82km (51 miles) N of San José; 102km (63 miles) E of La Fortuna
The Sarapiquí region, named for the principal river that runs through it, lies at the foot of the Cordillera Central mountain range. To the south is the rainforest of Braulio Carrillo National Park, and to the east are Tortuguero National Park ★★ and Barra del Colorado National Wildlife Refuge ★. In between these protected areas are thousands of acres of banana, pineapple, and palm plantations. This is an agricultural region, but there are patches of forest on private farms and reserves scattered throughout.
Within the remaining rainforest are several lodges that attract naturalists (both amateur and professional). One of these, La Selva, is a biological field station with a primary focus on research and education, but it welcomes ecotourists of all kinds. Bird-watching and rainforest hikes are the primary attractions in this area, but more adventure-oriented travelers will find plenty of other available activities, including ziplining and boating and rafting trips on the Sarapiquí River.
The main town in the region is Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí—not to be confused with the south Caribbean coastal town of Puerto Viejo de Limón (sometimes called Puerto Viejo de Talamanca).