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Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters


Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The opportunity for animal interaction is a prime reason to visit Costa Rica. Manuel Antonio National Park

Costa Rica is home to nearly 250 species of mammals. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Many wildlife sanctuaries in Costa Rica offer tours for an inside look at rescue efforts. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Slow-moving sloths are off the charts when it comes to the cute factor. Sloth Sanctuary

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The Sloth Sanctuary on Costa Rica’s Caribbean coast does a great job rescuing and rehabilitating injured sloths. Sloth Sanctuary

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The sanctuary offers two tours: the Buttercup Tour (named for a 26-year-old resident sloth) and the more comprehensive and expensive Insider’s Tour, which gives an up-close look at infant and baby sloths. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

While it’s only natural that visitors may want to reach out and pet these cute creatures, touching the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary is strictly prohibited. Sloth Sanctuary

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Snorkeling and diving off the coast of Costa Rica offer additional opportunities for animal interaction. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The Jaguar Rescue Center houses a variety of animals both healthy and on the mend, including monkeys, sloths, anteaters, kinkajous, snakes and ocelots. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

All proceeds from admission to the Jaguar Rescue Center go to caring for the animals, including the fee from the JRC Private Tour. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The Jaguar Rescue Center is located near Puerto Viejo de Talamanca in the Limón Province of Costa Rica. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Those who want a more immersive experience at the Jaguar Rescue Center can rent one of the two houses on the property, or book space in the rescue center’s hostel. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Before setting off to visit the Jaguar Rescue Center, it’s important to note that it’s unlikely you will see a jaguar there. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Dramatic overnights can be had at the Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa, which lies in close proximity to the Arenal Volcano and the shores of the 33-square-mile Lake Arenal. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

There’s an abundance of wild animals living free on the 870-acre Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Wildlife at Arenal includes monkeys - howler, spider and white-faced capuchin - as well as 500 species of birds, making the region ideal for the dedicated birder. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

While a 7-mile network of five well-marked nature trails makes it easy to explore on your own, visitors can also take a daily guided walk with the property’s naturalist, free of charge. Arenal Observatory Lodge & Spa

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Whale-watching season is nine months of the year in Costa Rica: December to April and July to early November. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The Monteverde Cloud Forest and Monteverde Wildlife Refuge are located in central northwest Costa Rica. Monteverde Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

The Monteverde Wildlife Refuge offers a chance to view sloths, monkeys, tarantulas, night birds, kinkajous, tree frogs and other creatures in their natural habitat. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Home to over 900 species, Costa Rica offers prime conditions for a birdwatching vacation. Monteverde Wildlife Refuge

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Howler monkeys have a distinctive growling bark that can be heard at a distance. Jaguar Rescue Center

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Howler monkeys are also excellent swimmers. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Visitors to Costa Rica can volunteer to help endangered baby sea turtles at a number of conservation projects around the country. Costa Rica Tourism Board

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Territorio de Zaguates is a 378-acre sanctuary for 1,300 stray dogs, where man’s best friend can be fed, cared for and allowed to go on daily walks until they are adopted. Territorio De Zaguates

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Territorio de Zaguates was featured in Episode Five of the Netflix series “Dogs.” Territorio De Zaguates

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Fans of Territorio de Zaguates can choose to “adopt” a dog by making a donation to the shelter. Territorio De Zaguates

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Territorio de Zaguates has been forced to curtail visits by travelers as it works to accommodate infrastructure regulations imposed by the Costa Rican government. Territorio De Zaguates

Costa Rica's Best Animal Encounters

Costa Rica has a number of national parks that offer a chance to glimpse wildlife in their natural habitat, including Manuel Antonio National Park, Tortuguero National Park, Cahuita National Park and Gandoca-Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge. Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge


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