From “Tacotal” to Sloth Sanctuary


A word known to many Costa Ricans as a bushy unattractive scrubland; this is what Arenas Del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica used to be 30 years ago. This property formerly was 5 hectares of “Tacotal” with great views of the Pacific Ocean used for subsistence farming.  

Arenas del Mar Beachfront and Rainforest Resort in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica is set in a 5-hectare private nature reserve.

During the past 20 years, Arenas del Mar has been working hard to reverse the degeneration of this land and invested in reforestation, wildlife conservation, and community development. The Cayuga Collection Team and hotel staff were able to bring back the tropical forest and make it possible to observe the same amount of wild animal species in the Arenas del Mar Private Reserve as in the Manuel Antonio National Park. 

Monkeys, toucans, iguanas, and many other animal species share this space with sloths. The sloth is the national animal of Costa Rica and a major attraction for our guests. About 6 months ago, Arenas del Mar created an alliance with the local Sloth Institute (SI). Its mission is to enhance the welfare and conservation of sloths. 

Chad, Allan, Lizzo, Bo-Peep can testify for it – these are the names of the rescued sloths, that were released at Arenas del Mar by The Sloth Institute and have been living happily in the canopy of our rain forest.  Our forest around the hotel has shown to be an ideal environment for sloths. 

This is what the release of a sloth “back into nature” looks like at Arenas del Mar. Photo Credit: Sam Trull, The Sloth Institute.

A Connected and Healthy Forest:

“We were surprised to learn about the hotel’s efforts on green practices. Most hotels will chop down trees for that million-dollar view. At Arenas Del Mar, buildings are built around trees, and room views are rearranged to avoid cutting down tree branches”, Pedro Montero from the Sloth Institute mentioned on his site inspection visit.

A healthy and connected forest reduces the chances of isolating a sloth. While avoiding potential threats, connected forests work as bridges which allows for sloths to find a path to shelter, food, and new habitats.  

Vegetation at Playitas Beach, Arenas del Mar, Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica.

No Risk of Electrocution

Electrocution is one of the main reasons why sloths end up at the Sloth Institute care. 

At Arenas Del Mar property, all electricity runs underground. This required an initial major investment at the time of building the hotel, but well worth the effort.  

Access to Arenas del Mar through the 5-hectare private nature reserve is only possible in electric vehicles. All electric cables run underground.

Food Sources

Almendro and Guarumo trees grow throughout the property. At the beachfront restaurant at Playitas beach and along the forest trails, Arenas del Mar as two tree species that are a sloth’s favorite food. It is no surprise that most of our guests can spot a sloth while enjoying their time at Arenas Del Mar.

Just the right color and taste. This is sloth comfort food.

Private Property

Bureaucracy can be limiting and restraining, and Arenas del Mar is a private property reserve. This allows The Sloth Institute to operate and release sloths efficiently and effectively. 

Snoozing away and hidden from predators, sloths live solitary lives. They travel from tree to tree by using canopy vines. As for the next steps, we will work with The SI to improve our connected forest. By positioning sloth speedways, sloths will have a safe path to the food and shelter they need.

Pedro Montero from The Sloth Institute in Costa Rica spotting a sloth in a tree near Playitas Beach at Arenas del Mar.

If you want to learn more about the flora and fauna at and around Arenas del Mar in Manuel Antonio, Costa Rica, send us a note to  

Learn more about sloths and The Sloth Institute, visit:

The story behind, Allan, Lizzo, and Bo-Peep journey:  




10 Responses

  1. Bravo! Arenas del Mar. Always amazing to watch your varying efforts toward regenerating the surrounding Pacific coastal forest, including this re-introduction of the 2- and 3-toed sloths. Partnering with The Sloth Institute: brilliant. Likely next Nov/Dec you’ll see an addition to your sloth population. Great modeling, all of you.

  2. I love your country and I’m so very happy how well you keeping it and preserve it. Your sloths must be very happy living around you. We definitely were and wish to come back again

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How Would You Like to Contact Us?


Monday – Thursday:
7am — 9pm CST
Friday – Sunday:
8am — 7pm CST

Quick answers, always!


Monday – Thursday:
7am — 9pm CST
Friday – Sunday:
8am — 7pm CST

+(506) 4040-0430


+(506) 4040-0430


San Jose, Costa Rica



If you have questions, visit our FAQ’s



Hans Pfister

Co-owner & President