I went to the sanctuary a couple of weeks ago while visiting Cahuita. I'm a yearly visitor to Cahuita and decided it was time to come. I'm glad I went but agree with some of the concerns expressed here.
The cost of $25 for the basic tour isn't really worth what you get. You see six sloths that are permanent residents and get to visit the sloth nursery. That was it. Then they put in a boat for an hour. I guess as someone who lives in Costa Rica, going on a boat ride in the forest isn't that new and exciting. I was moved from group to group and one staff member got a little testy with me when I asked some questions about where I'm supposed to be. When she realized I wasn't being rude and just a bit confused about where to go, she calmed down a bit.
Jeff was our guide and I was dropped in with a group of people who had come together. They had all read a book based on the sloths at the sanctuary before coming and immediately peppered him with questions. Never even heard how the sanctuary got started or even the most basic facts about sloths. I did enjoy hearing the stories of the different sloths and what they do to help the rescued animals.
Overall, I enjoyed but a was a touch disappointed. Two summers ago, I visited the Centro de Rescate Jaguar just south of Puerto VIejo. It was such an excellent tour and was only $15. I learned way more about sloths (and monkeys and lizards and birds and deer and spiders) there. The tour was way more comprehensive. If you are anywhere near Cahuita, you need to make that trip.
Still I take solace in the good work they are doing and that the $25 I spent is helping animals at the sanctuary. They llegitimately are doing good work. I spoke to many locals about the place and almost everyone had a story about how the sanctuary had stepped up in many situations. Jeff was a very personable guy and I think he just got hijacked by an overbearing group of people. I did learn new things on the tour but learned more from reading the website after I returned to Cahuita.
If you can afford it, I'm guessing the insider tour is way better. It was amazing to see the animals up close. So if I sound wishy-washy I am. If you are hard up for cash on your trip, the Centro Rescate Jaguar is a way better deal (and you play with monkeys).
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