Slothing around Costa Rica

My mind was made up, it was time…. time to meet a sloth. I’d been to Central America before, and been to South America, but I’d never experienced a sloth sighting. Desperate times call for desperate decisions and so I decided to make my way to Costa Rica with the express intent on seeing at least one sloth. Of course to go all that way and not see some other wildlife seemed a little too rash, so onto the Tucan Travel San Jose to Panama City tour I booked.

view of the hills and city of the costa rican countryside

The wildlife!

With approximately 25% of Costa Rica being made up of National Parks, I was bound to see what I’d travelled 40 odd hours for… and disappointed I was not!

In the 12 days I spent in Costa Rica, I saw approximately 14 sloths. One of which was a little baby holding onto Mummy sloth’s tummy! Most were far away and the assistance of a telescopic lens was required. However there were some who were hanging around on lower branches or in clearings. I even came face to furry face with a little one in a very low branch, just chilling off Playa Espadilla Sur beach in Manuel Antonio National Park. Other people were lucky enough to see said little one relaxing and enjoying a good scratch. At the time this was going on, I was delightfully wallowing in the aquamarine waters of that same beach, enjoying the playful waves. I guess you can’t have everything!

paradise beach with white sand and forest in manuel antionio national park beach

I was surprised by the speed of the sloths. Perhaps naive thoughts were that they would be in slow motion all the time. However, when we saw them moving around the trees or having a scratch the movements seemed to be at a fairly normal speed.

Take a guide!

If you’re hoping to see a sloth while in Costa Rica, you have the best chance on a guided tour. My guides; on floating safaris, bird walks and National Park walks were amazing, so knowledgeable and with very sharp eyes. Their talent for spotting wildlife amongst so much vegetation is unbelievable. Sloths look like furry bits of tree from a distance, so to distinguish between a clump of leaves or a sloth is a pretty awesome thing to be part of. You just never know when a sloth will be around the corner. Once you have experienced a sighting of a sloth you can then put their actions into practice, on a gorgeous beach with a passion-fruit daquari…. Slothing around Costa Rica.

sloth hanging in the green leaves in a national park in costa rica


Tucan Travel offer a range of group tours to Costa Rica. Some of which go through various countries in South America (like the one I did – Panama Panorama). Some which focus on a small area of the country to really get under it’s skin like the Tortuguero Costa. And some which are great for first timers, giving you a total overview of Costa Rica and visiting all the key highlights like in the Costa Rica Encompassed tour. Whichever one you choose, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it just as much as I did!

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