Introducing The Sarapiquí Valley
This flat, steaming stretch of finca-dotted lowlands was once part of the United Fruit Company’s vast banana holdings. Harvests were carried from plantations to Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí where they were shipped down river on boats destined for North America. In 1880 a railway connected rural Costa Rica with the port of Puerto Limón, and Puerto Viejo de Sarapiquí became a backwater. Although it's never managed to recover its faded glory, the river again shot to prominence as one of the premier destinations in Costa Rica for kayakers and rafters in the 1990s, until a devastating 2009 earthquake altered the river's natural course and chased off the tourist dollar. But the rapids are once again tasty, the paddlers trickling back, and there are a number of stellar lodges in the region that feature rainforest trails, suspension bridges, pre-Columbian ruins and chocolate tours.