On the outskirts of Puerto Plata city, centrally located between Sosúa and Cabarete, lies a very special place filled with exotic and adorable monkeys, incredible heart pumping action and loads of fun. This wonderful destination is Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic and it offers visitors of all ages a once in a lifetime experience. Animal lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, adventure lovers and even gun connoisseurs have a place to let loose and enjoy an entire day frolicking with furry monkeys, zip lining through caves, and practicing your shooting skills, all of which help to benefit a great cause.
Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic is not only a fun filled paradise, but also a charitable organization whose primary purpose is its remarkable free dental and medical center. Officially named the Leon-Laroche Clinics, the dental center was started in 2009 by Nashville, Tennessee pediatric dentist, Dr. David Snodgrass. Dr. Snodgrass’s ambitious start began with him literally pulling teeth out of the back of a pick-up truck. He soon joined forces with retired Canadian orthodontist, Dr. Gerry Pinsonneault whose expertise aided in seeing the clinic flourish. These two charitable doctors realized the great demand for dental and medical care in the area, and it was evident to Dr. Pinsonneault that due to the costs involved a commercial attraction would be needed in order to continue with the dental clinic.
The commercial attraction materialized and Monkey Jungle & Zip Line Adventures was born thanks to Dr. Pinsonneault’s divine suggestion of opening an oasis for monkeys that would include zip lines for revenue generation to fund the dental clinic. With donations received from visitors and expats, the Monkey Jungle Dental Clinic is a valued addition to the Dominican Republic and continues to change lives for the better on a weekly basis. To date over 21,000 patients have been treated free of charge by more than 45 teams of volunteers who have passed through helping locals and inevitably helping the Monkey Jungle Dental Clinic toward its continued success.
Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic offers three main activity sectors. First we will look at its namesake activity, the beautiful and plush botanical gardens, which is home to almost 50 monkeys, including free roaming squirrel monkeys. These gentle, sweet, and exotic monkeys are the most popular attraction at Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic, and are merely the size of a squirrel, hence their name, “squirrel monkey”. Aside from being tiny and cute, some of the monkeys are astronauts as well! Betsy, a resident squirrel monkey was sent on a trip into space by NASA, and returned safely after her exciting voyage. The guided tour will allow you to interact with the squirrel monkeys, who will often times sit upon your shoulder or head and allow you to feed them via a special plate. You will continue to encounter monkeys galore as you walk through the Botanical Gardens and have the opportunity to make your way through their ancient grotto. Within the grotto you will find rescued capuchin monkeys, who have been physically and/or nutritionally abused prior to coming to Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic. Thanks to Dr. Pinsonneault and Dr. Snodgrass, as well as the amazing Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic team, these precious capuchin monkeys are all now closely cared for by Monkey Jungle’s rescue team.
Should high adrenaline activities be more up your alley, then you will certainly enjoy the second activity sector consisting of seven heart pumping zip line courses totaling 4,500 feet! As the sport of zip lining continues to gain in popularity, Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic can proudly say that they have one of the most unique zip lining courses in all of the Caribbean. Monkey Jungle’s zip lining system is called a belay system and features two suspension bridges and multiple platforms for descending deep into caves. Just imagine zipping through bat caves, mountainous areas and a jungle canopy! Should you feel more comfortable with an instructor, Monkey Jungle offers a guided tour through the mountainous areas as well. All ages are welcome and safety should not be a concern as the zip line courses are ACCT certified and inspected by a Qualified Course Professional on a regular basis
The third and final activity sector Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic offers is its well-known, private gun range. Not for the faint of heart, there are two highly skilled firearms instructors on-site and if you feel up to it, you can take an extensive safety course taught by these well-trained instructors. Should you decide to move forward and partake in the firearm fun at one of their seven shooting stations, there are two types of guns you can choose from. The first type of gun is a 12 Gauge Mossberg shotgun. Mossberg shotguns stem from one of the oldest family-owned sport gun manufacturers in the United States and are considered to be one of the most well made shotguns in the world. The second and equally exciting gun in the Monkey Jungle arsenal is the 9mm Bersa. Nicknamed the “Thunder 9” the Bersa is the handgun of choice used by the Argentinian Army and is an extremely smooth shooting handgun. It will be a difficult choice, as both of these guns are great for target practice. You may just have to try your hand at both while learning proper technique from the on-site expert instructors.
Monkey Jungle is open seven days a week, 364 days a year and is rated #1 Top Adventure in the Dominican Republic by the Travel Channel. As versatile and exciting as Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic is, the fact that all of the proceeds go towards helping locals in need, while protecting our furry friends, makes it all the better. So the next time you are in Puerto Plata, make sure to carve out time to spend a day at Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic. Not only will you have a lot of fun, you will also be helping locals and animals too.
To donate directly to the Monkey Jungle Dominican Republic Dental and Medical Clinic, please use the link below.