The Best Animal Rescue Centers and Sanctuaries in Costa Rica

Iguanas are among Costa Ricas wildlife I
Iguanas are among Costa Rica's wildlife I | © Roy Luck/Flickr
Jenn Parker

In Costa Rica, both native and domesticated animals can find themselves in dangerous or life threatening situations. Deforestation, habitat loss and abandonment of a mother are just some of the causes that can affect species including monkeys, sloths, and coatis. If you want to help, check out these animal rescue and wildlife sanctuaries dedicated to caring for these vulnerable creatures.

1. Jaguar Rescue Center

Forest, Natural Feature, Park

Monkey in Costa Rica
© Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr
The Jaguar Rescue Center has two locations: the nursery at Playa Cocles and the Ceiba Primary Forest release area in Punta Uva, some 3 km (1.9 miles) away from the main center. The center focuses mainly on caring for reptiles, birds, amphibians, and small primates that are sick, injured, or orphaned. Some animals find themselves at the center temporarily and are released back into the wild, while others end up spending the remainder of their lives here. While there are no actual jaguars at the center, its name is dedicated to the memory of an abandoned baby jaguar who had been brought in after the mother had been murdered by local farmers. The jaguar stands as a symbol of the vulnerability of nature and wild animals, and as reminder of humans’ responsibility to take care of the natural world.

2. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary

Natural Feature, Park

© Brian Gratwiche/Flickr | Brian Gratwiche/Flickr
Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary in Dominical helps to care for and rehabilitate distressed animals, before then reintroducing them back into the wild. While numbers fluctuate from month to month, there are typically around 75 animals recovering here at any one time. Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary relies on volunteers, donations, and their educational tours to keep the sanctuary operating. The outfit is open to the public and offers an amazing opportunity for visitors to learn about and see some of the exotic native animals of Costa Rica. Your visit alone can make a difference!

Culture Trip Summer Sale

Save up to $1,395 on our unique small-group trips! Limited spots.

Edit article