Sarapiqui: Emerald Heart of Costa Rica

Sarapiqui sits at the heart of it all—the emerald core of a proudly green nation.

Costa Ricans are deeply passionate about this region’s wild rivers, accessible biological reserves, and unforgettable vistas.

Centered around the town of Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, the Sarapiqui corridor forms a lush arc, curving southeast toward the Caribbean and northwest to Arenal.

A Strawberry Poison Dart Frog photographed on a wildlife hiking tour of Sarapiqui in Costa Rica

Braulio Carrillo National Park

Several roads reach Sarapiqui from San José, tracing the slopes of the Poas, Barva and Cacho Volcanoes.

Our favorite of these passes over the Cordillera Central and through the spectacular Braulio Carrillo National Park—a mountainous landscape of virgin forests, spontaneous waterfalls and breathtaking views.

Traversing this road, we can’t help wondering if we’ve teleported to Oahu.

World-Class Birding

Over 90% of Braulio Carrillo’s territory is primary forest—vital habitat for the endangered Green macaw and over 500 other bird species.

The park forms a biological corridor with two neighboring reserves: Rara Avis and La Selva. A pristine private reserve, Rara Avis is also one of the best birdwatching bases in Central America.

Neon green red-eyed tree frog with bright orange feet and blue accents. Perched on a leaf in Costa Rica

Nearby, just five minutes from Puerto Viejo, La Selva is home to a world-class ecological research center.

Wildlife Watching and Hiking

Here you can hike to thundering waterfalls, observe howler monkeys, and support the conservation efforts of the Organization for Tropical Studies.

Puerto Viejo was once Costa Rica’s principal shipping port—an odd fact given it lies more than 40 miles inland.

Goods were transported down the Sarapiqui River to the Rio San Juan before heading to ports around the Caribbean. This town is wreathed by fertile plantations, many offering tours and samples to visitors.

Fresh Organic Fruit and Shade-Grown Coffee

Among these are farms producing organic pineapple, shade-grown coffee, and cacao.

At the area’s banana plantations, freshly-cut bunches are transported on an ingenious aerial railway that looks like a steampunk zipline. (Someday we’ll get a ride.)

Bright blue exotic bird perched nearly sideways on a brown branch (Shining Honeycreeper) in Costa Rica. Sarapiqui National Park

Outdoor Adventure: Zip-lines, Rappelling, Mountain Biking, & Hiking

If you’re seeking outdoor adventure, you’ve found your natural habitat. The Sarapiqui region is an all-you-can-eat feast of zip-lines, rappelling, mountain biking, hiking, and riding.

The Sarapiqui River is a world-class whitewater route; here, you can choose from sections that are gentle (Class II), exciting (Class III), or downright jarring (Class IV).

Visits to Sarapiqui are easily combined with time in the Southern Caribbean, Tortuguero, Arenal, and San Jose.

LANDED provides personalized, custom travel within Central America, South America, and the Antarctic. We’ll create a unique itinerary plan tailored to your interests and dreams. Experience the trip of a lifetime. Speak with one of our expert travel planners today at 801.582.2100.

“Man’s heart away from nature becomes hard.”

Standing Bear


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S. Gentry, San Clemente, CA


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H. Sandler, Katy Perry Tour Manager


The whole rhythm of the trip was perfect, and leaving one place for the next worked perfectly. This trip definitely made me want to experience other great spots in South America.

S. Ecenia, Knoxville, TN


The locations were amazing. Your on-the-ground team was fantastic–knowledgeable and accommodating. Beautifully organized.

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C. Leavitt , New York, NY


Exactly the bonding and sharing experience we’d hoped for. The rhythm, variety, and tone was spot on. With effective listening skills, you built a good picture of what we wanted–more complicated than “just” luxury. The result was a great trip, one made just for us.

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We zip-lined, rafted, sailed, and surfed. The contacts were professional and courteous. We don’t want to be back at work. Thank you for all of the work you did to set up this trip.

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