Look a Sloth in the Eye at Jaguar Rescue Center, Costa Rica

What would you give to be able to look a sloth in the eye? How about if it was a baby?

You can do just that at the Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, Limón, Costa Rica. The Centre is a non-profit and an absolute delight for animal lovers!

Except it’s also kind of sad. 

I say it’s kinda sad because every single animal that’s there is there because something horrible has happened to it.


An iguana that fell and broke its spine. He can barely move his tail now and without use of his tail, he has no way to defend himself. 

A young crocodile that was supposed to be dinner but the method of execution was ineffective. It arrived at the Jaguar Rescue Center full of holes from a broom handle and missing an eye.

The beautiful wildcats that had been destined to be someone’s pets after poachers killed their mothers for fur, and tried to sell the baby. A double payday for poachers, a double heart break for the cats. 


The sloths — and yes, you can look them in the eye — arrived as babies after their mothers were electrocuted (on telephone wires). The baby monkeys were there for similar reasons. One baby sloth had melted to its dead mother and had to be surgically separated. 


But perhaps the saddest, you can decided, is the monkey who had been a pet for 20 years. Except she wasnt treated even half as well as we’d treat a dog. 

For 20 years she lived in a cage. For 20 years nobody hugged her, played with her, touched her. Her cage was opened once a day when her owners gave her a banana. Nobody loved her for 20 years. The average lifespan for her type of monkey is 25 years. 

For the next 5 years though, she’ll be loved. The staff and volunteers at the Jaguar Rescue Center will take good care of her. I know they will. They’d reintroduce her into the wild if they could — but she wouldn’t survive. She never even had the chance to feel a tree branch under her fingertips. 

She can’t really do monkey things but she’s befriended a tiny baby monkey. A huge step for a once lonely, neglected sweetheart. 

If you want to help, why not adopt a beautiful baby monkey or sloth? Adopt here!


Not all animals, no matter how cute or beautiful or playful or exotic, are meant to be pets. They are not ours! They’re not here for our entertainment or to make us feel good about ourselves.

The amount of respect that the Jaguar Rescue  Center’s staff and volunteers have for the animals is simply awe-inspiring. There is so much love for all of the animals, from the snakes to the birds, the tree frogs to the croc, the iguana to the owls, the ant-eater to the wild cats, and of course, the sloths and the monkeys.

It’s so obvious that the rescues are in good hands. I hope if you’re ever in Costa Rica, you get a chance to visit the Caribbean coast and take a trip to the Jaguar Rescue Center. The $18USD fee is well worth it, especially since it goes to the animals. Even Stephen Fry found time to film at the Jaguar Rescue Center the day after we were there!

Every animal there has a story that can break your heart. But thanks to the Rescue Center, and it’s volunteers and supporters, their stories can have much happier endings.

While I looked the beautiful sloth in the eye, I felt so happy. What a privilege to be so close to these animals! I never thought I’d see one in real life. Yet at the same time, my heart ached for the animals that have been harmed at the hands of humans. A mixed bag of emotions for sure.


Want to help? 

You can volunteer (beware, baby monkeys might crawl all over you!) or donate now to ensure the next injured animal can be rescued too. Or, you can adopt your favourite!

Also follow the Jaguar Rescue Center on Facebook for daily updates on their rescues. 

  — Cyn

Where we stayed near the Jaguar Rescue Centre, Playa Chiquita and Punta Uva: 

Casa Moabi – super nice hosts, clean, comfortable, hot shower, fantastic shared kitchen and plenty of howler monkeys to spot! Well, you’re surrounded by jungle here so you can’t help but spot the monkeys 🙂

Airbnb Cabin with the Hernandez family – rustic, basic yet comfortable, relaxing, well located and with a lovely family. 

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