Territorio de Zaguates is an extraordinary dog shelter located in the mountains above Heredia Costa Rica about an hour from downtown San José (see where is Land of the Strays). It achieved fame with a viral video showing one of their weekend “dog hikes” where hundreds of stray canines rescued from the city streets roam mountain trails alongside human visitors.
The famous walks with the pack are free and open to the public. You may bring your own dog and walkers of all ages are welcome. The outings are a time for the dogs to enjoy some attention and for prospective adopters to get to know the dogs.
Visit Territorio de Zaguates
The rescue is closed to the public except during the scheduled dog walks. If you just show up you will find the gates to the farm locked.
It’s impossible for the staff to care for the dogs while dealing with drop-in visits and they ask that you respect this and do not attempt to visit when they are closed. Please do not hop the fence!
The walks are scheduled somewhat haphazardly but (so far) always on weekends and are announced on the official facebook page. Walks cover approximately 3 km (1.9 miles) starting at 9:00 a.m. and finish about 12:30 p.m.
There’s limited space for parking and no way to get out of the parking area until everyone else leaves as well so if you drive your car will be locked in to the parking area until the walk concludes.
Three walks are scheduled for Sunday Dec 4, Saturday Dec. 17 and Sunday Dec. 18. As of the beginning of December no dates have been released for 2017 but Alvaro has stated definitively there will be no walks between Dec 19 and January 5, 2017.
Where is the Land of the Strays?
Driving directions and maps are below but it may be considerably less stressful to take the shuttle provided by the shelter for each scheduled walk.
The shuttle departs from the Plaza Real on the south east corner of Alajuela (see Google map) at 8:00 a.m. on walk days and returns to the same parking lot around 2:00 p.m. The cost is ¢3,000 per person ($6) round trip which must be paid in advance (see instructions on the facebook page).
Land of the strays is 1.5 km outside Carrizal where route 126 (from Heredia, 16 km south) and route 125 (from Alajuela, 13 km south) intersect. It’s 30 km from Downtown San José and takes about an hour from there without traffic. Since the walks are on the weekend mornings traffic is typically not to bad.
This Google map shows the location of the shuttle parking as well as both routes to the Land of the Strays.
How to Help Territorio de Zaguates Feed and Shelter the Dogs
The ultimate goal is to find every dog a loving home. It’s not that difficult to bring one home to the U.S. so if that’s the only thing stopping you there are hundreds to chose from.
If trying to learn “come”, “sit”, “stay” and “drop my slipper” in Spanish sounds like more than you want to take on then consider making a monetary contribution. It’s extremely expensive to shelter, feed, and provide veterinary care for all the dogs and the Land of the Strays is non-profit and no-kill. Please donate through their official facebook page