All About: The Monkey La-La

When you hear ‘monkey la-la’, what pops into your head? Maybe a funky dance move, or a fancy gorilla?

It seems that every tropical island has their own special frozen blended drink to call their own… picture pina coladas, strawberry daquiris, margaritas. On Roatan, it’s the monkey la-la.

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The drink is named after the ubiquitous lizard you will see running across the road up on its hind legs – the islanders call it a monkey la-la, but its scientific name is the basilisk and is also commonly known as the Jesus Lizard because it can walk on water for a bit before sinking. I guess the drink is named appropriately, because I have seen plenty of people trying to walk on water and do other miraculous things after drinking 4 or 5 of them. And once I saw a lady drink 13 of them and after a snooze at the table (we thought she was dead) she was resurrected and proceeded to down another one. Jesus Lizard drink indeed!

I like to call monkey la-las ‘Diabetes in a Cup’ because they have enough sugar to kill a small horse. It hides the taste of all the alcohol and it is way too easy to overindulge in these.

Every bartender on Roatan has their own special monkey la-la recipe. Most involve some variant of the following ingredients blended together:

  • ice
  • Kahlua
  • Bailey’s
  • coconut cream or milk
  • chocolate syrup
  • vodka
  • dark rum
  • a banana
  • pineapple juice

(If you’ve got a particularly cheeky bartender, he might tell you there’s a monkey la-la lizard blended up in it too!)


As you can see, it is delicious and dangerous…there are up to 4 kinds of alcohol in it – meaning one drink can have up to 4 shots in it. That much sugar can make for a pretty nasty hangover too. But an icy drink on a hot day at the beach is SO good!

I personally have only ever had one monkey la-la, when I first visited the island. I think everyone should try at least one, since it’s the Roatan drink. However, if you knock back 8 in an afternoon by the pool, don’t say I didn’t warn you 🙂

– rika