Travelers with a passion for primates will find a wealth of these creatures in the Amazon River basin. Although the vast biodiversity of the region means that there are countless locations in which to spy these mammals, there may be no better destination to get up and close with these distant ancestors of man than the Pacaya-Samiria Reserve in northern Peru.

The Pacaya-Samiria Reserve is the largest reserve in Peru and the second largest in the entire Amazon Basin. The park is home to one of the richest collections of animals on the planet, with more than 520 species of bird, 65 reptiles and 260 varieties of fish, among others.

Of the reserve's 102 recorded mammal species, 13 are primates, and these creatures are among the most amazing in the park.

One of these jungle denizens is the Peruvian spider monkey (Ateles chamek), a threatened species that can typically be found among the treetops and canopies of the reserve. These black simians are increasingly rare, so travelers will want to keep their eye out for them.

Far more common, yet no less amazing, are the common squirrel monkeys (Saimiti sciureus), which can be found playing among the reserve's trees. Other species known to reside within the reserve include red howler monkeys, monk sakis, tamarins and marmosets.

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