My travel partner is obsessed with sloths. A day at Costa Rica’s sloth sanctuary near Puerto Viejo was a non-negotiable plan and every morning in the week leading up to the big day, I was greeted with an enthusiastic “Sloooooooooths!!! Sloths, sloths, sloths!!!”. Outfits were planned, camera batteries were charged… We were ready for the onslaught of cuteness.
The sloth sanctuary was founded 22 years ago when an injured three-toed sloth was brought to a nearby hotel where other animals had previously been rehabilitated. Very little information was known about the three-toed sloth. None had survived more than six months in capitivity. Despite all odds, the owners nursed Buttercup back to health, and 22 years on she is the sanctuary’s eldest and most distinguished resident.
We were shown around the sanctuary and introduced to some of its inhabitants, many of whom were sadly injured in accidents or in the case of some of the youngest residents, abandoned. The sanctuary has done an amazing job of rehabilitating the sloths and the staff clealy adore their charges. It is wonderful to see how caring and attentive they are towards these docile creatures, whom they know as individuals with distinct personalities and idiosyncrasies. Although many of the sloths were indeed asleep, their reality is a far cry from the stereotype. Intelligent and loving, they are among the least understood creatures on the planet.
It was a fantastic day’s insight into the lives of the sloths living at the sanctuary, and eight hours on we are still squealing at the pictures of baby sloths.
Maybe we weren’t prepared for the cuteness after all.
The Sloth Sanctuary offers the Buttercup Tour, including a tour of the nursery and a boat ride along the river, for $25. Alternatively, there is the Insider’s Tour which includes lunch with a sloth, a behind-the-scenes tour and the opportunity to perhaps hold one of the sloths, for $150.