Cayo Santiago

Photo credit: Anding Shen

Please coordinate your visit to the station six to eight weeks in advance and have the following documentation completed at least four weeks prior to arrival:


General Information:

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.
Scheduling: Access to the island is available only by the CPRC boat, which departs mainland Punta Santiago at 7:00 am, and returns from Cayo Santiago at 2:30 pm. Please be advised that Puerto Rico celebrates both local and USA holidays, and additionally any other days which may be included as part of the University of Puerto Rico, Medical Campus academic schedule as recess days. 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.
Communication: The main CSFS office in Punta Santiago has Wi-Fi. The use of personal cell phones and two-way radios on Cayo Santiago is encouraged for communication among staff, investigators, and research assistants, especially in case of emergencies.
Health concerns: Rhesus macaques are a 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 at 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 disposing properly of all bio-hazard materials. In the event of direct contact with a monkey, 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 Field 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). The average daily temperature is 28°C and relative humidity ranges from 60% to 75%. Although hurricane season starts in June and ends in October, weather conditions can be erratic and dangerous throughout the year and may delay or prevent us from going to Cayo Santiago. In general, investigators should program their weekly/monthly schedule in a matter such that they can maximize their data collection days at the island, in anticipation to the days when you may be unable to take data due to weather. Additionally, following major natural disasters (e.g. 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, string shirts, or cap sleeves), closed shoes (e.g. boots or sneakers), protective glasses, and a hat with a brim (e.g. baseball cap or bucket hat). This personal protective equipment is required to reduce the risk of direct contact with monkeys (e.g. bites or scratches) and monkey fluids (e.g. urine, feces, saliva).
For a full list of rules that all visitors must abide too, please see the following document containing the Rules and Guidelines For Conducting Work At Cayo Santiago.