Costa Rica is famous for its remarkable biodiversity and its iconic sloths. The small country of Costa Rica boasts an amazing 5% of the world's biodiversity in its impressive range of ecosystems. There are many other interesting facts about Costa Rica one should know before visiting.

In Costa Rica, one is almost guaranteed to see a sloth - although they can also be found in various other countries throughout South and Central America. Costa Rica isn't all about sloths and wildlife, don't forget to check out Costa Rica's pristine tropical beaches on the south coast.


About The Sloths In Costa Rica

Sloths are very slow to reproduce (and everything else), they have only one young every 3 years while their natural mortality rate for infants is around 60%. This means they are vulnerable as they can't replenish their populations quickly.

Unfortunately, it is thought that the sloth numbers in Costa Rica are falling rapidly despite conservation efforts, although there is no official population count of the sloths.

While over 50% of Costa Rica is forested, it only has around 3.5% of its land covered by primary rainforests (pristine and untouched forests) where the sloths thrive. In the 1990's Costa Rica had one of the worst deforestation rates in the world, realizing what was happening Costa Rica implemented impressive conservation strategies to protect the remaining forests. Deforestation has now reversed but the bulk of the ancient forests are now gone.

  • Primary Rainforests: Around 3.5% of Costa Rica

This is why sloths are so easily seen in Costa Rica, the destruction of their habitat has forced them into an increasingly urbanized environment where they cannot hide.

The sloth is one of the most iconic animals in the world and is famous for spending its life hanging upside down in the trees (even giving birth in that position).



  • Sloth Species: Costa Rice Is Home To Two of The World's Six Sloth Species (The Brown-throated Three-Toed and the Hoffman's two-toed sloths)
  • When To See: Three-Toed Sloths are Diurnal And More Likely To Be Seen On Day tour, Two-Toed Sloths Are More Active (-ish) At Night
  • Digestion: It Can Take up To A Month For a Sloth To Digest A Single Meal
  • Sleep: Sloths Sleep Around 15 Hours A Day
  • Solitary: Sloths are Mostly Solitary

Related: These Are The Best Destinations In Costa Rica For Solo Travelers

Where To See Sloths

Sloths can be found in the many wildlife and sloth sanctuaries around Costa Rica. A fuller list is on the Costa Rica Rios website. Some of the prime locations are:

  • Proyecto Asis, Arenal: A Wildlife Rehab Center Near La Fortuna, It Is One of the Most Respected Sanctuaries in The Country
  • Jaguar Center: One Can See Baby Sloths And More - Located in Puerto Viejo, Limon
  • Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge: Here One Is Almost Guaranteed To see Sloth If One Goes With A Guide
  • Toucan Rescue Ranch: Originally Just For Toucans, Today It Also Has Sloths

Other Wildlife In Costa Rica

Coast Rica is home to much more than just sloths. The country supports an enormous variety of wildlife - partly due to its geographic location between North and South America. The landbridge of Panama that formed 3 to 5 million years ago allowed very different flora and fauna to mix between the two continents.

  • Mammals: Costa Rica Has Almost 250 Species of Mammal

There are 4 species of monkeys (including white-headed capuchin and mantled howlers), the tayra, bats (over half the mammalian species in the country), tapirs, jaguars, deer, anteaters, ocelots, margays, pumas, and more. And that's to say nothing of the birds in the country.

To see the wildlife visit the different sanctuaries and national parks. If one would like a guided safari tour of the country, then that is an option too.

Related: Top-Rated National Parks In Costa Rica That Are Worth A Vacation

The Buttercup Tour

The Buttercup Tour offered by Sloth Sanctuary takes visitors on canoe trips through the rainforest to spot the iconic sloths. On these tours, one can take pictures of the sloths but no tourists are permitted to touch them. Conservation regulations stipulate that only Sanctuary staff are permitted to handle them and there are no exceptions.

  • Duration: 1 Hour
  • Adult And Teenagers: $28.00 (Aged 13 and Over)
  • Children: $15.00 (Aged 5 to 12)
  • Infants: Free (Up To 4 Years Of Age)



Luxury Wildlife Safari and Multi-Sport Adventure

This is an adventurous holiday without having to rough it. This 10-day tour embarks on wildlife safaris and adventure sports activities. One will see the most exotic animals in the country, hike to exotic waterfalls, zip-line tour over the rainforest, and more. Go whitewater rafting, horseback riding, snorkeling, and experience the best Costa Rica has on offer.

  • Duration: 10 Days
  • Visit: Arenal Volcano National Park, Bajos del Toro, Corcovado National Park, and More
  • Wildlife River Safari: On The Río Tarcoles
  • Snorkel: Caño Island Biological Reserve

Next: 15 Reasons You Should Visit Costa Rica (And No It's Not Only The Jungles)