Costa Rica has a population of 4.9 million humans, but it’s also home to plenty of animals as well. Ocelots, sloths, vultures, macaws and other species call Costa Rica home but you won’t believe what lives in the mountains of Costa Rica’s Heredia province — over 1,000 dogs. Yes, seriously. Read on for this amazing story!
9. Home to the Dogs
The Heredia province is an incredibly rich area of Costas Rica that covers a diverse set of areas. You’ll find the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Sarapiqui River along with the Northern Plains there. And if you visit an hour outside San Jose, you’ll come across Territorio de Zaguates.
8. Territorio de Zaguates
Territorio de Zaguates is located in the mountains of Santa Bárbara de Heredia, bordering Carrizal de Alajuela, Costa Rica. The property is a large farm that spans 378 acres and is home to a number of dogs. Read on to see why it’s a must for your Costa Rica trip.
7. Dogs, Dogs, Dogs
As of November 2017, more than 1,000 dogs Territorio de Zaguates home. Costa Rica bans euthanasia for dogs and the organization is a no-kill sanctuary. The dogs roam all over the mountain side, playing and socializing with each other. The area is known as “The Land of the Strays” and is very special.
6. Saving Stray Lives
The origin of Territorio de Zaguates begins about 13 years ago. Founders Lya Battle and her husband Alvaro Saumet took in strays off the streets of San Jose, trying to find them new homes. Eventually their small backyard contained 100 dogs so they found a new home: a farm owned by Battle’s grandfather.
5. The Shelter Grows
The amount of dogs grew to 120 in 2009. The couple would drive 45 minutes to take care of their furry friends, welcoming any dog they could find. Later they took dogs from a shelter they heard was closing — the shelter didn’t close, but the dogs remained. Then they took even more but soon they couldn’t afford kibble.
4. Territorio de Zaguates Goes Viral
Territorio de Zaguates found its way to Facebook thanks to friend of Battle. Marcella Castro Wedel would photograph the pups and urged Battle to share the dogs online. Then a Costa Rican PR agency chose the farm as a centerpiece of its animal welfare campaign. Soon the dogs were everywhere — on TV, on billboards. Even a pet food company began donating food.
3. Giving Stray Dogs a Home and Love
Territorio de Zaguates is now staffed by the couple and a handful of volunteers. They diligently take care of every dog and accept them all, no matter their condition. Territorio de Zaguates also started doing something really amazing….read on to find out!
2. Visiting the Shelter
If you love dogs, then Territorio de Zaguates is a slice of heaven. You can actually visit the property and help socialize the dogs by playing with them as a form of socialization. The visits are scheduled and you must arrive by a certain time. It’s a trek to get to Territorio de Zaguates but it’s well worth it.
1. Doggie Paradise
Territorio de Zaguates is now a viral sensation and sees many visitors. The 2018 visits aren’t available for now, but if you’re interested, check their social media for an update. The dogs are up for adoption and you can even sponsor a dog via the shelter’s website by paying for vet care, food, and more. Territorio de Zaguates is a paradise for abused and neglected dogs and is unlike anything you’ll ever visit.