THE ZONA NORTE:
Upala and Los Chiles

Upala and Los Chiles are towns located in a region called the Zona Norte (northern zone). The area is an agricultural frontier where beans, cattle, and root crops support the national food supply and pesticide-intensive pineapple is grown on a large scale for export. Life is slower, community is important, and people’s lives are strongly connected to their environment.

The Zona Norte is where people and cultures come together.  Sharing a vast and unmarked border with Nicaragua, the region is socially, culturally, and economically connected to Nicaragua.     The region is located along the migrant route and is a temporary point of refuge for transnational migrants and asylum seekers from Venezuela, Haiti, Cuba, and African and Asian countries. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) finances and directs numerous programs to provide services, advocate refugee rights, and promote social and economic integration.  VN Abroad works with migrant and Costa Rican populations to facilitate social and economic integration through health, education, and cross-cultural learning programs.  

The area offers many undiscovered natural treasures including volcanoes, waterfalls, pristine rivers,  and forests with abundant wildlife including sloths, monkeys, and toucans.