Find your ideal cycling holiday
18th January 2020 - 2nd February 2020 (16 days)
Costa Rica’s reputation has grown markedly of late, not only as one of the most progressive and well organized countries in Latin America, but also as possibly the best destination in the world to enjoy remarkable fauna and flora in a pristine environment. Cycling on tarred roads and unsurfaced tracks, this tour heads out up the central spine to Arenal, crossing the lake to the famous Monteverde cloud forest. Its character then changes as it swings north west, descending from Tileran to Bagaces and the awesome Rincon de La Vieja National Park. The tour ends on the Pacific Coast at Tamarindo. With distances of 30-89kms on hired lightweight off-road bicycles, and plenty of free days, the riding should not prove too taxing for the moderately fit rider.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Neil Wheadon
- Grade Moderate
- Booking Status Places Available
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis B&B
- Travel Arrangements Air
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 03265
Saturday 18th January
Fly from London Gatwick to San José, Costa Rica, on British Airways flight BA2237, departing at 0805 and arriving at 1340. Meet the support team and then a short coach transfer to our hotel. In the afternoon time to explore the capital city, built on a grid system like North American towns. Admire the colonial style National Theatre, the Cathedral Metropolitan built with a Spanish influence and the Mercado Central where you can sample the local cuisine. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 19th January
Coach transfer to Valle Azul, arriving by lunchtime. Cycle along a ridge with far reaching views, passing to the east of the Children’s Eternal Rain Forest to finish at La Fortuna, in the shadow of Mount Arena. Tonight's hotel has a swimming pool and boasts a crocodile farm, frog pond and 'Zompopas ants nest'. 52km. Stay 3 nights.
Monday 20th January
Free day to explore the delights of the area.
Tuesday 21st January
Morning loop ride through the National Park, an area full of wildlife, offering a great opportunity to see and hear the sounds of the forest. In the afternoon another opportunity to explore the local area by bike or on foot. This could include a ride to ‘La Catarata de La Fortuna’, a beautiful waterfall 4km from the hotel, through to the ‘Arenal 1968’ trail around the base of the volcano. 47km.
Wednesday 22nd January
Cycle to the north shore of Caño Negro for the ferry across Lake Arenal. Cycle along the southern side of the lake, cross the Rio Chiquito and climb through the forest, followed by a descent and a late lunch at Tronadora. Coach transfer to the hotel at Santa Elena. 50km. Stay 3 nights.
Thursday 23rd January
Many activities are available locally, such as walkways, wild life spotting and even a coffee co-operative. Of note are Bajo del Tigre (to see tarantulas, frogs and birds), the Monteverde bat jungle and Cerro Plano reserves (with sloths and howler monkeys). With 2000 plant, 320 bird and 100 mammal species reported you won't be lonely.
Friday 24th January
An early start by bike to visit the Monteverde Biological Reserve, home to the elusive ‘resplendent quetzal’ and 'three wattled bellbird’. There are a variety of walks in the Reserve, including the option of seeing a 100m high suspension bridge with views through the canopy. Stay for approximately three hours followed by a ride back to the hotel. 29km.
Saturday 25th January
Heading westwards, the route moves from the relative cool of the cloud forest to drier heat in the hinterland of Liberia. After a coach transfer to Tileran, cycle to Tierras Morenas then lose height progressively as you descend the ridge into a drier landscape. The ride finishes in the town of Bagaces, on the Interamericana, followed by a coach transfer to the hotel on the fringes of the legendary Rincon de la Vieja National Park. 53km. Stay 3 nights.
Sunday 26th January
A day without the bikes to explore the Rincón de la Vieja National Park, featuring two-toed sloths, howler monkeys, tapirs, spectacled owls and other wildlife. The area is dominated by two volcanoes, and a hike to the top of one (18km round trip) is highly recommended.
Monday 27th January
Loop ride to the Rincon de la Vieja National Park. Catch sight of the volcanoes that litter the park. The landscape opens out to wide expansive views as the route heads towards and into Liberia, one of the prettier towns in the country. 45km.
Tuesday 28th January
Cycle to the coastal town of Tamarindo, situated at the top of the Nicoya peninsula on the Pacific coast. Travelling westwards will bring a change in the weather, with low humidity and almost unbroken sunshine. 89km. Stay 4 nights.
Wednesday 29th January
Cycle north, passing two of the lovely beaches on the Pacific Coast: Playa Conchal and Playa Brasilito. 57km.
Thursday 30th January
A linear ride, hugging the coast and heading for the pretty little seaside village of San Juanillo. The terrain is anything but flat, but the dense low woodland should provide some shade in compensation. The ride finishes at the black sands of Ostional, home to a colony of Oliver Ridley turtles, followed by a coach transfer back to the hotel. 61km.
Friday 31st January
Rest day to enjoy the beach and the town of Tamarindo, or a loop ride passing through the inland town of Santa Cruz. 78km.
Saturday 1st February
Coach transfer (five hours) to San José airport for the return flight to London Gatwick on British Airways flight BA2236 departing at 1530.
Sunday 2nd February
Arrive London Gatwick at 0745 where the tour ends.
Accommodation & Meals
Hotel accommodation sharing double or twin rooms. No single occupancy is available. Breakfast is included every morning. Vegetarian meals are available, but please indicate what you do/don’t eat on the Booking Form.
Two vehicles will be used on moving-on days: a coach to transport participants and another vehicle to transport bicycles and luggage. The coach will always be on hand to ferry those not able to ride.
Passports, Visa & Health
EU citizens must hold a passport that is valid for at least six months at the end of the tour. A visa will not be required. Holders of non-EU passports are advised to check whether or not they require a visa.
There are no compulsory vaccinations for foreign visitors although it is strongly recommended that you are vaccinated against Typhoid, Tetanus, Polio and Hepatitis A and B. Malaria is not a risk factor in the areas of Costa Rica visited on this tour. You should contact your doctor or a foreign travel clinic at least three months prior to travel to obtain these vaccinations and the latest advice to travellers. Applications of insect repellent at times of greater risk, and good hygiene when eating, are effective ways of combatting diarrhoea and insect-borne diseases.
Our Booking Conditions stipulate that, for holidays outside the UK, travel Insurance is mandatory. Details of the level of cover needed and other conditions you should check are stated in the Booking Conditions. CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours Ltd cannot accept responsibility for any costs that may be incurred due to insufficient insurance cover.
The price of £2,900 is based on a minimum number of 7 people taking part in the holiday and is calculated at a rate of 765 Colones to £1 sterling (based on exchange rates published on XE.com on 5 December 2018; please note Booking Conditions, clause 3). If there are insufficient bookings by 9th November 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.
- Return flights between London Gatwick and San José
- Transfers between San José airport and the hotel
- 2 backup vehicles
- Ferry across Lake Arenal
- 14 nights hotel, sharing room, breakfast only
- Hire of bicycle
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to and from London Gatwick
- Meals in transit
- Evening meals
- Lunches or refreshments during the day (allow $60)
- Entry fees at any attractions
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
A deposit of £400 per person is payable upon booking, with an Interim Payment of £1,000 per person due by 28th September 2019. The final balance of £1,500 per person is to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 9th November 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 28th September 2019
28th September 2019 to 8th November 2019
9th November 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
Costa Rica, with its two coasts, mountainous central spine and central belt containing the most populous towns, is a diverse country in terms of culture, climate and natural assets.
The area to be covered starts in the bustling capital city of San José, with its relatively cool climate. A coach transfer leaves the Pan American Highway no.1 at the pretty town of San Ramón, where the cycling begins northwards in spectacular fashion, ending west of la Fortuna. This will be a base of exploration for two days, before the tour crosses Lake Arenal and heads for Monteverde and its cloud forest, home to frogs, howler monkeys, big cats (mercifully shy), birds such as the Resplendent Quetzal and the Three-Wattled Bellbird, exotic butterflies and flora. Monteverde is the largest remaining cloud forest of its kind anywhere, and as such merits three nights.
The tour will feel quite different as it leaves the village of Tierras Morenas a short distance from the western end of Arenal lake; a long smooth ridge descent into the hotter, flatter area towards Liberia, ends in the Rincon de la Vieja National Park.
To recuperate from this stimulating schedule, four nights will be spent in the town of Tamarindo by a Pacific coast beach. Although a group ride is offered on three days, there will plenty of time to relax, surf, swim, or visit Leatherback turtles nesting nearby on Playa Grande. Tamarindo is a lively, medium sized resort with plenty to do and easy to get away from to explore the surrounding area by bicycle.
Rides & Rest Days
Most riding days will start at around 9am after breakfast and could take 4-8 hours depending on the number of stops and the terrain as much as the distances, which are relatively modest. Bilingual guides will travel with the group, so there should be no navigation problems. You are welcome to ride at your own pace, but riders will regroup at various points along the route.
Main roads and some smaller country roads will be generally well-maintained tarmac. However, much of the rest of the road network consists of gravel and unsurfaced routes with little traffic, though they are pleasant to ride on. Both types will be encountered.
Accommodation & Meals
Evening meals are not included, however eating out is generally speaking relatively inexpensive in Costa Rica outside of tourist hotspots, and the food is of consistently good quality.
The maximum number of participants will be 17 excluding the Tour Manager.
Weather & Clothing
The tour will take place in the country’s dry season, although passing showers are a distinct possibility, especially high up in the central region. Temperatures vary from daytime highs of 25°C for San José to 33°C on the Pacific coast, with a night time low of around 22°C on the coast and 15°C in the capital. The climate is very pleasant, but high factor suncream and a hat are essential, and light waterproofs should be carried as a precaution. Light clothing for the tropics is needed, with a light jumper advisable for evenings in the capital.
Cycles & Equipment
Cycle hire is included in the tour price. You are advised to bring your own helmet, pedals, shoes, gloves, eye protection and cycle clothing; tool kits, pumps and mechanical assistance will be provided. Allocation of individual bikes with correct frame sizes will take place closer to the tour departure date. Helmets are advised, though are not mandatory; if you do not intend to wear one, please check that your insurance will cover you in the event of claim.
You will not need to carry luggage, but a saddle bag, frame bag or seat-post bag will be useful for carrying wet weather gear, spare clothing needed for the day, camera, snacks and your map.
Maps & Guides
International Travel Maps and National Geographic both produce good waterproof and tear resistant maps. As for travel guides, there is little to choose between the excellent Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guides to Costa Rica.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Before booking you should check the latest travel advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office including security and local laws, plus passport and visa information, at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice or on 0845 850 2829.
Money: The local currency is CR Colones, useful for small transactions. ATMs are available in larger towns (mostly at the start and end of the tour) and will supply both Colones and US Dollars. Dollars are widely accepted, and you are advised to bring a good supply of these, although credit cards can be used in most shops. With prices comparable to those in UK tourist areas, and appreciably lower outside these, $60 per person per day should cover lunches, evening meals, drinks and sundries.