We visited the Jungle Place whilst staying at the Grand Bahia Principe last October. I cannot rate this place highly enough. Both myself and my husband are huge animal lovers so this was perfect for us.
Booking- book really early. There are only a few sessions a week and the numbers are really limited. I booked by email a couple of months before our trip and Heidi came back to me within a couple of days each time. Paid using paypal in advance and whole process was really easy. A couple of people mentioned when the tried to book Heidi was a bit abrupt on the phone/ email. Don't be put off- she is lovely, perhaps more of an animal person than a people person but when you meet her she really is wonderful.
Getting there- get a taxi! We have been to Mexico several times and regularly use the collectivos (little white minibuses that run up and down the main road) but this place is quite literally in the middle of the jungle so is up several miles of very rough dirt tracks. It was a little alarming when our taxi driver told us to stay in the back of the car until he told us it was safe to get out but it turns out there are number of wild dogs in the area so it was good advice. The taxi driver waited for us for the 2 hours we were there for no extra charge.
Its really important that you don't wear any sunscreen or mosquito repellent when you go. Both of there contain chemicals that are really harmful to the monkeys. Heidi will ask you when you get there and will shove you in the shower if you have them on. Also, don't wear any jewellery/ hairclips/ watches etc. you will need to take these off before you go in with the monkeys. Flip flops are not great as the monkeys might try to take. Also, don't wear anything really nice (you are going in with moneys after all!). But make sure you take your camera- a point a click one is best ie not a super duper one or a camera phone (will explain more later).
After you do a brief induction you will go in into the enclosure and sit on the floor. Its a bit snug but as long as everyone bunches up its fine. The monkeys that want to then come up to you and sit on you/ lie on you/ some even fell asleep on us. Just watch out for Luna who has a real attitude and doesn't like to be touched- Heidi and Joel will keep you right. You also take in some treats for them and they soon come up to you to get the goodies. You will see that the monkeys naturally go to some people more than others but just be patient- they didn't come straight up to me at first but by the end they were lying down and falling asleep on us.
Just before you go in Heidi and Joel take a camera from each couple/ group and just take loads of pictures of everyone. They each hold several cameras so it much easier if you have an easy point and click with a wrist strap. At the end you swap email addresses so that people can share the photos. We got some amazing photos and didn't have to pay a penny, unlike lots of other commercial ventures.
Heidi and Joel are obviously very passionate about what they do and this shines through when you meet them. We had an amazing time at the Jungle Place and hope to return when we are next in Mexico.
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