Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui
Until the railway between San Jose and Limon was built, Costa Rica's coffee was shipped to Europe and the eastern USA by a lengthy route from Puerto Viejo. Boats travelled the Sarapiqui river northwards to the San Juan river on the Nicaraguan border and thence to the Caribbean.
These days Puerto Viejo is a pleasant town whose importance has much declined. The area around it offers good access to lush rainforests that sweep up to the foothills of the mountains behind it.
This is one of the best locations in Costa Rica to experience lowland rainforest, mainly at the rainforest reserves of La Selva and Selva Verde.
Trips along the Sarapiqui river from Puerto Viejo are very pleasant ways to experience life on the river, passing by little hamlets and homesteads and with water birds to see from time to time.
North of Puerto Limón, the wide Northern Lowlands meet the Caribbean at the flooded forests of Tortuguero: one of Costa Rica's special places to see wildlife. The flooded forests of Tortuguero are one of the most important turtle nesting areas in the Caribbean.