Toucan Rescue Ranch

As you all know by now, my awesome Mom was here visiting us the last week of January (if you missed it, click here).

The favorite tour we did when Mom was here, was our visit to the Toucan Rescue Ranch.

What an amazing place!  All of the animals are rescue animals (as the name implies).  Leslie – the owner and animal guru herself – was there to greet us, and was our personal tour guide.  Leslie is incredible.  Down to earth, very well spoken, open to questions – you can tell she just loves what she does.  And she doesn’t just have toucans – which made me giddy.   I mean I like birds and all, but…  well, you can’t really cuddle with a toucan.

She had several different types of owls (which ok, is a type of bird, but different than a toucan for sure).  She had never “wanted” to start rescuing owls, but there was no place else that would take them in.  So when people started coming to her door with injured owls…  she couldn’t let herself say no when she knew the alternative would be them dying in the wild without getting any care.



And the sloth’s!  Oh my….  so precious.  Look at this baby:




And this adult sloth:


She let us walk into several of the adult sloth cages, and they all reached to her with open arms – she is their Momma, the one who raised them.  It was so sweet to see!  She even allowed us to pet them (on their backs – not their heads, which they don’t like). 

And look at this little baby Spider Monkey that she rescued and is raising:


 The goal is to release each animal that is capable of sustaining itself, back into their natural home environment.  A lot of research goes into determining the geographic location the animal should be returned to (sometimes even DNA testing!).  In some unfortunate cases however; either because the animal was domesticated or cannot fend for itself, they become a permanent resident with Leslie at the Toucan Rescue Ranch.

She also had an Oncilla – and no, I’m not mistaken on the name (it is NOT a Margay or an Ocelot, although the Oncilla does resemble these two).  Very rare.  This one came to her as a rescue, of course, and Leslie quickly came to realize that it is very docile, i.e. – probably raised in a home, so it cannot be released into the wild.  I must say, Leslie has made an awesome home for it, thanks to the generous donation from a couple who stayed at her B & B when the cat was brought in.  Very large, caged in area with tons of trees, limbs and grass…  Leslie knows it is happy.  


There are 6 types of toucans in Costa Rica (and Leslie had 4!), but don’t ask me to tell you which one this is:


This is what one of them sounds like (he was putting on a show for us):


And a mot-mot (beautiful bird, Greg has photographed one in our yard before!):


 This is a “Barred Hawk” – beautiful and huge.  Leslie opened the door and let us go inside to take pictures, and when I questioned this, she told me confidently that the hawk would not fly out, as one of its wings is permanently injured.  She said when this hawk first came to her it was totally depressed and stayed in the corner and didn’t fly around or do anything.  And then one day, Leslie saw the hawk on ground, with its head down, and she was quite worried about it.  On closer observation – Leslie found it to be hunched over a snake!  The hawk had hunted it, killed it –  and then was jubilant and prancing around afterwards and has been happy ever since.  She just needed a stalking/hunting job to do.


She even had a porcupine, who obviously ADORED Leslie, and ate this fresh flower right out of her hand (we went into the cage as well, I was pretty scared I was going to get shot with quills, but that didn’t happen):


Leslie has two casitas (guesthouses) on the property which you can rent out as a Bed & Breakfast – it includes a personal tour AND breakfast!!  

Leslie – you were the highlight of our day!  Thanks for the awesome tour, all your excellent information and giving us some quality “oooooh and aaaaaaw” time with the animals.

I leave you with this picture, at the end of our tour she let a baby sloth out and set it on the rocking chair.  It then climbed down, and her resident kitty came over and attempted to play with it.  So adorable.


Ciao for now! — Jen

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17 Responses to Toucan Rescue Ranch

  1. So happy to see your report Jen. Terrific! I have contacted Toucan Rescue 3 times in the past and have never received a response….

  2. Jen, Hi am new to your blog. Thanks for all the great info. Really enjoying to read your adventures.
    We will take some of the tours. (Not the 2000 steps to the waterfall) 😉

    We will move there end of this year as well.
    I read in your blog somewhere, where you can buy chips for your iPhone.
    Would you please repeat that, can’t located.

    Other thing, can you buy ingredients for gluten free baking?
    You can email me as well.

    Gracias, Pura Vida!.

  3. Pingback: Poas Volcano and La Paz Waterfall Gardens | CostaRicaChicaCostaRicaChica

  4. Hi Jen, Greg suggested the Toucan Rescue Ranch when we were wondering where to take our visitors last week. Great place!!! Your pix are wonderful — I think because you had Leslie (the owner) as your tour guide you got to go “inside” a few more “residences” than we did. But we had a terrific time. One thing visitors should know is that even though the website has credit card info, that’s only for B&B reservations. They only accept cash for the tour. None of the four of us had enough cash on us (how embarrassing) and we had to drive to an ATM in the next town and then drive back. Another thing visitors might need to know if they are driving — google directions are almost useless and our GPS did not recognize the ranch or the town it was in. We should have gotten e-mailed directions from Leslie, which she was going to provide but we thought, “hey, we have Google AND our GPS, how can we go wrong?” Several wrong turns later, we finally came to the lovely carved toucan at the corner of their street. Yay!

    • Yay – I’m so glad you went and enjoyed. That’s one advantage of our driver (Wilson) – he made all tour reservations, and I’m sure arranged us with Leslie herself, because he knows how great she is, and of course drove us there, so we had no worries of how to get there. Thanks for commenting with this extra information, good to know. 🙂

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