A Day at The Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary

For anyone that knows me, for as long as I can remember, my favourite animal has been a sloth.  I think I first discovered this after seeing a youtube video about 12 years ago and since then I have been pretty much sloth obsessed. They are just my ultimate happy place.  I had never seen one in real life however, till I visited the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica whilst working on board a cruise ship last year.

For anyone who doesn’t know what a sloth is, as I know there are a few people out there, they are little exotic furry creatures that live in the rainforest and are famous for their extreme laziness.

As soon as we knew we were docking the ship in Costa Rica I booked a tour of the Sloth Sanctuary as it had been one of my life time goals.  Most people’s goal is to meet Beyoncé, mine was to meet Buttercup the sloth! I booked the ‘full inside tour’ that included not only meeting and learning all about the sloths at the sanctuary but also visiting the ‘slothpital’ and meeting the vets, and seeing the new-born teeny weeny baby sloths. I would recommended paying that bit extra for the full tour if you are a slothoholic like me….*I mean just look how happy I was….*


The Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary was officially authorized as a rescue center in 1997.  Since then they have been dedicated to the rescue, rehabilitation, research and release of sloths.  It was founded by Judy Avey-Arroyo and Luis Arroyo and before then there had been little research into these unique animals and still to this day they are learning more and more.

The first sloth you meet when you enter the sanctuary is the world famous Buttercup. Today, Buttercup is almost 24 years old and the iconic face of the Sloth Sanctuary.  I could have watched her for hours!  She sits on a sloth throne and truly is the star of the sanctuary. Just look at her chilling…

You learn so much about the sloths, their habitat, their unusual behaviour and they way they interact with each other.  There are two different types of sloths.  Scientifically known as ‘Bradypus variegatus’ and ‘Choloepus hoffmanni’ but commonly known as ‘three toed’ and ‘two toed’.  The three toed sloth is the most famous and what people commonly think of when they think of a sloth. Buttercup is a three toed sloth.

The most famous charactistic of a sloth is how slow they move. They have the slowest digestive system of any mammal and have to conserve their energy very carefully.  The first part of the tour involves learning all about the sloths and taking a canoe out to the rainforest to see them in their natural habitat. Afterwards you get to meet a one year old sloth, and have your photo taken with them.  I was buzzing! Although I really wanted a ‘sloth cuddle’ I understood that you must not hold them.  They are solitary animals and having a lot of strangers holding them is not good for their health.  But how cute is this!? This little guy gave me a kiss on the cheek….


After lunch we moved on to the ‘inside tour’.  The group whittled down to about eight of us and we visited the sloth hospital and met the sloth vets.  It was so interesting to hear first hand how these amazing people are helping the sloths survive and researching into how to help them. The family who were part of the tour with us happened to be scientists so they had a very in depth chat about all things sloth related.

My favourite and last part of the inside tour was when we met the baby sloths.  We were literally surrounded by boxes of teeny baby sloths, LIFE MADE! They are the sweetest, weirdest and simply cutest creatures I have ever seen.

Each baby sloth has been rescued so for the first year they miss that all important motherly bond.  Each baby chooses a cuddly toy that they love to fill that void for them.  Seeing them snuggle up to their ‘mum’ cuddly toys was adorable.

Visiting the Costa Rica Sloth Sanctuary was honestly one of the best days of my life and a bucket list moment for me! The work that these extraordinary people do for the care of these lovable animals was so inspiring and heart warming to witness and to be a part of for one day.  I honestly urge you to visit the sanctuary if you ever happen to find yourself in Costa Rica.  You know that the money you pay to visit is definitely going towards such a worthwhile cause.

Lastly, I want to do a huge shout out to the generous people at the sanctuary. My boyfriend accidently ripped the sloth tote bag I got there, and after he tweeted about his clumsiness the kind people at the sanctuary have said they will send us a new one. We will be sending over a donation and honestly can’t thank you guys enough, you really did make our day! I am very much looking forward to wearing my tote bag out again with pride.

Let me know in the comments what your favourite animal is and if you have managed to see them!

Thanks for reading!





  1. April 30, 2017 / 5:55 pm

    I literally can’t cope with how cute they are!

    • sohelena
      April 30, 2017 / 6:57 pm

      haha I couldn’t either!! Especially the baby ones, adorable!! xx

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