The Sanctuary

The Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA was created in the year 1994 by Costa Ricans Mainor Khayyan and Rodolfo Orozco for their grand admiration for the psittacidaes, like the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao), the Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) and other wild parrots. In addition, the Sanctuary began as a result of their preoccupation with the constant threat that these emblematic birds face, the loss of their natural habitat and their extraction from the forest as pets. For these reasons there has been an incredible reduction in the population of native wild macaws in Costa Rica, further highlighting the importance of such a sanctuary of conservation.

Lapas rojas.

Ara macao


The Macaw Sanctuary has the primary purpose to conserve native, wild macaws of Costa Rica and develop a captive management and breeding program to rescue, rehabilitate and reintroduce them into the wild, with support from the Ministry of Environment and Energy (MINAE), the National Police and volunteers from civil society. Additionally, the Sanctuary facilitates programs of reforestation, environmental education and ecotourism.


The Reproduction Program of the Scarlet Macaw (Ara macao) and Great Green Macaw (Ara ambiguus) provides opportunities for the animals to learn the necessary skills for eventual liberation in their natural environments. These skills are only learned through limited interaction with humans, something that many of the confiscated macaws did not have prior. The macaws that are born at the Macaw Sanctuary Natuwa learned these important skills from their parents and other macaws at the project.

Lapa verde

Ara ambiguus


The Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA participates in the education of university students from the National Technical University (UTN), University of Distance Education (UNED), National University (UNA), through collaboration with their research towards their graduation theses. Amongst the theses completed are the following: Generation of Protocol for the Prevention of Parasites, Environmental Enrichment Techniques for Macaws, Environmental Education Program, Analysis & Correction of the Diets of the Santuary’s Animals, etc.


For 15 years, the Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA has been dedicated to creating a place that provides shelter and protection for wildlife, such as ocelots, tapirs, monkeys, jaguars and some exotic animals, that can not return to their natural environment. Strategically set in a remote, quiet and far from area highways, the 15-hectare property is for the exclusive use of the Sanctuary’s activities.


Native trees like jabillo, guayacan, surá, jobos have been developed on the Sanctuary’s lands to generate a refuge for wildlife in the area – howler monkeys, birds, deer – and animals that cannot be released, providing a natural and beautiful, scenic landscape.


The Sanctuary has modern infrastructure for each animal that inhabits the refuge  either temporarily or permanently that goes beyond the requirements requested by Costa Rican wildlife laws.

Enclosures generate the ideal space to promote physical and mental health of non-releasable animals to live together in dignity while in captivity. We also have management infrastructure that allows the rehabilitation of animals that are most fortunate to be prepared for later release into the natural environment for which they belong.

Currently the Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA has:
1. Area for keeping animals
2. Neonatal care
3. Veterinary clinic
4. Quarantine zone
5. Food preparation area
6. Residential area
7. Large enclosures that allow uninterrupted flight (200m circumference)


Macaw Sanctuary NATUWA, is located in the Communities of Aranjuez and Pithaya, Province of Puntarenas.

Santuario lapas NATUWA
Located at:
Aranjuez ,Aranjuez,
Phone: 506 88232460