|You'll be passing Isla Agaltepec, also known as crocodile island
because of its shape.
This island is home of a protected Mexican monkey research
project, and oodles of pre-hispanic artifacts.
No bananas welcome here.
|Monkeys, not known to be swimmers, apparently cross
between these islands at ease.
|I am the boss.
For the rest of my playmates you have to take the actual
|Strange birds frequent the shores of the islands.
Have your camera ready!
|OK - here are the monkeys.
Depending on the time of day, they are not very
accommodating, but they may enter your boat and consider
your belongings as souvenirs.
|Laguna Catemaco is supposed to have 12 islands. This is
one of them.
|During the blooming season, this is a
paradise of aquatic plants and shore birds
|Undeveloped area next to Catemaco City within walking
|El Tegal - a locally famous site because of the alleged visitation
by the catholic Virgen mother.
|Beach front home of one of the richest former San Andres
Tuxtla tobacco barons.
|As for the monkeys, they are supposedly maintained by a research station of the University on nearby Mount Pipiapan
but in actuality these monkeys are abandoned, frequently ill and undernourished, and seem to subsist on handouts from
The University in the meantime established a large colony of Mexican endangered monkeys (Howlers) on Agaltepec
Island in 1988, which is prominently visible on the boat trip. That island, though, is off limits to tourist boaters.
A type Loch Ness monster has been reported in the Laguna waters, so, beware!
|Visiting the Monkey Island of Laguna Catemaco in Veracruz, Mexico is a well described excursion on numerous
The University of Veracruz, Mexico stocked one of the islands in Laguna Catemaco with Stumptail Macaque
monkeys native to Southeast Asia and imported from Puerto Rico to do a research study.
In 1974 tiny Tanapio island was stocked with 32 monkeys which in 1979 were moved to the larger (6,750 m2)
Totogochio Island from where some swam to Tenaspi Island.
Before the study was finished, Catemaco fishermen discovered the profitability of motoring tourists to the island to
view monkeys in a natural habitat. Over the years this monkey visiting trip has turned into a hard cash earner for
much of the Catemaco population, obviously noticeable by the many shrieking shills along the Laguna shore inviting
tourists to take a boat ride.
|There are more than 100 boats registered to transport tourists around Laguna Catemaco. Most of them are assigned to
one of almost 10 embarkation points. The main one is in the center of the Malecón, below the central plaza of the city of
Catemaco, and it is the only one that has a dock which is useless during the dry season.
|At present (2010) the tariff per ride is 80 pesos for one person in a communal boat, available at the main dock. The
minimum rate for an entire boat is 450 pesos, including up to 6 passengers. If there are more than 6 travelers, the price
becomes negotiable. No reservations are necessary or available.
During the off season, tariffs can be negotiated downwards.
The municipal government of Catemaco unfortunately allows more than 100 supposedly registered tour guides to accost
visitors at the entrances to the city and all along the Malecón with persistent invitations to "Lancha, Lancha". They are
known to inflate actual tariffs.
Disappointingly all boats are of the same design. Most seat 16 passengers and a few carry 24. The duration of the trip is
app. 1 hour. Some of the guides offer a detailed description of the points of interest along the way. Some do not! None
A stopover at Nanciyaga is not included in the tour, but is encouraged. Entrance to Nanciyaga is 50 pesos plus a tip to
the guides and should take 1 to 3 hours. A restaurant is on the premises. The boat will wait for you because it receives a
kickback from Nanciyaga.
The communal boats will also stop at Nanciyaga, but will not wait for you, but they allow you to take another boat to
return to Catemaco.
|Monkey Island Boat Tour
Laguna Catemaco, Veracruz
|You may want to stop over at the Nanciyaga nature park
|Good to be going back to dry land and see the Catemaco cathedral towers.
|The three islands appear almost like the fringe of an exploded volcano. Local fishermen claim the center to be an
unsubstantiated 180 feet deep. That would make the center of the 3 islands the deepest spot in the lake, which on
average is only about 25 feet deep.