Jaguar Rescue Center, Costa Rica

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One of my favorite places on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica was the Jaguar Rescue Center in Playa Chiquita. It was only a 10-minute walk from our bed and breakfast in Cocles. I highly recommend going on one of the tours ($20 a person), which are offered Monday-Saturday at 9:30 and 11:30 a.m.

What you should know:
  • It’s not a zoo. The animals are rehabilitated and released back into the wild.
  • You could see different animals each time. Despite the name, there is no jaguar at the center at the moment. The name is based on the first animal that was rehabilitated there.
  • The founders still live in the home at the center.
  • You could volunteer there, but there’s a minimum time commitment. See the website for more information.
  • The monkeys are taken to a forest area where they are released regularly. You’ll learn more about this on the tour.
  • You won’t get to touch any animals, except the white-tailed deer, which came up to us and licked our hands. You’ll need to wash your hands afterward.
Some of the animals we spotted:

These baby howler monkeys were adorable. I envied the volunteers who were able to play with them and hold them.


One of several baby caiman.

On patrol.

I highly recommend a stop at the Jaguar Rescue Center if you’re on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Get more tips on Costa Rica itineraries in Lonely Planet’s guidebook, which I used in my own planning.

More on Costa Rica:

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