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Sloth Sanctuary: Day Trips and Tours from La Fortuna

Known as the gateway to Costa Rica’s famous Arenal Volcano, La Fortuna is a small town just north of the capital of San Jose. This tiny pueblo is home to the volcano’s National Park, where thermal hot springs and rainforest trails combine into a tropical backdrop.

La Fortuna is known for its lush flora and fauna, including the wild two-toed and three-toed sloths that make the jungle their home.

Take a Sloth Sanctuary day trip from La Fortuna and visit fascinating sanctuaries to view these creatures in their natural habitat.

Here's all you need to know about sloth sanctuaries, one of the most exciting day trips from La Fortuna.

How to get to the sloth sanctuaries from La Fortuna?

From La Fortuna to the Sloth Sanctuaries by car

The main sloth-watching trails at Arenal are just a 3-minute drive from the center of La Fortuna. Head northwest through the town on Avenue 325 until you reach the start of the nature trails.

Guided tour to the Sloth Sanctuaries from La Fortuna

Book a guided tour of the sloth sanctuaries from La Fortuna to explore the trail with the help of an expert guide. Day trips include hotel pickup and drop-off, adding ease to your journey. Excursions typically last between 1 and 3 hours.

How much does the entrance ticket to the sloth sanctuaries cost?

The sloth sanctuaries in La Fortuna are situated along privately-owned trails, so there is typically an entrance fee to explore the properties.

To enter a trail and enjoy self-guided exploration through sloth habitats, you can expect to pay around €10 per person.

What is the typical itinerary?

If you choose to take a guided tour, you’ll begin your sloth adventure with a hotel pickup by a bilingual guide. The nature expert will provide fascinating facts about La Fortuna and the wildlife nearby.

You will then drive to several spotting areas, where you’ll find the fascinating flora and fauna that reside in the flourishing rainforest.

Most excursions will include a hike down one of the main sloth trails where, along with the slow creatures, you’ll see birds such as tropical toucans, monkeys, iguanas, red frogs and porcupines.

Many day trip leaders will provide a special spotting scope to help you get a closer look at the two and three-toed sloths in their natural habitat.

Depending on the tour, you might stop for a snack of fresh fruit from La Fortuna before heading back for your drop-off location.

What kinds of tours are available to go to the sloth sanctuaries?

Guided sloth tour from La Fortuna

Adventure through the Costa Rican rainforest on this guided tour of the sloth sanctuaries in La Fortuna. For this excursion, select between hotel pickup or a central meeting spot, where you’ll find your professional guide.

From there, you’ll begin your expedition through the lush jungle area that lies at the base of Arenal Volcano where the sloths inhabit. Visit several different locations and trails where both two-toed and three-toed sloths reside.

Keep your eyes peeled for other rare and tropical species such as toucans, dart frogs, monkeys and iguanas. Learn about the animals from your naturalist guide and catch a closer look by using a provided spotting scope.

Get close enough to snap photos of the sloths before breaking for a snack. Finish the excursion with a ride back to the drop-off spot.

Sloth watching in Sloth Territory

This day trip travels to the nature reserve of Sloth Territory managed by the Rodriguez Perez Family.

This includes a hiking expedition to the reserve where you’ll have ample opportunity to spot the slow creatures as well as native red frogs, opossums, parrots and even porcupines.

Walk along La Havana River for unbeatable views of the rainforest and Arenal volcano, and learn about the flourishing flora and fauna of La Fortuna.

Your expert guide will provide a telescope for a closer look at the wild animals as well as a snack of local fruit. Choose between a morning, afternoon or night excursion for a varied experience.

During the nighttime tours you’ll have the unique opportunity to see both sloths as well as nocturnal creatures like kinkajous, snakes, spiders, bats and more.

Private sloth tour

Choose a private tour of the sloth sanctuaries for a more exclusive look at the animal’s natural habitat.

Join your professional guide for one-on-one journey through the jungle to spot the incredible creatures sleeping, slowly moving or eating their favorite treat, guarumo shoots.

Your tour leader will provide you with fascinating facts about sloths and their unusual lifestyle. Keep your eyes peeled for other native animals during this 1-hour walking excursion.

How much does a day trip to the sloth sanctuaries from La Fortuna cost?

Tours to the sloth sanctuaries from La Fortuna vary based on the length of trip.

For a 1-hour excursion, you can expect to pay between €25 and €35 per person, whereas a 2 to 3-hour trip will cost between €60 and €70 per person.

For a 1-hour private tour through the rainforest, prepare to spend around €50 per person, but you’ll benefit from more one-on-one time with the animals.

What will you see and do?

While on a sloth sanctuary tour from La Fortuna you will be immersed in the thriving jungle just outside of the Costa Rican town. You will see beautiful waterfalls, rivers, trees and wildlife that together make the region so picturesque.

Day trips through the rainforest will pay special attention to the two and three-toed sloths that fill the trees at the basin of Arenal Volcano. You will watch the slow moving creatures as they care for their young, creep through the trees, sleep and eat.

Your tour guide will also point out many other species of animals and insects, such as toucans, dart frogs, monkeys, porcupines, opossums, iguanas, kinkajous, snakes, spiders, bats and more.

Most excursions will include a snack of organic local fruit to enjoy after the journey.

When is the best time to visit the sloth sanctuaries?

La Fortuna is best visited at any time of the year due to the warm tropical climate. However, the best time for outdoor activities such as sloth sanctuary tours is during the dry season which runs from December to April.

Are there any tours to Sloth Sanctuary from other cities in Costa Rica?

Travel tips

  • Pack a camera to snap photos of the sloths in their natural habitat.
  • Make sure to bring insect repellent for the heavily-wooded forest trails in the sanctuaries.
  • A light snack might be provided, but meals and beverages are not included so plan accordingly.