Visit us

Come and visit Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center. Your visit contributes to the conservation and protection of Costa Ricas biodiversity.

More than a wildlife rescue center.

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center (formerly Zoo Ave) is a 100 % Costa Rican non-profit foundation dedicated to conserving the country’s wildlife. The animal sanctuary and wildlife rehabilitation center is the oldest of its kind with over 30 years of experience in rehabilitating and releasing wildlife, preserving habitat and providing lifetime care for the animals that could not survive on their own in the wild.

Who we are

We are certified
By The Global Federation of Animal Sanctuaries (GFAS)

Have you met sloth “Frai Choco“?

Frai Choco is a two-toed sloth who was found in Fraijanes, Alajuela. Unfortunately, Frai Choco is an orphan, and he came to Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center Zoave at just three months old. Frai Choco is named in part due to the neighborhood where he was found, and the “choco” part of his name comes from his chocolate, dark-brown fur. He lost his mom …

What makes us different

Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center is one of the most respected and reputable sanctuaries in all of Costa Rica. For decades, we have dedicated ourselves to the rehabilitation and reintroduction of native animals. We feel strongly that limited interference and human handling is what is best for wild animals, and do our best to give permanent residents the most natural life possible. These are our projects that make us different:

Wildlife Rescue Center

We receive over 3,000 injured or orphaned wild
animals every year

Veterinary Hospital and Rehabilitation Center

We are the largest Veterinary Hospital in Central America and the only one in Costa Rica.

We care for about 650 animals that cannot be returned to the wild.
It is the only project open to the public!

3 Release Sites

We have 3 release sites throughout the country: La Garita, Bosque Econdido Nicoya Peninsula and San Josecito next to Pierdra Blancas National Park.

Breeding Programs for endangered species

We run various breeding
programs to be released
back into the wild like Scarlet
Macaws, Great Green
Macaws, Great Curassows
and more on the roadmap.

Educational Programs

We run different programs, where you can learn about the conservation of Flora and Fauna of Costa Rica.

Ways to help

Get involved

Get Involved and Become a Lifesaver by becoming a sponsor, a donor, an intern or volunteering at Rescate Wildlife Rescue Center! If you visit us, you can also bring us essential goods we can not buy in Costa Rica from our Amazon Wishlist.

Current Support needed

Help us feed our wildlife like Piki the Tapir by giving a monthly or single donation.

Current Support needed

By sponsoring our sanctuary, you become a vital lifeline for our precious wildlife. Join our community!

Current Support needed

Help us reproduce and release Scarlet Macaws and Great Green Macaws! Make a donation today!

Help us on these platforms as well:

Become an Veterinary Intern at Rescate Wildlife

Work with Costa Ricas wildlife

Veterinary interns work directly with our highly experienced veterinarian and our rehabilitation staff. Over 3,000 animals are admitted to the rescue center on an annual basis and include orphans, injured animals, electrocutions, confiscations and surrendered pets. Additionally, there are over 800 non-releasable wild animals in our sanctuary that require medical management. Veterinary interns assist with with animal intakes, exams, treatments, surgeries, feeding and record keeping.

Visitor Reviews

August 2023
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Great experience. Rescue center was far above my expectations. Eduardo was wonderful. Easy to Uber back and forth from SJO area. If you have the opportunity to book this tour do it.
August 2023
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Amy was super informative and delightful. We learned a lot about nature and the relationship with human impact in Costa Rica. Wonderful tour with amazing animals well taken care of and cared for.
June 2023
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What an amazing and educational experience. My guide was Janina and she was so knowledgeable and I could see that this was not a job for her, instead her passion. Gladly made a purchase at the souvenir shop (as the proceeds go to the rescue center) and the salesperson, Meli, was so kind and welcoming. So grateful for all they do. This is definitely a must do if you’re visiting Costa Rica.😊❤️
May 2023
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Valeria has been a fantastic guide, truly passionate and knowledgeable. Highly recommended. Do your research and support a real rescue center like this one. Forget about zoos and all the other places that are more interested in making money than saving animals.
October 2022
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Wow what a amazing way to spend our first hours in Costa Rica. This is a tour that everyone should do. Costa Rica is doing some very good things for conservation and other countries should follow their example. You must take your children on this tour with Amy so that they learn the value of keeping animals in their natural habitat!! And they’ll have tons of fun too. Not to miss.
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Tracy: This place is 💯 worth stopping at! Took the family to explore and it feels like you're walking through the jungle and seeing a variety of plants and animals. Loved being able to get so close to the sloths, monkeys, ocelot, cougar and iguanas. Capybara we're running around under foot and there were wild birds flying around the enclosures of the kept ones. Animals look happy and well cared for - what an amazing place!
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We had an absolutely magical experience here at RWRC. We went with our 4 children ages 14/12/4/2 and they all loved it. We only saw two other people while there so it felt like we had the whole place to ourselves. We booked a private tour guide, Amy, who was not only lovely and knowledgeable but very patient ( as our youngest was a bit overtired that day ) she taught us a lot and made the whole experience a day to remember. Thanks so much Amy! The passion and kindness that the staff have for these animals is incredibly heartwarming. I would highly recommend stopping by if you're in the area.
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I am always skeptical about these things, but it seems like this is a real rescue center. The place is laid out well. The animals look healthy. Wikipedia states, “It is administered by a conservation nonprofit foundation called Fundación Restauración de la Naturaleza,[5] which also is responsible for the country's largest rehabilitation center in the Rescate Wildlife campus.” It looks like it started as a zoo and then they started conservation efforts. Note that the actual wildlife campus is off-limits to visitors. I absolutely loved the huge iguanas walking around everywhere along with the random other animals outside of the enclosures along the paths. The giant bamboo grove is stunning, so don’t miss that. The crocodile is huge. Finally, don’t miss some of the talking birds. They were totally amazing. It was interesting to hear birds who speak better Spanish than me.
Anonymous from Tripadvisor
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Very nice! The animals are close and easy to see in the enclosures. They are very healthy and relaxed. Much to see, so many bird species, all are great, the mature trees and plants, especially bamboo, are stunning. We spent 3 relaxing hours. Nice restaurant, we had nachos, very good! VERY handicap and stroller friendly. Even has an easy access, large handicap restroom. Perfect for 80 year old Mom in wheelchair. Wide, easy, gentle grade pathways. Even parking lot is good for handicap or senior, children, unloading. Be sure to pull all the way up to the main entrance inside to unload if needed. It is important that we see these amazing animals in person to appreciate how important it is to save them and save their habitats. These animals are on display, and being wonderfully cared for, to increase the awareness of the need for their survival. They are there to be seen and loved in order to save others like them at risk in the wild. Pay, go, enjoy, share.
Anonymous from Tripadvisor
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This place was a real eye-opener of how we humans miss treat our animal friends. I was very impressed with how they take care of their animals and how much room they have. All the employees who work there are very well informed about how the place is operated. I would go back hadn’t been to a place like this ever.







Our Sponsors

You Make Dreams Come True: Heartfelt Thanks to Our Incredible Sponsors!

We extend our deepest gratitude to the amazing sponsors who stand by us in our mission to protect and preserve wildlife. Your generosity empowers us to make a difference, one animal at a time. Thank you for being the heroes in our story, ensuring a future where nature thrives. Together, we're creating a legacy of compassion and conservation. Your support is the heartbeat of our sanctuary, and for that, we are truly thankful.


Frequently asked questions

What to expect on your visit at Rescate Wildlife.

We are open every day from 9:00am to 5:00pm, every day of the year! You can also find our opening hours HERE.

Yes we have a free private parking lot. Our staff will guide you to a free spot for your car. Find our more about your visit here.

Children are from 2 years old to 12 years old. Below 2 years old are free, and 13 years old would be considered an adult rate. For more information click HERE.

For a regular entrance you do not need to reserve ahead of time, but if you are interested in a guided tour, you do need an online reservation. Here is the link to our reservation platform: TICKETS & TOURS

Yes, there is not problem for you to bring in food to enjoy a snack or a picnic. We ask that you not bring in any alcoholic beverages or BBQ’s.

No, we do not allow pets. We have a lot of animals that are roaming wild, including Iguanas, peacocks and other birds. For the safety of your animals and ours it is not permitted to bring in any pets.

Yes, you can bring in service animals, as long as you have the appropriate documentation and the animals are identified as so.

Yes, we have a restaurant onsite which is open from 9:00am to 5:00pm as well. The restaurant is open to the public, you do not need to visit the sanctuary in order to eat there. Would you like to get more information and see the menu? Click HERE.

Yes, we have free wifi in various parts of the sanctuary, including the main entrance and restaurant. There is not wifi on all of the trails.

No, these are wild animals and we do not permit any interactions with them. Our animals are well looked after and fed a nutritious diet, feeding them can cause health issues, or unwanted or unsafe interactions. Please respect them by keeping your distance. If we find that anyone is feeding or touching the animals we do reserve the right to escort them out of the property. 


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Alajuela, COSTA RICA