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Animal Rescue Centre, Chocolate Lady and Waterfall

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Our Animal Rescue Centre, Chocolate Lady and Waterfall trip combines three of our favorite local activities. It includes:

  1. Entrance and tour of the Jaguar Animal Rescue Centre located near Playa Cocles. This centre serves as a refuge and rehabilitation center for many local animals including members of the cat family, monkeys , snakes and more.
  2. Visit to an indigenous family who explain us the way of indigenous chocolate being made — demostration of the process, from the growing of the Cacao plant to the making of chocolate
  3. Hike to a beautiful waterfall
  4. Transportation: pickup and drop-off at your Puerto Viejo hotel

Jaguar Animal Rescue Centre

The Jaguar Rescue Center offers shelter, treatment and protection to ill or wounded wild animals in the South Caribbean area.

The Center is run by Sandro, an expert in poisonous snakes, and Encar, a biologist with a vast experience with looking after wild mammals in captivity.

Sandro and Encar started the Jaguar Center with the aim of saving the lives of as many animals that come in to the shelter, as well as trying to re-introduce them to their natural habitat, the forests of the South Caribbean.

Got Goat's Milk?
If you're visiting the center, you can help out by bringing with you to Costa Rica a can or two of Meyenberg Powdered Goat's Milk for the abandoned Howler Monkeys and Sloth babies at the center. They also need a product called Bene-Bac which is used for treating animals with intestinal problems. Unfortunately, neither of these products is available in Costa Rica.

Their house has become a sanctuary for wild animals and they try to accommodate their jungle guests as well as they can: terrariums for the snakes, large spaces for the Congo monkeys to rest in after spending the whole day playing in the gardenís trees, special quarantine cages for the animals arriving seriously injured and also a large supply of medicine and an operating theatre for emergency surgery if necessary. 

Your visit helps support the work of the centre. Jaguar animal rescue centre photos by Lori Sorrentino.

Chocolate Lady

Next we will visit an indigenous family where they make chocolate from the Cacao trees growing beside their house. You will learn and see demonstrated the process by which the cacao fruit is transformed into delicious and unique chocolate. You will have an opportunity to purchase some chocolate or other indigenous made handicrafts here.  Note that part of the family speaks very limited English so if you don't speak Spanish your explanation of the process may take the form of a pantomine!


«Manuel was an excellent guide, providing us with a wealth of information throughout the trip. Magnificent tour!»
- Dan & Jeannette

«So impressed with Gecko. Corresponded to e-mails immediately. Our guide was very personalbe and went out of his way to see that our wishes were met.»
- Mary Ann & Dee

«Manuel was great. I feel he showed us more than we were expecting and explained things with much detail. He also took us to a great restaurant with beautiful view.»
- Leonora & Justin


Finally, you and your driver/guide will take a short hike (about 10 minutes through the jungle where you can see local plants, red frogs and butterflies) to a waterfall where you can enjoy swimming in the pristine nature pools.

Note: Your feet might get wet while exploring the waterfall, so make sure to wear appropriate shoes or bring an extra pair for changing after the hike

Tour information:

Fitness level: The jaguar animal rescue center and chocolate lady are suitable for all fitness levels although they unfortunately are not wheelchair accessible. The waterfall trail is not long but it can be steep and sometimes a little muddy so a adequate fitness level is required. The second waterfall offered is a shorter walk so should you prefer that regardless of the water level, please let us know.
Departures: Daily at 9:00 AM except Sundays when the Jaguar Rescue Center is closed.
Duration: Half day
Cost per person: Adults $59.00, Children $29.50
There is a minimum of 2 adults for this tour. Children under 3 years are free. Children over 11 years pay the adult rate.
Includes: Transportation, driver/guide, entrance to jaguar animal rescue centre and chocolate house.
Not included: Optional afternoon add-on with lunch and facilities at the Banana Azul Beach Club (see details below).
Transportation includes pickup from hotels in Puerto Viejo. Additional transport charges for other hotels apply as follows (per booking not per person):
Playa Chiquita $15
Punta Uva $20
Cahuita $25
Manzanillo $25
What to bring: Rubber shoes with traction and maybe an extra pair of shoes to change after the waterfall hike, swimsuit underneath (there is not changing room at the waterfall), shorts, insect repellent, bottle of water, towel, money for lunch or snacks.
Note: you should not touch the animals if you have applied sunscreen or insect repellent. We recommend you to bring these items with you instead and apply them after the visit with the animal rescue center.

Make a day of it at the Azul Beach Club

Choose the Azul Beach Club option when booking your tour (for $15 per person). Includes transportation to Banana Azul after end of tour, beach chairs with rancho, lunch entree served either on beach or in restaurant, beach towel, locker, shower and pool access (no children under 16 allowed in pool). Not included: transport back to your hotel (ask our tour desk for help), drinks, tips.

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