Seventy kilometres north of San Jose lies the region of Sarapiqui, an area of tropical wet forests, thundering rivers and rich plantations. There is no urban centre to speak of here as the main draw is exploring the natural surroundings, whether that is by an exhilarating white water raft adventure, horse-riding through lush forests or rappelling your way down to a river canyon. There are plenty of gentler pursuits too; a cacao plantation tour tells an interactive story of the chocolate making process from start to finish, whilst a night walk in the jungle offers the chance to spot colourful reptiles and amphibians. Sarapiqui is also home to some of the best-preserved areas of primary rainforest remaining in the country still accessible to visitors. This makes it an essential stop on any bird watching holiday to Costa Rica, with the renowned biological station at La Selva one of the best places to spot some of staggering 489 species of bird recorded in the regions forests.