Spotlight on Central & South America

Central and South America – or the Neotropics – are home to well over 200 species and subspecies of primates.

They live in all habitats – from tiny tropical islands to the high Andes mountains; from the Amazon rainforest to the dry thorny forest of the Chaco in Paraguay and Bolivia. Primates here are a wonderfully diverse group: the tiny Pygmy Marmoset weights just 100 grams; the Wooly Spider Monkey is 150 times larger.

All primate aficionados should visit Brazil, ideally several times. Brazil has the highest number of primate species in South America, including the Black Uakari, two Woolly Spider Monkeys and all four of the beautiful Lion Tamarins. Several new species have been described in the past 10 years.

Some of the best primate watching areas are in the Amazon and best reached by boat from Manaus, or in the little remaining Atlantic Rainforest along the coast. Other countries on every primatewatchers wishlist include Peru, Ecuador and Colombia.

Most species are endangered and many cling on in tiny patches of forest. Responsible primatewatching could be enough to tip the scales towards the survival of whole species, as this article about Brazil’s Mato Grosso argues.


Country pages on this site have a lot of information. Brazil, Ecuador, Peru, Guyana and Bolivia are some of the most primate-rich countries on earth.

Neotropical Primate Conservation – is dedicated to the conservation of primates and their habitats in South and Central America. We aim to promote conservation and protect biodiversity in the Neotropics

Central & South America rankings

Browse the global Central & South America list rankings or submit your list to join the competition.

1Paul Simpson341
2Jon Hall340
3Tim Mellon298
4John Holmes200
5Monica Petterson180
6Robert Smith177
7Jeff Hart105
8Mike Johns97
9Tam Michaels92

See also


Why primates? They are our closest relatives and species like gorillas, chimpanzees and orangutans are some of the well-known and well-loved animals.


The enormously rich diversity of primates makes Madagascar one of the planet’s four major primate regions.