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Jaguar Rescue Centre, Chocolate Lady and Waterfall

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Why wait? Let’s book your tour of the Jaguar Rescue Center, Chocolate Lady & Waterfall. If you’re into history and wildlife, this is the tour for you.

Trip Schedule

First, you will learn how the center serves as refuge and rehabilitation for animals (monkeys, sloths, snakes, wild cats and more). Then, you’ll have the opportunity to hold and play with the monkeys living there! Afterwards you’ll visit an indigenous Bribri family and learn about the production of cacao. We end our day by hiking to a beautiful waterfall. Swimming is optional but encouraged! Tour cost includes transportation to and from your hotel in Puerto Viejo and all entrance/tour fees.

Jaguar Rescue Centre

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

Encar, a biologist with many years of experience caring for wild mammals in captivity, runs the Center. She and her partner Sandro, an expert in poisonous snakes, started the Center with the aim of saving the lives of as many injured or sick wild animals as they could. Tragically, Sandro passed away in February 2016 and Encar is now running the center on her own, but not with less effort. After sufficient time has passed, and if the animals are willing and able, they are re-introduced into their natural habitat in 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.

A Safe Home for All

The Center has become a sanctuary for wild animals. They try to accommodate their jungle guests as well as they can! Terrariums have been built for the snakes and small animals. Large spaces for the monkeys keeps them comfortable and they spend plenty of time in the trees. There are also special quarantine cages for the animals arriving seriously injured 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

After the rescue center we’ll visit a Bribri family growing cacao trees on their land. They are eager to show you the entire process of cacao fruit becoming a bar of chocolate. You will have the opportunity to purchase some of their chocolate or other indigenous handmade crafts. Please note that only part of the family speaks very limited English! If you don’t speak Spanish, your explanation of the process may be in the form of pantomime!


After learning a bit about cacao, your tour guide will bring you to a waterfall with beautiful swimming holes. It’s about a ten-minute hike down stairs and through the jungle. There, you’ll discover several waterfalls in the mountains of Talamanca. You can swim if you’d like! Be advised: your feet may get wet while you’re exploring the waterfall. Wear appropriate shoes or bring an extra pair for changing into after the hike.


“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

Tour information:

Fitness level:The Jaguar Animal Rescue Center and Chocolate Lady are suitable for all fitness levels although they are unfortunately not wheelchair accessible. The waterfall trail is not long but can be steep and sometimes muddy so an adequate fitness level is suggested. The second waterfall option is a shorter walk, so should you prefer that regardless of water level, please let us know.
Departures:Daily at 9:00 AMexcept Sundays when the Jaguar Rescue Center is closed.
Duration:Half day
Cost per person:Please inquire
Includes:Round-trip transportation, driver/tour bilingual guide, entrance fees to Jaguar Animal Rescue Center and the Chocolate Lady
Not included:Additional transportation charges apply for hotels outside of Puerto Viejo (per person):
Punta Uva $4
Manzanillo $8
Cahuita $10
What to bring:Swimsuit, towel, insect repellent, sunscreen, water and money for lunch and snacks

Book It

The Cahuita Boat, Snorkel and Hiking Trip will take you to the largest system of Coral Reefs in Costa Rica, where you will snorkel for two hours to marvel at all the beauty. In the afternoon you will participate in a guided hike through the wonderful coastal forest.