Cayo Santiago

Photo credit: Anding Shen

You should coordinate your visit to the station four weeks in advance and have the following documentation completed:


General Information:

Communication: CSFS offers wifi and fax service. The use of personal two-way radios and cell phones on Cayo Santiago is encouraged for communication among staff, investigators and research assistants, especially in case of emergencies. One (1) two-way radio connected to CPRC staff is provided so people may communicate with CPRC staff in case of emergency.

Health concerns: Rhesus macaques are natural host of Herpes-B virus. Anyone who is exposed to monkeys, monkey tissues / blood or equipment that was in contact with monkeys is potentially at risk of infection. Although no cases of the virus being contracted in a field setting have been reported (all cases of virus transmission have occurred with laboratory animals), for safety reasons we assume all monkeys are Herpes B positive in Cayo Santiago. We offer informative talks to all visiting researchers and students on how to protect themselves from infection by wearing appropriate protective clothing, working with at least one other person on the island, and dispose properly of all bio-hazard materials. In case of contact with a monkey, eight Herpes-B treatment kits are available around the island. Emergency transportation may be provided by the staff in case of injury during working hours with the use of the official vehicle of the CPRC-Cayo Santiago Station.

Cayo Santiago is a 15.2-ha, subtropical island located 1 km off the southeastern coast of Puerto Rico (18°090 N, 65°440 W). Its average daily temperature is 28°C and relative humidity ranges from 60% to 75%. Hurricane season starts in June and ends in December, be advised that during these months weather conditions are erratic and dangerous and there may be days when you will not be able to go to Cayo Santiago or may be required to leave at an earlier time. Do program your weekly/monthly schedule in a matter such that you can maximize your data collection days at the island, in anticipation to these months when you may be unable to take data. In addition, after a hurricane, investigators will not have access to the island until the CPRC staff determines that conditions on the island are safe. You can get information on local weather through the National Weather Service

Clothing/gear: Proper working attire includes long pants, shirts with sleeves (no tank tops or string shirts), closed shoes, protective glasses, and a hat. These measures are done in order to prevent contact with monkey fluids and to prevent bites or scratches by monkeys.

Logistics: Daily trips to Cayo Santiago are serviced by a 22-foot Carolina Skiff boat with a 75hp outboard motor. The boat is used to transport staff, students, investigators, research assistants, and supplies to the island. Offices and storage are located in the fisherman's village of Punta Santiago. A trailer-housing unit with two bedrooms used primarily for interns during the annual trapping season or those that volunteer in behavioral data collection are currently available. Be advised that Puerto Rico celebrates both local and USA holidays, in addition, to other days which may be included as part of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Campus policy. During these days the Cayo Santiago schedule is from 7:00 am to 2:00 pm. Cayo Santiago is closed on December 25th and January 1st.