At 1st glance, Monkey Park would seem like a sad 3rd world zoo that neglects its animals. Located about a 20-30 min. drive from the surf town of Tamarindo, the sign along the highway is unassuming and leaves interpretation to the imagination.
However, Monkey Park is a wildlife rehab center that houses all sorts of endangered species that are too injured to be released back into the wild, or serves as a temporary home to those who can heal enough to be released (ocelots, parrots, monkeys, etc). This means they do not breed, sell, or trade any animals, and the animals on 'display' will vary since they are brought by rescuers from around the island. After all, when there is a rainforest, deforestation, illegal poaching, orphaning, and habitat destruction come with the territory.
The foundation is funded by a gentleman in Switzerland, and operated by locals. Admission is $10-20 to get in to cover overhead. Most of the workers don't speak English, but they will accommodate for large tours and give you a bilingual guide if you call in advance.
I'll admit. I was skeptical at 1st. But these animals were surprisingly well cared for by a small team of dedicated volunteers. Enclosures were clean. Cage space was fairly large in relation to the size of the species (mostly birds and small mammals). There was plenty of food and clean water- and we arrived on a day it was supposed to be closed, so it probably wasn't just for show. There was 3 ft of space in between the viewing area and the cage, and unlike a lot of overseas attractions, no one can touch or hold the animals- not even for a fee. They are after all, susceptible to human disease, and supposed to be released back into the wild.
Monkey Park is not a zoo. It is far better.
Location:Portegolpe, Costa Rica