Volunteer Manual

Welcome to The Monkey Island!

We want to thank you for being part of our project and giving us your time. Our priority is to ensure the welfare of the monkeys and achieve their recovery and reintegration into the jungle where they belong. 

 

During the time that you are with us, we want to give you some recommendations and rules to maintain harmony and have a pleasant coexistence at our center. Now you are part of the family and we want you to feel like you’re home! 

We have tourists because it is necessary, but first and foremost, this is the monkey’s island. 

We have rules in place to ensure the care and safety of monkeys as well as humans, please read and respect these rules, and ask tourists and other volunteers to do the same.

Our Island Family

Gilberto – Center Founder

Jair – center Manager

Lucero – center Manager

Davison – center Manager

Elias – Monkey care and tours

Brayner – Monkey care and tours

Juan Carlos – Tours

Tita – Kitchen and Farm

Karina – Luna’s nanny

Luna – Daughter of Jair & Lucero

Naisha – Dog

Helpful Rules when Caring For Monkeys

Have Respect for the Center and the People

Respect is very important for us and as we are a family, we respect and treat each other with kindness. Asking please, thanking and greeting each other are some of the basic rules of the house. 

These monkeys are not domestic animals

Please don’t approach and touch monkeys you are not familiar with, as it can scare them and cause them to poo or bite. This is especially important to tell tourists, so they don’t scare the monkeys. 

In general, New World Monkeys are not aggressive, but if you get worked up or start shouting, they will see this as an invitation to do the same. Just be calm and take your time getting to know each of them and their quirky behavior.

Let the monkeys be monkeys. If they are in trees or playing together, do not try to coax them down to you – just enjoy them in their natural environment. This will help them to build the skills they need for release.

Be careful going in and out of the doors

Monkeys and local dogs love coming in for a look around.

If there are animals outside the doors, you can try to spray water at them, or ask one of the others to help you get them away before you enter. We also have the side door you can use.

If a monkey does come in, don’t try and stop them, and get help from the staff to take them out.

Please don’t sit on the front steps – This means the monkeys spend time away from the trees and are drawn to the main entrance where they will try to get in. If you see other people on the stairs please ask them to move to the bridge or the seats under the trees.

Rooms

Unless specifically asked to (eg, if you are caring for a young baby), don’t let animals in your room – they’re likely to have fleas. 

Any food in your room must be sealed. Anything unsealed will be targets for cockroaches.

Keep your doors closed.

Washing

You can do hand washing in our sinks, or send dirty clothes to the local community for washing – it is approximately S/40 per large bag.

For those staying long term – please ensure your sheets are washed once a week.

Power & Internet

Our solar system allows us to charge everything during the day, but at night we use the batteries for lights and to keep our food cold. Please unplug once the sun goes down.

We pay for petrol for our pump, so please save water. Please be conscious of water use – don’t leave taps running etc.

We have satellite internet, but if it isn’t working you can walk up the path to the cacao tree where there is usually a small amount of signal, or to the point where you can get signal from across the river.

General Rules

It is forbidden to smoke inside and near the house. Please go into the jungle away from the house and the monkeys. Taking drugs, and/or any other illegal substances is forbidden during the time you are with us. 

Please help us to keep everything clean. In and outside the house. If you see something is dirty or out of place, please clean it.

It is forbidden to go into the workers rooms, and vice versa.

Be sure to use natural repellent, something that does not damage the monkeys and the environment. We recommend during your stay on the island to wear long pants and sleeves to avoid mosquito bites.

Please do not feed the monkeys food outside of their 3 x per day schedule unless specifically asked to do so by staff. 

Ceasing Your Volunteering

If you break any of the rules and/or if we see any inappropriate behavior, you will be asked to leave the island and your volunteering position immediately.

Issues & Suggestions

If you have any problems, suggestions or complaints, please speak with Lucero, Jair or Davison in the first instance on the island. You can also speak with Gilberto, who is based in Iquitos and responsible for the project. You can do it personally or via email – [email protected].

A Typical Day

6:30 am – Wake up

  • Sweep and scrub common areas; the reception house, kitchen, bathroom, outside steps(3), outside benches(3) and bridge.
  • Prepare the monkey’s breakfast & feed all

8:00 am – Breakfast

  • Prepare the table with cutlery and anything else required.
  • Clean up the table and wash dishes afterwards.

9:00 am – center Open

  • Dependent on availability, please use a t-shirt from the island so our visitors will notice you are part of the team.
  • Guide guests to the reception, try to keep them away from monkeys until they have removed all of their things.
  • Prepare the monkeys lunch (around 12.45) & feed all

1:00 pm – Monkey and human lunch

  • Please clean your plates and clear up the table after lunch.

4:00 pm – Center Closed to tourists

4:30 pm – Last meal for monkeys*

6 pm – Sunset and bedtime

  • If you want dinner, there is usually a light meal like bread or a soup and tea. Please always ask whomever is in the kitchen before helping yourself to anything extra.
  • ​​The food is here for you and the monkeys, but please be aware that fruit is expensive and we need a LOT for monkeys. If you want to eat lots of fruit, we’d love any extra donations you can give.
  • Please clean up after yourselves – and at night time put your dishes away.
  • After 8:30pm please be mindful of people sleeping. Talk quietly and be very careful opening and closing doors so they do not slam.
  • If you want to keep talking you can go down to the pontoon by the river.

How Can I Help While I’m Here?

Your help means we can do more for monkeys

Without volunteers, we would need to pay for more staff to care for the monkeys. The more you can help us, the more we can give to the monkeys and the large projects we have on the island.

If you have some free time during the day, please ask the staff or other volunteers, as there is always something to do. We have listed some daily tasks below, but there are many more.

Caring For Monkeys

Feeding times are approximately 8:00am | 1pm | 4:30pm. If you are free before these times, go into the kitchen and start asking what needs to be cut and distributed.

Cleaning of the cages and platforms is done in the morning and afternoon. Please ask the team.

Clearing Leaves and Grass

We want to keep the grounds and underneath the trees clear of fruit, leaves, and cut grass, so please grab a rake and clear up anything you see. This is a good job early in the morning when it is not so hot! 

The more we can clear away, the less chance of ants, mice, and snakes being close to us and the monkeys.

Welcoming Tourists and Helping with Tours

We do not usually ask you to take tours until you have been here a while, but you can help guests get to and from reception without monkeys trying to steal things from them. You can also walk around with a tour and act as ‘spotter’ for anything you see in the trees!

In the classroom there is a lot of information about the project and the monkeys. Spend some time reading through it and then you can help tell people about it!

Taking Photos

If you have a great eye and love taking photos and videos it is fantastic for our social media and website. When you leave we’d love you to share the high quality versions in a Google folder for us.

Please follow us on Facebook / Instagram / TikTok and share your photos/videos so we can share them to our audience.

We love photos of monkeys being monkeys. In trees, playing with each other and living as naturally as they can. Monkeys on your head are cute, but can reinforce the idea that they’d make cute pets.

Please think about people looking at the photos who may not know the island well or not understand the context of them. Photos of monkeys drinking from bottles (even if it is water) or acting only for human enjoyment (and not their own) can do harm to our reputation.

Planting

You can discover our sustainability projects and traditional farming techniques by helping us plant and maintain our fruit and trees.

Construction

If you are able to help us build on our bigger construction projects that would be greatly appreciated.

Kitchen

We have a large team to feed every day – if you would like to help with food preparation just let us know. Please also ensure that the kitchen is clean, if you see dishes that need to be put away, jump in and help. 

Random Ideas?

Do you have any random ideas for the island? Even if you can’t produce it, we’d love to hear them! You can either start the project while you’re on the island, or email us once you leave and we can work on it together – [email protected]

Some previous ideas

  • A colouring book
  • A children’s book
  • Calendars
  • Keyrings
  • Puzzle with photos of our monkeys
  • Postcards with photos of our monkeys
  • Shopping bags
  • A small notebook with photos and/or designs
  • Giftcards for birthdays, wishing well etc..

At the end of your stay

Clean your room – Sweep, and remove sheets and put them in the laundry basket.

Fill in the guestbook – Any messages you want to leave the team and Gilberto are always greatly appreciated.

Donate any clothes or leftovers – Anything you leave will get used for other people or monkeys, please leave anything you can.

Leave us a review – Tell others about your experience volunteering by leaving us a review on Google or Facebook.

Help us once you get home – Once you get back to ‘normal life’ please don’t forget about our project. Anything you can do to raise awareness and money for us is a huge help. If you would like any island images or logos for fundraising, please email us at [email protected]

Thank you for volunteering!

We hope you love your time on the island, that it feels like your second home, and you are able to contribute in a meaningful way to our project.

Thank you for your support

Gilberto, Jair, Lucero, Davison & The Family at La Isla de Los Monos