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The Monkey Farm

Features Animals
Closed Now: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Open today: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
Review Highlights
We Saw the Monkeys

It was a nice visit and the cost makes it worth seeing. We loved watching the monkey play with the... read more

Reviewed 18 June 2018
Monkey Farm FUN!!!

I went on this tour expecting to horseback ride. When I arrived, to my surprise, I found SO many... read more

Reviewed 2 weeks ago
Ashley G
Escazu, Costa Rica
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  • Excellent62%
  • Very good11%
  • Average10%
  • Poor5%
  • Terrible12%
Travellers talk about
“costa rica”(17 reviews)
The Monkey Farm is new and in the process of becoming a monkey and wildlife rescue center combined with an organic sustainable farm run by volunteers from all over the world. Come see what we are doing, meet our animals, and learn something new...more
Closed Now
Hours Today: 8:00 am - 4:00 pm
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Camino del Cielo, Playa Ocotal 50503, Costa Rica
+506 8853 0165
Reviews (170)
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All reviewshorseback ridingcosta ricaself sustainingpetting zoothe ownerdown the roadwell taken caregreat place to visitfell in lovebaby animalsin playas del cocorescued animalshard workcute animalsvarious animalsvolunteershorses
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1 - 10 of 166 reviews
Reviewed 2 weeks ago

I went on this tour expecting to horseback ride. When I arrived, to my surprise, I found SO many cute animals running around! It wasn't just horseback riding, it was a whole tour of the farm and introduction into how Vicki is truly helping the...More

Thank Ashley G
Reviewed 11 August 2018 via mobile

We visited three years ago and thought it was worth the trip back. We regret the trip from Potrero and even more so giving a donation. Zero monkeys!! Zero anyone around except lady that is always there. Why advertise ? Zero water for any animals....More

2  Thank jenniferwhite2018
Reviewed 19 July 2018 via mobile

Best place to go see the monkeys in their natural habitat and go on a great horseback ride! Being previous horse owners we were skeptical about renting horses. But we had an amazing ride. The guide was knowledable and very sweet! The horses were energetic...More

1  Thank ruby19641
Reviewed 18 June 2018

It was a nice visit and the cost makes it worth seeing. We loved watching the monkey play with the other baby animals.

2  Thank willyBonnyville
Reviewed 18 June 2018 via mobile

As we quickly learned, animal farm wasn’t really titled such because of monkeys. It was more of a communal with volunteers to help around, cleaning and picking up debris. Farm-type animals, goats, rabbits, peacocks, chickens, turkeys and a pig that wondered. There was a unique...More

1  Thank Barry M
Reviewed 12 June 2018

My boyfriend and I were traveling around Costa Rica and spent a few days in Playas del Coco. While we were there, we met some other tourists who had visited The Monkey Farm and got to play with some baby monkeys a few days before....More

2  Thank Liz9922018
Reviewed 22 April 2018

My mom and I booked our horseback ride at The Monkey Farm before we left for Costa Rica. We knew it wasn't a hands-on monkey experience already from doing our research. We biked there from Playa del Coco (it was very hot), but it was...More

2  Thank BethP1311
Reviewed 18 April 2018

My daughter and I biked about 3 miles there from Coco. Great bike ride through some local communities. The last 100 yds are steep and hot, but worth the sweat! We were greeted by some nice volunteers, who work at the farm for a few...More

1  Thank onthelake2018
Reviewed 13 April 2018 via mobile

My friends and i went at 4p and none of the animals had water and looked malnourished. The 2 ppl who worked there did not greet us, we asked if we could help feed the animals and they told us they hadn’t done their chores...More

1  Thank Niki K
Reviewed 2 April 2018

Great place not easy to find but well worth it. By the time we arrive there was no monkeys but we see plenty of other animals rescue by volunteers from France and Canada. All place is build and maintain by volunteers only. Its nice to...More

2  Thank Elmeskal
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My Nightmare experience as a volunteer at “The Monkey Farm” in Costa Rica. After earning my degree in veterinary medicine and coming to a crossroads in my life, I needed a change and wanted to seek out a purpose, gain experience with exotics in a clinic setting while volunteering for a good cause. I found out about volunteering at The monkey farm in Costa Rica through a legit website for LVT’s to volunteer overseas. After going through the application process and being “selected” I was asked for a $100 deposit to hold my place since they only choose 1 out of 20 applicants. I was then asked to do a fundraiser to raise $500 through youcaring before going to volunteer. I constantly shared the fundraiser page on social media asking all of my friends and family to please donate to help me, save the monkeys at The Monkey Farm. It was almost June 5th so I started packing my 50lbs of camping gear and luggage preparing to camp in a tent for the minimum stay of one month in Costa Rica since the volunteer cabin would be full, I had a better chance of acceptance If I brought a tent. After traveling over 3,000 miles to Costa Rica, I arrived at The Monkey Farm, only to find out that there were NO monkeys, no clinic and a very different atmosphere than I expected. I didn’t receive a very warm welcome from the owner, Vicki Conley whom I had been email back and forth for over a month while planning and she seemed very nice over email, but in person was completely different. I wasn’t given a tour of the farm or told anything other than pick any spot you want to set up your tent. I expected to be walking into a great experience with other volunteers from all over the world, a clinic for medical care, a permaculture garden that supplied our food, an aquaponics system I was curious to know all about and well cared for wildlife, exotic species and farm animals. Instead I walked into a living hell. I spoke with the only other volunteer there who had been there for three months. And to my surprise he was also the only one in the volunteer cabin with 7 other empty beds. He said he had hitchhiked there 3 months ago, ended up at the farm by chance and had been living there ever since. I asked him if he had to make a $100 deposit to “hold” his spot or raise $500 before coming and his answer was no. At this point I felt like crying. I began to ask him where the monkeys were that I had asked my friends and family to raise money for and he said that they had none right now because they had, yet again, been seized by MINEA the (Costa Rican government.) He told me not to worry because by the end of my month a local would probably bring one in. At this point I am wondering what in the heck I am going to do. That night I was thankful that I managed to get a good meal in at the airport because there was no food in sight. The rain started to come after setting up my tent and I started to get drenched. The next morning, I had sent a friend a message about my horrors after arriving. He did some quick research on Vicki Conley and what he sent me was horrifying. According to these documents she had previously been involved with international volunteer scams in the states with an international grooming school. I also knew it wasn’t a good sign when I saw that she went by about 6 other different alias’s or names and had many sketchy background internet businesses going on. That morning, it got worse… In the mud pit pastures I saw 13 undernourished horses who are currently being used for giving tourist rides on the beach. They were all very unthrifty looking, their hooves were cracked and broken, the medical body condition score of these horses were a 2/5 or a 3/5 at best. Most of them had diarrhea and over all very frail and ill compared to what my horses and other healthy horses are supposed to look like. I then saw about 12 very unhealthy looking goats and pigs also in a small area of fencing. The goats that were available for the tourist to pet in the barn looked a lot better and had access to hay, unlike the others. Vicki came back that morning from the automercado (a local grocery store in coco) with the left over, or scraps of all of their fruits, vegetables and pastries. The other volunteer and I were told to separate the large trash bags of half rotten slop into different buckets for the animals. As I am sorting through this mess, I am asking the other volunteer what food goes in what animal’s bucket. To my surprise, all of the watermelon and pineapple RINDS went to the horses, all of the mold covered lemons, limes and oranges went to the goats with a mixture of everything else and pretty much the same for the pigs. I am thinking, “no wonder they all have diarrhea!” I had never heard of feeding citrus fruits to any animal, especially a ruminant (an animal with 4 stomachs). The other volunteer was eating different fruits that looked only half rotten and then he said to me, “pick out what looks ok for you to eat for lunch.” I was hungry so I found a green apple that didn’t look too bad or have any worm holes and tried to eat it. A green apple marinated in rotten fruit juices is not good, trust me on that. I was horrified and knew that I could not be a part of this cruelty and neglect. I wasn’t sure if it was a major lack of education and funds or If the owner was just pocketing all of the donations and getting by with free slop since that is their daily diet. I then asked about one of the farm dogs, Coquetta, because she had been laying on the cement in the feed room all day, breathing really hard with high respirations and had a really deep-harsh cough that sounded to me like end stage heart worm disease. I was told by the other volunteer that she has had that cough since almost drowning as a puppy. Medically speaking, I had never heard of anything like that being possible but I knew that the way that they would jerk her around by her collar to put her back outside wasn’t helping either. Once I learned the magnitude of the situation my morals would not allow me to participate and I knew I had to leave. Three girls from England came by, one who had previously volunteered at the Monkey Farm. They came by while backpacking through the area and asked Vicki If they could wash their clothes in the sink. She asked this girl If she would do a video about how wonderful her experience was, volunteer a few hours and then they were free to was clothes. Vicki went to get camera as the girl was vocally dreading having to do this with some heavy eye rolling. The situation was awkward when the camera was out because the girl kept saying, “What am I supposed to say?” Clearly she felt forced and put on the spot to give this “testimony of experience.” Then I thought to myself, this is how she does it to make the FB page look so busy and exciting to reel you in. This girl had been here a year before and by the way she talked, she didn’t enjoy herself but in exchange for clean clothes she made the video. I didn’t feel so stupid and naïve after seeing several acts of “benefit me.” I didn’t want the girls to leave. I really wanted to ask If I could leave with them but they weren’t there long after the video and weren’t interested in staying to volunteer a few hours to continue digging through the slop. Later I saw the post of this volunteer experience video that Vicki posted on the FB page which read something like this, “A former monkey farmer stopped by to surprise me today and hid in the feed room before jumping out and hugging me!” My jaw dropped a little more at the bold lie that I was reading especially after witnessing a completely different scenario. All I could think was YIKES, she defiantly knows how to lie to paint a prettier picture. Three tourist came to visit later that morning and to distract them from coming all the way to the monkey farm, that had no monkeys, Vicki handed the little girl a baby raccoon. I was already shocked to see how the wildlife was being handled. The baby squirrels and raccoons were treated like kittens which isn’t necessarily harmful unless this goes on too long and then they are not able to have a chance in the wild. The baby raccoon pooped on the little girl’s purse and I became horrified knowing that raccoons naturally shed a parasite called Baylisascaris procyonis that is a very dangerous, zoonotic roundworm parasite that can be fatal to humans. In my experience, when handling raccoons, you must take extra precaution when cleaning their feces due to the dangers of this naturally occurring parasite. All that they had at The Monkey Farm to disinfect this little girls purse was vinegar. Again, lack of education, very poor management and a very high risk to take with the health and safety of the public. Also, orphaned wildlife should not be used in a petting zoo setting. This is unlawful, unhealthy to the animal and human and should be a major concern for the community to consider. I knew I had to leave but still wanted to serve my purpose in Costa Rica. My luck started to change when I signed on my Facebook account and had a message from a local in Coco beach trying to warn me about the farm being a volunteer scam. I immediately wrote her back explaining that I was at the farm and trying to figure out how to get out ASAP. She offered to come and picked me up at the monkey farm’s main entrance since I had very little resources, in a foreign country and not much money. She said that she had previously rescued 12 other "Monkey farmers" in the last year and that she had made it her personal mission to help the volunteers being scammed to get out or warn them in advance to prevent innocent people getting taken advantage of in such a beautiful country. I admire her passion for animals and her activist personality that clearly fought for the greater good and I was instantly relieved to know that I was not alone and would be ok. Luckily, I was put in contact with a real wildlife and refuge in Nosara, where the government placed the monkeys that had been seized from the monkey farm. This well-known refuge was not surprised to hear where I was calling from. They had been trying to help get her shut down since she has no licenses or permits to have possession of any monkeys. Thankfully they were able to take me in as a volunteer. They had a REAL hospital and rescue setting. They did not ask me for any contribution besides my time and work for their 36 monkeys being treated and cared for. I packed all 50lbs of camping gear in under 10 minutes and started walking with all of my luggage up the hill to the entrance where the local woman picked me up, I threw my stuff in the back and we left. At this point I realized how bad I must have stunk and how much adrenaline I was running off of. I am not a confrontational person so I didn’t want to explain why I was leaving to Vicki, and just left. My survival instincts had kicked into to get me up that last hill with my luggage and I knew when I got somewhere safe I would send an email regarding all of my issues of the farm to Vicki. She then took me to get something to eat since I had only had that nasty apple since arriving at the farm 48 hours prior and then she took me to a safe hostel. I stayed a few days in Coco before taking a bus to Nosara to start my real volunteer work. I emailed Vicki Conley to request my fundraising money back with no response. After posting my bad review on a Monkey farm review page, a rumor got started on FB by Vicki Conley through one of her friends facebook post that stated that I and a “known monkey farm hater” (The woman who rescued me) had been seen at the monkey farm right before Coquetta (the farm dog) was poisoned. I knew immediately that this was another lie Vicki Conley was going to tell the public in attempt to down play the bad review I had posted regarding the farm. The dog had obviously been in horrible shape way before I arrived there. Not to mention that my life revolves around helping animals, not hurting them, so this was very surprising to me that Vicki’s friends actually believed this without questioning the story at all. It is hard to prove that a dog has been poisoned without a necropsy which would have had to be performed by DVM in San Jose. I was sad to hear that Coquetta had passed away but angered to know that this woman was so evil that she was going to try to pin her neglect on me and the girl who helped me. At this point I could see all of the strength it took from those trying to help these animals because this woman is very good at what she does. I kept emailing her about refunding my money and the rumors that she was starting and she continued to ignore all communications with me, as expected. I was then contacted by a reported at Tico Times who had seen my story and many other experiences from international volunteers and they were also aware of MINAE’s involvement and public dishonesty frequently being posted on the monkey farm facebook page. He said he was working on a story about what was going on behind scenes at the monkey farm so I told the Tico times reporter my story. I finished my time in Nosara and after a very crazy beautiful trip, I headed back to the states. After getting home I learned that Vicki Conley filled a denuncia against me and the woman who rescued me from the farm. The denuncia stated that we had poisoned her dog Coquetta. This level of evil, dishonesty and malicious behavior is very concerning. I knew I had to go public with my experience. It hasn’t been easy to find the words or to notify everyone that was kind enough to donate that their donations did not go to help any monkeys, instead this was a scam. I hope that by sharing my story I can bring light to a very dark situation and save other volunteers from falling into this trap. It took me a while to save all of the money and be able to fund this trip and I was left feeling very fooled, taken advantage of and hurt that my family & friends have been involved and worried about me during this incident. Unfortunately, this has happened to many others. There is a FB page that was started by ex-volunteers of The Monkey Farm where many accounts sound similar to my experience. I also tried to contact the Youcaring website that the donations went through and see If I had ANY chance of getting everyone's money back, with no luck. They explained that the money went straight into her account and since the reviews on the monkey farm seem ok and the farm seems legit via website and internet, that they were not able to shut down her funding page. I also posted a review on trip advisor after leaving the farm, and to my surprise, two months later, mine and my dad’s reviews have not been posted for the public to see. This would explain the good rating, but again, disappointing to know that reviews for the public can be altered in such a way to deceive others. I hope that in sharing my experience that others can learn to do more research, not necessarily on the place, but on the owner as well. Trust your gut and always, no matter how scary it is, stand up for what you believe in and don’t let the evil ways of others bring you down. The only way I know how to help those animals and warn other innocent people is from sharing my experience. Thank you for reading my story.
17 November 2016|
AnswerShow all 3 answers
Response from cindyc72 |
I wish I would have read your letter before I went to the Monkey Farm. Thank God I was only visiting! I could tell it was a scam...no agriculture, a few poor animals, no medical facilities and dirty. I'm sure they get a lot... More
Amanda C
8 July 2016|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from agatha w | Reviewed this property |
Hi Amanda. I had the same situation. It took Tripadvisor a good few weeks to post one of my "bad reviews". My guess is that they have to make sure that is meets their guidelines.
17 April 2016|
AnswerShow all 4 answers
Response from Gee W |
I found a baby monkey a few kilometres out of Coco on my way out of town. I struggled with bringing it in as I knew I was taking it away from it's mother but his back leg was useless and he was crawling on the ground. He... More