Thursday, October 23, 2014

Costa Rica: Sloth Sanctuary

I figure I better blog about our trip to Costa Rica before it's really old news. I can't believe it's been two months since our awesome vacation!

Our first full day in the country was spent at the Sloth Sanctuary over on the Caribbean Coast. The Sloth Sanctuary is basically the WHOLE reason we even went to Costa Rica. Random, right?

You see, most normal people have things on their bucket lists like, "see the Great Wall of China" or "go skydiving". I have things on my bucket list like, "go see the sloths at the Sloth Sanctuary in Costa Rica". I can't even remember how or when I first heard about the sanctuary. I just somehow discovered it and then knew I had to go.

To anyone planning a trip to Costa Rica, I would highly recommend adding the Sloth Sanctuary to your list of things to do. It did not disappoint. The people who run it are incredible. They take in injured and orphaned sloths. The goal is to nurse the injured ones back to health and free them into the wild. With orphaned sloths or babies born in the sanctuary, they will stay their whole lives since they don't really know what it's like to be a wild sloth (I feel like wild sloth is a total oxymoron, by the way). I love sloths (don't they just look like the best cuddlers?). Really, I'm just an animal lover, so being in close proximity to these creatures was exciting for me. We learned a lot of random facts about sloths, like that they only have one bowel movement per week. Who knew?  

The only downside of this part of the trip was getting there. The main airport in Costa Rica is in the middle of the country. Granted, the country is relatively small but traffic if unpredictable. Looking it up online, the destination time from San Jose to the sanctuary varied from two to five hours. We left early that morning to leave ourselves plenty of travel time. It ended up taking us four hours because we got stuck waiting to cross a bridge for an hour. Not fun. However, the drive was breathtaking. At least we had a lot to look at. Driving was also quite the adventure. We rented a car and BWell drove. There were a million one-lane bridges. On some of them, you couldn't see the other side. So you kind of would just cross the bridge and say a little prayer that a car wouldn't be coming from the other direction. Poor Brian, he was a trooper during our journey.

We arrived to the sanctuary before our lunch was quite ready. That left me and Brian time to meet Buttercup and have her all to ourselves. Buttercup was the first sloth at the sanctuary and basically the reason the sanctuary was started. She is 22 years old and just a sweetheart. When we entered the room and saw Buttercup on her swing, I forgot how to breathe and almost started crying. I am such a dork. I think between waking up early, our frustrating drive, and then just coming face-to-face with a sloth . . . it was just a lot of emotions. But really, look at how cute Buttercup is . . .

I felt like she was almost human. Like you know how Yoda from Star Wars is just this adorable little dude but then he's full of infinite knowledge? That's how I feel Buttercup is. Buttercup is Yoda. 

After we ate lunch with Buttercup, we went on a boat ride. We spotted some sloths sleeping in the trees, watched lots of pretty birds, and our boat guide even showed us some baby bats living in a log.
After the boat tour, we paid a visit to the injured and sick sloths. It was heartbreaking. A lot of them get electrocuted in power lines, some get hit by cars, others are abused. The worst story we heard was about a particular sloth who was set on fire by two stupid teenage boys. That poor sloth will probably never fully recover. It was sad to see so many of them hurting but nice to know they were in a safe place. We were able to pet and feed the injured adult sloths.

Then there were the babies. Oh, baby sloths, be still my heart. Baby sloths must be one of the top five cutest things in the world.
My favorite baby of all was actually very bad at being a sloth. A sloth's whole purpose is to use as little energy as possible. They eat a lot and sleep a lot. But my favorite little sloth acted more like a monkey. He was such a showoff and he immediately stole my heart. He kept doing tricks. Then he'd stick his little face and hands through the cage at me. I died. I died and went to sloth heaven.

This was such a great way to start off our trip. Luckily, our ride back to the hotel didn't take near as long. We even stopped and ate dinner at a restaurant on the beach while it was pouring rain . . . and then played on the beach in the pouring rain. It was magical. Sloths, beaches and rain. Yes. 
Up next on the vacation posts, you'll hear about how we took a sketchy little airplane to the most beautiful land on earth called Arenal, where we stayed in the middle of the rainforest and in the shadow of a volcano. Zip lining and river rafting adventures included. 

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