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Northeast Caribbean Lowlands: Sarapiqui & Paquare


Sarapiqui is known throughout Costa Rica for its amazing and rich biodiversity as well as for being a place for bird watching, biological research, education and adventure. Lying in the north east of the country, 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. Sarapiqui today has 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 and Paquare. 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.

Activities Sarapiqui

La Selva Biological Station: A living laboratory, adjacent to the Braulio Carrillo National Park, La Selva occupies over 3,500 acres of virgin rainforest. Twice daily guided hikes open the door to a rarely seen ecosystem where 1,000 types of trees, 420 bird species, and two-thirds of the nation's mammals thrive.

Poás Volcano and National Park: Located a short 40-minute drive north of San Jose, a beautiful cloud forest opens to the scenic lookout over Laguna Botos, the cerulean-colored lake perched in the crater of Poas Volcano. This easily accessible volcano offers safe and close vantages of volcanic activity surrounded by rainforest in various stages of regrowth.

La Paz Waterfall Gardens: Stunning waterfalls connected by well-groomed nature trails are the highlight of these beautiful gardens. Other attractions cloud forest and rain forest, safe hiking trails, aviary with 40 species of birds, toucan feeding, marmoset monkeys,  insect exhibit, butterfly observatory and butterfly gardens, butterfly laboratory, two-toed sloths, Capuchin (white-faced) monkeys, black-handed spider monkeys, hummingbird garden with 26 documented species, hummingbird hand feeding in the mornings and afternoons, serpentarium (snake exhibit), Jaguar, pumas, ocelots, jaguarundi, margays, casita de la paz with petting zoo, ranarium (frog exhibit), orchid exhibit, heliconia exhibit, and bromeliad exhibit.  All of these offered at one place makes this one of the best eco-parks in Costa Rica

Braulio Carrillo National Park and Rainforest Aerial Tram: One of the largest and most biologically diverse national parks in Costa Rica, Braulio Carrillo protects more than 110,000 acres of virgin rainforest, cloud forest, and watershed and wildlife habitats. Hiking trails explore the forest floor and the Rainforest Aerial Tram offers a bird's eye view of the fertile canopy.

Chocolate Tour: This tour will open the secrets and wonders of one of mankind’s favorite foods: chocolate.  As we hike through the rainforest reserve with our guide/educator will explain natural and cultural history of the cacao tree.  On arrival at the plot, the artisanal process by which cacao fruit is transformed into chocolate will be demonstrated (harvest, fermentation, drying, etc.), while the story of pre- and post-colonial chocolate is told. At the site, one may taste different kinds of chocolate, which are prepared on the spot in the traditional way.

Birding Tours: Costa Rica has the privilege of having one of the highest concentrations of birds in the world; with about 875 species it ranks 23rd worldwide. These are more species than the United States and Canada together, which represent a territory 378 times the size of Costa Rica. This country is also an important migratory site for species particularly from North America.  During our tour you will have the opportunity to get to know the great variety of avifauna that can be found in this region with the help of an experienced guide. The most common species of birds of the Sarapiquí area represent more than 54% of the total amount of species that can be found in the country.

Frog Tours: Costa Rica, ranking 14th worldwide, is one of the countries with the most species of amphibians in the world, hosting a total of 180 species. The area of Sarapiquí is located on the Caribbean slopes of Costa Rica where almost half of the species present in the country (46%) can be found here and it's home to many incredible and unique species that can't be found anywhere else in Costa Rica.  During the tour you explore the rainforest reserve with a trained guide, visiting the preferred habitats of this group of amphibians. Throughout, you will learn about the natural history of the different species you encounter and their interactions with the environment.

Bat Tours: Bats represent almost 50% of the mammals in Costa Rica (113 species). With local biologists we explore the natural history of bats, their classification, diversity, adaptations, reproduction, threats and more. Our guides will provide you with a safe opportunity to observe up close some of the bats that were captured during the evening for research projects.  Finally, one visits the site of a demonstration snare net such as is used in bat research, where the method of capturing bats is explained and demonstrated.  Bats are captured and held for less than 2 hours. The methods used insure the wellbeing of the animals.

Adventure Center:  If you are looking for a day full of adventure or are looking for one adventure in particular we have the perfect place for you.  Choose from a number of different adventures all at the same location:

White Water Rafting: The Sarapiquí River

The Sarapiquí River is known as the scenic river of Costa Rica's tropical rain forest, has its origin on the Deception Depression between the Poás and Barba volcanoes and runs for 85 Kms (53 Miles) to the San Juan River, border between Costa Rica and Nicaragua.  It is used for rafting through 35 Kilometers, with all the range of difficulty ranging from class II to V.

Canopy Tours: With a total of 12 cables and 17 platforms, 7 of which are built on trees between 60 and 90 feet high you will sour through the rainforest canopy searching out its diverse wildlife, flora and fauna.

Canyon Rappelling: Descend with safety ropes and equipment down a 90 feet wall on the Sarapiquí River Canyon with a spectacular view of the confluence of the Sarapiquí and Pozo Azul Rivers.

Rainforest horseback Adventures: Explore the rainforest via horseback, the perfect mode of transportation to navigate the wonders of the rainforest.

Rainforest Mountain Biking Adventures: With hundreds of kilometers of back roads to choose from this is the perfect place to experience the rainforest via mountain bike.  With different routes to match different levels of difficulty tours range from 2 hours to a two day experiences with overnight stays in unique jungle lodges.

Safari Boat: The main attraction of Sarapiqui Costa Rica is the pristine Sarapiqui River, a tributary of the San Juan River. The Sarapiqui River Costa Rica runs through primary rainforest, farmland and green pastures; it is home to monkeys, crocodiles, iguanas, river turtles and birds.  Enjoy a tranquil Sarapiqui River Boat ride through beautiful rainforests teeming with wildlife.


The Pacuare River is one of Costa Rica’s best and most popular locations for whitewater rafting and kayaking. Located in the middle of a rainforest surrounded by dense vegetation and beautiful waterfalls, this area is home to wild cats, monkeys, sloths, frogs, snakes and a big variety of insects and birds. Our programs include a raft in and raft out lodge option where getting to and from your lodge is half the adventure.   Most guests stay at the lodges as part of a multi-day rafting tour on the Pacuare River (though it can be visited without rafting or a one day raft only option). This unforgettable river trip takes you through lush jungle and narrow canyons where tropical trees tower over the riverbank and crystalline waterfalls plummet out of the greenery. In addition to rafting, while at the lodge you can enjoy horseback riding, bird watching, canyoning, canopy tours, or treks to a Cabecar Indian community. These river lodges are also an ideal spot to kick back and relax, enjoy the scenery, serenity and wonders of the rainforest.

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