Visiting the Sanctuary
Coming to see sloths in person? Excellent! A few quick dos and don’ts, though:
DO bring plenty of purified bottled drinking water to stay hydrated.
DON’T bring pets. NO PETS. Don’t leave your dog in the car. Don’t tie up your animal. Read about service animals below.
DO bring your camera, rain gear, sun protection, bottled water and closed toe shoes.
May I volunteer or work at the Sanctuary?
We have no volunteer or work opportunities at the Sanctuary. If you would like to volunteer with sloths and other Costa Rican wildlife, we suggest searching online. Thank you for your interest! top of page
May I hold a sloth?
Sorry, no, because it’s bad for the sloths. When handled by unfamiliar people, the sloth has a stress reaction of tachycardia (abnormally high heart rate) that weakens the heart muscle, a cause of premature death. Also, humans are carriers of foreign microbes and allergens that can compromise the sloth’s immune system. We know many sloth lovers dream of holding sloths, but since it is detrimental to the animals’ well-being, contact is limited to regular handlers. Thank you for understanding!
And please avoid roadside scammers who let you hold a sloth for a photo. They simply knock an sloth out of its tree, exploit it for quick money, then abandon the animal and allow it 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. Please do not perpetuate this cruelty. top of page
Do you have a secured parking area where we can leave our luggage in the car?
Yes! Our facility is gated and enclosed and the parking area is secure and in close proximity to your tour. However, as with all locations in Costa Rica, please lock your car. top of page
Sloth Sanctuary Wish List
Thank you for helping us serve the sloths in our care. Please see our Wish List page for current needs.
Can I drink tap water there?
Not recommended. Stay hydrated, because it’s hot and humid! We suggest you bring plenty of your own purified bottled drinking water. Purchase on your way to the Sanctuary at any of the local markets. One recommended market is Auto Mercado, with various locations, including San José.
Guests at the Buttercup Inn receive a complimentary bottle of purified drinking water. Additional bottles are available for purchase in the Gift Shop. Tap water is OK for brushing teeth or taking a shower. top of page
Why does the Insider’s Tour cost more than the Buttercup Tour?
The Buttercup Tour is an interactive introduction to sloths and their rainforest habitat.
The Insider’s Tour includes the Buttercup Tour with other guests, and then goes “behind the scenes” to the Slothpital, Nursery and NICU. You may see infant sloths eating, sleeping or even outdoors on the jungle gym, depending on scheduling. Many guests tell us the Insider’s Tour was the highlight of their Costa Rican holiday. Travelers’ reviews here. top of page
When is the best time of year to visit the Sanctuary? What’s the weather?
There are two main “seasons” in Costa Rica. In our Caribbean coastal area, they are the High/Dry Season: February, March, September & October and the Green/Rainy Season: November–January, April–August. Our home page also has a current weather report display; see the right side of the page. top of page
I need to change/cancel my Insider’s Tour/Buttercup Inn reservation. What’s your policy?
Payment is final; we cannot make a refund. If you need to cancel or change your visit, email us right away at ContactUs@SlothSanctuary.com. We will make every effort to reschedule within two years of your original arrival date, based on availability. If you cannot reschedule within that period, your payment will be considered a donation to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. top of page
How can I get there and back from my cruise ship in Puerto Limón?
There are always cabs waiting at port when a ship arrives; cost is about $35 USD from Puerto Limón to the Sanctuary. Ideally, prearrange your return to port with your initial cab driver. If you are taking the Insider’s Tour, have the driver return for you at 5:15PM.
If by chance you cannot arrange for a cab, we can take you back to port in our van. Make your reservation when you check in for your tour or in advance at Tours@SlothSanctuary.com. We charge $40 USD per reservation; gratuity is discretionary. top of page
For a group of 20 or more, you may make a group reservation and pay in advance ($25 USD per person). If your group needs to change or cancel, you must notify us at Tours@SlothSanctuary.com within 48 hours of your scheduled tour time. If you cancel within less than 48 hours or are a no-show, there is no refund. Your payment will be considered a donation to the Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. top of page
What should I pack for a visit to the Sanctuary?
Comfortable closed-toe shoes, rain gear, sun protection (it’s hot here!), bottled water and your camera! Some guests also bring a diary or sketch pad to record their Sloth Sanctuary experience in a creative way. top of page
What other activities can I do near the Sanctuary?
Cahuita National Park (both the park and the beach), Caribeans Chocolate Forest Experience, dining and sightseeing in Puerto Viejo or Cahuita are just a few nearby activities to consider. We also highly recommend Tortuguero National Park. More Limón area activity ideas on TripAdvisor. top of page
I have a service dog that’s not a pet. May I bring it on the tour and to the Inn?
Yes. Service dogs are welcome, except for the tour segment when you visit the area where the sloths are housed. This is for their safety. We can arrange a staff member to help you and your service dog for that segment of the tour. top of page