If you consider yourself a dog lover, then add Costa Rica’s Territorio de Zaguates to your travel bucket list. Translated, it means “Land of the Strays,” and it’s a place that over 900 rescued dogs call home. This massive group is part of a volunteer-run canine refuge located in the mountains of Santa Bárbara in Costa Rica’s Heredia province. During the day, the pups roam freely throughout the expansive rolling hills and, at night, they’re provided a bed and shelter by the staff.
Land of the Strays is more than a sanctuary for homeless dogs—it’s also an active adoption program with a unique tradition: each mutt is named as a new “breed” based on the lineage of the dogs the organization saves. With these new labels, it helps fight the stigma that the word “mutt” often carries.
The mountainous locale is open to the public and welcomes visitors for a fun-filled day of playtime with the excited pups. Hiking is also an option, and the rescue will even schedule you a walk with a herd of dogs. Although there is no pressure to take one home, we imagine it’d be hard to resist adopting a new furry friend.