HISTORY OF SARAPIQUÍ
Sarapiquí is the 10th and largest canton of the Heredia province. It is located in the North of Costa Rica and was granted the title of canton on November 18th, 1970. With a size of 2.450 square km, Sarapiquí comprises three quarters of the territory of Heredia.
A population of 55,000 inhabits its 5 districts: Puerto Viejo, La Virgen, Horquetas, Llanuras del Gaspar and La Cureña.
The climate is humid, as is characteristic for the Caribbean region of Costa Rica.
It is primarily an agricultural area with scenic highlights such as the La Angel Waterfall, the La Paz Waterfall, the Laguna de El Congo and the Sarapiquí River.
The history of this region goes back to the pre-Columbian era. The area now known as the Sarapiquí Canton was inhabited by an indigenous group called Votos, who lived on the region’s plains. Its name is derived from the Yori River, as the Votos people called it; the translation for Yori in Spanish is Sarapiquí, according to national historian Carlos Gagini.
This Canton has an important history in our country, for two principle reasons:
1 - It was part of the first transport route between Costa Rica and Europe.
2- It played a very significant role in the defense of the National Sovereignty. On April 10th, 1856 the Filibusters, under command of William Walker, arrived in Costa Rica by the Sarapiquí River. A victory in the battle of Sardinal by the Costa Rican Army marked the beginning of the defeat of the foreign forces.
There are 3 ways to get to this beautiful area by land:
* The traditional or 'heroes' route (Vara Blanca), which offers views of the San Fernando and La Paz waterfalls, mountains, rivers and volcanoes. (This route is currently not accessible).
* The highway through the Braulio Carrillo National Park, a stunning route with great landscapes.
* Via the region of San Carlos, where you may observe many agricultural crops such as pineapple, palm and decorative plants.
WHAT DOES SARAPIQUÍ OFFER?
Sarapiquí offers six of the eight categories of tourism activities as established by the Costa Rican Institute of Tourism. These are: traditional tours, natural history, adventure tourism, sport fishing, tourism for elderly people and scientific tourism.
Hikes in the tropical wet forest, birdwatching (425 species of birds of the 850 species in the country), and boat trips where you can observe monkeys, iguanas, caimans, crocodiles, sloths and otters are all considered part of the natural history category. There are also Butterfly and Frog gardens (500 species of butterflies of the 700 that exist in the country).
Sarapiquí offers a variety of landscapes and is also an area rich in biodiversity; 3000 species of plants, 450 species of ants and 142 species of mammals have been recorded.
Adventure and Nature Tourism
The Sarapiquí River offers visitors enjoyment of rapids by raft or kayak, while marveling at its natural richness. The Sarapiquí River offers four different levels or sections for beginners, intermediates and advanced paddlers.
The Sarapiquí River runs parallel to the road and has 16 evacuation exits to attend any emergency, making it a very safe river to practice this sport. The river forms attractive, natural rapids and in most parts passes by primary and secondary forest, making this a valuable and highly scenic international tourism product.
The area is suitable for various types of tourism due to its diverse tourist attractions: religious, holidays, business and social. According to the National Plan of the Northern Plains, the main activities nowadays are: hikes, horseback rides, rafting and birdwatching, among others.
The various tourist attractions support more than 20 hotels, cabins and hostels of good quality with over 600 rooms at excellent rates. This offers a stable and well paid source of work.
Due to its geographic location and short distances to other tourist destinations, daytrips are possible to the Poas Volcano National Park, Arenal Volcano National Park, Braulio Carrillo National Park, Tortuguero National Park and the Barra del Colorado Wildlife Refuge.
Since 1996, Sarapiquí has had its own Chamber of Tourism, whose main objective is to promote the tourist attractions in the area. At the same time, it balances concern for the landscape, trying to ensure that the wildlife populations are not affected and that the great variety in flora and fauna of the area is maintained.
TO VISIT THE WEBSITE OF THE SARAPIQUÍ CHAMBER OF TOURISM, PLEASE SEE: www.sarapiquicostarica.com