The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica

Lilly Hortis, Staff Writer

In Costa Rica, the first ever sloth sanctuary has been opened. The sanctuary was originally opened in 1992, but it just now growing and gaining recognition. The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica is an original rescue center for injured and abandoned sloths.

Founders, Judy Avey-Arroyo and Luis Arroyo, originally purchased the land to provide bird tours along the Estrella River. The purpose of their purchased land suddenly changed when they were brought a tiny baby sloth who was found beside its dead mother. At the time, sloths were considered to be vermin so little was known about them. In order to raise the infant sloth, the Arroyos observed the behavior of the wild sloths on their property and used the little common sense they had about sloths to rescue the baby sloth. The Arroyos quickly fell in love with the sloth and named him Buttercup.

Ever since the rescue of Buttercup, the Arroyos have been dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, and research of sloths and conserving their rainforest habitat. While the rescue of sloths took a slow start, the increased development of land has led to the increased need for rescue and rehabilitation of sloths. The sanctuary’s current focus is baby sloths. Due to human encroachment, many baby sloths are often separated from their parents. Baby sloths are also separated due to mother’s instinctive trait to abandon their babies if they sense any sort of deficiency.

Alongside many other mammals, sloths often learn most traits and behaviors from their mothers. Due to the reasons listed above, many baby sloths are not learning the needed traits/behavior to survive on their own in the wild. The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica rescues these babies and uses the information they have gathered over the years to teach them the needed traits to survive in the wild. As well as rescuing these babies, the sanctuary also rescues injured sloths, helps to treat injuries and then rehabilitates the sloths.

The sanctuary not only rescues sloths but offers two different tours of the sanctuary. The Buttercup Tour includes an introduction to sloths and canoe ride through the sloths’ habitat. This two-hour tour is $15 for children (5-12), and $30 for adults (13 and older). Children under four are free with a parent.

The Insider’s Tour included all the features of the Buttercup Tour, but there is an added visit to the Slothpital Clinic and NICU/Nursery for the sloths. It lasts for about three hours. For adults 19-30, the price is $150, 65 and older is $85, ages 6-18 is $75 dollars, and ages five and younger are free with an adult.

If you are ever vacationing in Costa Rica, plan on visiting The Sloth Sanctuary of Costa Rica. More information of dates of tours can be found at