Costa Rica Coast to Coast Ride

14 days
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4,465 CAD
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4.8 / 5 from 5 reviews >
Moderate
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Trip code: 
MUD
Way to Travel:
Guided Group
Activity:
Cycling
Group size:
4–16
Min age:
16

Cycle stretches of the Pacific coastline and see the highlights of Costa Rica

Take in the variety of Costa Rica by bike, pedalling past rainforest, volcanoes and stunning sections of coastline. From San Jose we 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 we ride past coffee plantations and volcanoes to arrive on the fertile Caribbean plains where banana plantations take over the landscape. We take a break from the saddle to explore the wildlife-rich rivers and waterways of Tortuguero before travelling to La Fortuna, a lovely spot located at the foot of Arenal Volcano.

Highlights

  • Cycle along the stunning coastal highway with incredible Pacific views and beaches 
  • Ride through ever-changing tropical scenery, alongside coffee farms, volcanoes, banana plantations and rainforest 
  • Hike in Manuel Antonio National Park
  • Explore the waterways of Tortuguero National Park in search of wildlife

Key information

  • 13 nights hotels all en suite
  • 12 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved tracks
  • Routes mainly follow quiet roads
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and staff. Min age 16 yrs

What's included

  • All breakfasts, 4 lunches, 2 dinners
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour/Cycling leader and support team throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

12

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

 

Terrain:

Low altitude; 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved track

Day by day breakdown
Day 242.0km/26.0miles
Day 329.0km/18.0miles
Day 455.0km/34.0miles
Day 576.0km/47.0miles
Day 622.0km/14.0miles
Day 751.0km/32.0miles
Day 829.0km/18.0miles
Day 940.0km/25.0miles
Day 1047.0km/29.0miles
Day 1143.0km/27.0miles
Day 1222.0km/14.0miles
Day 1364.0km/40.0miles

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

San Jose (near to)
to
San Jose (near to)
  • Day 1

    Start San Jose.

    Those on the group flight land into San Jose and will be transferred to our start hotel in La Garita, around 15 minutes away. Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel this evening.

    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Ride to Rio Tarcoles.

    We have a briefing this morning and spend some time adjusting our bikes 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 we have a 20 minute transfer to a scenic lunch stop. In the afternoon we'll have a second cycling stage, passing mango orchards and cattle ranches. Following another short half hour transfer we arrive at our lodge for the night.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Boat tour; cycle to Esterillos.

    Following an early breakfast, we transfer 20 minutes to Rio Tarcoles for a private guided boat tour of the estuary. We hope to see crocodiles, water birds, shore birds and Scarlet macaws. A 30 minute transfer brings us to the outskirts of Jaco where we return to our bikes and cycle to Playa Esterrillos, arriving at our seafront lunch stop. After lunch we get back on the bikes for a short ride to Playa Bejuco, our destination for tonight.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Wildlife hike in Manuel Antonio N.P; to Rio Savegre.

    We 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-headed Capuchin monkeys can often be seen on the beach. A 30 minute transfer takes us to Rio Savegre where we begin to cycle on the Coastal Highway and continue all the way to Playa Tortuga. This is a spectacular stretch of road, with dense forest and steep hills on the left and fantastic Pacific views on the right.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    To Osa Peninsula; ride to Puerto Jimenez.

    Our ride today takes us from Playa Tortuga on to Palma Norte, where we cross the Rio Terraba, Costa Rica's longest river, then to Palmar Sur, where we will stop at the central park for a look at some of the famous spherical rocks, made by a little-known ancient indigenous culture. Continuing on through oil palm plantations, we reach Sierpe for our lunch stop. Afterwards we will board the coach for a transfer (approx 1.5 hours) to La Palma, on the Osa Peninsula. We will resume our cycling, passing through Puerto Jimenez en route to our beach hotel, set on the beautiful Playa Platanares.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Ferry to Golfito; ride/transfer to Las Cruces.

    We board a private boat this morning for a 30 minute journey across the Golfo Dulce to Golfito. Here, sometimes dolphins can be seen frolicking in the surrounding waters. Our cycle route heads to Rio Claro via a tropical garden where we will learn about the medicinal properties of indigenous plants and the history of the United Fruit Company in this region. Following a 1 hour bus transfer across the steep mountains surrounding San Vito, we arrive at Las Cruces Biological Station. Las Cruces Biological Station is surrounded by the famous Wilson Botanical Gardens where we will enjoy a short guided hike in the afternoon. Departing the botanical gardens, we make a short transfer through San Vito on to our hotel, a lovely property owned by a local family.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch Dinner
  • Day 7

    Cycle to Paso Real; transfer to Orosi Valley.

    Back on the saddle we enjoy a fantastic ride from the hilly region near San Vito downhill to Paso Real, far below at the Rio Terraba. En route we pass through an indigenous area where villagers can often be seen in traditional dress. We will stop in Paso Real to have lunch before boarding the bus for our transfer (approx. 2-3 hours) to San Gerardo de Rivas. We will pass the first of many pineapple plantations, which has now become Costa rica's most exported crop. As our hotel tonight is located in the mountains it may be chillier than you expect.  

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 8

    Cycle in the Orosi Valley.

    This morning we start with a short downhill stage before jumping on the bus for a transfer that will take us over the infamous Cerro de La Muerte. At 3,541 metres above sea level, this is the highest point of the PanAm Highway in Costa Rica. On this stretch we will drive through rainforest, up into the cloud forest before we start our descent back down to the Central Valley. From here we will get back on our bikes for another downhill stage through the Orosi Valley. 

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Ride to Turrialba.

    After breakfast we start cycling from the hotel for perhaps one of the most beautiful cycling stages riding past numerous coffee plantations. With any luck, we will see some farmers using their colourful traditional oxcarts to haul the coffee to nearby processing facilities. As we continue our ride through the valley, we will ride around a hydroelectric dam before starting a section which involves some climbs. We will arrive at the little town of Tucurrique where will stop off for lunch. Afterwards we will head to the Golden Bean coffee farm for short tour to learn the process of harvesting coffee. Then we will have a short transfer to our hotel for the night. Our mountain lodge this evening has excellent views of the surrounding region, including the coffee growing Orosi Valley and both the Irazu and Turrialba volcanoes.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Cycle to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica.

    After breakfast we will start cycling until we arrive at the town of Siquierres form where we will board the coach and take a transfer to the Caribbean coast. On arrival to the coast we will start a second biking stage through an isolated backroad and as we arrive at the Rio Banano Junction, the traffic can get really heavy so we will board the coach again for a short transfer (approx. 15 minutes) to our hotel in Cahuita,  a typical Caribbean town with lively reggae music/culture and spicy cuisine.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 11

    To Tortuguero.

    This morning we will start by hiking in the Cahuita National Park. 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 we will transfer to Guapiles where we will stop for a quick lunch before getting on the bikes for today's cycling stage. Concluding our biking, we transfer out to tiny La Pavona, where we board a boat which will take us out to Tortuguero along the wildlife rich rivers and canals used for transit in this densely forested area.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Dinner
  • Day 12

    Boat trip; ride and transfer to La Fortuna near Arenal Volcano.

    An early morning boat trip enables us 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 our expert guide we are likely to encounter monkeys, caiman, iguanas, butterflies and many of the 300+ bird species recorded here. We retrace our route by boat to the dock at Pavon where we transfer to just outside Guapiles for an early lunch provided by our Tortuguero lodge, having stopped along the way at a banana plantation for a short visit. After lunch we 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 we will take a break to observe the thriving pineapple operations in this zone before continuing on to our hotel, set in the centre of town. This evening there is an included excursion to Eco-Termales hot springs, by far the best in the area.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast Lunch
  • Day 13

    Cycle to Bajo Rodriguez; to San Jose.

    Following a short transfer, our final cycling stage starts with a ride through the dense rain forest surrounding beautiful Lake Arenal, with several spots to observe the volcano as we continue back toward La Fortuna. Departing Fortuna, we 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 our journey is completed by bus as we transfer back to La Garita, travelling for around two hours with tropical views on the way.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    End San Jose.

    Our trip ends in San Jose (La Garita) after breakfast this morning and those on group flights will be transferred to the international airport for the return journey.

    Meals included: Breakfast
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them. All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see here for more information. The same applies to travel via Canada which also requires an Electronic Travel Authority. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy. 

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available, we therefore strongly recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

If you have travelled to a country at risk of Yellow Fever prior to arriving in Costa Rica you will be expected to have a valid Yellow Fever Certificate with you.  

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners are included.

In the itinerary we state which meals are included on which day (13 breakfasts, 4 lunches and 2 dinners). Hotel breakfasts are normally buffet style. Vegetarians are well catered for but please inform us before departure of any special dietary requests. Expect to see a lot of the Costa Rican speciality 'gallo pinto' and a lot of rice, beans, fruit and grilled meats.

Weather

Costa Rica is located 10º north of the equator and has a tropical climate. The average temperature range is 10ºC - 13ºC in the highlands and from 22ºC - 26ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to November when there are daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine, so August for example is not necessarily a bad time to visit as the temperature can be pleasant. December to April is the driest period of the year and can get incredibly hot, be prepared for some rain even at this time of year. August offers moderate temperatures.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 3 (Moderate).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 43km (27 miles)
No. of days cycling: 12
Vehicle support: 100%
Terrain and route: 80% tarmac, 20% groomed dirt road with some moderate climbs. Routes mainly follow quiet backroads.
This tour covers some remote parts of the region. Though many of the roads are good you should expect some potholes and poor road conditions in places. Routes mainly follow quiet backroads apart from some sections on the Pacific coast, where only one road is available. 

Following a review of all our trips we have categorised this trip as generally not suitable for persons of reduced mobility. However if you are a regular traveller on such trips, please contact customer services to discuss the trip and your personal condition.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels & Lodges

You will spend 13 nights in comfortable hotels with en suite rooms. Hotels are full of character and most have swimming pools. There are 3 nights in remote mountain lodges with lush gardens and superb views; one with a famous tropical botanical garden. All accommodation are well maintained, very clean and most are long-time favourites in Costa Rica.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales consultant for availability and prices.

Call for general departures:
1 800 267 3347
Call for tailormade trips:
1 800 267 3347
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

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  • Reviewed March 2019
    Lindsay Marley

    Costa Rica Coast to Coast

    Such a colourful country and warm-hearted people too. Was truly amazed by the wildlife. Not often that you’re cycling along a highway and a monkey crosses the road or you’re relaxing in a pool with a Toucan above your head. The cycling was different to that experienced in other countries. Less miles but more hills. I learned how to tackle hills better and my cycling skills definitely improved as a result. Cycling around a volcano I almost had my jaw on the ground as I watched a little curl of smoke disappear into the clouds. Amazing holiday!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I’m not sure I can pick one moment! Possibly indulging in the hot springs warmed by the volcanoes looking up at the moon on a beautiful starry night

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was a truly lovely guide who helped our lovely group of 14 bond very quickly. He and his lovely team were so accommodating and caring. I have to say a big thank you to Paulo our mechanic who gave me the toughest spinning lesson of my life in action! I was ready to quit and walk on that day but you kept me in the saddle my friend! Thank you

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Check the mileage and terrain and temperatures before booking. I would have liked a bit more cycling personally but it was very hot and it had its benefits arriving at the next hotel in good time to shower and relax and just enjoy the country
  • Reviewed March 2019
    Gabriella Bodnar

    Been there done that.... and ready to do it all over again!

    Had a time of my life waking up to howling monkeys, birds singing, tropical fruits/flowers, lush scenery at our doorstep....while climbing hills that of course were challenging at times, but that was part of the excitement. I am eternally grateful for the joy this trip bought me. Still smiling when wake up in the morning as I can't beleive I can say .... been there, done that and happily do it again! Pura Vida to all the lovely people in Costa Rica.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The National Park and wild life has to be the top, although there were many others!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto, our top leader were professional, knowledgeable and accommodating at all times. Nothing seemed trouble to him.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I felt very safe not just when cycling, but throughout the trip. Police presence on highways are visible as well as in remote areas. Try to travel lightly as you staying in different hotels every night and our tour guides had to carry, load and off load all the luggages!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    If you don't like beautiful mountains/vulcanoes, amazing wildlife, stunning sunrise/sunsets, humble people then this trip is not for you!
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Nicky Lief

    I’d do it again !

    If great cycling, stunning scenery (not everyday you have a volcano as your backdrop), abundant wildlife and delicious food is what you want - this is the trip for you. Pura Vida !

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The visit to to Manuel Antonio Wildlife Park and. seeing the wildlife in their natural habitat.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto, a super group leader who did his absolute best to ensure that each member of the group got the best out of the trip.
  • Reviewed February 2019
    Anthony Deacon

    An adventure or two

    This was a challenging trip with a mixture of hard and easy cycling covering a number of different areas of this beautiful country. We had a good mixed group who gelled together very quickly and which made the time together very enjoyable. The trip covered many beautiful areas of Costa Rica with many opportunities to see the wild life and dramatic land and sea scapes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The cycling was great and at times the challenges of the hilly sections appeared daunting but ended being conquered. Throughout the cycling there were many vantage points reached which afforded fantastic views of the scenery. Many opportunities also to see some wild life and colourful bird life. The weather was generally very good with only travelling through the rain forest zone being damp as expected. The local people were great too. Always appeared a happy and friendly throughout the travels.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andres Ramirez was our group leader and he proved to be an excellent ambassador for his country and company with exceptional knowledge of it’s history and it’s geography. His organisational skills sone through on a number of occasions when faced with some changes to the itinerary. On a personal note l will always be indebted to Andres when I had a bad accident on day 6 in the San Vito region. I came off the bike travelling downhill at speed. Luckily he was with me at the time and was able provide vital support in getting me to the local hospital and helping me through the difficult period of treatment there. Andres then ensured that any further medical attention I needed for the rest of the trip was arranged. He also managed in a professional and mature manner one or two difficult moments with two members of the group.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Please be sure that you read the trip notes before arriving in Costa Rica as it was clear some had not. Be aware that there are a number of different climates in the country wet,dry,hot, cool conditions were all experienced. Understand the staple food for Costa Rica as this will be what you will encounter for the majority of the trip. The hotels and lodges were generally of a good standard and for one night stopovers were ideal in many occasions but don’t expect 5 star accommodation. And be careful going downhill too fast as I experienced!!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Exodus continue to provide the opportunity to see some great countries in an environment where you get to see the geography, wildlife and people at first hand. This was our third trip covering Asia and now Central America and on the experiences we have had to date - even with my accident, we will do more.
  • Reviewed January 2019
    William Thornton

    Amazing wild life

    This is my 4th Exodus cycle trip and it was great experience again. Very well organised on the ground with a great guide and support crew. Bikes were excellent and very well maintained throughout the trip. This trip is great for seeing all manner of wildlife and we were not disappointed. The weather was really nice except for one morning when it was cool and windy. I think this is really a wildlife trip first and a cycling trip second. Be sure that is what you are signing up to, there are better cycling trips I would say. The cycling is generally as graded with some decent steep climbs in places but most of it is quite manageable. My only comment would be that some of the rides don't seem to connect to each other very well and so it can feel a bit 'bitty' from day to day. Some great descents too! Accommodation is variable, some is excellent however a couple of places were poor but the standard in Costa Rica seemed pretty average to me anyway. Food is generally good but can be a bit repetitive at breakfast and lunch. Good standard generally. Drinks are not expensive if you keep to local beers. Most wine is imported. You can take/use either Dollars or Colones, both accepted virtually everywhere we went. Overall its well worth doing this trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The boat tour through the Tortuguero National Park on Christmas Day! Such a tranquil place and so much to see, Cayman Crocs were the star attraction but there was so much more to see. Great trip and so well pointed out by both the boat driver and our Exodus guide Andreus. Cycling on the beach at Playa Esterillos and the subsequent sunset with a cold beer! Seeing bananas being transported across a road like a level crossing stopping the traffic on a ski lift type carrier, now i know where they come from!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Andreus was a great guide, very knowledgeable about the wildlife and everything Costa Rica. He also was very well organised and had everything covered all of the time. Good sense of humour and easy to get along with. His support crew of Paulo on bike maintenance and always at the rear of the group was brilliant, an ex-pro-cyclist and so bikes were his life. Great motivator on the hills and so funny too! Lastly supported by Lausen the cool chilled one driving the bus and sorting everything else it seemed. Top rate team and very professional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take sun protection and bug spray...and use it! Due to humidity drying of clothes can be difficult, take spare cycle shorts. Handle-bar bag is useful for camera and phone etc. Take a decent camera, compact with a decent zoom is ideal on the bike but otherwise a SLR wit a decent zoom. Lots of photo opportunities.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I liked Costa Rica, it felt a safe and a friendly place to go on holiday. Go early or stay over and do some extra days in Peninsula de Nicoya for example which we did, great opportunity to see more of this wonderful country. We also booked a water rafting day on the last day whilst waiting for the return flight. WIFI can be great to non-existent despite what you are told at each venue. That's how it is!

Dates & Prices

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Call us on 1 800 267 3347