Besides the beautiful beach, the thing I was looking forward to visiting the most during our trip to Puerto Viejo was a visit to the Jaguar Rescue Center. I found the rescue center by searching Trip Advisor for things to do in the Puerto Viejo. Every review I read had nothing but wonderful things to say about the facility.
My excitement about the center was the fact that it was a rescue organization, not a zoo. The Jaguar Rescue Center helps orphaned or injured animals regain their health and reintroduces the animals back into the wild where they belong. No animal in need will ever be turned away which is something that I really love and appreciate.
Since there is a constantly revolving door of animals coming and going, the animals that you will see at any given time may vary. When we were there we were able to see white-headed capuchin monkeys, spider monkeys, sloths, anteaters, toucans, parrots, snakes, frogs, Oncilla (a type of wild cat), deer and many different types of insects.
My favorite part of the tour was when we were able to go into an enclosure with baby monkeys. They are super friendly and will jump right up on you so you can pet them. Being an animal lover I was in heaven! The white-headed capuchin monkey really took to me and hung out with me for quite a while. One thing that I didn’t realize about monkeys until one was sitting on my arm was how the underside of their tail is the same texture as their hands. The spider monkey liked men more and gravitated towards Andy.
My only word of advice before entering the monkey enclosure is to take off your earrings. The monkey was attracted to my silver earrings and gave one a pretty good yank before the staff was able to come over and get him to let go. Unfortunately, we weren’t allowed to bring our camera in with us so we didn’t get any pictures of the monkeys on us.
There is a $15 per person entry fee which is cash only. The entry fee goes to support the animals fully as the staff is almost entirely volunteers. Our volunteer guide was extremely knowledgeable about the animals and was able to answer all of the questions that our group had. Anyone is able to volunteer at the Jaguar Rescue Center which I have to imagine would be a very fun experience. For those who don’t have the time to volunteer, there is a list of items needed to care for the animals that are not readily available in the area. I wish I would have realized this before I left the states and could have brought a care package with me.
There are large group tours Monday to Saturday at 9:30am and 11:30am in both English and Spanish. There are also private tours available in several other languages.
Photos from Jaguar Rescue Center
Click on an image below to open all of them in a click-through slideshow.