Anyone who read the last entry in this blog, or at least the title, is probably thinking, “Where are the monkeys?” Here are the monkeys…lots and lots of monkeys.
For a small island that has lost much of its primary forest to agriculture, the remaining enclaves of forest on Isla de Ometepe contain a wide variety of wildlife. There are lots of birds and a healthy number of both Howler and Capuchin Monkeys (although the latter seem to have developed scavenging habits thanks to people feeding them).
We stayed in Charco Verde, right next to the Charco Verde Reserve, a small privately owned patch of forest that contains a lagoon and is fringed by lovely Playa Bancon. Much of the tourist development taking place on Isla de Ometepe seems to be along ecological lines, which is good since uncontrolled development will do serious harm to the environment.
Although its possible to see lots of birds around the cabanas where we were staying, a slow walk through the reserve was rewarded by lovely views and sightings of Howler Monkeys. In fact, we saw four different groups of Howler Monkeys including one group of about twenty individuals in trees right on the beach.
This group were so low in the branches that we were able to get very close to them, especially two females with a baby. We saw several babies, crawling on and over their mothers. They were wonderful to watch. As we were leaving the reserve we spotted one young Howler that was very playful. It broke off from its mother – who kept a close eye – to have a look at us gringos.
As well as the monkeys, we saw lots of birds, and, although I’m no twitcher, the variety of birds in Central America is astounding. On Isla de Ometepe we had water birds as well, with lots of white Egret-type birds in the shallow waters on the lake side. I’ve tried to find names from photos online, but some I couldn’t identify and some I’ve probably identified wrongly.