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Osa Wildlife Sanctuary

Osa Wildlife Sanctuary

Quick Facts

  • Location : 16 miles from Golfito
  • Area : 64 acres
  • Hours : 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Telephone : 8861-1309
  • Entrance Fee : $25.00

Neighboring Piedras Blancas National Park, the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is located on a remote beach off the Golfo Dulce -- just 25 minutes from Puerto Jimenez. One of the most unique attractions in the country, its mission is to rehabilitate the wounded, orphaned and displaced wildlife in Costa Rica's southern zone.

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The sanctuary’s recovery areas are far cries from cages. As accurately described by owners Earl and Carol Crews, they are more like five star hotels with room service. For each animal that enters the refuge, a complex, and often unconventional playground is specifically designed to mimic its natural habitat. Environmental enrichment – like species-appropriate toys, imitation streams with cascading water, and tree branches – involve the creatures with their surroundings, encouraging natural behaviors and preventing boredom.

Rescued spider monkeys are one of the sanctuary’s most popular draws. These extremely social beings are encouraged to branch out into Piedras Blancas National Park. In this manner, they experiment and test boundaries much like human children do – without losing their ability to socialize and forage for food in their natural habitat.

Sadly, a large percentage of animals rescued by the refuge are victims of illegal pet trade. Monkeys, margays, kinkajous, scarlet macaws and other prized creatures are captured as babies, and then abused or discarded once they reach adulthood. Since a number of species are rescued and released, it is difficult to guarantee what types of wildlife will be at the sanctuary at any given time. Howler, spider and capuchin monkeys are common residents, along with peccaries, toucans and sloths.

Because the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is a non-profit organization, donations are greatly appreciated to help with expenses like food, staffing, medicine and interactive playthings. The sanctuary is dedicated to educating the community and strongly believes that a united effort, beginning on a local level, is crucial to the survival of Costa Rica’s diverse animal inhabitants. Guided tours for visitors are $25 and reservations for guided tours must be made in advance.

Getting There:

The sanctuary can arrange boat transfers for up to six passengers (round trip) from Puerto Jimenez for $80. Groups of eight and ten visitors cost $100 and $125, respectively. The trip takes about 25 minutes. The prices are the same from Golfito, a journey that takes roughly 45 minutes.

The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is only eight miles – or about ten minutes by boat – from Playa Nicuesa and several lodges along Piedras Blancas National Park. Most nearby hotels can arrange transport for a small fee.

Osa Wildlife Sanctuary in Pictures

Experiences in Osa Wildlife Sanctuary