Belize: Monkey River Tour with Kids

One of the most popular tours to take in Placencia Belize is the Monkey River Tour with kids. Our family found Captain Jak’s in Placencia, Belize and would highly recommend them. It’s easy to go online or arrange for this river tour, through the Sirenian Bay Resort concierge desk.

The Monkey River Tour is a standout adventure for several reasons. It’s a must-do for families who are looking for an immersive experience in the natural beauty and wildlife of Belize, And it’s great for kids who love boat rides and searching for monkeys.

As our boat rode through the mangroves and the Caribbean Sea, our guide, Doyle, pointed out the stunning wildlife. He explained what we’d see on the tour before we entered the mouth of the river at Monkey River Village.

Bring your kids on the Monkey River Tour in Belize


The Monkey River

There are about 310 people living in Monkey River Village at the mouth of the river. Doyle shared the history of the people, animals, and plants all living there. It took a little over an hour to reach the village from our dock in Placencia, but so much to see along the way.

When we reached the village, we traveled slowly up the river for about 6 miles as Doyle pointed out the spectacular wildlife of Belize.  Doyle is an experienced boatman easily navigating the narrow and maze-like mangroves, stopping the engine occasionally to listen for other boats navigating these narrow passages.

Starfish in brackish water in Belize

We saw a plethora of beautiful birds, colorful iguanas, bats, spiders, and even a crocodile. Doyle educated us on each animal, its habits, and its attributes.  As we approached the end of the river we could hear the Howler Monkeys.

mangrove trees monkey river belize

We docked the boat and hiked into the jungle along paths created by hunters (be sure you have plenty of bug spray for this as the mosquitos love to chomp on human meat!) Doyle pointed out the local plants, bamboo, poisonous spiders (we narrowly avoided walking into the thick web), and tropical forest trees.

Hiking in monkey river village to see howler monkeys

He then guided us through a thick bamboo part of the jungle where the Howler Monkey’s met us with their distinctive greeting. We stopped to watch the family of Howler Monkey’s play a while, before heading back to our boat.

Howler monkeys - the namesake of the monkey river tour

Kids love the Velcro leaves in belize

We enjoyed a peaceful cruise back to Monkey Village where we enjoyed a traditional Belizian lunch of rice, black beans, and local fish. On our way back to Placencia we stopped at an area where the manatee feed and saw a small group of them grazing on seagrass, enjoying their own private ecosystem. They looked so peaceful. Doyle even let Julian drive the boat back to Placencia.

Captain jaks monkey river tour in belize - kids don't usually drive the boat

The Best Belize River Tour

Here’s what makes the Monkey River Tour with kids so special:

Diverse Wildlife: The tour takes you along the Monkey River, a pristine waterway that cuts through dense jungle. It’s an excellent opportunity to spot a wide variety of wildlife. The main attraction is the howler monkeys, which are known for their distinctive loud calls that can be heard miles away. Besides these primates, you can see crocodiles basking on the riverbanks, iguanas, turtles, and quite a few bird species, including herons, kingfishers, and toucans.

So many iguanas - this one is a huge and orange

Cultural Experience: The Monkey River tour is guided by friendly experts who provide insights into the history of the area and the lifestyle of the locals. You and your kids will hear about the river’s importance to these local communities. And, you’ll learn how these natural resources are used. It’s a great way to gain a deeper understanding of Belizean culture. And more universally, the relationship between the people and their environment.

We stopped for lunch in a village at the mouth of the river, and its was so great to talk to local residents and eat some traditional Belizean food.

kids checking out the bamboo forests on the monkey river tour

Conservation Awareness: By participating in the Monkey River Tour, visitors also contribute to local conservation efforts. The tour emphasizes the importance of preserving Belize’s natural habitats and the species that depend on them. It’s an educational experience that highlights the challenges and efforts involved in protecting these environments.

Placencia is on the south coast of Belize, a few hours from Belize City. For even more adventures with your kids, go deep into the jungle and stay at the Black Rock Eco Lodge and visit the mystical and mysterious caves of Actun Tunichil Muknal (ATM).

We all learned so much on this tour and I would highly recommend this as a must-do excursion with Captain Jak’s when you are in Belize. You’ll meet at Captain Jak’s in the town of Plancenia – it’s super easy to get to and the boat is right around back. Don’t forget the sunscreen, bug spray, and hat!

Click here to book your Monkey River Tour with Captain Jak’s

What was your favorite activity in Belize?

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*** This article is sponsored but all opinions are my own***

About The Author


I’m a travel and health writer, digital brand consultant, breast cancer survivor, and supermom to two boys! I keep it real and share stories of raising an active family, life after a cancer diagnosis, and family travels around the world! Each story is shared with my dry, and sometimes naughty sense of humor.

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