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Costa Rica

Volcanes y Playas

Guided Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

£2,195 P.P.
Costa Rica

Volcanes y Playas

Guided Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

£2,195 P.P.
BOOK NOW
A dream of a cycling holiday to Costa Rica - one of the most vibrant countries in Central America. This beautiful country is a joy for any cyclist and nature enthusiast, with its magnificent volcanoes, lush forests, wild rivers and incredible biodiversity.
Sandwiched neatly between Panama and Nicaragua and bordered by the Caribbean Sea to the east and the Pacific Ocean to the west, we explore the best sights of this tiny mountainous country and what better way to explore than by bike?
After arrival into the capital city of San José, we head to the area of the iconic Arenal Volcano, where our riding begins. Following the chain of volcanoes in the country’s north, our biking journey take us through the foothills of the Tenorio, Miravalles and Rincón de la Vieja Volcanoes, before our transition from this tropical area.
For our final four days of biking we head to the coast to enjoy some wonderful coastal trails from Samara to Malpais.
The riding on the trip is suited to those of a reasonable fitness. There are some challenging sections along the way, including some rough gravel roads, but these are never too daunting for riders with a little off-road cycling experience. With so much to see, we make sure you have plenty of opportunities along the way to absorb this unique destination.

Holiday Highlights

  • Enjoying biking through the very heart of Costa Rica
  • Taking a pre-lunch dip in the Pacific Ocean near Samara
  • Biking the rancher routes of Guanacaste
  • Searching out wildlife as you cycle along
  • Sunset on Coyote Beach with a chilled Imperial
  • Cycling across the Continental Divide

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Itinerary

Day 1
Departure from UK / Europe, Arrival San José

With most flights from Europe departing in the morning you will arrive in San José the same day. Following touch down at Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), you will be transferred the short distance to the capital of Costa Rica; San José. The sprawling urban capital is in direct contrast to the rural relaxed pace of life we will experience on our journey.

As flights often arrive quite late and at a variety of times we usually meet formally for the first time the following morning. There will be time for bike fitting and to get to know everyone the following day.

Day 2
Arenal Volcano - Warm Up Ride to La Fortuna Waterfall
Up to 22 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

After breakfast we transfer (3hrs approx.) to our starting point near the active Volcán Arenal (1680m). The volcano has experienced constant activity since 1968.

It used to offer daytime and night-time viewing opportunities, thanks to its constant explosions and eruptions but unfortunately the last significant eruption here was in December 2010 – or fortunately depending where you’re viewing from. However, it is still an impressive sight even without the explosions, appearing as an almost perfect cone rising above the town of La Fortuna.

This is a short warm-up ride to our hotel located near the volcano. It is a good chance to get acclimatised to the humidity and loosen up the muscles. If the water levels are in our favour we can enjoy a dip at a refreshing waterfall before enjoying late lunch at a ‘Soda’ a typical informal Costa Rican restaurant in La Fortuna. In the early evening we will relax in one of the hot springs the area is famous for. La Fortuna has a variety of different restaurants to choose from for our evening meal.

Day 3
Lago Arenal
25 to 35 Miles / 40 to 56 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Today we set out on our quest to follow the chain of volcanoes in the northern part of the country. We cycle around the south side of Lake Arenal (the largest in Costa Rica). The route is on dirt roads with several fun river crossings, hugging the borders of the lake through rolling hills and with spectacular views of Lake Arenal and the majestic Arenal Volcano which towers over the Lake. This part of the route is only accessible by bike or 4×4. We transfer the last part of the day to arrive at our accommodation in Cañas before sunset.

Day 4
Miravalles Volcano
20 to 30 Miles / 31 to 45 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

After a morning boost in the bus to get to the interesting riding we head towards Miravalles Volcanoes on mainly dirt roads. As we cross over the Continental Divide there are great vistas of the Guanacaste plains and Pacific coastline of the Nicoya Peninsula and sometimes it is possible to make out the volcanic island of Ometepe in Nicaragua in the distance.

Guanacaste is the major cattle ranching area of the country and we will pass through a number of ranching and farming communities during our transition from a tropical to a dry windy climate. We lunch in another ‘La Fortuna’ off the beaten path in a small village with friendly folk and wholesome food. An optional 6km road climb after lunch takes us to our accommodation for the evening below Miravalles Volcano complete with hot springs in the back garden.

Day 5
Miravalles Volcano to Liberia
26 Miles / 42 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

We are heading towards the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano for the completion of our Volcanic section of the trip. A hilly morning with rolling climbs and descents with the odd cheeky short steep hill is rewarded with a fantastic limestone downhill which is sure to be a highlight of the trip.

Before our gradual decent we stop for some refreshing fresh pineapple and watermelon. Any pineapple back home is a disappointment after experiencing it in Costa Rica!

We reach the town of Liberia, the centre of Guanacaste cattle ranching region. This typical large Costa Rican town is quite different from the smaller communities we have been passing through. We usually arrive at our destination Liberia in time for lunch with the afternoon free to explore Liberia or simply relax by the pool and enjoy a well earned rest.

Day 6
Playa Garca and Samara
30 Miles / 48 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

We’re off to the coast today for the Pacific Coastal section of the trip and make some initial headway with a 2-hour drive towards the coast. A few miles shy of the Pacific we mount our bikes at a coffee shop with a brief stop for refreshments.

We are now into very different scenery as forest rises from the ocean. Starting with a downhill to the Pacific coast we then head to the picturesque Playa Garca for picnic lunch on the beach with the option of a first dip into the Pacific Ocean.

We finish the day near the small beach town of Samara and settle into our hotel. It is situated a few miles south of town with great views over Playa Carrillo, which will be our home for the next couple of nights.

Day 7
Samara - Free Day
  • Meals: Breakfast

A free day for you to choose your own method of exploration. For the ardent bikers, your guide can advise you on biking routes, varying in length and difficulty but with a chance to see local life at first hand. Most people opt for something different with options including sea kayaking from the beach and heading to the isolated island of Isla Chora, renting a surf board and hitting the waves (or taking a lesson) or you may wish to simply wander down to the beach and relax. There is also the option of Zip Lining and whizzing through the trees.

Day 8
Samara to Coyote
22 Miles / 35 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch, dinner

Refreshed after the rest day we get back on our bikes and cycle south along the coast on dirt roads, making our way through small village communities. There are several short but steep hills today which are rewarded with great views of the Pacific coastline. After reaching our hotel (local style cabanas) a few kms inland (no development is thankfully allowed on the beach) we head to Coyote beach, a completely uncommercialised spot, famous for its dramatic sunsets. Enjoy!

Day 9
Coyote to Malpais
25 Miles / 40 Kms Approx. (Can also be longer)
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Saving one of the best days till last we can enjoy an unforgettable 6km ride along the beautiful unspoilt Playa Coyote. Even if the tides are unfavourable today is still a great days riding following tracks through river crossings and close to palm backed beaches through very un-touristic terrain before arriving in the chilled out surfer town of Santa Teresa / Malpais.

NB The length of today’s ride will depend on the tide times and river levels as we’ll need to cross some rivers during our ride.

Day 10
Malpais to Montezuma
20 to 35 Miles / 40 to 56 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Our final day near the coast gives you the option to head inland on dirt roads across the tip of the Nicoya peninsular to Montezuma. The route does not go particularly high but does include some steep sections and its usually pretty warm. Most of the year the Montezuma Waterfalls are accessible. A series of three cascades each with an inviting paddling spot underneath. The super keen can return to Malpais by bike or alternatively take the support vehicle.

There is of course always the option to reward yourself with a day out of the saddle strolling along the extensive beaches that Santa Theresa has to offer or checking out the surf, which makes this area popular, with board hire and a lesson possible. Either way we will meet in the evening for our last dinner by the coast.

NB – Lunch included only for those doing the ride from Malpais to Montezuma

Day 11
Return to San José
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch

Time for a last dip in the Pacific Ocean before we head back to San José. The transfer is broken up by an interesting 1hr ferry journey across the Gulf of Nicoya from Naranjo to Puntarenas.

During the journey you’ll pass by some small islands many of which are home to numerous species of birds including brown pelicans, boobies and frigate birds.

Accommodation in San José with our final evening meal taken here.

Day 12
Departure
  • Meals: Breakfast

Departure from San José’s Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) for flight connections. If travelling to the UK / Europe then you will arrive the following day.

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The Cycling

Terrain

The cycling will mostly be along dirt and gravel country roads, with sections of climbing and descending on looser and rougher gravel surfaces. There are also some sections of tarmac road including the warm-up ride on the first day of riding (Day 2). Most of the day along the shores of Lake Arenal is rolling hills, across several rivers and all on dirt roads. Later on in the week you’ll be finishing off your ride with a 20 km / 12.4 mile descent on a limestone road into Liberia (Day 5). From Samara to Coyote there are several short but steep hills on compacted dirt roads. The ride to Malpais involves an 8 km / 5 mile ride along the beach if the tides are ‘with us‘.

Biking20Arenal.jpg

Cycling Adventures Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

Distances generally between 20-45 miles / 32-72 kms per day

For the leisure cyclist with a good level of physical fitness

May include some steeper, cheeky climbs

Possibly sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc)

Our grading guidelines have been carefully created based on our many years of cycling experience, as well as customer feedback from our trips. Of course, if you're still struggling to figure out where you fit on the scale, do feel free to give us a quick call and we'll be more than happy to help!

For more information about our grading system click here.

Is this suitable for you?

Although you may not cycle everyday, you do keep yourself relatively fit and maybe enjoy an afternoon out on your bike at the weekend. Your preference is perhaps for flatter terrain but you don’t mind tackling some hills, and the occasional steep climb if you can take it at your own pace. For those happy to tackle some ups and downs, and possibly some sections of varying terrain (eg. forest tracks, gravel paths etc) we’d recommend our grade 3 trips. We’d generally expect those on a Grade 3 holiday to have a decent level of physical fitness and be comfortable with some longer days in the saddle.

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Dates & Prices

*

Late Availability

We want you to know which holidays are coming up soon, so you don’t miss out! If a trip has this symbol beside it, it means you don’t have long to snap up your place.

Private Departures

Private Departures

Are you keen to only travel with your family or friends? Struggling to find the right date? Well, we can organise a private departure for this tour and tailor aspects to suit your group's specific needs. Contact our friendly team and we'll help you turn your dream into reality.

Start Date
End Date
Duration
Price p.p.
Start Date
* 06/04/2021
Guaranteed
Return Date
17/04/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,195.00
Start Date
26/10/2021
Return Date
06/11/2021
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,295.00
Start Date
22/12/2021
Return Date
02/01/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,495.00
Start Date
11/01/2022
Return Date
22/01/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,345.00
Start Date
05/04/2022
Return Date
16/04/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,345.00
Start Date
25/10/2022
Return Date
05/11/2022
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,395.00
Start Date
22/12/2022
Return Date
02/01/2023
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,595.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Twin occupancy hotel accommodation

B) Full tour service including guides, back up vehicles etc.

C) Meals as itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Evening Meal)

D) At least one First Aid qualified tour leader

E) Entrance fees as mentioned in the itinerary

F) Airport collection / drop offs on scheduled arrival and departure days

What's not Included Cross

A) Cost of visas (if necessary)

B) Medical check up and inoculations

C) Tips for guides, bar bills, laundry, souvenirs, etc.

D) Travel insurance

E) Personal clothing and equipment

F) Bike hire (available if required)

G) Additional activities (rafting, zip lines, surfing etc.)

H) Departure tax paid at San Jose airport (US$29)

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The Essentials

Travel Options

For this tour in particular, we ask that you fly into and back from San Jose airport (SJO).

Airport transfers are included in the holiday cost and both the arrival and return transfers will be co-ordinated with the group flight schedule. Please note – If you make alternative travel arrangements, which fall outside of the group schedule, there may be an additional charge for individual transfers.

There are now direct flights from London Gatwick with British Airways. Other options include KLM via Amsterdam and Iberia via Madrid with numerous USA options available.

Please contact us for more detailed information on the specific flight schedules that we recommend for your holiday and please check with us before booking your flights so that we can ensure they fit in with the scheduled transfers.

Accommodation

These hotels or lodges are small and comfortable. In Miravalles, the hotel has pools with natural thermal water.

Accommodation (shared twin or double rooms) will usually be ensuite in 2 and 3 star hotels or guesthouses some of which have pools.

Bike Hire

If you don’t own a suitable bike or would prefer to avoid bringing your own we have bikes available to hire. These bikes are typically excellent mountain bikes featuring front suspension, hydraulic disc brakes and good quality components.

If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet (though most people tend to bring their own) and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets at the time of booking.

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