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Sarapiquí, Heredia

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Cacao (chocolate) growing at a farm in Sarapiqui

The canton or county of Sarapiqui forms a major portion of Heredia province. Covering 85% of Heredia’s total land area, Sarapiqui is known throughout Costa Rica for its amazing and rich biodiversity as well as for being an adventure seeker’s dream destination. Lying in the north east of the country and bordered by Nicaragua in the north, Sarapiqui is now a very popular tourist getaway for families and thrill seekers alike.

One of the few remaining areas in Costa Rica that is the dwelling of the endangered Green Macaw, Sarapiqui is also home to a number of nature reserves and national parks including the Braulio Carrillo National Park and the Sarapiqui Protected zone. A lush and green region, Sarapiqui is famous for its ‘turnos’ or outdoor festivals, which include fairs, bull riding and livestock and cattle shows. A mainly agricultural sector of the country, Sarapiqui is a major banana producing region in Costa Rica. However, coffee, cardamom, cacao, corn and other fruits are also grown here. The land in Sarapiqui is very fertile mainly because the Rio Sarapiqui flows through this region irrigating the entire area, plus the climate here is mild and moderate throughout the year.

With a rich history, this county was first inhabited by Votos Indians. Off limits to the public during Costa Rica’s border conflict with neighboring Nicaragua, Sarapiqui has now transformed itself into a major ecotourism area. If you do visit this region a stopover at the international La Selva Biological Research Station is a must. This area is one of the most diverse in Costa Rica and is home to a plethora of indigenous flora and fauna.

If you enjoy the outdoors, there are plenty of hiking and nature walk opportunities in this region as well as white water rafting down the River Sarapiqui. A boat trip down the river is a great way to catch a glimpse of this region’s wildlife including monkeys, birds, turtles and caimans. If you are an avid bird watcher, coming here is the perfect way to see some of Costa Rica’s many bird species in their natural environment such as hummingbirds, quetzals, dippers, guans, agoutis and quatamundis.

Encompassing the three districts of La Virgen, Horquetas & Puerto Viejo, the capital of Sarapiqui is Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, located where the River Sarapiqui and River Puerto Viejo meet. Since there are no domestic airports in this region, the only way to get here is by car driving north from San Jose along the Guapiles Highway to this region. It takes roughly two hours to get here from the city.
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