Cycle Costa Rica
|Resort:||Cycle Costa Rica|
|Destination:||Caribbean and Central America|
On this cycling tour of Costa Rica we discover a diverse land rich with nature, towering volcanoes and abundant wildlife. Explore lush rainforest in Tortuguero on the Caribbean coast before cycling through the ever-changing landscapes of the interior past active volcanoes, lakes and cloudforest. Finally we reach the Pacific Coast and beautiful beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.
Cycle Costa Rica – Discover the beauty and diversity of Costa Rica by bike from Caribbean to Pacific
Nature and wildlife – Spot sloths, monkeys and brightly coloured frogs, together with some of Costa Rica’s spectacular birdlife
National Parks and volcanoes – Explore Tortuguero, Manuel Antonio, Arenal and Miravalles
Day 1 Join tour San Jos
Our journey begins in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital. Founded in 1738 and set in a fertile valley blanketed in a lush abundance of coffee and sugar cane plantations, the city lies at an altitude of 1150 metres and is one of the youngest and most cosmopolitan capitals in Central America.
The Tour Leader plans to meet you in the hotel reception at 7pm for the welcome meeting and for those that wish there is the chance to go out for dinner. There are no other activities planned today, so you are free to arrive in San Jose at any time. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you will need to arrive into San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (airport code SJO) which is around thirty minutes from our hotel. Should you miss the welcome meeting, your Leader will inform you of any essential information as soon as you catch up.
If your flight arrives earlier in the day, you may choose to head out to explore the city – easy to navigate with a grid pattern of avenues and streets with a good choice of local eateries. The National museum (Museo Nacional De Costa Rica) is worth a visit.
No cycling today.
Day 2 Journey to Tortuguero National Park by bus and boat
Early this morning we leave the capital and head towards the Caribbean coast. Our destination is La Pavona Pier, around a three and a half hour drive away. The journey takes us through Braulio Carillo National Park and on arrival we’ll board a boat and continue along the Tortuguero River, towards the richly diverse landscapes of the Tortuguero National Park. The first part of the cruise takes around an hour, before we stop off at the Visitor Centre for a brief orientation, after which we’ll continue by boat to our lodge. After lunch, this afternoon is then free to explore your surroundings in a little more detail, with the option to rent a kayak, or just relax on the beach.
Day 3 Exploring Tortuguero National Park
Tortuguero’s remarkably rich landscapes include rainforests, mangroves, swamps, beaches and lagoons and we’ll spend this morning discovering something of its stunning natural diversity. After an early morning coffee, we’ll head out on a guided boat tour along some of the park’s canals and waterways, which provide home for manatees, crocodiles, Tropical Gar and an abundance of freshwater fish. Returning to the lodge for breakfast, we then set out on a jungle hike through the surrounding rainforest. These forest are home to sloths, three of Costa Rica’s four species of monkeys and a huge variety of birdlife. After lunch, the afternoon is then free for optional activities.
Day 4 Boat and bus to Guapiles. Afternoon cycling
Leaving Tortuguero this morning we head back to La Pavona Pier by boat, a journey of around two hours. From here we then drive on to Guapiles, lying in the heart of the country’s banana growing region, where we’ll stop for lunch before driving on to the starting point of our cycling adventure close to Sarapiqui. After checking the bikes over and ensuring that they are properly adjusted we’ll begin with a relatively easy introduction, riding along tarmac roads that take us through a rural setting of farmland and banana plantations. Our ride will be mainly on the flat today and afterwards we drive for about 1.5 hours to our hotel in the small crossroads village of Muelle de San Carlos.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 20 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 50 metres, total accumulated descent 180 metres).
Day 5 Cycle to La Fortuna
Beginning from the hotel today we cycle through a landscape of undulating terrain, passing through a rural scene of farms, cultivated fields and patches of tropical forest. Arriving in Muelle we’ll stop and look for some of the huge iguanas that can occasionally be found here, before continuing on to La Fortuna. Weather permitting we may be accompanied by the spectacular backdrop of the Arenal Volcano and arriving at our next hotel by bike, this afternoon is free to explore a little of La Fortuna at your leisure. You may with to visit the local La Fortuna Waterfalls.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 28 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 330 metres, total accumulated descent 150 metres).
Day 6 Free day in La Fortuna
With no cycling scheduled, today has been left free to enjoy a number of other activities including canopy tours, zip lines and hot springs. The city’s downtown area is dominated by the classic cone of Arenal Volcano, one of the world’s most active volcanoes, and the itself town is blessed with a number of thermal springs where you can relax and unwind in the natural hot water pools.
Day 7 Cycling in the Arenal Volcano National Park
A short drive this morning brings us to the site of the impressive Lake Arenal, the largest man-made lake in Costa Rica. Beginning our day’s riding at the base of the volcano, we’ll follow the northern shore of the lake and negotiate our way through a landscape of rolling hills, rainforest and pastureland. Arenal Volcano lies at the heart of a stunning national park that covers some 9,884 acres and is home to 850 species of birds including the endangered resplendent quetzal. We’ll enjoy some fine views of the lake and the volcano during our ride this morning, before finishing the rest of the journey by car after lunch. Our final destination is the small town of Tilarn, located in the hills overlooking the western shores of the lake.
Total cycling distance today is approximately 27 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 830 metres, total accumulated descent 800 metres) with an extra optional 17 kilometre ride starting earlier in La Fortuna.
Day 8 Visit Viento Fresco Waterfalls (optional). Cycle across the Guanacaste plains to Caas
We start our day with an optional excursion to visit the nearby Viento Fresco Waterfalls by bus where you will have the opportunity to swim and explore up to five waterfalls set in the rainforest. The order of events can changed on the spot by the Tour Leader according to conditions and in the wet access to the falls is not recommended and we would start today’s ride after breakfast instead arriving earlier into Caas. After returning to the hotel we get on our bikes at around 11am for an easy ride down towards the drier plains of Guanacaste today, enjoying some spectacular views of the Pacific coastline and the chain of volcanoes that lie to the north. Our ride ends at our hotel in the small community of Caas. You have the option to continue cycling 15 km to Bebedero and the Tour Leader will be able to help arrange an optional boat excursion on the Corobici River for bird watching and to spot wildlife such as crocodiles and monkeys.
Total cycling distance today is approximately 22 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 300 metres, total accumulated descent 780 metres) with an extra optional 15 kilometres (+60m/-130m).
Day 9 Cycle through the foothills of Miravalles Volcano
An early start to make the most of the cooler temperatures, today provides us with our most challenging ride. Beginning with a short drive to Bagaces we’ll start with a gentle uphill ride, heading north towards the Miravalles Volcano. The route is mainly uphill but the gradient is gradual, so the answer is low gears and a steady pace today. We’ll make a number of longer stops too, making the most of the breathtaking scenery as we make our way to Yoko Termales, on the slopes of Miravalles Volcano. Finishing the day at the higher and cooler elevations of the slopes, we’ll be rewarded this afternoon with a welcome dip in the natural hot springs.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 27 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 700 metres, total accumulated descent 200 metres).
Day 10 Explore the landscapes around the Miravalles Volcano
The Miravalles Volcano is the highest peak in the Guanacaste Mountains (2,023 m) and sits in the heart of the largest geothermal field developed in Costa Rica. Another day here affords an opportunity to relax and enjoy more of its unique attractions, with a three to five hour ride along the slopes of volcanoes and through the forest to Liberia (returning by vehicle), providing the perfect excuse for revisiting the hot springs. The volcano’s verdant slopes form part of the area’s protected zone, which is a lush haven of cloud and primary forest that provides shelter for coyotes, howler monkeys, peccaries and even pumas. For anyone not wanting to cycle there are other options available including hot mud baths or a walk to Las Hornillas, to visit its active volcanic crater.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 37 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 490 metres, total accumulated descent 920 metres).
Day 11 Early morning loop cycle from hotel. Drive to Manuel Antonio N.P.
Early this morning we will explore the local area further on a circular bike ride. After the ride you will have time to shower and change before we check out of our hotel in the late morning. We spend the rest of the day making our way by bus (4 hours) to the Pacific Ocean and onto our final destination at Manuel Antonio National Park. We will break the journey for lunch and at Tarcoles Bridge where we will hopefully spot a few of the gigantic crocodiles that regularly bask beside the river’s edge, before finally arriving at our hotel later this afternoon.
Our total cycling distance today is approximately 20 kilometres (total accumulated ascent 200 metres, total accumulated descent 200 metres).
Day 12 Manuel Antonio National Park
One of Costa Rica’s most popular parks, Manuel Antonio provides a wonderful mix of world class views and golden beaches along the country’s central Pacific coastline. Today has been left free to make the most of this idyllic spot, with plenty of options available for sea kayaking, canopy walks, fishing or just relaxing on the beach. The national park is home to a rich diversity of flora and fauna and a walk through its primary forest provides a chance to look for sloths, monkeys, iguanas and over 180 species of birds including toucans, parakeets and potoos.
Day 13 Free morning. Afternoon drive back to San Jos
After a relaxing morning we’ll drive back to San Jos after lunch, an approximate five hour drive that should get us back into the capital in time to enjoy a stroll through the centre of the city before dinner.
Day 14 Tour ends San Jos
The trip ends after breakfast at our hotel in San Jose.
There are no activities planned today, so you are free to depart from San Jose at any time. If your flight is departing later in the day luggage storage facilities are available at our hotel. If you would like to receive a complimentary airport transfer today, you need to depart from San Jose’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (airport code SJO), which is which is a thirty minute drive away.