Bicycling Costa Rica Plus! the Pacific

  • Itinerary Summary

    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.

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    1. 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

    2. 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

    3. 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

    4. 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

    5. 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

    6. 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

    7. 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

    8. 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

    9. Day 9: Shuttle back to San José

      Highlights: Tour ends with a complimentary shuttle back to San José

      After 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!

    • Highlights

      World famous Eco Termales Hot Springs, Bicycle ride around Lake Arenal, Rainforest zip line canopy tour, Wildlife river float trip, Pacific Coast beach hotel
    • Includes

      9 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 plus "The Usual"
    • Countries

      Costa Rica
    • Begin/End

      San José
    • Arrive/Depart

      Juan Santamaria Int'l Airport, San José (SJO)
    • Total Distance

      166 - 220 miles (269 - 356 km)
    • Daily Distance

      14 - 38 miles (23 - 62 km)
    • Rating

      201-301 Varied terrain: long flat stretches on two days, other days with several short climbs. Lots of extra mileage options.
    • Terms

      Terms & Conditions
  • Dates Price Private Room Charge Notes

    * We are happy to match solo travelers who would like to share a room with someone of the same gender. If no match exists, due to hotel pricing, we will charge 50% of the private room charge. This charge will be collected at the time of the final payment. If a roommate assignment is available it will be refunded at the conclusion of the tour.

  • Stories

    • Book Review: Guides to Birds of Costa Rica

      ExperiencePlus! co-founder Rick Price reviews two guide books

    • Costa Rica 2009 Update

      Mario Cordero, who coordinates our bicycle tours in Costa Rica, tells us about the roads, a new bicycle tour, and the political situation

    • Interview with Mario Cordero

      Mario has been leading tours and coordinating our trips in Costa Rica since 1993. We recently took a few moments to catch up on his life in Costa Rica.

    • The birds of Costa Rica

      Mario Cordero, ExperiencePlus! Costa Rica country coordinator, describes birds and biodiversity of his country.

    • Maps of Costa Rica

      The site is a resource for travel information in Costa Rica. This site also sells waterproof, high quality Costa Rica maps that you may find helpful planning your vacation before and after your ExperiencePlus! tour.

    • How would you describe this tour to a friend? I have described it to many already as excellent. I especially like that it is not just about the biking but about the culture, nature and other aspects of the country.

      Sally O., Toronto, Ont, Canada
    • Your choice of upscale, local, family-owned hotels; the spectacular route; and our guide Fernando really made the whole trip an excellent experience.

      Cordelia S., Laporte, CO
    • It was a great tour- loved every minute. The people with ExperiencePlus! were so kind and helpful and would do anything to maximize the experience.

      Peg B., Columbus, OH
    • Hard to pick from the many wonderful experiences. The last day, may have been my favorite. The particular road we took to the coast was beautiful, rural, and pleasant to ride. Getting to the beach, and riding on it for several kms was wonderful. Having the time to hang out at the beach topped off the day. We loved it! Had a great time with the group on the tour...that really enriched the experience. Costa Rica is a great destination.

      Bill B., Spokane, WA

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