From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

Vanar are mentioned in the Ramayana. Lord Rama took an army of vanars with him when he attacked Ravana's Lanka.

Vanara in Sanskrit can mean one of three things

  1. vana nara meaning humans living in forests
  2. va-nara meaning humans with monkey like tails.
  3. vaa-nara also means nara-like or human-like. Thus it is the animal that is man-like, or an ape.

Vanaras are often referred to as monkeys and the common portrayal of Vanaras in TV show them as such. In Sanskrit, however, monkeys are vana kapi or simply kapi or markata.