What’s the first animal you would expect to see in Tenerife? A lizard, maybe a cockroach? Monkeys never ever would have made my top 50 animals, and only would have made my top 60 because I think I’d run out of other animals at 50…
But monkeys are exactly what we saw in Tenerife. Not running around in the wild, but in a place aptly named ‘Monkey Park’. Just outside of Los Cristianos and Playa de las Americas, I only knew about this place because my brother had been and told me I had to go. And so, my boyfriend and I jumped in a taxi and cautiously asked the taxi driver to take us to Monkey Park. We hadn’t seen any advertising for the park, and didn’t even know where it was at that point. The only thing I knew was that my brother had walked there from Los Cristianos, so didn’t think it’d be that far.
As we pulled up outside the park, there was one taxi in the car park. Just the one. No other cars. Slightly concerned that it wasn’t even open or that this was some kind of weird prank by my brother, we made our way to entrance and found a lady in an admissions hut. Well, at least it was open.
After paying €10 each, we made our way down a wooden bridge, over a pond filled with alligators and turtles. We had a little chuckle that we’d come to Monkey Park and the first animals we saw were alligators and turtles. After a few photos, we continued along the little bridge before being greeted by a lady with a parrot. Yup, still no monkeys! And to top it off, this lady wanted to take a photo of me with a bird, which is nearly my worst nightmare! After my boyfriend had a photo with the parrot, we made our way into a large enclosure. Separated into three sections, the entire enclosure was filled with trees, with a pathway along one side. In each enclosure we found….monkeys! We’d bought a bag of food at the entrance and fed a few monkeys before moving through the other enclosures. In the last section there was a huge tortoise, which seemed very at home with the lemurs. There’s a member of staff roaming through the sections, just to make sure no one is being a tool around the animals, but in the last section we wandered up among the trees to feed the lemurs (we were allowed!)
As we left the enclosures, we continued to find various types of monkeys in various types of enclosures. The mischievous little ones were in glass enclosures, while others were in larger caged enclosures. I’m not a fan of zoos, and I really don’t like the enclosures the monkeys are kept in. Nothing could ever substitute being in the wild, and some of them looked really bored. Others, meanwhile, have really got the lay of the land and put their hands through the bars as you walk past to give them food. And you can tell they’re not under fed as they will happily sift through the food on your hand to find what they want, knocking the rest on the floor. At the far end of the park are the larger monkeys. We could hear the chimpanzees screaming before we saw them, and two of them were arguing over a bag of food someone had held out for them, which had then been grabbed through the bars. Anytime I see chimps I’m absolutely amazed at how alike we are to them (or they to us…?). The way they sit, the way they sometimes rest their heads on their hands, the grooming of each other. Not so much the way they feel the need to scratch various body parts before having a good sniff, although I have been unfortunate enough to witness people doing that too. Aside from the monkeys at Monkey Park, there are also tortoises, birds and reptiles to see. We walked pretty quickly through the birds, because it was a boiling hot day and there’s not a great deal of shade in that area. And also because I do not like birds. Before we made our way through the final part and toward the exit, we thought it’d be nice to head back into the enclosures, because how often do you get to touch a monkey!
In the last section we visited, with the small, mischievous monkeys, we stood on the path trying to see one in the trees. A family with a young child in a pushchair joined us, and they told us that they’d come to the Monkey Park every year they were in Tenerife, and still enjoyed it. As we were chatting, I heard a trickle next to me. As I turned my head, there was a monkey in a tree right above me having a wee. Luckily, it didn’t get me. Not so lucky was the young child in the pushchair, who got a serious amount of splash back. Full waterproofs aren’t required in the enclosures, just some level of awareness! I managed to keep my laugh in until we’d left the area and were checking out the reptiles. We walked through another open enclosure before we left, and there was a lemur just sitting on the wall. I gave it a little stroke on the back, and it didn’t seem to mind so I sat and got a picture! I was so shocked at how unbothered they were.
Overall, this is a great place to spend a few hours and see different animals. It’s a small park in comparison to a zoo, and we’ve never seen more than a few other families there at the same time, so you won’t have to jostle for a view as you do at larger zoos.
- This is a great option for a morning out, while leaving time for an afternoon by the pool.
- You might not see any advertising for this place, so just check online before you go to check opening times.
- The best way to get there is by taxi, unless you’re hiring a car.
- You aren’t supposed to take food in with you, as it can upset the monkeys’ diet. They do sell food at the entrance, but the monkeys aren’t overly bothered by most of it and will chuck it on the floor.
- There are other animal park options in Tenerife – Loro Parque, Animal Park and Camel Park.