Monkey Jungle in the DR
In Cabarete, our heroic wind and waves make for some pretty solid watersports conditions. But, on a rare day off the water, there are some great spots around Cabarete to explore.
Monkey Jungle is a fantastic outing for the family. You can go and play with their gorgeous monkeys, thrill-seek on a zip line, or check out their shooting range. There’s something for everyone!
Monkeys, Zips and Rounds
The Monkey Jungle has a 5-acre park where adorable tame squirrel monkeys roam free! They are very friendly. They love to sit on heads and shoulders, and eat from special feeding plates. I smell a new profile picture.
The monkey tour takes 40 minutes, perfect for little ones with short attention spans. You’ll learn all about the monkeys and pay a visit to the rescued capucin monkeys. These little guys have had a hard life and so aren’t up to playing with the others. They are super cute, and looking much healthier than when they were found!
On your journey along the 4500ft zip line, you stop at 7 different stations and 2 suspended bridges. For the most fearless of adventurers, there’s an optional freefall belay that drops you 50ft into an ancient bat cave. Not a bad story to take home to your friends.
Another great thing about this zip line is that you can control the braking system by hand. This means that you are in charge of your speed the whole time! I love it.
If you’re looking to let off steam, you might head over to Monkey Jungle’s 7 station shooting range. You can choose between 9mm handguns and 12-gauge shotguns, and learn how to fire a weapon safety. Anyone up for target practice?
The Monkey Jungle Story
On the face of it, Monkey Jungle might sound like just an awesome adventure tourist attraction. It is that. But, it also has a pretty noble and heartwarming story behind it.
Monkey Jungle was set up in 2009 to support a medical project in the DR that was rapidly expanding and in need of funds.
Two entrepreneurs from Nashville, Tennessee were determined to use their lives to help those more vulnerable than themselves. Chuck and Candy Ritzen moved to the Dominican Republic and set up Haitian and Dominican Assistance Corp (HADAC) in 2008.
They opened a clinic to serve the local community of Haitian and Dominican residents. The clinic was named after the couple’s two dear Haitian friends, Bernie Leon and Maurice Laroche.
There was such great demand for the clinic that people were travelling long distances to see the doctors, who gave their care without charge. Every Saturday, around 60 patients were seen, and the numbers kept growing.
The HADAC team knew they needed some income to pay for medicine and equipment. They got to work planning a commercial tourist attraction. And so, Monkey Jungle was born.
Many of the patients had known little medical care in their life and had often never seen a dentist before. In 2013, HADAC opened a dental clinic dedicated to Dr. Gerry Pinsonneault, a Canadian dentist who served the community until his death in 2014.
Chuck and Candy flew medical supplies and food to Haiti in 2016, after Hurricane Matthew. Sadly, their sea plane did not make the journey home to Puerto Plata.
The HADAC mission continues and their dream lives on through the efforts of the clinic’s volunteers and physicians.
How to get there
Take the main road from Cabarete to Sosua (the next town), heading West along the coast. You’ll see the sign for Monkey Jungle after you pass the Sea Horse Ranch, a landmark equestrian centre. Don’t get too distracted by the Ranch’s horses that you miss the left turn! The turn should also be signposted, so keep your eyes pealed.
Follow El Choco road for 9km and you’ll arrive at Monkey Jungle.
From eXtreme, it’ll take you under half an hour. Our friendly concierge staff will be happy to arrange transport if you need.
Lend a hand
The clinic gratefully accepts donations of basic medical supplies from visitors to Monkey Jungle. So, have a look at their wishlist and consider popping something in your suitcase to gift to the team.
You can also support them financially, the information is all on their website.
Monkey Jungle could just be that extra outing that takes your adventure vacation in Cabarete to the next level. Come and experience the thrills for yourself!