Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout
We visited Roatan and Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout in November, 2019. I’d heard about it on Cruise Critic, then did my research. There is at least one other Sloth sanctuary in Roatan, but after doing the research, I decided to book directly with Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout.
Book right on the website
We ended up booking the Sloth Hangout along with the island tour from the website. The cost was only $40 a person. Compare that to the cost of a ship excursion. Not bad at all. We didn’t even have to pay up front. Their reply was prompt, and came with instructions on where to meet the Van driver. We had to meet him outside the port, since he was a third party vendor. You can also add on a zipline adventure, and the iguana park. Once we were on the ship, we found out that our day at the port of Roatan had been changed. I had the Facebook internet package, so I just messaged them on Facebook with the new information, and they got back to me fairly quickly with a confirmation.
We ported at Coxen Hole. Once we got off of the ship, we headed through the port shops to try and find Daniel Johnson’s. The port has a lot of construction, so we had a hard time following the directions that we were sent. But it didn’t take long to find someone who pointed the way to where they were standing. They were holding a sign, so we went up and introduced ourselves. Almost immediately we and another couple were told to follow Jermai (pronounced Jeremiah) to a van. I have to say that it was a very old van, and didn’t have seatbelts that we could find.
It was about a twenty minute drive from the port to the Monkey and Sloth Hangout. Jermai gave us a guided tour as he drove, telling us about some of the island sights. I do have to say that there seem to be no driving rules in any of the islands that I’ve visited. Interesting. Just glad that I didn’t have to drive.
Snow White, the sloth
Once we got to the hangout, we discovered that the owner’s wife is from Ohio, our home state. We had a nice conversation. Then we paid the lady at the booth our $40 and waited to go in. We were put into a small group with two guides, and then entered the sanctuary. We were told about the sloths and their lifestyle while one of the guides went to get us our very own sloth. The sloths actually live free in the trees around the sanctuary. It’s a waterfront area, and very nice. Like they said, it’s not like the sloths are going to run away.
Our sloth was named Snow White. They name all of their animals after movie stars or characters. And we all got a chance to hold her. Let me tell you, if you have the chance to do this, do it! I think that holding a sloth was the highlight of my cruise. She was so sweet and gentle. And they are so soft, although their fur looks course, it isn’t. Nothing scary about holding a sloth at all. And you can get as many pictures as you want while you’re there.
They also have Spider and Capuchin Monkeys, parrots, macaws, and assorted other animals. They won’t let you in the Spider monkey cages because they can be mean, but you can go into the cage with the Capuchin monkeys. I decided to stay outside and take pictures. I’m glad that I did. The monkeys will jump onto you, and if you’re not lucky, may go to the bathroom on you. It happened to two people while we were there. I did go into the cages with the parrots, and then the Macaws. It is fun to hold them, although a big macaw decided that jumping onto my head would be fun.
The cages and area were all very clean and large and the animals were well taken care of. The trainers and guides seemed to love what they do and enjoy being with the animals. There are restrooms, and there is a gift shop at the end of the tour. All I bought was a magnet, I had wanted to get a stuffed sloth for my granddaughter, but didn’t want to pay what they were asking.
We also went on the island tour with Jermai after the sloth sanctuary. First he stopped at a local grocery store so we could get something cold to drink. The other lady on the tour with us had been eaten up by mosquitos in the Belize rainforest, so she asked to stop at a pharmacy, so we did. Pharmacies in Belize don’t need prescriptions to get what you need. She said he was very helpful and got her an antibiotic and some cream. When we saw her later she said it helped.
We next went to a straw market on a hill overlooking the ship. It’s a nice market with quite a few vendors. You can haggle with them on price, we ended up getting some mahogany coasters for a good price. They also sell bottled water. Plus, there is a really good view of the ship from here for pictures.
We drove through some nice areas of Roatan, and some poorer areas, then went to a chocolate factory for a free sample, which is basically a chocolate chip. It was okay, but I’ve been to a better chocolate factory in Cozumel. And across the street is a small shop with metal sculptures that we went to. Our last stop was to get our pictures taken in front of the Roatan sign. By then it was raining, so we did that quickly, then headed back to the ship.
I would definitely recommend Daniel Johnson’s Monkey and Sloth Hangout. It was the highlight of our cruise, and much less expensive than a ship excursion. Give it a try! It’s worth it just to hold a sloth!