Send In The Troops

This blog is dedicated to some of our favorite subjects to work with in nature… PRIMATES!! In particular, we are focusing on those that travel or congregate in ‘troops.’

One of our favorite places to go for primate photography is Bosque del Cabo     ( on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica. There you can find 4 types of monkeys traveling their highway of trees most any time of day. Some are loud, some are daredevils, and others are nearly impossible to spot if you aren’t paying close attention.

White Faced Capuchin (Cebus Capuchinus):

1 capuchin heads touching

You never know when these guys are going to do a mango sweep on the grounds at Bosque! The White Faced Capuchins are always fun to watch, and they tend to travel in large troops. Their antics are always amusing, and they are pretty tolerant of our cameras.

2 capuchin old

It’s so much fun watching them storm the grounds in search of fruit and coconut water!

Howler Monkey (Alouatta palliata):

Howler Monkeys serve as your alarm clock in the jungles of the Osa. These guys can be heard from miles around establishing their daily feeding territories to the other nearby troops.

3 howler monkey tongue

While these guys may sound like beasts, the larger alpha males are usually only about 36 inches tall.

Spider Monkey (Ateles geoffroyi):

If you see monkeys swinging effortlessly through the rainforest canopy, they are most likely Spider Monkeys.  Spider Monkey troops seem to always be on the move. They make bold leaps from treetop to treetop with the greatest of ease.

4 Dangling Spider

Their prehensile tails apparently really come in handy, they dangle like Christmas ornaments in the trees for hours. Spider monkeys seem to have a lot going on upstairs. We always see them staring at the ocean from treetops. They appear very pensive, and I am always left wondering what it is they might be thinking!

5 monkey thinking

Squirrel Monkey (Saimiri oerstedii)  

The Squirrel Monkey (Titi if you’re local) is the most elusive of all the monkeys on the grounds at Bosque del Cabo. But, there are rewards to reap for those with patience and attention to detail. When you are lucky enough to see the Squirrel Monkey troops on the move… don’t blink! They are FAST!! Below are the only 3 images I have ever been able to get of these pint-sized primates!

6 Titi

Oh well, better luck next time!!

Of course if for some reason seeing all of these monkeys in the wild isn’t putting you close enough to all the action, you can always visit the Santuario Silvestre Wildlife Sanctuary. It’s just a quick boat ride over from the marina in Puerto Jimenez, and the staff at Bosque del Cabo can arrange a ½ day or full day trip over to see some of the Osa Peninsula’s most incredible inhabitants up close and personal.

7 Howler gaze

Macaque (Macaca)

Of course Costa Rica isn’t the only place where you can see eye to eye with monkeys. Below are a couple of images I took in Bali, Indonesia. This location was particularly cool because of the temple where several large troops of Macaques had taken over.

8 Monkey Temple 2 

Unfortunately, people have been feeding the Macaques for years now and problems are beginning to arise from this practice. Now the monkeys approach you and climb on you fearlessly when you walk on the temple grounds. They are expecting handouts and if you don’t give them what they want….they steal from you.

The Macaques will then gladly accept food in exchange for your sunglasses, car keys and/ or water bottles. Smart, but frustrating! This is one example of why you should never feed animals in the wild.

9 Monkey Temple 

If you want great shots of primates, but you don’t want to dust off the ol’ passport… you can always head down to the local zoo. While I hate seeing animals in captivity, your admission does help care for and feed the animals. Plus, you never know what you might get when you break out the telephoto lens at the Gorilla exhibit!!

10 Gorrilla

Whether it’s at the zoo, in Costa Rica or anywhere else in the world that monkeys can be found (We know…gorillas are apes. But they too hang out in troops!!!), make sure to keep the cameras rolling because you never know what you’re going to get when these guys start “monkeying” around!  <———— Do you see what we did there?  🙂

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