In pre-Columbian times the territory which is now the county of Sarapiqui was inhabited by Indians called Votes, who occupied the plains of Sarapiqui.
After our independence, it was of paramount concern to our leaders, to establish a seaport on the Caribbean coast and a gateway to the region. Prizes were offered to the discoverers of the routes that would lead to its shores, the northern territories of the country, San Carlos, Sarapiqui and other places, always in the direction of the San Juan River. With a thousand sacrifices a road was opened to Sarapiqui, starting in Heredia and ending on the west bank of the Sarapiquí River, in a place called Muelle.
In the demarcation of the parish districts of the province of Heredia, published in the Official Gazette on December 30, 1862, the town of Sarapiqui formed part of the seventh district of the county of Santa Barbara, Heredia.
In the administration of Don Alfredo Gonzales Flores, October 18, 1915, the Law No. 20 on territorial division for administrative purposes, Sarapiqui appears as the sixth district of the county of Heredia, with the rank of neighborhood.
During the second government of Jose Figueres Ferrer, under law No 4671 of November 18, 1970, Sarapiqui became the tenth county of the Heredia province. At the same time, the Old Port district of Puerto Viejo acquired the title of City, to be designated as head of Sarapiqui.
The origin of the name of the county comes from the river that is born there and irrigates the region. The correct name of the river, according to Carlos Gagini, is Siripiquí. This claim comes from a document from 1640 that states that "a river that is named among the natives, Jori and commonly named by the people of the sea; Siripiquí, which has its headwaters in the mountains of the town of Barva." Seafarers were the Zambos Mosquitos Indians.
Sarapiquí was one of the most important in the national campaign against the filibusters, in the years 1856-1857, especially in the battles of Sardinal and Trinidad, where Costa Rican troops under General Maximo Blanco, defeated the invaders led by William Walker.
This campaign took place between December 1856 and February 1857 and is perhaps the most important in history, because it cut off supplies to filibusters troops who were from the San Juan River to Lake Nicaragua.
The 700 Costa Rican soldiers went through terrible hardship and difficulties, because they had no suitable vessels. They had to navigate the river in rafts and canoes, hide in the banks of the Sarapiquí and San Juan rivers, they had no protection from the incessant rain and mosquitoes, and they had no food. However, their bravery, courage and patriotism, allowed them to defeat the invading enemy, which had to retreat to Granada in Nicaragua.
The Sesquicentennial Local Committee of the National Campaign 1856 - 1857, and the National Commission for the same purpose, are making an effort today to have this important battle incorporated into the Costa Rican school calendar and commemorated. The way it stands now, official history only takes into consideration the battles of Santa Rosa and Rivas and does not give importance to the battle fought and planned in Sarapiqui, by the patriot President Juan Rafael Mora Porras.
A historic landmark built and unveiled in Sardinal and La Trinidad, will soon join the estuary of Copalchi. Also two streets in Puerto Viejo de Sarapiqui, will be baptized with the names of two soldiers who participated in the Sarapiqueños campaign.
The county of Sarapiquí is located in the northern Atlantic lowlands, specifically in the northern part of the province of Heredia.
Sarapiqui's northern border is the San Juan River that separates it from Nicaragua, on the south the county border is the forest reserves of the Central Volcanic Mountain Range, known as Macizo de Barra y Cacho Negro. The western border is the imaginary line that separates the provinces of Heredia and Alajuela. On the east the province of Limón and county rivers of Pococí which are the rivers Patria, Chirripo and Colorado, are the boundaries between the provinces of Heredia and Limón.