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After several days of rain, eight of us headed out in a panga on a gorgeous day to the Monkey Island Refuge located on the private island of Urraca. Built by Canadian Francine, Urraca is a mangrove island containing an eco-lodge of five bungalows connected by wooden paths over the water.

The eco-lodge is self sustaining with solar power and a rain water catching system.

The eco-lodge is self sustaining with solar power and a rain water catching system.

The wooden paths and platforms are over shallow water teeming with fish.

The wooden paths and platforms are over shallow water teeming with fish.

The lodge itself is beautiful but the main attraction is the monkeys that Francine has provided a refuge for. These are monkeys that were taken in as ‘pets’ and then abandoned when the owners realized what they got themselves into. No longer able to survive in the wild, Francine has created a safe haven for them.

As soon as we stepped off the panga we were met by a group of Geoffrey’s Tamarin Monkey’s also known as the Panamanian Red-Crested Tamarin. Only found in Panama and Colombia, these tiny friendly monkey’s ran up our legs and climbed on our shoulders for attention.

The Geoffrey's Tamarin Monkey.

The Geoffrey’s Tamarin Monkey.

Also known as the Panamanian Red-Crested Tamarin, they are very social.  Here Gary is getting a little help trying to figure out the camera on his new phone.

Also known as the Panamanian Red-Crested Tamarin, they are very social. Here Gary is getting a little help trying to figure out the camera on his new phone.

In addition to the Tamarin monkey, Francine takes in two other breeds. The White Faced Capuchin monkey has a high intellect and as with many wild animals they are too dangerous to let out of their enclosure. We were able to interact with them up close and watch their antics. The momma of the group was the most social and she liked to dance for us.

The beautiful Squirrel Monkey was the last group we played with. Gentle and playful they bounced from person to person chasing each other all around.

One of the few times any of the Squirrel Monkey's looked directly at me long enough to get a picture.

One of the few times any of the Squirrel Monkey’s looked directly at me long enough to get a picture.

They would take food out of our hands then run off to eat in the mangroves.

They would take food out of our hands then run off to eat in the mangroves.

This little guy was very intent on getting the coke out of that bottle.

This little guy was very intent on getting the coke out of that bottle.

A picture within a picture!

A picture within a picture!

A nice place to sit and watch the sea life as well as the local families paddling by in their canoes.

A nice place to sit and watch the sea life as well as the local families paddling by in their canoes.

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Thanks to Karen on s/v Amokura for organizing such a great adventure. For more information on the wonderful things Francine has planned go to: https://monkeyislandtours.wordpress.com

Fair winds,
Cindy