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Costa Rica Coast to Coast Ride
Cycle stretches of the Pacific coastline and see the highlights of Costa Rica over 14 wonderful days. Take in the variety of Costa Rica by bike, pedalling past rainforest, volcanoes and stunning sections of coastline. From San Jose you'll cycle south with vast Pacific views to the right and dense forest to the left. Crossing the 3400m Cerro de la Muerte pass into the Orosi Valley you'll ride past coffee plantations and volcanoes to arrive on the fertile Caribbean plains where banana plantations take over the landscape. You can take a break from the saddle to explore the wildlife-rich rivers and waterways of Tortuguero before traveling to La Fortuna, a lovely spot located at the foot of Arenal Volcano.
- TypeFully Guided
- Duration14 days
- Culture LevelAdventurous
- Skill Level2 - Novice
- Activity Level3 - Active
- Elevation3 - Intermediate
- Distance290.8 miles
- Avg. Daily Distance24.2 miles
- Day 1Start San Jose
Make your way to the start hotel in La Garita de Alajuela.
- Hotel Rosa America (or similar)
- Day 2Ride to Rio Tarcoles
You will have a briefing this morning and spend some time adjusting your bike before riding out through small rural communities followed by dry, tropical forest with very little traffic on the paved roads. This initial stage concludes outside Atenas, then you'll have a 20-minute transfer to a scenic lunch stop.
In the afternoon you'll have a second cycling stage, passing mango orchards and cattle ranches. Following another short half hour transfer, you'll arrive at the lodge for the night.
- 26.1 miles
- Cerro Lodge (or similar)
- Day 3Boat tour; cycle to Playa Bejuco
Following an early breakfast, you'll transfer 20 minutes to Rio Tarcoles for a private guided boat tour of the estuary. You can hope to see crocodiles, water birds, shorebirds and Scarlet macaws. A 30-minute transfer brings you to a quiet backroad heading to Guacallillo where you can return to the bikes and cycle to Cascajal. From here you will have a short transfer to the lunch stop.
After lunch depending on the tide, you will get back on the bikes for a short ride on the beach to Playa Bejuco, your destination for tonight.
- 17.4 miles
- Hotel Playa Bejuco (or similar)
- Day 4Wildlife hike in Manuel Antonio N.P; to Ciudad Cortes
You'll start the morning with a 2 hour guided hike in Manuel Antonio National Park, an outstanding region for wildlife. The forest here meets the sea and iguanas and White-faced Capuchin monkeys can often be seen on the beach. A 20-minute transfer takes you to the coastal road outside Quepos where you'll begin to cycle south to Playa Dominicalito, where you will have lunch at a scenic restaurant. This is a spectacular stretch of road, with dense forest and steep hills on the left and fantastic Pacific views on the right.
- 33.6 miles
- Hotel Las Palmas de Cortez (or similar)
- Day 5To Osa Peninsula; ride to Puerto Jimenez
The ride today takes you from Ciudad Cortes on to Palmar Norte, where you'll cross the Rio Terraba, Costa Rica's longest river, then to Palmar Sur, where you will stop at the central park for a look at some of the famous spherical rocks, made by a little-known ancient indigenous culture. Afterwards, you will board the coach for a transfer (approx 1.5 hours) to La Palma, stopping for lunch on route. You will resume the cycling, passing through Puerto Jimenez en route to tonight's beach hotel, set on the beautiful Playa Platanares.
- 31.1 miles
- Agua Dulce Lodge (or similar)
- Day 6Ferry to Golfito; ride to Rio Claro; transfer to Las Cruces
You will board a ferry this morning for a 30-minute journey across the Golfo Dulce to Golfito. Here, sometimes dolphins can be seen frolicking in the surrounding waters. The cycle route heads to Rio Claro using a short but hilly biking stage. Following a 1-hour bus transfer across the steep mountains surrounding San Vito, you'll arrive at Las Cruces Biological Station. Las Cruces Biological Station is surrounded by the famous Wilson Botanical Gardens where you will enjoy a guided hike in the afternoon.
- 13 miles
- OTS Las Cruces Lodge (or similar)
- Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner
- Day 7Cycle to Paso Real; transfer to San Gerardo de Rivas
Back on the saddle, you'll enjoy a fantastic ride from the hilly region near San Vito downhill to Paso Real, far below at the Rio Terraba. En route, you'll pass through an indigenous area where villagers can sometimes be seen in traditional dress. You will stop in Buenos Aires to have lunch before boarding the bus for a transfer (approx. 2-3 hours) to San Gerardo de Rivas. You will pass the first of many pineapple plantations, which has now become Costa Rica's most exported crop. As the hotel tonight is located in the mountains it may be chillier than you expect.
- 31.7 miles
- El Pelicano Mountain Lodge (or similar)
- Day 8Cycle to Perez Zeledon; transfer to the Orosi Valley; cycle to Tapanti Media
This morning you'll start with a short downhill stage before jumping on the bus for a transfer that will take you over the infamous Cerro de La Muerte. At 3,541 metres above sea level, this is the highest point of the PanAm Highway in all of Central America. On this stretch, you will drive through rainforest, up into the cloud forest before starting the descent back down towards the Central Valley. From here you will get back on the bike for another downhill stage into the Orosi Valley.
- 21.7 miles
- Tapanti Media Lodge (or similar)
- Day 9Ride to Turrialba
After breakfast, you'll start cycling from the hotel for perhaps one of the most beautiful cycling stages riding past numerous coffee plantations. With any luck, you will see some farmers using their colourful traditional oxcarts to haul the coffee to nearby processing facilities. Along the way you will stop to look at coffee trees and the tour leader will give an explanation on coffee and its part of the history of Costa Rica.
As you continue your ride through the valley, you will ride around a hydroelectric dam before starting a section that involves some climbs. You will arrive at the little town of Tucurrique where you will stop off for lunch. Afterwards, you will cycle through lush scenery sugar cane plantations before a short transfer to the hotel for the night. The mountain lodge, which is your accommodation this evening, has excellent views of the surrounding region, including the coffee-growing Orosi Valley and both the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes.
- 31.1 miles
- Hotel Turrialtico (or similar)
- Day 10Cycle to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica
After breakfast you will start cycling a hilly section with incredible views, followed by a fast downhill to the town of Siquierres from where you will board the coach and take a transfer to the Caribbean coast, stopping for lunch on route. On arrival near the coast, you will start a second biking stage through an isolated backroad and as you arrive at the Rio Banano Junction, the traffic can get really heavy so you will board the coach again for a short transfer (approx. 15 minutes) to the hotel in Puerto Viejo, a typical Caribbean town with lively reggae music/culture and spicy cuisine.
- 29.2 miles
- Hotel Escape Caribeno (or similar)
- Breakfast and Lunch
- Day 11To Tortuguero
This morning you will start by riding to Cahuita National Park for a guided hike. During this hike, you can expect to see lots of wildlife including two and three-toed Sloths, Capuchin monkeys and also Iguanas. At the end of the hike, you will transfer to Guapiles where you will stop for a quick lunch before getting on the bikes for today's cycling stage.
Concluding the biking, you'll transfer out to tiny La Pavona, where you'll board a boat which will take you out to Tortuguero along the wildlife-rich rivers and canals used for transit in this densely forested area.
- 9.9 miles
- La Baula Lodge (or similar)
- Breakfast and Dinner
- Day 12Boat trip; ride and transfer to La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano
An early morning boat trip enables you to discover the extraordinary flora and fauna of Tortuguero, passing serenely along the waterways. At this time of day, wildlife is usually at its most active and with the help of the expert guide you are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. You'll retrace the route by boat to the dock at Pavon where you will start cycling through banana plantations, stopping for a brief explanation about the importance of these plantations to Costa Rica.
Afterwards, you'll have a transfer to just outside Guapiles for an early lunch provided by the Tortuguero lodge. After lunch, you'll head towards La Fortuna and the imposing Arenal volcano. Following a massive explosion in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. En route, you will take a break to observe the thriving pineapple operations in Costa Rica before continuing on to the hotel, set in the center of town. This evening there is an included excursion to Eco-Termales hot springs, by far the best in the area.
- 13.7 miles
- Hotel San Bosco (or similar)
- Breakfast and Lunch
- Day 13Cycle to Bajo Rodriguez; to La Garita de Alajuela
Following a short transfer, the final cycling stage starts with a ride through the dense rain forest surrounding beautiful Lake Arenal, with several spots to observe the volcano as you continue back toward La Fortuna. Departing Fortuna, you'll bike through tropical farmlands dedicated to exotic fruits and vegetables, then do a bit of climbing through forested hills up to the conclusion at Bajo Rodriguez. The last leg of your journey is completed by bus as we transfer back to La Garita de Alajuela, traveling for around two hours with tropical views on the way.
- 24.2 miles
- Hotel Rosa America (or similar)
- Day 14End San Jose
The trip ends in San Jose (La Garita) after breakfast this morning.