A trip to Costa Rica’s wild and wonderful Osa Peninsula would not be complete without a meet and greet at the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. Located a short boat ride up the Golfo Dulce from the Playa Nicuesa Rainforest Lodge, this wildlife refuge is dedicated to the rescue and rehabilitation of injured, displaced and orphaned animals and birds from across Costa Rica. And it is a meet and greet you don’t want to miss.
Meet The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
The Osa Wildlife Sanctuary is located along the shores of the Golfo Dulce, with the Piedras Blancas National park as it’s back yard. Working alongside local communities and businesses as well as the Costa Rican government, the sanctuary cares for native Costa Rican wildlife that otherwise might not survive in the wild.
Most non-human residents arrive at the sanctuary because they have been abandoned, injured or are in need of a new home. Some animals and birds will be rehabilitated and then released back into the wild. Others will take up permanent residence because they cannot be returned to their original habitat.
Many sanctuary animals and birds need special care. To help offset these costs, the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary has opened its doors – and trails – to people like you and me in an effort to provide not only first hand experience with native Costa Rican wildlife, but also to educate visitors on the need for wildlife conservation and habitat protection.
Getting to the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary may not be the easiest, but it’s well worth the journey. Most people arrive via boat from their lodging along the Golfo Dulce. So settle in for the boat ride. Come along with us as we meet and greet several residents of the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary.
Greet The Residents Of Osa Wildlife Sanctuary
Your wildlife adventure begins the moment you step onto the beach that fronts the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. Wade into into the refreshingly cool waters of the Golfo Dulce. Soak in your beachfront surroundings as you await your tour guide’s arrival.
Explore the beach. Follow hermit crabs as they skitter past. Search for critter footprints in the sand. You are at the jungle’s edge, teeming with locals – wildlife that is!
Keep an eye out for your Osa Wildlife Sanctuary welcoming committee. They should be here any moment now, and you never know who will come down to the beach to greet you. It might just be a resident spider monkey. Mr. Spider Monkey may even escort you up the trail to the sanctuary!
If Mr. Spider Monkey offers, go on and “shake hands” with him. OK, the spider monkey probably thinks you have a treat for him. If you do, make sure it’s a snack that the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary has provided, and not something you brought with you.
Ready to get this tour started? Let’s head up trail to the sanctuary. Be on the watch for wildlife along the way. You might just encounter another friendly non-human escort on the trail. Maybe even a curious coatimundi, hoping for a little handout. This little guy followed us for our whole tour!
Time to kick this tour into full gear! After a brief talk from Osa Wildlife Sanctuary staff about local wildlife and conservation efforts, it’s time to visit the residents, like this incredibly gorgeous Scarlet Macaw. Our tour guide brought this beauty out of his cage for an up close encounter. Sadly he had an injured wing and therefore could not be released back into the wild.
Next up? Costa Rican parakeets and parrots, sitting pretty as if just waiting for you to snap their photos. Don’t miss the Hoffman’s two-toed sloth. He too looks as if he’s posing for for his photo opp. Actually, he was stretching after just waking up from his morning nap.
Now that was wickedly awesome! Seriously up close and personal with a sloth. No telephoto lens was used for this photo. We really were that close to our two-toed friend. Please don’t use flash when taking a photo of Mr. Sloth, if you are this close, though. He’s very light sensitive.
The tour wouldn’t be complete without watching the antics of the adorable Capuchin monkeys. But watch out! Get too close, they might make a grab for your backpack through the fence. Our guide nicknamed them the mafia monkeys due their sometimes aggressive behavior.
We also saw a collared peccary, a kincajou, and toucans, and heard howler monkeys off in the distance. Not all residents are available for human viewing, especially those being prepared for re-introduction back into the wild.
Sadly our time at the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary had come to an end. Though not before a good-bye send off from our spider monkey escort. Mr. Spider Monkey stayed with us right to the end, even taking the time to sit on the bench and wait for our boat to arrive.
Mr. Spider Monkey looks sad we are leaving. 🙁 We were sad too!
The Osa Peninsula – A Most Special Place
So after our gift shop purchase of tee-shirts to further support the sanctuary, it was time to close this chapter of our Osa Peninsula family adventure. Good-bye Osa Wildlife Sanctuary. Good-bye spider monkeys, parrots, two-toed sloths and coatimundis. It’s time to move on to our next Osa Peninsula adventures.
Our Osa Wildlife Sanctuary adventure was a magical experience for all of us, but especially the boys. Learning about wildlife conservation and the need to protect habitats has left a life-long impression on them.
Have you visited a wildlife rescue center or sanctuary? Have you experienced the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary? Share your experience in the Comments section below.
Learn how you can support the Osa Wildlife Sanctuary mission at their website.
Check out my other posts about our family travels to Costa Rica:
- Snapshots of One Family’s Costa Rica Adventures
- Sights and Sounds of Manuel Antonio National Park, Costa Rica
- Playa Nicuesa – An Off The Grid Fab Family Jungle Adventure
- 6 Fun and Family Friendly Adventures In and Around La Fortuna Costa Rica
Images from Osa Wildlife Sanctuary (first image) and C.Biederman (all remaining images).