Q: May I hold a sloth?
A: No. In the recent past we allowed volunteers to handle sloths, so there are tons of photos online of people holding sloths. But last year we were alarmed to discover how stressful it was for sloths to be held by strangers. They appear outwardly calm, but experience acute tachycardia. Unlike a human baby, they don’t cry or fuss, but their hearts race in fear. Sloths—as huggable as they look—are wild animals with unpredictable self-defense behaviors, such as biting or scratching. Also, travelers bring foreign microbes and allergens that can affect the sloths’ immune systems. For their well-being and yours, we do not allow guests to touch, hold or hug sloths. And please keep away from roadside scammers who let you hold a sloth for a photo. They simply knock an innocent animal out of its tree, exploit it for quick money, then allow the animal to die from lack of nutrition. When the next tourist comes along who wants to hold a sloth for a photo, they repeat this inhumane practice. It’s literally the opposite of the work we do.
We want to educate the public about sloths and their role in the Costa Rican ecosystem. Our resident sloths are not pets; we do not sell or adopt them out to individuals. In Costa Rica, it is illegal to keep a sloth as a pet. Sloths are wild animals and demand our respect and understanding.
A: We understand your passion for sloths, but unfortunately, no we cannot accept volunteers. Training and monitoring volunteers detracts from our mission of sloth rescue, rehabilitation, release and research. We appreciate your interest but do not accept interns or volunteers. If you are a student looking to specialize in sloths, you’ll need to follow an education path that involves zoology at the university level.
A: There are always cabs waiting at the port when a ship arrives; cost is about $35 USD from Puerto Limon to the Sanctuary. Ideally prearrange your return to port with your initial cab driver. If you are taking the Insider’s Lunch Tour, have the driver return for you at 3:15. If for some reason a cab can’t be arranged, we do have transportation and drivers who can take you back to Puerto Limon to ensure you do not miss your departure. Reservation must be made at time of your tour check-in at 10:45AM, or in advance at Tours@SlothSanctuary.com. Cost is $40 per reservation; gratuity is discretionary.
Q: Can we reserve the Buttercup Tour?
A: Reservations are not required for the Buttercup Tour! Start times are on the hour from 8AM to 2PM, Tuesday through Sunday. We’re closed Mondays. Please arrive at least 15 minutes in advance of the tour start time for registration. Duration is 2 hours. Adults & children 11 and older: $30 per person / Children 5–10: $15 per person / Children 4 years and younger: free. More about our tours here.
Q: Do you offer Gift Certificates for Insider’s Tours?
A: Yes! For an Insider’s Tour Gift Certificate, simply contact us at Tours@SlothSanctuary.com, with your request, the name and email address of the recipient and any customized gift message you’d like on the Gift Certificate. It will be emailed to you or to the recipient as an attractive, colorful, printable PDF file. If you know the date of your visit, we’ll check availability and secure your booking once payment is received by PayPal. We can still send the gift certificate and invoice you by PayPal even if your tour date is not yet known. Your booking will be secured when we receive payment of the PayPal invoice. We accept reservations for up to a year from the current date and the certificate is redeemable for two years; if not redeemed, it will be considered a donation to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica.
Q: What is the weather like at the Sanctuary?
A: There are two main “seasons” in Costa Rica. In our area, they are the High/Dry Season: February, March, September & October and the Green/Rainy Season: November–January, April–August.
Q: Your 2-hour tour is $30 per person and 4-hour tour is $150 per person. Why does the longer tour cost more?
A: The Insider’s Tour (Breakfast or Lunch) is costs more because it includes behind-the-scenes access to the NICU, nursery and rehab climbing area, plus a light meal. The group size limited to just 6 participants for a more personal experience. Many guests have told us it was the surprising highlight of their Costa Rican holiday. For guests with limited time or budget, the 2-hour Buttercup Tour is a superb way to meet the sloths and get a great introduction to sloths and the rainforest.
A: Most of the sloths that arrive at the Sanctuary have been injured, orphaned, kept illegally as pets and sometimes even abused. We have opened our Sanctuary to give the public an opportunity to learn about sloths and their diminishing habitat due to development.
Orphaned infant sloths lack the basic survival skills necessary to thrive in the wild. They were not with their mothers long enough to learn essential lessons about which leaves to eat, how to climb high in the canopy to avoid predators and other critical skills. The Sanctuary staff teaches orphaned infants how to climb, eat and other behaviors they would have learned from their mothers. We believe releasing these hand-raised babies into the wild would result in a very high mortality rate.
The 30-year commitment necessary to care for each infant sloth brought to the Sanctuary is significant. Our research efforts are continually reviewing ways in which sloths can be transitioned into the wild without jeopardizing their health and longevity.
A: We appreciate your generosity! Our wishlist includes two products that are easy to purchase from US online retailers (or health food & pet supply stores) and fit in your travel bag: Meyenberg® Whole Powdered Goat Milk and Bene-Bac® Plus Pet Gel 15gm syringes. Antibiotics that are necessary to fight infections also deplete beneficial bacteria that is vital for a healthy digestive system. We supplement antibiotic treatment with Bene-Bac® to optimize all medical procedures. Bene-Bac® is also given to all newly arrived injured or orphaned sloths to offset stress.
A: Yes. Please let us know at the time of your reservation if you have specific dietary requirements, and we’ll mark your reservation accordingly. You may remind the dining room when you arrive as well.
Other questions? info@SlothSanctuary.com