We felt very lucky that we all got to interact a lot, but you can't be sure that will happen. Our son had a monkey that seemed to fall in love with him and wouldn't leave him, and our daughter was quite jealous, though eventually she got a special treat of a monkey-hair-grooming that seemed to make up for it. But the monkeys will do what they want - these aren't trained performing monkeys. Make SURE your kids know this, and expect nothing more than to see and learn about the monkeys, and MAYBE to get to touch them briefly. If they get real play time or hugs, it will be a wonderful bonus to them.
This turned into the absolute highlight of our wonderful trip to PLaya del Carmen, Tulum, and scuba diving in the region... and it's something we relive and talk about often. It's amazing.
Email Heidi and express your genuine desire to learn about the monkeys and about her work and her facility... she is wonderful and has dedicated her life (and a personal fortune) to building this amazing place and spends every waking hour caring for these astounding animals.Recommended for:Family Travelers