La Selva Wildlife Refuge
- Location : 7 miles south of Samara
- Hours : 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily
- Entrance Fee : $14.00
La Selva Wildlife Refuge offers a wonderful opportunity to view some of Costa Rica's rare and endangered animals that are difficult to spot in the wild.read more close
Home to 36 species of animals, the refuge rehabilitates creatures large and small – from baby monkeys and rescued puppies to a domesticated peccary that roams the property. Unlike a typical zoo, where animals that enter become life-long residents, La Selva rescues wounded or abandoned creatures and prepares them for re-entry into the wild. Rehabilitation is different for every species, requiring varying lengths of time.
Reptiles found at the refuge include the freshwater turtle, iguana, and American crocodile. Visitors can also view birds like the rainbow-billed toucan, collared aracari, and parrot. False vampire bats the size of a human forearm huddle together in one enclosure, and the beautiful margay leopard cat can be seen in another. The refuge also houses a hairy Mexican porcupine, jaguarundi, coatimundi, anteater, a howler monkey, kinkajou and squirrels.
Many resident animals are nocturnal, and even the diurnal show very little activity during the hottest hours of the day. La Selva’s owners and zookeepers recommend taking the guided tour just before sundown to get the most out of the experience.
Receiving no funding from the Costa Rican government, La Selva is fully dependent upon entrance fees and contributions to run its daily operations. Funds go toward daily upkeep, food, medicine, and environmental enrichment for the recuperating animals. Donations are appreciated but not necessary.
From Samara, drive south to Playa Carrillo. Pass by most of Carillo beach and drive over a small bridge. Directly after this bridge and before the town, look for a sign on the left side of the road at the bottom of a hill. Take the left up the hill, and La Selva will be on the left hand side at the top.