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Punta Laguna, the Sanctuary of the Monkeys

23 january 2019
3 min. de lectura

Imagine listening to the sounds of the jungle, the soft whisper of the leaves of the trees moving to the rhythm of the wind, and at the same time seeing the wonderful spectacle of more than 600 monkeys returning home. This, and more, awaits you in Punta Laguna.


Designated as a protected natural area, Otoch Ma'ax Yetel Kooh ("The House of the Spider Monkey and the Puma") is located on the border between Yucatán and Quintana Roo, close to Cobá, and is a sanctuary for families of spider and howler monkeys that live there among poplar trees, ramón (Maya breadnut tree), and ceibas. It is also the natural habitat for birds, deer, snakes, cougars, and badgers.


To observe the monkeys, the best time is between 3 and 5 in the afternoon, because in the mornings they leave to look for food in the surrounding areas. During the day some mothers stay with their babies and feed on the fruits of the ramón and other trees. It's exciting to see the little monkeys learning to hang by their hands and feet, and also by their tails, always staying close to their mother. Mariano Canul, our guide, explains that it is not allowed to feed them. To identify a spider monkey all you have to do is observe its colors, a mixture of yellow, white, and black. We tried to locate a howler monkey, known for its loud howls; however, we did not succeed.


Here you can also experience an authentic Maya ceremony with a shaman who performs a ritual with copal and herbs, replicating the ancient Maya traditions of petition and gratitude to the gods. There is also a shop with handcrafts made by local women, with embroidery alluding to the monkeys and the flora and fauna of the region.


For the adventurous, Punta Laguna has a cenote that can only be accessed by rappelling to a depth of 12 meters; well worth it to cool off in its crystalline waters. There is also with a 250-meter-long zip line that crosses the lagoon. Its extensive jungle area offers several hiking trails, always with a guide that will show you the natural beauty of the place.


The view of the three lagoons from the pier is spectacular; an excellent excuse to take a panoramic photograph. Kayaking and boat rides are available. In the camping area you can contemplate a starry sky, surrounded by the sounds of the jungle. Punta Laguna is an experience of monkeys and jungle, of unique sights and sounds, of respect, care, and admiration of nature: a day in a natural sanctuary.


Punta Laguna Nuevo Xcan

- Cobá Highway Km. 27.5

FB: Punta Laguna Yucatán

Tel. (985) 114 8630

Mon. - Sun. 7 am - 5:30 pm


Guide service in Spanish and English, handcrafts, bathrooms, kayaks.

Groups with reservation and camping ($300 pesos/night p/p).

Packages: Monkey tour with guide ($300 pesos p/p) or tour with Maya ceremony, kayak, cenote and zip line ($450 pesos p/p)


Guide: Mariano Canul

Cel. 9851 07 15 16


Julio Canul Chan

Cel. 9851 26 06 04


 The Canul family, from Chemax, settled in this area, and is completely devoted to the sanctuary, respecting the flora and fauna, keeping the place clean, always exercising care towards nature (not feeding the animals, not hunting) and preserving the Maya culture. The descendants of the family are those who are now in charge of Punta Laguna and the older men who practice as shamans in the Maya ceremonies.


The cooperative is made up of 24 people and there are 14 who work as guides. The women of the region collaborate with their embroideries and handcrafts that are exhibited for sale in the reserve. There is also a museum at the entrance that explains the explorations of the cenote as well as the extension of the area, the lagoon, and the whole territory.



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Violeta H. Cantarell

Author: Violeta H. Cantarell

“Meridana,” traveler, animal lover, passionate reader, commentator, and enthusiastic promoter of the natural and human beauty of Yucatán.

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