in Costa Rica
For those who want to enjoy the real
ecotourism in Costa Rica, Sarapiquí offers great
natural attractions, where you can learn more about its nature, flora and
fauna. By visiting its rainforest areas, rivers and tourism attractions you
help its community, that work together with several private organizations to
keep a sustainable and responsible tourism.
greatest extent is in the northern plains of our country to the south and
west, the canton of Sarapiquí shows a mountainous
topography, hosting the hill slopes of the Cordillera Central and some of
its foothills. From the lowlands to the highlands the relief rises in large
terraces, which are very fertile.
Geologically consists mainly of materials of Tertiary and Quaternary
periods, with Quaternary volcanic rocks that dominate the region. It has two
geomorphic units, called Alluvial sedimentation and volcanic origin.
The river system of this canton is for the U-North Slope of the Caribbean
slope, to which belong the Sarapiquí River basins,
and Cureña Chirripó.
In Sarapiquí the predominant vegetation consists
of forests, pastures, reforestation, charrales, tacotales, annual and
perennial crops, among which are bananas, coffee, fruit species and more
recently pineapple. There are countless varieties of reptiles, birds,
mammals and insects.
Sarapiqui is located in the torrid zone, therefore, it has a tropical
climate with dry and rainy season. Winter is from May to January or February
and the dry season from March to May, with some sporadic rainfall caused by
cold fronts from the north. Towards the mountains, with altitudes averaging
and exceed 187m above the sea, the climate tends to be mild, generality
accompanied by a pleasant breeze keeping you cool. In the middle areas,
close to 68m above the sea, the temperature rises, and continues toward the
lower parts, the Plains of the Atlantic, with an altitude of about 37m above
The average temperature is 26 to 28 º C, relative humidity of 80-90% and
solar radiation of 3 to 5 hours daily, a full hot and humid place that can
be traveled through a vast network of nature trails within of its many
protected areas, its forests, its wetlands, and so on, which are of great
importance for the conservation of flora and fauna.
To get there:
From San José downtown, take the road # 32 which is the same road to
Guápiles and Limón.
Who is working there ?
Sarapiquí Conservation Learning Center
The Sarapiqui Conservation Learning Center (SCLC) is located in the
northern Caribbean lowlands of Costa Rica and serves many of the communities
between the towns of Puerto Viejo (de Sarapiqui) and La Virgen. Our mission
is to “link communities and conservation through education and ecotourism”.
SCLC is managed by an international board of directors and represented
locally by an Executive Director, a receptionist, and an international group
many programs designed to benefit the local communities and the ecotourists
alike. For the visiting tourist wanting a taste of Costa Rica beyond the
usual tour stops, SCLC offers local cuisine cooking classes and traditional
dance classes. One can also visit a local farm and witness this essential
part of life in the Sarapiqui region. For the ecotourist that really wants
to step out of their comfort zone, we offer a very popular ‘home-stay’
program that allows the tourist to spend the day (and a night) with a local
‘tico’ family. There is no better way to experience Costa Rica than to live
as a ‘tico’, even if it is for only just one day.
In addition to the programs and activities aimed at the ecotourist, SCLC
has many programs tailored to help the community (help itself). To this end,
SCLC offers the local community 5 levels of English as a Second Language
(ESL) courses. As the tourism industry in the area grows, the need for
English in this zone will grow along with it and SCLC hopes that our
students lead the way. Along with the popular English program, we also
conduct environmentally themed classes at 4 of the local area schools. This
program gives SCLC direct access to the residents and aims to educate them
on the benefits of conservation and living in an environmentally friendly
way. Although these 2 programs are very important to the mission of SCLC,
we offer so much more.
SCLC also has a growing After School Program (ASP) that gives students from
a local school an outlet to explore science, conservation, and ecology. For
the aspiring field guides in the
region, we have a Bird Club (Club de Aves) that meets every other Saturday
with the goal of educating the students in the wealth of bird species that
also call the Sarapiqui area home. We are also very proud of our Scholarship
(Becados) program. Although public education in Costa Rica is free, many
families in this region have financial difficulties and the Becados program
helps with funds to be used for uniforms, books, traveling (to school),
etc... In exchange for these funds, our scholarship students must maintain
high grades, write their sponsors, and participate in various environmental
SCLC´s goal is help our community help itself
through increased knowledge of the environment, land conservation, English,
and the tourism trade. We truly hope and believe that as the area becomes
more popular with the casual tourist as well as the ecotourist, our students
will be ready and able to support the growth.
Together, you and the SCLC will be helping to fashion a greener future for
the Sarapiqui region. Please come by if you are ever in the area...or better
yet, make plans to visit our area and stop on in.
Written by: Aaron Simon, SCLC Volunteer
To learn more about the Center or to make a donation, visit: