Amazing Dog Sanctuary for Hundreds of Dogs in Costa Rica

Costa Rica is known for its magnificent unspoiled beaches, outstanding waves that are perfect for surfing, thermal springs, national parks, rainforests, cloud forests, flora and fauna, and much more. One thing that may surprise you is that Costa Rica also has an amazing dog sanctuary where approximately 900 four-legged creatures live

Land of the Strays

If you have a genuine love for dogs, you definitely want to book a trip to Costa Rica. There, you can visit a massive pasture filled with dogs of all ages, sizes, and breeds. Called Territorio de Zaquates, which translates to the Land of the Strays, the sight is unlike anything you have ever experienced before.

While it might appear as if the stray dogs have to fend for themselves, in reality, Territorio de Zaquates is a stray dog sanctuary that is run by wonderful volunteers. This sanctuary is in the Santa Barbara mountains, which are located in the Heredia province of Costs Rica.

As a free-range sanctuary, the dogs are not kenneled. Instead, they spend their days lounging around, walking, exploring, running, and playing at will. Throughout the day, the more than 900 rescued dogs can roam freely through the green pasture and hills. Then at night, the dogs are all provided a soft, warm bed and shelter so they have protection and security.

Something else that makes this dog sanctuary so incredible is that it is a no-kill organization. In fact, in Costa Rica, animals cannot be euthanized. To keep the number of dogs as low as possible, the organization also spays and neuters them. Even better, Territorio de Zaquates has an active adoption program so that many of the dogs are fortunate enough to find loving forever homes. Obviously, the organization encourages people to consider adopting one or more of these rescued animals, but at no time are visitors pressured.

Because this Costa Rican dog sanctuary is open to the public, locals and tourists alike can stop by anytime to play and cuddle with the dogs. The dogs are not in a pack, meaning they are friendly and social. Therefore, visitors have the opportunity to interact with virtually any dog that peaks their interest.

For an extraordinary experience, you can contact Territorio de Zaquates prior to visiting to schedule a walking hike with an entire herd. Not only will you have an amazing time, this allows you to give back to the animals, taking them on an adventure with a lot of love and attention. Because there are so many stray dogs in Costa Rica, the organization works hard to rescue as many as possible. That gives the animals the best chance for a long and happy life.

In addition to spending quality time with loving dogs, you will love the landscape of the sanctuary. There, you will be surrounded by the lush rolling hills of Santa Barbara, as well as the nearby Braulio Carillo National Park.

Visiting Territorio de Zaquates is strongly recommended, but if you are unable to go, you can still help by making a much-needed donation. This dog sanctuary is considered the best place in the world for a dog that has not been permanently adopted to live out its years.

The dogs are provided with fresh flowing water every day, given quality meals, and even bathed. Every dog also has a name, which is based on its breed and personality. That alone shows just how much time the volunteers spend working with these marvelous animals. As part of this sanctuary, workers are exploring how a free-roam environment improves both the health and adoptability of animals, hoping they can encourage this solution in other parts of the world.

If you are unable to adopt a dog from Territorio de Zaquates, you can visit For $36 a month, you can sponsor a unique breed. If preferred, you can pay $10 a month, which helps two dogs, or $20 a month, enough to feed one dog.

James Drews

Vice President, Sales. Age 43 Prior to co-founding VESTA GROUP, James moved to Costa Rica in 1996 and began his real estate career here by co-founding Dominical Realty. In 2001, the company obtained a Coldwell Banker independent franchise, and three years later partnered with another Coldwell Banker franchise in Costa Rica to become Vesta Group, the Master-Franchise-holder for the entire country. As a member of the Global Association of Realtors and the U.S.-based National Association of Realtors, the Master Franchise has already grown to ten (10) offices throughout the country, with several more currently in process. James is married to a Costa Rican, and proud father of 3 daughters ages 7,10, and 20. James, is well respected among the local and foreign community, and carries high ethical standards, and a hard working family man that seeks to provide his customers with the best level of service possible. James goes out of his way to seek out new frontiers that are ahead of the wave, and specializes in rural and remote farmland, developing land and collecting legacy type of properties. Surfing big waves, fishing, hiking, and travel are favorite pastimes. Daily goal is a new discovery. Approaching 20 years of living in Costa Rica, James knows his territory well, and has much love for his new country and it's people, and will guide you well, and share his resources and local knowle​d​ge with you to make your new venture successful.​ ​