Territorio de Zaguates is an extraordinary dog shelter located in the mountains above Heredia Costa Rica an hour from downtown San José.
It achieved fame with a viral video showing one of their weekend “dog hikes” where hundreds of abandoned canines rescued from the city streets roam mountain trails alongside human visitors. A Netflix special in late 2018 further boosted the shelter’s notoriety.
Unfortunately the rescue has been overwhelmed by demand and found to be inadequate by government officials. Territorio is prohibited from allowing human visitors until the infrastructure meets government standards.
Project Progress !!!
As of Nov 18, 2019 – Territorio is hopeful of re-opening by 2020 but no date is set.
Territorio has made significant progress on the required infrastructure improvements but still has significant work to do. Please consider making a donation.
Pack Walks at Territorio de Zaguates
Public Pack Walks Resume!!!!! … Walks Re-Cancelled … Some Reinstated … CANCELLED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE…
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.
Please consider contributing money or time at the dog rescue (see below) or one of the other excellent opportunities to volunteer with animals and wildlife in Costa Rica.
In mid July 2018 the official re-opening was announce with a greatly expanded schedule of walks for August 2018. However, a few weeks later most walks were cancelled again.
Work continues on the projects and requirements necessary for re-opening. If you’re impatient for an opportunity to visit the best thing you can do is make a donation to help speed the work along.
Please Respect the Closure
The rescue is closed to the public. 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. They ask that you respect this and do not attempt to visit when they are closed. You will not be allowed in. Please do not hop the fence!
NOTE: an official looking Google Plus page states that Territorio de Zaguates is open to the public every morning – this is a fake page and the information is wrong Territorio management is attempting to have the Google page deleted but for now you just have to ignore it.
Nov 18, 2019 – the rescue is currently closed to the public (no walks, no visits, no volunteers).
- the rescue is optimistic that it will re-open this year.
- you may find more information on the official facebook page.
- you may find more information on the Territorio website.
- NOTE: In the past walks have been cancelled with as little as two weeks notice. Please confirm dates by contacting Territorio directly before heading to the farm.
You may find things on the internet saying the rescue re-opened because it did briefly in August 2018 with pack walks on the 1, 12, 19 and 26th HOWEVER it was closed again due to non-conformity with government requirements for public visits.
You may also see reports that Territorio has closed completely and permanently because it has been “shut down” for other permission violations but so far the bureaucrats have been thwarted and the facility remains operational.
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.
Shuttles are temporarily unavailable –
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.
Please consider adopting a zaguate.
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.
Contact Information Territorio de Zaguates
e-mail and phone contacts are provided below if you would like to
- Donate, foster, volunteer, adopt or sponsor
- Request a Donation Box to put in your business or place of work
- Purchase t-shirts, cups, calendars or other souvenirs of Territorio de Zaguates
Please do NOT request private tours or policy changes.
Alvaro – 8815-2514
Marcela – email@example.com, 8883-9337
Lya – firstname.lastname@example.org, 8387-5130
Temporary Closure to the Public in 2017 – 2019
In November 2017 Territorio announced the cancellation of all walks and public visits due to governmental regulatory compliance issues. Since they Territorio has been working to build the infrastructure, establish the protocols, and obtain the permits and permissions that will allow them to re-open to the public.
UPDATE: Oct 14, 2019 – After nearly two years the shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely.
UPDATE: August 1, 2019 – The shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely. The reported shutdown and elimination of the entire facility by authorities requiring a retail permit earlier this week was averted.
UPDATE: July 27, 2019 – The shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely.
UPDATE: June 13, 2019 – The shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely.
UPDATE: May 11, 2019 – The shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely.
UPDATE: March 1, 2019 – The shelter remains closed to the public indefinitely.
UPDATE: Sept 1, 2018 – Closed until further notice.
UPDATE: August 15, 2018 – Re-open to the public August 19 and 26.
UPDATE: July 4, 2018 – The official statement on re-opening to the public at Territorio is still “hopefully sometime in August .” When a firm date and schedule of walks is available we will link to it and publish it here.
UPDATE: Mau 1, 2018 – a tentative re-opening date of July 2018 was posted.
UPDATE: March 15, 2018 – Álvaro stated that the work required by the government has not been completed and there is no schedule for resuming walks.
UPDATE: February 18, 2018 – Álvaro estimates that it’s possible that the walks will resume by the end of March 2018.
UPDATE: January 4, 2018 – Territorio is working hard to meet government requirements for public visits.
Walks at Territorio de Zaguates in 2017
Territorio has limited hours of operation. Walks start at 9:00 a.m. one or two weekends each month. When walks are scheduled the dates are always tentative until about the week before as announced on the official facebook page. Please confirm dates by contacting Territorio directly before traveling.
CANCELLED – remainder of 2017 schedule CANCELLED
April – Saturday 29 and Sunday 30
May – Saturday 13, Sunday 14, Saturday 20 and Sunday 21
June – Saturday 3, Sunday 4, Saturday 17 and Sunday 18
July – Saturday 1, Sunday 2, Saturday 15 and Sunday 16
August – Saturday 5, Sunday 6, Saturday 19 and Sunday 20
September – Saturday 2, Sunday 3, Saturday 16, Sunday 17 and Saturday 30
October – Sunday 1, Saturday 21 and Sunday 22
November – Saturday 4, Sunday 5, Saturday 18 and Sunday 19
CANCELLED December –
Saturday 2, Sunday 3, Saturday 9, Sunday 10, Saturday 16 and Sunday 17 CANCELLED