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Its main town, now head of the canton, which was known by the name of Sarapiquí, It took the name of Puerto Viejo. Located in the north of the country, the Canton of Sarapiquí is number 10 of the Province of Heredia. Its colonization was determined by the desire, first of the Spanish and then of the country, to open an access road to the San Juan River through the northern part of the country, and by 1915 Sarapiquí appeared as a district of the Heredia canton.

Already converted into an important point of access, as ships from Europe entered the country from the river, in 1856 it played a decisive role in the defense of national sovereignty when, on April 10, the filibuster army under William Walter entered to the country in this way and is repelled in the battle of Sardinal, which is why it was declared a National Historic Monument.

The canton shows a development linked especially to ecotourism and scientific tourism. It also offers adventure tourism, taking advantage of the rapids of the rivers that allow activities of canoes, kayaks and inflatable boats. In the lower margins of the Sarapiquí River, the routes to the San Juan River, Barra del Colorado and Tortuguero are developed.