Monkey Tours


Monkeys in Nicaragua



Three species of monkey live in the wild in Nicaragua:

  • Panamanian white-faced capuchin (Cebus imitator), also known as Central American white-faced capuchin
  • Mantled howler (Alouatta palliata)
  • Geoffroy’s spider monkey (Ateles geoffroyi), also known as Central American spider monkey and Black-handed spider monkey

The Panamanian white-faced capuchin (Cebus imitator)

capuchino monkey

The Panamanian white-faced capuchin lives in forests in Central America and plays an important ecological role as a seed and pollen disperser. They are highly social animals and live in groups, which can be comprised of over 20 individuals. They are adaptive and have been spotted in many different types of forest, and their diet includes a variety of fruit, other plant material, invertebrates, and small vertebrates.

Panamanian white-faced capuchins can use tools as weapons and to obtain food, and they rub certain plants over their bodies – possibly to deter parasites. This is a long-lived monkey, with a maximum recorded age of 54 years.Until the 21st century, these Central American white-faced cappucins were considered conspecific with the white-faced cappucins of Colombia, but they are now recognized as two distinct species: Cebus imitator and Cebus capucinus.

The Panamanian white-faced capuchin is a medium-sized monkey that stays below 4 kg in weight. It is mostly black, with a distinctive pink face and white on much of the front part of the body – a feature which has given it its name capuchin. When Portuguese explorers first encountered members of the subfamily Cebinae, they described them as resembling Franciscan friars of the Order Minor Capuchin wearing robes with the hoods down.

In Nicaragua, visitors who hope to see white-faced capuchins typically head to the island of Ometepe, although the species is found in many other parts of Nicaragua as well, including around Masaya and in the large forests that cover the eastern half of the country.