Luxury Travel Blog

Jaguar Rescue Center in Costa Rica – Photo Essay

After our day at The Sloth Sanctuary we were keen to find more rescue centers while we were in Costa Rica.  So we were really stoked to find The Jaguar Rescue Center in Puerto Viejo, on the Caribbean coast during our road trip.

The center opened its doors in 2008 by married couple, and biologists, Encar and Sandro, who moved to Costa Rica from Barcelona in 1998.

The name is a little misleading because it’s not just a center for rescued Jaguars!  They take in all sorts of wildlife but the name came from their first rescues; a baby jaguar whose mother had been murdered by a local farmer.


Jaguar Rescue Center - Tucan


Today the center sees so many difference species including reptiles, monkeys, sloths, big cats and birds just to mention a few!


Jaguar Rescue Center - 3 snakes


The Jaguar Rescue Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases the wildlife.  When it is unsafe for the animal to be released, they keep it on their grounds to ensure it stays safe and healthy.


Jaguar Rescue Center - Crocodile


The center has large areas for all the animals and most of them are not in enclosures.  For the ones that are in enclosures, the staff lets them out into the jungle for a play when it is safe to do so!


Jaguar Rescue Center - Baby sloth


The volunteers and staff there were really invested in the animals.  It was quite obvious they cared for these animals as if they were their own pets.  You really could see the love they had for them.


Jaguar Rescue Center - Baby Monkey


The center takes volunteers on a regular basis.  They have programs for 2 weeks right up to several months.  They also take donations to help keep the center running.


Jaguar Rescue Center - Jaguarundi


If you are just visiting for the day like us, its costs $15USD per person which is more than reasonable!


Jaguar Rescue Center - Monkey


You are guided through the grounds for 90 minutes.  You guide will give you some history on the center as well as information on the animals you find there.   After the guided tour, you are permitted to wander round the grounds on your own, going back to visit parts you really enjoyed during the guided tour.


Jaguar Rescue Center - Owl


Part of the tour allows you to enter one of the monkey enclosures, which was really cool!  The monkeys are not afraid of humans because they are handled by the staff often.  We even had a few monkeys on our backs or swinging from our held out arms!


Jaguar Rescue Center - Sloth


If you are a regular to our site, you may know we are huge animal/wildlife lovers so this really was right up our alley!  We are now looking into the volunteer program! It’s a great project and we are both very passionate of helping wildlife in any way we can!


Jaguar Rescue Center - Hawk


So next time you are in Costa Rica I would highly recommend a visit to both The Sloth Sanctuary and The Jaguar Rescue Center.  And remember to thank them for all their efforts in saving the local wildlife.

Have you been to a wildlife rescue center?  If so which one, we would love to put more on our ‘must do’ lists!



  1. OCDemon /

    And here I was wondering where to visit in Latin America that would be more personally satisfying than a sightseeing tour. I was lucky enough to see a jaguar in the wild in Peru, but this seems like it would be something special.
    OCDemon recently posted…Should you travel with jeans?My Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      I would LOVE to see a jaguar in the wild! That would be awesome! Both this center and the sloth center were something special! I love the work they both do to rescue, heal and release so much wildlife. They are great causes! Thanks for popping by 🙂
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…La Paz Waterfall Gardens Costa Rica – Photo EssayMy Profile

  2. This sounds like an amazing experience! I love the photos of the cute baby animals — the little sloth is adorable!
    Julika recently posted…Moonwalking in CroatiaMy Profile

  3. I cannot wait to go to Costa Rica. We want to love on all of those cute animals. I know I can’t, but it doesn’t stop me from thinking about it. When you come to Oregon, there’s some animal sanctuaries you will have to check out.
    Kimmy recently posted…Prepare to Travel with Suitcase StoriesMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hey Kimmy… Costa Rica has become one of my favorite countries in the world! The beauty here is undescribable (is that even a word?) We LOVE animal sanctuaries so we would to check them out in Oregon! – Thanks for coming by the blog Kimmy 🙂
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…Six Experts Answer Your House Sitting Questions (Part 1)My Profile

  4. Big cats are so impressive. I wish I’d gone to this when I was in Costa Rica. I visited Corcovado hoping to see them in the wild, but the guides there said they’d never seen a jaguar and only got about 20 puma sightings a year. Still, it wasn’t a wasted trip. The highlight was a tapir with it’s calf.
    Arianwen recently posted…Dona Marta favela: is it safe?My Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Arianwen! We are planning a day trip to Corcovado so Im happy to hear you saw wildlife (even if it wsnt a big cat). The neighbor where we are house sitting right now said she saw a few puma recently so fingers crossed! – Thanks for stopping by 🙂
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…Six Experts Answer Your House Sitting Questions (Part 1)My Profile

  5. memographer /

    This is the place I would love to go to. Added Jaguar Rescue Center to my To-Do-Go List for Costa Rica.
    Great photos!

  6. So much better than any zoo experience!!
    Megan Claire recently posted…Guest Photo Essay: World LandmarksMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hey Megan! Sure is. Im not a fan of (most) zoo’s. Dont get me wrong, I go to loads of zoos but Im torn because I would much rather see the animals in the wild or in centers like these where they are not in cages most of the time, they are free to come and go! I love animals so that part of me loves zoos but I much prefer these places because I know the animals are truly cared for and released back into the wild when they are healthy.
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…An Interview With A Traveler – Charli and Ben from WanderlustersMy Profile

  7. I loved this place! Probably my favorite experience in Costa Rica.
    Amanda recently posted…Inspirational Quotes for Earth DayMy Profile

  8. I recently relocated to Costa Rica, on the Pacific Coast, but I would love to visit this sanctuary one day. Great photos!

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Erin. Sorry for the delay – I just found your comment in my spam. I hope you got to the center one day, what they do for wildlife is so great. We are on the pacific side as we speak! We have 2 more weeks of house sitting before we leave Costa Rica. We love it here and definitely will be back!
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…Warning! The cuteness might blow your mind… Sloth Photo EssayMy Profile

  9. So amazing! I just read that Costa Rica is at the forefront of eco-tourism, and now that I know about their efforts with animal conservation I’m even more eager to visit!
    cosmoHallitan recently posted…Sumtseling Tibetan Monastery, Shangri-laMy Profile

  10. omg these pictures are so cute they make me melt! It’s great to hear that they not only rescue them but also release them back into the wild again.

    A friend of mine went volunteering in Costa Rica at an animal sanctuary and after some time there she realized that the woman who ran it never actually released the animals back into nature…
    Sofia recently posted…Things To Do In LanzaroteMy Profile

    • Nicole Connolly /

      Hi Sofia 🙂 Im so glad you like the photos. Oh no! Thats not good!! Im definitely a big advocate for releasing the wildlife once they are healthy again. Animals are not meant to be in cages.. They should be in in the wild where they belong (once they are healthy enough or as long as they are in no danger).
      Nicole Connolly recently posted…Our Adventurous Road Trip Through Costa Rica (Part 2)My Profile

  11. Yes Ive seen jaguars in the wild, in the Pantanal Area in Brasil. Stayed in Santa Clara Pousada which does 3/4/5 days organised trips. Anyway the reason why I wanted to write you a line… I worked a month in Animal Rascue Center La Senda Verde in Bolivia. It´s close to La Paz in a little town called Coroico. And yes, had a monkey sitting on my shoulder every day… They have parrots, 3 different types of monkeys, turtles, 2 Andean bears, Makaws, dogs and a lot more animals (my english is not the best, i dont know how to translate the names) You can do volunteer work startng from 1 week to … months. And they have special programs with monkeys where you have to stay for a minimum of a couple of weeks. All the animals were saved on the black market in La Paz: Mother monkey shot, baby monkey for sale as a pet, really awfull Anyway if your travelplans will be in Bolivia, go there for sure!! Bolivia is a very cheap country to travel anyway, hostels 2-3 euro’s a night, dinner under 4 euro’s and 14 hour bussride for 5 euro’s.
    Good luck with your website! Karin – The Netherlands

    • Michael Wright
      Michael Wright /

      I have instant respect for anyone who has volunteered helping animals. Great work. Some of the things you hear about how animals are treated around the world are horrible. It’s thanks to volunteers like you that there these animals have a chance 🙂
      Michael Wright recently posted…The Wonderful Surprise of KlagenfurtMy Profile

  12. Ahh this looks so wonderful for everyone involved. Thanks for the info!
    Sally recently posted…Typhoon Haiyan, Human Suffering and ResponsibilityMy Profile

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