Sloth Rescue Center
Last Updated: Dec 02, 2013
They found Toyota the three-toed sloth at the bottom of an electrical post. She was burnt, malnourished and showing signs of gangrene. Today, Toyota is a happy, 24-year-old sloth thanks to the Sloth Rescue Center near Cahuita.
Location : Seven miles north of Cahuita
Altitude : Sea level
Area : 300 acres
Hours : 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tues.-Sat.
Telephone : 2750-0775
Entrance fee : $25 per person; $150 insider's tour
Formerly known as Aviarios del Caribe, the Sloth Rescue Center saves sloths that have been orphaned or endangered due to habitat loss, power-line electrocution, hunting, traffic injuries and human violence. After the sloths receive treatment, the rescue center releases them into the wild or, if they are unfit for the wild, they will live out their days like Toyota as a part of the education center.
Visitors interested in learning more about sloths can drop in for the Buttercup tour starting promptly at the top of the hour, from opening to closing Tuesday through Saturday. Tours begin with a boat ride around the small island that formed during Cahuita's major earthquake in 1991. Though it's only been two decades, the island is already covered in dense layers of pioneer plants including cecropia trees (sloth's favorite) and bamboo. Take in the scenery and watch for some of the local fauna that can include emerald basilisk lizards, howler monkeys, toucans and sloths.
After the canoe ride, guides enlighten guests about the differences between two- and three-toed sloths and reveal how to identify them. Walking through the education center, visitors will get to meet with both types of sloths, learn about their personal stories and how they came to the Sloth Rescue Center. Afterwards, guests visit the sloth nursery, where baby sloths lumber around their cages showing off for onlookers, or, peacefully napping.
The insider's tour offers a more in-depth look into the Sloth Rescue Center over the course of four hours that includes lunch and a visit to the 'slothspital'.
Founded in 1997 when a little girl first brought an injured sloth to the attention of the Sloth Rescue Center's Owner Judy Avey-Arroyo, the Sloth Rescue Center has hand-reared hundreds of orphaned sloths, and many adult sloths have been rehabilitated and returned to their natural habitat. The rescue center also participates in community outreach programs, educating local youth on sloth appreciation and the importance of rainforest ecosystems.
From Puerto Viejo and Cahuita, head north on the main road toward Limon. Drive over the Estrella River Bridge – the only two-lane overhead bridge – and follow signs to the Sloth Rescue Center. It is located on the right-hand side of the road.