Colombia is an amazing country, full of interesting sights. From tropical rainforests to sprawling cities, and everything in between, there is something for everyone. The country is full of surprises. I travelled around Colombia for 3 weeks a few years ago. By far, the biggest surprise for me was the presence of sloth’s in a City Park. Read on to find out where you can find slots in Cartagena!
Where are the Sloths in Cartagena?
So this may sound a little bit far fetched, but trust me! In Cartagena city, a short walk from Getsemani , is a park called Parque del Centenario. This park is fairly unassuming, and not somewhere you would probably choose to go. It is quite a small park, surrounded by yellow walls. However, you must include this park in your trip to Cartagena, and it is a highlight of Colombia!
Inside this park is where you will find sloths. These sloths are free to roam in the park as they like. This is not a zoo or a tourist attraction. In fact, you will see that this is more of a local park, with not so many tourists inside. The easiest way to find a sloth is to walk through the park and look at other people! If you see anyone looking up into the trees, or perhaps taking a photo, then chances are they are looking at a sloth!
Sometimes a couple of local guys are hanging around , who call themselves guides, will point out the sloth for you. No I don’t believe these people are official guides , but in my experience they are friendly and helpful. They don’t tend to ask for money, but it is a kind gesture to give them a little loose change if they show you where the sloth is!
What other animals are in Parque del Centenario?
Whilst it is amazing to be able to get up close with the elusive sloth, there are other exotic animals here too. Whilst looking up into the trees you may see the resident tamarin monkeys. These tiny little monkeys are super cute and very inquisitive. They swing through the trees occasionally coming to the ground to pick up left over food. Even though they can be quite nosy, please don’t try to feed them out of your hand. You never know with wildlife if they will become aggressive, and if they bite you, you may be susceptible to disease.
There are also several iguana in the park. They are usually found lounging on the grass. They tend to bask in the sunlight, staying very still. It is possible to walk past several without really noticing them! Keep your eyes peeled, as these iguanas are really big. If you are lucky you will see them running, which is always an interesting sight!
There is also some very beautiful red squirrels. If, like me, you are from England then you may find this particularly exciting. Red squirrels in England are extremely rare.
How many Sloths are there in Parque del Centenario?
When I visited the park in January 2019, I saw three sloths. There was one which was alone. There was also a mother with a baby! This was such an amazing thing to see, the baby clinging on to the mother. Also, remember the trees in this park are not very tall. This means you will get to see them a lot closer than in other places where the trees are a lot higher.
Recent reviews about the park on TripAdvisor mentioned three sloths. So it is safe to say that there are at least three sloths in this park, which is quite impressive when you think about how small the park is!
Why are there sloths in Cartagena?
When you arrive at the park, you will ask yourself the same question. It is such a bizarre place to see sloth’s roaming in the wild. This is the middle of a city. I have done lots of research online, but so far, I can find nothing about the origin of the sloths. In fact, there is very little written about the sloths of Cartagena online. I guess this is why not many tourists know of their existence. I really regret not asking one of the locals about the sloths, and how they came to be in the park. If any of you do go to the park, and you do end up finding out where these sloths came from, please do let me know!
Where else can I see sloths or other wildlife in Colombia?
If you are heading to Colombia and are a huge lover of wildlife, there are plenty of other places to check out. Sloths are actually extremely rare, and I haven’t heard of anywhere else in Colombia with frequent sightings. The huge Amazon rainforest encompasses some of Colombia. If you want to explore the Amazon I suggest taking a guided tour over the course of a few days. Otherwise, for those who enjoy bird life, head to Minca. Perhaps one of the most popular places for wildlife is Tayrona National Park. This is a great National Park for beaches, as well as animal life. If you enjoy seeing wildlife underwater, then you need to head to Taganga are so you can scuba dive in Tayrona National Park.
Thank you so much for this post. I am in Cartagena and yesterday we went to this park. We’ve walked by this park many times but this was the first we entered it. It was just as you said! Wherever we saw people looking up and pointing there was a different exotic animal! A tiny monkey ran across the road in front of me, and a small sloth moved through a tree in another section of the park. We are going back to that park whenever we are in the area. Thanks again!
I am so glad that you visited! It is such a hidden gem in the middle of the city, and I can’t believe it isn’t more well know, although perhaps that’s part of the magic! Enjoy the rest of your time in Colombia 🙂
Hello, I asked the guide about sloths. He told me that they were from black market. Someone try to smuggle them on the airport. They catch them and don’t know what should they to do with sloths, so they place them into park 6 years ago. This is the same case with lizzards, monkeys or squirel.
Ah interesting story! Never heard that but it is hard to believe how they could end up there so there could be some truth!