If you haven’t seen it, just watch it. ‘Bath Time for Baby Sloths‘ is pretty fucking amazing. And if you aren’t going to watch it, here’s a brief synopsis: a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica unnecessarily bathes a bunch of baby sloths for our viewing pleasure. But I fell under the sanctuary’s spell. When we planned our road trip south, The Sloth Sanctuary was at the top of my bucket list. I was going to see those sloths, damn it.

But as I started to research more, things were not as they seemed. I read a scathing exposé of the sanctuary’s practices. The allegations are pretty gruesome. Keeping baby sloths in plastic bins? Feeding them an improper diet and then operating to fix the side effects? Sloth fights? Hell nah. As much as I  wanted to go, I couldn’t give them my money.

Seeing sloths in Costa Rica

If you’re in Costa Rica, seeing sloths is pretty easy. Although we were only there for two weeks, we saw 14 sloths in the wild. Two-toed and three-toed. A baby and his mama bear. They’re pretty much everywhere.

And we made a video to help you spot these little guys on your own! Check it out on vimeo.

If you’re short on time, these are our tips for spotting sloths:

  1. Know which trees the sloths like. There are a few species of trees that the sloths usually inhabit.
  2. Ask locals. Most of the sloths we saw were pointed out to us by Costa Ricans. Since sloths don’t move around much, anyone in town can point out the trees the sloths frequent.
  3. Always look up. Driving on the highway is one of the easiest ways to spot sloths. Be on the lookout for furry lumps. Keep your eyes on the trees during jungle walks.Our eyes are accustomed to spotting wildlife by detecting movement. Since sloths are notoriously slow, it can be easy to miss them, even if they are right above you. You can increase your chances of seeing one by being vigilant and constantly scanning the trees for these guys.

Happy sloth spotting! Comment your tips and tricks.