This relaxing cycling trip gives you time to explore the unique wildlife, forests and beaches of Costa Rica on leisurely rides around spectacular Arenal Volcano and Arenal Lake. Explore the easygoing lifestyle of rural villages on the San Carlos plains, get high on a canopy tour through the trees tops and enjoy a wildlife float trip. We end at a beautiful beach on the Pacific Coast. Several two-night stays require less packing. This trip has it all!
If this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour, check out our Bicycling Costa Rica tour, which features the first 6 days of this itinerary.
Day 1: Bienvenidos to San José, Costa Rica
Highlights: Rural country side, iguanas, welcome dinner
We'll provide a 2:00PM shuttle from our recommended accommodation in San José, to our first hotel on the banks of the San Carlos River. In the afternoon we'll fit bikes and go for a test ride. Enjoy the beautiful pool before gathering for a welcome drink. We have a special welcome dinner planned tonight. Distance: 22 km (13.7 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Tilajari
Day 2: Biycle the "llanuras de San Carlos"
Highlights: Traditional farming, Arenal Volcano in the distance, La Fortuna
After a hearty Costa Rican breakfast we'll head off into the San Carlos plains, one of the richest agricultural areas of the country. We ride to the village of La Fortuna, located at the base of Arenal Volcano, passing papaya and yucca plantations, pasturelands recently turned into reforestation projects and a few small villages. An optional extra ride climbs to the village of Monterrey and offers some of the best views of Arenal. This evening we'll suggest one of our favorite restaurants in town for dinner on your own. Distance: 27 or 48 km (16.8 or 30 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Monte Real
Day 3: Loop ride to Chachagua
Highlights: Rural countryside and small villages, Arenal Volcano Hot Springs
There's no need to pack this morning. Our loop ride out of La Fortuna takes us into the countryside past sleepy rural villages, beautiful rivers and rich agricultural land. In the evening we'll enjoy a soak in the famous thermal springs followed by a traditional dinner with home made tortillas. Distance: 32 or 52 km (20 or 32 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Monte Real
Day 4: Arenal Volcano and Boat ride on Lake Arenal
Highlights: Great views of Arenal Volcano, Rainforest Zip Line Canopy Tour
Arenal Volcano dominates our ride this morning - and what a sight! You may even see and hear it erupt as you ride around its base, from a safe distance of course. We'll stop on the way to do an exciting Zip Lines Canopy Tour. Our bike ride ends at the Arenal Dam where our boat will be waiting to take us for a gentle ride on the lake, all the way to our hotel. Tonight we'll stay at a very special and small resort overlooking the lake. Tropical/European dinner together. Distance: 22 to 38 km (14 to 24 miles).
Lodging: Hotel La Mansion Inn
Day 5: Bike around Arenal Lake and Hike in the Rainforest
Highlights: Lake Arenal, El Silencio Rainforest Preserve
Today we continue our spectacular ride around the north shore of Lake Arenal. We'll ride to El Silencio Rainforest Preserve where we'll hike accompanied by our naturalist guide. In the afternoon we'll suggest a perfect picnic spot where you can take a refreshing swim in the lake before biking back to our hotel. Enjoy a great sunset over one of the most beautiful lakes in the world followed by our dinner together. Distance: 41 km (25.5 miles) and 2 hours of hiking.
Lodging: Hotel La Mansion Inn
Day 6: Bike to Nuevo Arenal
Highlights: Lake Arenal
Today we continue our spectacular ride around the north shore of Lake Arenal. The road gets closer to the water today and we'll suggest a perfect picnic spot where you can take a refreshing swim before riding back to our hotel. Enjoy a spectacular sunset over one of the most beautiful lakes in the world before our dinner together tonight. Distance: 30 to 60 km (19 to 37 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Hacienda La Pacifica
Day 7: Boat Ride and Viewing Wildlife on Bebedero & Tempisque
Highlights: Boat tour on the Bebedero and Tempisque rivers
Early this morning we'll bike 21 very flat kilometers (13 miles) to Bebedero where we'll board the boat that will take us down the Bebedero and Tempisque Rivers to the Nicoya Peninsula. River banks are prime feeding areas for a wide variety of animals, so this is a great opportunity to see monkeys, iguanas, crocodiles and water birds. After getting off the boat we'll pick up our bikes and ride to our hotel located just outside the old town of Nicoya. Take a dip in the pool before going to our special dinner together. Total distance: 53 km (33 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Rio Tempisque
Day 8: Bicycle to the Pacific Coast
Highlights: Beach hotel with swimming pool, seafood dinner together
The beach awaits today, and what a beach it is -- nestled in a quiet cove along the Pacific Ocean. We'll bike the rolling hills from Nicoya to Samara. If you arrive at our hotel early, you can choose to enjoy the beach or the pool for the afternoon. Or you can just relax with a cool drink and enjoy the ocean breeze. We'll celebrate the end of our journey this evening with a final dinner of local fresh seafood. Distance: 42 km (26 miles).
Lodging: Hotel Guanamar
Day 9: Shuttle back to San José
Highlights: Tour ends with a complimentary shuttle back to San JoséAfter breakfast this morning, we offer a free shuttle back to Alajuela or San José. We'll arrive between 2:00 and 3:00 pm, so if you are departing today, be sure to book your flight for no sooner than 6:00 pm. There are daily flights from a local airport to San José as well, if you would like to spend some extra time on the beach or explore more of Costa Rica. Pura vida!
HighlightsWorld famous Eco Termales Hot Springs, Bicycle ride around Lake Arenal, Rainforest zip line canopy tour, Wildlife river float trip, Pacific Coast beach hotel
Includes9 days, 8 nights accommodation; 6 breakfasts, 1 lunch, 7 dinners with beer or fruit drinks; wildlife float trip; zip line canopy tour; Eco Termales hot springs; shuttle to and from San José
Arrive/DepartJuan Santamaria Int'l Airport, San José (SJO)
Total Distance166 - 220 miles (269 - 356 km)
Daily Distance14 - 38 miles (23 - 62 km)
What to ExpectMonkeys, rainforest, beaches, cowboys, adventure
Varied terrain: long flat stretches on two days, other days with several short climbs. Lots of extra mileage options.
NotesIf this sounds great but you'd like a shorter tour, check out our Bicycling Costa Rica tour, which features the first 6 days of this itinerary.