Sarapiquí is one of my favorite places in Costa Rica.
Rust red-orange earth meets up with jade green water of the Sarapiqui River, next to fluorescent green grass and darker emerald-green, thick rainforest. Jewel-toned birds and butterflies swoop here and there, and this time of year, the cicadas bring a tumultuous cacophony to the sunshine. Colors seem more vibrant here. Maybe it’s the moisture in the sun-soaked air. Maybe it’s the abundance of nature.
Sarapiquí is considered one of the world’s most important research areas for tropical rainforest. Just 2 hours from Costa Rica’s capital city of San Jose, Sarapiquí lies in the country’s northeast between vast protected areas such as the Central Volcanic Range Protected Area, the Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Reserve, Braulio Carrillo National Park and La Selva Biological Reserve. Tortuguero National Park also is close by.
Known for its amazing and rich biodiversity, there is so much to do and see that Sarapiquí is becoming a popular tourism destination for both families and nature and adventure seekers.
Surrounded by lush rainforest, Sarapiquí is a major producing area for bananas, pineapple, cacao, and dwarf fan palm (for hearts of palm). Coffee, cardamom, corn, and many other fruits also are grown here. Located at the junction of the Puerto Viejo and Sarapiquí rivers, the land is very fertile because of the rivers’ irrigation. The climate here stays mild and moderate throughout the year, with average temperatures of 24º-30º C (75 º-85º F) cooled off with frequent rainfall.
At one time, Puerto Viejo in Sarapiquí was a small port community that exported goods down the Sarapiquí River to the San Juan River that borders with Nicaragua, and out to the sea, eventually docking in Limón on the Caribbean coast. Today, the Sarapiquí River draws adventure and nature lovers for exciting whitewater rafting or nature-viewing float trips. If you are an avid bird watcher, Sarapiquí is the place to see many of Costa Rica’s many bird species, such as hummingbirds, Quetzals, toucans, Aracaris, guans and Great Green Macaws.
Where to Stay in Sarapiquí
Team CRT’s featured hotel in the Sarapiquí area is the Sarapiquí Rainforest Lodge at the Sarapiquí Neotropical Center. The eco-lodge is designed to resemble a 15th century indigenous village. On the grounds is a museum of indigenous Pre-Columbian culture, an archaeological site, botanical gardens, and a scientific research and modern education center.
What to Do in Sarapiquí
Pineapple Tour at Finca Corsicana. Visit the world’s largest organic and fair-trade pineapple farm. They harvest over 38 million pineapples a year – special sweet organic Golden Pineapple. The 3,000-acre plantation is a partnership between Collin Street Bakery, based in Corsicana, Texas, and Industrias El Angel in Costa Rica to produce pineapple in a sustainable way for the Texas bakery’s desserts and for export to the United States. The tour will take you out into the pineapple fields in specially designed trailers, and then back to the facility to see the processing and packing process. Of course you’ll get to sample the juicy, delicious pineapple during the tour.
Chocolate Tour at the Tirimbina Rainforest Center and Biological Reserve. Who doesn’t love chocolate! On this tour you will learn all about the secrets of the cacao plant’s extraordinary history in Central America. Food and drink of kings in the Mayan, Aztec and Inca cultures, the discovery of chocolate in Meso-America led to its introduction in Europe and transformation into the products we all know and love today. You will journey into the Tirimbina Rainforest and Biological Reserve, crossing a suspension bridge, to a former cacao-growing plot. Your naturalist guide will explain the natural and cultural history of the cacao tree, then the process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate. Of course you’ll get to taste different kinds of chocolate, which are prepared on the spot in traditional methods.
Museum for Indigenous Cultures. The Museum at the Sarapiqui Neotropical Center is one of the country’s most concise and complete studies of Costa Rica’s indigenous Pre-Columbian tribes. The Archaeological Park showcases 12 of the 70 Pre-Columbian tombs identified by archaeologists on the property.
For all of your Costa Rica travel and Costa Rica vacation plans, Team CRT is your Costa Rica vacation expert. With more than 20 years of experience on the ground in Costa Rica travel, Team CRT gives you expert guidance and personalized service while they help craft your tailor-made Costa Rica vacation, and also vacation packages to neighboring Panama and Nicaragua.
Team CRT knows the best of the country, what to do and see, and they personalize it for you. Vacation packages, beach destinations, nature tours, adventure tours, relaxation vacations, family vacations, honeymoons, Fly & Drive packages, sport fishing trips, golf vacations – they handle it all. Whether you just want a travel agent to help you choose where to stay, where to go, and things to do, or if you want a full tour operator to take care of complete details, Team CRT is your best choice for Costa Rica travel.
By Shannon Farley