Tierra De Animales Sanctuary, Cancun, Mexico


With the amount of travel Cody and I choose to do, there is no getting away from seeing how poorly animals are treated around the world.

We’ve seen baby elephants get kicked in Thailand, yelled at men in Egypt to stop whipping their camels, asked boys in Israel to be gentle to “their” horses, and have passed several emaciated cows on countless roads.

These experiences are draining, and quite frankly very painful; so you can imagine what it’s like for the animals in these abusive situations living every single day being fed very little, having no shade to stand in, being beaten, and even sexually abused.

We have a long way to go in changing people’s perceptions about animals.

They are not objects to be used, and thrown away.

So while we are in the process of helping to change a mentality that is a disservice to everyone, it is important for us to find refuge in likeminded people, for there is comfort amongst us.

And hope.

It also teaches us not to point fingers.

It is easy to forget the hidden abuse that goes on in our own backyard.


This time around, we found haven at Tierra De Animales just 40 minutes outside of Cancun.

Ricardo Cordero is the founder of Tierra de Animales, and he is doing excellent work.

Ricardo from Tierra de Animales
Cody and I took a tour of the spacious grounds and were able to meet some of the permanent residents at Tierra De Animales.

One of the things we noticed as soon as we arrived, is that Tierra De Animales is not overpopulated; which sometimes can be a problem when people’s emotions get the best of them.

Ricardo knows that there are only so many animals that he can take in, and all of the dogs that he has rescued all come from a violent past.

One of the many sweethearts at Tierra de Animales
He also shared that the area is not a petting zoo, explaining that it is home to all of the animals, and that it is important to give them peace, and time to themselves.

We respect that very much.

So with that being said, we were given a tour, and background stories to quite a few of the animals in Ricardo’s care.

As soon as we arrived, we were introduced to a few coatimundi’s, or jungle raccoons if you will.

Tierra de Animales

These very inquisitive (and wild) animals were rescued from people who had them as pets, or were found on the road injured by passing cars. They are very sweet in their younger years, but as they grow older they become aggressive.

Tierra de Animales

They are NOT pets. They linger around Tierra De Animales because they were cared for by Ricardo, but they come and go as they please, and once they are grown, they will head into the jungle, and remain there.

We met a few goats who were going to be sacrificed for Santeria ceremony’s, a beautiful horse  used for shows and then left for dead because he was no longer profitable, a beautiful bull rescued from slaughter, as well as quite a few turkeys; and chickens pumped so full of antibiotics, and steroids that they find it difficult to carry their own weight.

Tierra de Animales

There is also space for ducks, pigs, turtles, cats, and dogs; all living out a peaceful existence.

Several dogs under Ricardo’s care were rescued from dog fighting rings. Some are understandably still aggressive, and others big sweethearts full of love and affection.

One of the stories that struck us the most was of a dog named Chata who was raped by three men. And if that wasn’t horrible enough, they also poured acid all over her back.
Luckily she is now loved and well taken care of, and will never be harmed again.

Every animal we met at Tierra De Animales is deserving of their own lives, and a peaceful existence. There is no difference in their worth, or suffering. There is only difference in how we were taught to view, and understand them.

When we were there, Ricardo was in the process of building some basic quarters at the sanctuary, so it won’t be long before it begins to offer overnight volunteer stays.

If you are in Cancun, this place is a must visit.

Tierra de Animales

To learn more about Tierra De Animales you can visit their website here or Facebook page here

Thank you Ricardo for all of the work you do, and for welcoming us.


Get yourself to Ave Lopez Portillo, and then take a colectivo taxi that says Leona Vicario on the front window. Do not hop on to the colectivo’ that say Ave Leona Vicario.
A colectivo should cost about 35 pesos per person, each way.

Ask the driver to let you off at Aguas Escondidas. Tierra De Animales is about 200 metres ahead, across the street from a small beer store.

Be sure to contact Tierra De Animales first, before taking the trip out.


Comments To This Entry.
  1. Karyn Jane January 28, 2016 Reply

    This place sounds wonderful! Hopefully they will be able to overnight volunteer stays shortly, as that might bring in more income for the sanctuary and then they will be able to care for more rescued animals.

    Chata’s story though…oh my goodness. My blood boiled when I read that.

    • Giselle and Cody January 30, 2016 Reply

      It is pretty sad to hear the stories from many of the animals at Tierra but very comforting knowing that there are people out there making a difference. It was a wonderful way to spend an afternoon and would definitely recommend this place to everyone.

  2. Dita January 28, 2016 Reply

    We have supported TdA for a few years. Sometimes we send money from Canada via PayPal, or re – post the adoptions of dogs that they have sent up here to be adopted. My 10 yr old daughter even did a penny fundraiser (as canada got rid of ours) and raised over $300. If you go to visit, bring dog/cat food if you can (load up at costco). And some beer for Ricardo. I have yet to go and visit but would like to go down this fall and adopt a dog as our passed away last year. He

    • Giselle and Cody January 30, 2016 Reply

      Dita, thank you for all the work you are doing to raise awareness and money for such a great place.
      Awesome to hear about your daughter raising money from pennies. What a great idea and a great job.
      Hopefully you will make it down to visit Ricardo and all of the wonderful animals. <3

  3. Lucia Pereira January 28, 2016 Reply

    What a wonderful home for those lovely animals to live out their lives
    in peace and love.
    It is really heart warming to know that there are people like Ricardo
    to care about the life of an animal. All they ask for is our love, compassion
    and understanding. You guys never cease to amaze me.
    It is always an honour to be in the company of a dear animal friend.

    I love them all, lucia

    • Giselle and Cody January 30, 2016 Reply

      So glad to have caring, compassionate, and loving people like you in the world.

      So happy to have you as a Mom!! Love you!

  4. Gary langridge January 28, 2016 Reply

    Wonderful to see sanctuaries like this one, great stuff from you two animal lovers, keep the great work coming.

  5. Caryl January 29, 2016 Reply

    Lovely pictures and a description that really gives a feel of the caring nature of this place. It’s horrible what humans do to animals sometimes and you’re right that there is comfort knowing that there are caring individuals out there making a difference. Thanks for sharing this uplifting story and place in the world!

    • Giselle and Cody January 30, 2016 Reply

      Thanks so much for commenting Caryl.
      It really is great to see/hear about places all around the world that are making a difference in animals lives.
      This is 100% one of those places. If you guys make it to this side of the world you should check it out.
      You two would really love it.

  6. Miranda February 3, 2016 Reply

    You two are such beautiful people.

    Thank you from me and all the animals you encounter on your travels.

    • Giselle and Cody February 22, 2016 Reply

      Thanks so much miranda and maybe one day our paths will cross on the road. 🙂

  7. Julia Rusu July 31, 2017 Reply

    Hello, Could you please let me know if you know of a reputable animal/dog sanctuary in Puerto Vallarta please? My husband and I travel there often and would like to rescue 3 dogs but at this point we do not have enough space but are in the midst of moving to property. we currently live a an apartment downtown Vancouver, bc Canada. We would like to place these 3 dogs with a sanctuary until we can bring them home. We would pay for all of their expenses and vet bills.

    • Giselle and Cody August 6, 2017 Reply

      Hey there Julia,

      Unfortunately we don’t know of any reputable places in the PV area. Really sorry we can’t be of any help.
      I would think a quick search on google might bring something up but the last time we looked we couldn’t find anything.
      Do you know the 3 dogs you are going to rescue already?

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