No zoos, only animal sanctuaries


Costa Rica is home of 4% of all the species in the world, making the country a megabiodiverse one. The tourism industries focuses on this quality to sell the country and invited visitors to enjot its natural wonders. In 2013, the government expressed its intention of eliminating zoos in Costa Rica or transforming them into cage-less bio parks. Still, in 2016 the legal process continues. The Simon Bolivar Zoo in San Jose is just taking care of the animals that live there without breeding or buying any other new animal.

Costa Rica is also the first country to ban sport hunting, leaving only sport fishing available during some seasons and under special restrictions. With this, Costa Rica expect to make a statement about its position on animal rights. It has a lot to do since the law to protect animals in Costa Rica is still being discussed.

There are several natural sanctuaries in Costa Rica. Since 2016 Costa Rica no longer supports zoos, however there are refuges for animals that are found outside their natural environment. This animal rescue centers give lost animals a second chance. Some could get reintroduced on their environment and some others cannot and stay in the shelter for the rest of their lives.

According with National Geographic, the main difference between zoos and animal sanctuaries, is that zoos will buy, sell, trade, borrow, loan out, and breed animals, to have an economic gain. Meanwhile, animal sanctuaries promises to take care of animals that have been neglected, abandoned or abused.

Normally when the visitor arrives there is an entry fee that is use to sustain the place. Most species are there because they cannot reenter their natural environment because of several reasons. It is a good option for zoos that make the living of the animal an economic activity getting them out of their ecological system.

One of the most famous animal sanctuary is the Sloth Sanctuary in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca on the Caribbean side. There are other like the Jaguar Rescue Center also in the Limon Province, Toucan Rescue Ranch, Zooave and Danaus Eco Center, among others.

Besides the wildlife refuges, there is also a sanctuary for dogs. Territorio de Zaguates is a place where more than 800 stray dogs live and stay safe.


Some interesting animal sanctuaries that need your help are:

  • Alturas Wildlife Sanctuary (Dominical)
  • Lobalu Animal Rescue Center (Montezuma)
  • Costa Rica Animal Rescue Center - CRARC (San Miguel, Alajula)
  • Jaguar Rescue Center (Limon)
  • Toucan Rescue Ranch (San Jose)
  • ZooAve (Alajuela)
  • Danaus Eco Center (La Fortuna)
  • Rainsong Wildlife Rescue Center (Nicoya Peninsula)
  • Territorio de Zaguates (Alajuela) - Dog rescue center
  • SIBU Sanctuary (Nosara) - This centers works rescuing, rehabilitaiting and liberating animals back to their natural environment.
  • Osa Wildlife Sanctuary (Osa)


All of these places offer volunteer work to people who really want to learn and help.

Banana Adventure Tour can help you plan your vacation in the country and add some educational or/and volunteer tours so that you get the complete experience abroad. Please write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 Territorio de Zaguates - Sanctuary

Animal sanctuary

patas de tigre