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Monkey River, Mexico

Monkey River Town (or Monkey River) is a village in the north of the Toledo District of the Central American nation of Belize. Belize is located in Central America and it is bordered to the north by Mexico, to the south and west by Guatemala and to the east by the Caribbean Sea.

The village is one of the last purely Creole settlements in Belize and many traditional practises are still carried out, such as cooking over the "fyah haat" (fire hearth). A road was built in the late 80's from the Southern Highway through orange groves and jungle to the village car park and links the village to the outside world, although much travel is still by sea.

The village was incorporated as a town in 1891 at which time it had a population of some 2500 people, mostly engaged in the lumber and banana industry. With the decline of these industries and a blight of banana trees in this area in the second half of the 20th century the population declined and in 1981 was legally reclassified as a village again, although retaining the historic name of "Town".

The main occupations are fishing and ecotourism. There are two small hotels and nearby a fishing resort which can be reached by a five minute sea trip. Guides can be easily found at Monkey River village to take visitors up the river to see the howler monkeys and other unique rainforest type wildlife.

Cruises generally start in either Los Angeles or San Diego and Belize/Mexico is a year round destination blessed by balmy weather though August and September can be hotter and more humid. With temperatures in the 30s and coupled with humidity, it can make shore excursions a bit unpleasant.

Boat trips up the Monkey River are a significant part of ecotourism for southern Belize. Most trips originate from Placencia or Roberts Grove, both marinas on the southern part of the Placencia Peninsula, located approximately 35 kilometres northeast of the mouth of the Monkey River. These small motorised boats typically stop at Monkey River Town for lunch and an exposure to the roadless native populace at that village. Most often the boat trips land at a location about ten kilometers upriver from the mouth to allow visitors a walk through the secondary growth forest.

General Information:

Population: 200 (2011)
Language(s): English, Creole, Spanish
Currency: Belize dollar, Mexican Peso

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