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Costa Rica

Ruta de los Volcanes

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

£2,795 P.P.
Costa Rica

Ruta de los Volcanes

Guided Road Cycling Holiday

Grade

1
2
3
4
5

Duration

12 days

Prices from

£2,795 P.P.
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An awesome road cycling holiday in Costa Rica, taking you through a vibrant and fertile Central American paradise, blessed with a pleasant climate and an abundance of natural beauty.
Vast areas of lush green cloudforest and rainforest, magnificent volcanoes, two incredible and very different regions and of course, a network of stunningly picturesque paved roads make the country a perfect and idyllic road cycling destination. This action-packed tour, in which we experience both the laid back tranquillity of the Caribbean side of the country and the crashing dramatics of the Pacific, is a perfect escape.
After a first evening in San José we transfer to Guapiles in the Limon province on the Caribbean side of the country. On arrival we will embark on a short warm-up ride to acclimatise to the tropical climate and to experience first-hand the natural beauty that Costa Rica has to offer.
The following day will be our first full day on the bikes and by the afternoon we'll be leaving the coast behind us and heading for the hills. From here we continue making our way across the country, allowing plenty of time to enjoy the spectacular scenery in the heart of Costa Rica, following the shores of Lago Arenal and skirting the active Volcan Arenal; just one of a number of volcano experiences we will have during our journey.
After a week in the saddle we reach the golden beaches of Samara and Carrillo on the Pacific coast and our last day in the saddle sees us exploring the sparsely inhabited countryside of the Nicoya Peninsula before transferring back to Costa Rica's capital, San José, where will spend our final evening together.
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Holiday Highlights

  • Spotting an unparalleled diversity of wildlife
  • Cycling in the shadow of palm trees along the Pacific coast
  • Breaking through the clouds as we cross Costa Rica’s central mountains
  • Enjoying volcanic vistas over a drink in La Fortuna
  • Watching the sun go down from Samara beach after a rewarding day in the saddle
  • The change in scenery on opposing sides of the continental divide

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The team did a fantastic job! Too many favourite days to choose from. Really enjoyed the ride from San Ramon to La Fortuna, the optional ride from La Fortuna and then onto Cañas – fantastic ride with a cracking beer at the end of the day!

Tracy, Leicester

Itinerary

Day 1
Arrival: San José Airport
Non Riding Day
  • Ascent: Non Riding Day

Following touch down at San José Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO), you will be greeted by your Skedaddle tour leader. After a short transfer to the capital of Costa Rica, San José, we soon reach our hotel. Once checked in our bikes will need to be built ready for our transfer tomorrow. The rest of the afternoon/evening is set aside for relaxation and we will head out into the city for our first evening meal together. During the meal, there will be plenty of time to chat about the days to come.

Day 2
San José to Cahuita (plus optional ride)
36 Miles / 58 kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast

After an early breakfast we’ll load up the bikes onto the bus and head out of San José. It won’t be long until we’re bidding farewell to San José’s busy city streets in favour of the lush green landscape of the country’s Caribbean quarters. It usually takes approx 4 hours to reach Cahuita but it is an interesting drive as it crosses the Continental Divide for the first time of our tour, passing through small towns and lots of countryside. On arrival we will eat lunch and, after checking in at the hotel, the rest of the afternoon is left free to either relax and enjoy the area or to join the party for a warm-up ride. The ride today is all about acclimatisation and will be gentle and mainly flat.

Day 3
Cahuita to Turrialtico
56 Miles / 90 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,500 Metres Approx.

Now the fun really begins! Our ride today is in 2 stages, the first of which follows the coastal road from Puerto Viejo to Limón. The going is relatively easy this morning and it’s a perfect and gentle intro to our trip across the country. Upon reaching Limón we will load the bikes onto the vehicle, bid farewell to the Caribbean Sea and transfer to Siquirres. This is a short transfer and is necessary to avoid riding on a very busy stretch of road.

After lunch it’s back on the bikes, with the road from Siquirres rising almost immediately and, climbing for approximately 20km, steeply in places, this second half of the day is a total contrast to this morning. After reaching the summit, the road rolls onwards through coffee and sugar cane plantations and takes us along the ridge that divides Rio Reventazon and Rio Pacuare. Upon reaching our hillside accommodation we can relax in rustic style and admire the views of the Turrialba Volcano. The bustling little town of Turrialba lies in the valley below us and, only a few km dash downhill, is well worth a visit – remember though that you will have to climb back up!

Day 4
Turrialtico to Orosi
51 Miles / 82 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,650 Metres Approx.

A swift descent from our lodge down towards Turrialba town marks the beginning of a very beautiful day. Within just less than three kilometres after leaving the hotel we turn off the main road in favour of a lovely rolling route that leads us into a gentle landscape and through a series of typical rural villages.

We make the most of this gentle start because the second half of the morning has a few surprises in store as the road starts to turn steadily upwards! The main challenge of the day confronts us at the 30km mark where the gradient increases suddenly and dramatically to carry us high up onto the southern wall of the beautiful Rio Reventazon valley. The climb is steep, but typically Costa Rican in that it is thankfully short, and it isn’t long until we‘re cruising down the other side towards the gorgeous Cachi Lake where we can stop to sample locally-produced coffee in a traditional Tico cafe overlooking the lake.

We press on along the picturesque lakeside road and through the coffee plantations until we reach the Spanish Colonial town of Orosi where we’ll stop to enjoy a picnic lunch. Orosi will be our home for the evening and we can choose between ending our ride after lunch to relax in the pretty little town or, alternatively, pushing on for another 30kms to complete a loop around the stunningly beautiful Orosi valley.

Day 5
Santa Ana to Orotina
44 Miles / 70 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,500 Metres Approx.

Loading the bikes onto the vehicle after breakfast our day begins with a transfer from Orosi in order to avoid riding through the urban sprawl of Costa Rica’s capital. Reaching Santa Ana, a few km west of San José, we’ll mount up and begin our ride. It won’t be long before we‘re climbing and we‘re heading firstly for Santiago de Puriscal and then onwards to Barbacoas which marks the end of most of the day’s climbing. We’ll descend carefully over the other side as the road falls away through a lush green mountain landscape. The gradient soon becomes more gentle and things flatten out as we approach the small town of San Pablo de Turrubares. The final stage of the day on minor country lanes delivers us to a small village a few km short or Orotina.

Oritina is nicknamed ‘The Fruit Town’ and is renowned throughout the country for its amazing variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. We’ll relax in a rural cafe with a refreshing drink while the bikes are loaded onto the vehicle again for a final short transfer to Atenas where we spend the evening. Listen out for locals telling you that the town has ‘El Mejor Clima del Mundo’ something of enormous pride, not to mention the reason for high property prices, since National Geographic Magazine reported it as having one the most desirable climates on earth.

Day 6
San Ramon to La Fortuna
39 Miles / 62 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.

Today is one of the shortest days of our tour and presents us with an excellent opportunity to relax into the riding and enjoy the beautiful scenery. Atenas is situated amongst some of the country’s steepest and most challenging terrain, so in order to make the most of our time on the bikes we begin the day with another short transfer to the town of San Ramon. From here the ride starts with a few short but rather cheeky climbs. An enjoyable descent through a beautiful scenic countryside follows before the final rolling stage from Tigre takes us to La Fortuna, one of Costa Rica’s most popular destinations; a pleasant and relaxing little town nestled beneath the famously active Volcan Arenal. The relatively short day and gentle terrain should see us arriving in La Fortuna in plenty of time to kick back and enjoy the town’s relaxed vibe.

Day 7
Arenal Loop
47 Miles / 76 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 500 Metres Approx.

We have a rest from packing and re-packing today as we stay at the same hotel tonight and enjoy the area of La Fortuna in a ride that loops from La Fortuna and back. Just over half way into our ride we’ll take a short detour to an area renowned for iguana sightings – there are never any guarantees with wild animals but this is one of the best places in the country to see these magnificent and endangered creatures and we are likely to see them here at close proximity.

Today is a good day for anyone wishing to take a day off the bike as La Fortuna and the surrounding area offers numerous alternative activities such as white-water rafting, canyoning, canopy traversing, kayaking and hiking. We’ll eat in town in one of the numerous restaurants and after dinner, if the weather is good, we’ll drive to a lookout point near the volcano in the hope of seeing and hearing some lava flowing from the cone.

Day 8
La Fortuna to Cañas
63 Miles / 102 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,550 Metres Approx.

Today is likely to be one of the most memorable rides of your holiday. A 16km climb takes us out of town in the direction of Laguna de Arenal and leads us once again into close proximity with the famous volcano. The undulating road follows the northern shore of the lake and on a clear day the lake and the volcano create a perfect backdrop to one of Costa Rica’s most pleasant road cycling routes. Upon reaching the highest point of the day we’ll take in one last look at the stunning vista, bid farewell to Arenal and begin our 25km descent into Cañas, crossing the Continental Divide in the process. We‘re now well and truly on the Pacific side of the country and this is usually quite obvious by changes in both the climate and vegetation.

Day 9
Cañas to Samara
62 Miles / 100 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast, lunch
  • Ascent: 1,050 Metres Approx.

From Cañas we will take a very short transfer, in order to avoid riding on the Pan American Highway, to the famous Tres Hermanas (Three Sisters) intersection where we offload the bikes to begin our ride.

Today we‘re heading for the shores of the Pacific Ocean on what will be one of the longest rides of our tour. Initially, and hopefully aided by prevailing winds, we head west along a predominantly flat road through a region that is typically warm and dry. A change of direction at approximately 50kms leads us deep into the heart of the Nicoya Peninsular and directly to Nicoya, the bustling small-town capital of the region where we will stop for lunch.

The scenery and the terrain change quite dramatically after lunch and the later stages of the afternoon are punctuated by a rollercoaster of short, sharp climbs, the last of which delivers us to one final descent from where we drop straight down onto the beautiful palm-fringed beaches of Samara and Carrillo where we will spend the next 2 evenings.

Day 10
Samara Loop (optional)
36 Miles / 56 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,100 Metres Approx.

The tranquility and relaxed atmosphere of Samara is seductive and it is understandably tempting and entirely acceptable to spend the day relaxing and enjoying the golden sands. Cycling today is still an option though for those who still haven’t had enough(!) and there is plenty of challenging riding to be had in the hills that lie beyond the coast. The coastal strip is beautiful and is home to an abundance of wildlife, including the ubiquitous howler monkey and, if we‘re very lucky, the odd crocodile or two. We’ll return to the beach in good time to enjoy a drink or two in what is one of the best places in the country to watch the sun go down.

Day 11
Transfer to San José
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: Non Riding Day

The morning is free for relaxation, exploration and perhaps one final dip in the ocean. After soaking up the sun and the atmosphere we’ll transfer to San Jose, stopping off along the way for lunch in a typical restaurant and arriving in the capital in the late afternoon/early evening.

Day 12
San Isidro to Tarbaca
30 Miles / 46 Kms Approx.
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: 1,600 Metres Approx.

Before embarking on our final ride, we have to transfer out of the city to the suburb of San Isidro, a few kms away from the city of Cartago which used to be the country’s capital before the seat of power was moved to San José.

On paper todays stage might look like a half day but there is plenty here to keep us occupied and the fun starts almost as soon as we settle into the saddle with what will be our longest and highest ascent of the entire journey. This beautiful initial climb rises steadily for 19kms and tops out at just shy of 2,000m where, even on the clearest of days, it can be surprisingly cool.

After enjoying a coffee at the summit, we embark on a similarly lengthy descent into one of the country’s primary coffee-growing regions and some of the prettiest scenery imaginable. We end our time on the bikes with a final challenging climb to the village of Tarbaca where we’ll finish off with a late lunch in a wonderful barbecue restaurant perched high in the hills that overlook San José and the Central Valley.

During lunch the Skedaddle Team will load up the bikes in preparation for the short transfer across the city back to our hotel where we will spend our final evening.

Day 13
Departure: San José Airport
Non Riding Day
  • Meals: Breakfast
  • Ascent: Non Riding Day

Today we will transfer to San Jose airport for flights home.

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The Cycling

Terrain

This really is a trip of two halves! Clichés aside, the central mountains of Costa Rica really do split the country in half and we explore both of the opposing coastlines; the tranquil Caribbean and the dramatic Pacific.

The gradients are generally rolling along the coastal areas and through the foothills which spread back away from the sea. Costa Rica’s mountainous interior offers a sharp contrast to this with a series of steep climbs, although these are usually quite short.

On our Christmas/New Year departure the extra day gives us the opportunity to have a go at some of the more challenging climbs these mountains have to offer, although if you prefer you can of course spend this day relaxing.

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Road Cycling Grade

1
2
3
4
5
Grade 3 : Moderate

45-60 miles / 70-95 kms per day

For riders with experience, good fitness & a decent level of skill

Some features that may be experienced more frequently in a higher grade tour

Most days include a couple of significant climbs

Some long days & some steep to very steep sections

Not for beginners

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?

You’re definitely not a novice rider, you’re fit, you ride regularly at weekends, sometimes staying on the bike for much of the day, you love your bike! You also enjoy a challenge and if you haven’t already done so you’re keen to attempt a semi-serious to serious mountain pass or two. You’re as comfortable with the prospect of descending from the top of a col as you are with the idea of climbing it and you’re confident that you have the skills to do so safely. You’re not necessarily a “racer” but you can crank up the pace a little when it’s necessary and you don’t mind forgoing a coffee stop if the schedule demands it occasionally. You probably own and use clipless pedals. You have good control of your bike and can take a drink from a water bottle without having to unclip and put your feet on the ground. Whilst you find a full day in the saddle fulfilling you’re not obsessed and as much as you are looking forward to the riding on your holiday, you’re also looking forward to a little local culture and cuisine. Grade 3 would be a good option for you.

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An amazing way to spend Christmas and New Year – just the best! Our tour leader managed an extreme range of cycling ability in a way that ensured everyone enjoyed the holiday.

Karen, Worcestershire

Dates & Prices

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
22/12/2020
Return Date
03/01/2021
Duration
13 days
Price
£2,795.00
Start Date
10/04/2021
Return Date
22/04/2021
Duration
13 days
Price
£2,895.00
Start Date
22/12/2021
Return Date
03/01/2022
Duration
13 days
Price
£2,945.00
Start Date
09/04/2022
Return Date
21/04/2022
Duration
13 days
Price
£2,945.00
Start Date
22/12/2022
Return Date
02/01/2023
Duration
12 days
Price
£2,995.00

Whats Included Tick

A) Accommodation (shared twin / double en suite rooms)

B) Meals as per the itinerary (B=Breakfast, L=Lunch, D=Dinner)

C) Full tour service, including Skedaddle guides

D) Unless stated, at least one leader qualified in first aid

E) Support vehicle and luggage transfers

F) Airport transfer on scheduled arrival day from San Jose airport (SJO)

G) Airport transfer on scheduled departure day to San Jose airport (SJO)

What's not Included Cross

A) Bike hire (available if required)

B) Flights and charges for travelling with your bike (if applicable)

C) Meals not stated in the itinerary

D) Single room (available if required)

E) Travel insurance

F) Personal clothing and equipment

G) Personal expenditure (souvenirs, bar bills, hotel facilities etc)

H) Entrance fees to museums and other attractions en route

I) Cost of visas (if necessary)

J) Entrance fee to Cahuita NP & additional outdoor activities

I) Airport transfers on days other than the scheduled arrival / departure days

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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.

  • Please note flights for our December departure may be more expensive due to travelling over the festive period.

Accommodation

Accommodation is on a twin/shared basis in a combination of small hotels and lodges chosen for their location and hospitality. A single room option is normally available on payment of a single room supplement (subject to availability).

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 Scott Speedster 30 equipped with Shimano or alternative brand equivalent. If you do decide to hire we can include a helmet and all necessary spares for the trip. Please request helmets when booking. If you ride with clip-in pedals you will need to bring your pedals along with you.

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