This well-kept secret is paradise for nature lovers and adrenalin seekers.


The Sarapiquí Valley is just 2 hours north east of San José but is surprisingly quiet.  This well-kept secret is paradise for nature and adrenalin. Stretching north to Nicaragua, west towards Arenal, the biodiversity of this area is fantastic.  Vast areas are covered with fruit and coffee plantations and is more reminiscent of the tropical Caribbean lowlands than the sweeping arid plains of the north.

The beautiful rainforest in this area has both migratory and coastal birds. It is completely unique as some bird species congregate here before migrating to the south-west and at the same time different species arrive before heading off to the south-east so you get an amazing array of species in one place, this is a birders paradise – just don’t forget your binoculars.

Reasons to Visit Sarapiquí

  • Chocolate – In our opinion this is one of the better places to indulge in a chocolate tour. Learn how the humble cocoa bean is nurtured, harvested and processed and what better way to culminate the experience than with a tasty cup of hot chocolate.
  • Rafting – Negotiate the rapids as they twist and turn on their path through the jungle on the Río Sarapiquí either by kayak or raft – either way your adrenalin will be pumping. Available year round, but the more rain, the better the rapids is a general rule.
  • Wildlife spotting – Look for howler monkeys, sloths and abundant birdlife – even in the grounds of your hotel/lodge you will find some wonderful sightings.
  • Hiking – Join an organised three-hour guided hike at Estación Biológica la Selva and explore this premontane jungle with an expert guide. It will be wet so be prepared.  Alternatively explore the grounds of your lodge, and go at your your own pace.

Places to Stay

Many of the lodges in this area have their own extensive grounds for you to explore – you don’t always have to venture far to find nature’s wonders.