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“Great tour!”

Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica
Ranked #3 of 8 things to do in Cahuita
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Two types of tours to see sloths and learn about their diminishing rainforest habitat. Sorry, no direct contact with sloths, for their well-being and yours. "Buttercup Tour" requires no advance reservation; just arrive about 20 minutes before the top of the hour (8AM–2PM) to register. Duration about 2 hours. "Insider's Tour" is given twice daily and requires advance booking. This tour includes everything in the Buttercup Tour plus "behind-the-scenes" visits to the NICU, Slothpital, climbing area and more. Admission/donations collected directly support the sloths – their rescue, rehabilitation, wellness, research, housing and enrichments. Thank you for supporting the sloths with your tour!
Reviewed 28 August 2012

We loved it! :) First you take a lovely boat ride through the lush canals on the property... seeing all kinds of wildlife and beautiful plants, then watch an informational video that really sheds light on how misunderstood sloths really are and how important this facility is. Then you get to see the sloths and meet them. They are adorable and I particularly liked getting to see the babies, and watch them eat. The family that runs the place is very invested in the research, care and rescue of these creatures and I was happy to spend my money to support their project!

1  Thank Sone-a-rone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 28 August 2012

and you get to have lunch with Buttercup. The people here do great work rehabilitating sloths that have been hurt in the wild. I applaud their efforts & the learning experience that the sanctuary provided us. The visit was worth every second.

1  Thank UNHBuzzard
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 August 2012

This was a highlight in our 1 month trip through Costa Rica. My kids (6,10,12) learned a ton about sloths as we're able to see them up close and touch them. The guide did a nice job of presenting the information so that it was meaningful to them.

2  Thank Estela S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 August 2012

I worked at the sanctuary as a volunteer with the sloths for over 2 weeks and LOVED it! In fact, I stayed longer than originally planned.

The sloths are delightful, adorable and minimal fuss - they're sloths afterall! Your day starts at 6am, with cage cleaning and food prep, then it's breakfast time (for the volunteers), then you feed the sloths and have "baby time" (the best part of the day where you supervise the really young ones on the jungle gym or take an adult one for a walk in the jungle) and more food prep. Then there's a break until lunch and after lunch you feed the sloths again and then have the rest of the afternoon off. Depending on the number of other volunteers you can get through sloth chores really quickly and have a lot of free time. Sometimes you help out in other areas - collecting almond leaves (for the sloths), yard-work, etc.

You get a day off a week (if you so choose, I opted out of my second one so I could have more time with the sloths), and it's easy to pop down to Cahuita (great beach and national park, be careful of the rip in the water) or Puerto Viejo. A bunch of us even went down to Puerto Viejo for the evening after work a couple times, it's close enough for that.

The provided accommodation is totally fine (either on the same property as the sanctuary itself or across the road in the volunteer's house) - hot water, laundry once a week, wi-fi at the sanctuary. Meals were great and plentiful.

Overall it is a great experience that I'd recommend to anyone that loves animals. Sloths are generally very good-natured and friendly animals. Within an hour of arrival I was inside their cages with them, already helping out with the cleaning and feeding. A quick sniff of your hand is often all it takes for them to check you out and 'accept' you in their space. If it's been rainy or windy they can be slightly more agitated/mobile and you do need to keep an eye on them whilst in their cages, as they can try to bite (but they're sloths, so it's very rare that anything happens quickly!)

It's true that the majority of them will never be returned to the wild - but a sloth typically spends the first year or 2 with its mother, learning what to eat, how to survive etc. So if it comes to the sanctuary as an orphan and under that age, the staff still haven't worked out how to teach it that stuff, so they'd die if returned to the wild (they've tried). They also have a few injured sloths (missing limbs, paralyzed etc), who'd never survive in the wild and ones who were previously kept as house pets (who'd similarly never survive if released into the wild). Injured adult wild sloths who arrive there are healed and released back into the wild. And sloths are slothful (LOL) - they don't need big cages coz they basically eat and then hang around sleeping for most of the day. So, overall, the place is doing all it can, and serves a necessary role in wildlife care and management.

The video that's shown to visitors is pretty atrocious and in dire need of an update with more info about sloths, their evolution, habitat, differences, threats etc etc (rather than a very odd song) and most visitors seem to enjoy the canal tours that's offered - you might see wild sloths and howler monkeys, which freely move through the area.

5  Thank travla67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 August 2012

When my friend first said she wanted to do the VIP Tour, I was a little leery. $150 to see animals that I have seen already in the wild. However, the $150 tour is definitely worth the additional money. I also want to post some comments about the "misinformation" from the previous poster.

Our tour guide was the grandson of the founder. It was just my friend and I. First we got to hold the toddler sloths. Matthew was adorable. Several of these sloths are in cages together. The reason is that, if the sloths are too young when they are brought to the sanctuary, they will never be able to learn all the skills they need to be in the wild. Some make attachments and they are kept together. (They are going to try coming up with a system to be able to send them into the wild. Basically the grandson is going to live in a tree with the sloths and try and teach them how to be wild sloths).

Then we saw the video. It is cheesy. So what? I would rather they use the money they have to help the sloths than give me a slick video.

After that, we met the adult sloths. Normally you are allowed to hold Millie, but she was being very shy and the grandson said it would be better that we don't hold her (a sign that they hold the animals welfare in the highest esteem).

After that, we went to the Slothopital. We met a few sloths that had been horrible abused (I hate people sometimes.) Then my friend got to help spray down one of the sloths with some anti-bug thing. The reason this is not part of the $30 tour is that most of these sloths are supposed to be sent back out into the wild. They do not want them to become to acclimated to humans, so there is a limit to the number of human interactions they have in a single day.

After the slothpital, we went to see the incubator babies, who were the cutest things ever. You get to hold them and they crawl all over you.

We then went on the boat ride, which I thought was kind of boring (I have been in Costa Rica twice and seen a lot of wildlife) but we did see a family of howler monkeys pretty close. My friend thought the tour was awesome.

We then had the included lunch, which is soup and sandwich. The tomato soup was so rich and delicious.

The grandson was an amazing tour guide and VERY knowledgeable. I believe the tour guides for the cheaper tours are just volunteers, so they have less knowledge than the year round staff. I definitely recommend paying the additional money for the VIP tour if you want to be able to hold a sloth. I would add more photos but my friend took all the pictures.

4  Thank Meredith B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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