Costa Rica & Panama Adventure

14 Day Biking Tour from $5400 NZD
14 Days
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Join us in unspoiled Costa Rica and fascinating Panama on our Central American cycling tour.

There are rainforests and rivers, valleys and volcanoes, hot springs and cool oceans. And it’s not just the terrain that’s diverse – these are two of the world’s most biodiverse countries. A cast of creatures from toucans to howler monkeys will cheer you on while you’re cycling.

These countries are a joy for cyclists and nature enthusiasts alike. We’ll ride through varied scenery – past magnificent volcanoes, lush cloud forests, rain forests and wild rivers.

We’ll go whitewater rafting in Costa Rica, explore the lush highlands, and lounge on stunning beaches. It’s all here between the Pacific and the Caribbean.
Along the way we’ll visit the tropical islands of Bocas del Toro for a little relaxation. We reach Panama City and finish our journey with a bike ride to the famous canal.
This trip is designed for both lifestylers and road cyclists. Moderate skill and fitness are needed for days with climbs and descents.

The accommodation is comfortable and diverse. Time on the bike is balanced with free time to explore.

Liberia (Costa Rica) to Panama City

Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport
  • Lifestyle
  • Grade
  • Prices subject to change
  • Group size: minimum 12 / maximum 24
  • USD750 single room surcharge
  • USD390 e-bike hire
  • This tour is invoiced in USD

Grade 2 - Mild Tours

Moderate tours have an expectation that you have an interest and possibly some experience in the activities. Routes chosen will require a reasonable level of fitness and experience on different terrains.

Fitness required

An average level of fitness is required, you will need to be doing some form of exercise two-three times a week during the build up to this tour.

Full Itinerary

DAY 1

Arrive Liberia (transfer to Playa Hermosa)

No cycling

Bienvenido to Costa Rica (Spanish for “rich coast”). We’ll meet you at the international airport in Liberia, capital of north-west Costa Rica’s Guanacaste Province. It’s known as the white city for its stone and buildings. Then it’s a 25 minute drive to our hotel at Playa Hermosa (literally “beautiful beach”). Here, the warm Pacific waters meet a pristine sandy bay with bush-clad hills by a lively town. You should definitely consider a swim! After our tour briefing later this afternoon, get to know the other group members over dinner tonight.

Meals: Dinner

DAY 2

Guanacaste Province (loop ride)

Cycling: 40 km

After breakfast - a bike fit and we’re off! Today we’ll cycle 40 km, starting from our hotel. Once part of Nicaragua, Guanacaste is named for the huge, shade-giving Guanacaste tree, and has a slightly different character to the rest of Costa Rica. Expect Pacific vistas and vast cattle ranches, and be prepared to be dazzled by biodiversity– Guanacaste has one of the largest arrays of plants and animals on Earth.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 3

Playa Hermosa to La Fortuna

Cycling1: 53 km

First up: a 2.5-hour drive to Lake Arenal in the northern highlands. The largest lake in the country, it’s teeming with fish, with hundreds of bird and mammal species around. We’ll unload the bikes near the gorgeous town of Tilaran. Coffee, peanuts, and macadamias grow here, plus there’s cattle and horse ranching. And because of the higher altitude, riding conditions are cool and comfortable. We ride the paved northern route along the lake, which has ups and downs, but we’ll be rewarded with stunning views of the iconic cone of the dormant Arenal Volcano. We’ll meet at the far end of the lake and go to our hotel in La Fortuna de San Carlos. A soak in the thermal hot springs will be just what the doctor ordered.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 4

La Fortuna: Rest Day

No cycling

Today is the first of our free days. La Fortuna, while busy, has kept its local character. There’s so much to do: take one of the many tours into the mountains, windsurf on Lake Arenal, take a jungle wildlife tour, zipline through the rainforest canopy, swim by a waterfall, visit a spa, or go to high-end hot springs (or rustic free ones). Breakfast is included at the hotel, and locals will be more than happy to recommend great lunch and dinner spots.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 5

La Fortuna to Turrialba region

Cycling: 57 km

We start the day with a four-hour drive to the city of Cartago in central Costa Rica. From here we ride to the quaint town of Orosí, set in the deep Orosí Valley, forged by the Reventazón River. This brilliantly colourful valley with its lush fields, coffee, and sugarcane is the setting for today’s ride, and is one of the most famous Costa Rican landscapes. Our destination is a mountain lodge near Turrialba, amid the central valleys, lush tropical gardens and volcanic peaks of Turrialba Volcano National Park. Turrialba, a small city and a whitewater rafting mecca, is also famed for its local cheese. We’ll be staying here for two nights.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 6

Turrialba region: Irazú Volcano Ride

Cycling: 50 – 74 km (mostly downhill)

An exhilarating ride awaits. In the cool of morning we’ll make a 2000 m elevation gain, riding to the top of the Irazú Volcano (3400 m). On a very clear day, you can see both oceans from the summit. We’ll visit the closest viewing point allowed, and will most likely see smoke. Then, it’s an exciting descent down country roads to Turrialba. We’ll ride through the town, across the Reventazón River and up to our beautiful mountain lodge.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 7

Turrialba region to Limon (includes rafting)

Cycling: 14 km

A thrilling day on two wheels and a raft, as we head for the Caribbean coast. After breakfast we jump on our bikes and ride to the surging aqua Pacuare River. The final 5 km is a fun descent to the raft put-in point at Tres Equis. It’s pure exhilaration as we raft through the rapids, and in the slower sections take in the views of the river-carved canyons and virgin rainforest. We’ll lunch by the river’s edge, then continue on to our late afternoon rafting take-out point at the start of banana plantation country. Then it’s back on the bikes to our destination: the laid-back but colorful town of Limon on the Caribbean coast.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 8

Limon to Bocas del Toro (Panama)

Cycling: 50 km

Later today we cross from Costa Rica to Panama. But first, we start biking right from our hotel to the beach town of Puerto Viejo. Here, we slow down the pace to enjoy the vibrant local colour along the coast. This area is also popular with backpackers and surfers from all over the world. The road is challenging, but the howler monkeys in the trees will cheer you on. Road cyclists will take a longer, paved route, and we all meet up at the border. After crossing into Panama we’ll continue riding to the port of Almirante, where we’ll take a half-hour motorboat ride to Bocas Town on the Island of Colon in the idyllic Bocas del Toro archipelago.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 9

Bocas del Toro: Rest Day

No cycling

Enjoy your stay at the Divers Paradise Boutique Hotel — your own private island at our resort, built entirely on stilts over what’s essentially a giant pool. Go for a dive, you might even catch a lobster! There’s complimentary kayaking equipment and paddleboards or walk to nearby Istmito beach.

Meals: Breakfast

DAY 10

Bocas del Toro to Boquete

Cycling: 50 km

Hopefully, our group will be well-rested after a full day off the bikes and some Caribbean R&R. Today we’ll take a motorboat back to Panama’s mainland, then drive south and upwards over the Continental Divide, where major river systems separate. From there we head to the cool Panamanian highlands. We start today’s ride at hydroelectric Fortuna Lake (1070m above sea level). After some ascents and a long downhill, we reach some fabulous natural pools in the forest for a refreshing dip. You can continue by bike or take the bus to the flourishing small town of Boquete, a natural wonder with coffee, hiking, climbing, rafting, rainforests, and hot springs. It’s refreshingly cool, due to the high elevation.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 11

Boquete to Santiago de Veraguas

Cycling: 66 km

This morning, a one-hour drive down the Pan American highway takes us to the settlement of Los Morales, where we begin one of the longer rides of our journey. At more than 80 km with close to 1000 m vertical gain, it is sure to test the group’s resolve. However, the impressive scenery will help you up the hills. Plus, en route there’s a relaxing picnic lunch for an energy boost. At Santiago de Veraguas (population 90,000), we stay in a comfortable hotel, and rest up for another big ride tomorrow.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 12

Santiago de Veraguas to Panama City

Cycling: 50 km

An early start helps us avoid the hot and humid climate of this low-lying area. The ride is relatively flat, on quiet country roads. We pass farmland and ranches and glean insights into a traditional Panamanian rural life. Our ride ends when the route rejoins the Pan American highway. Here, we load up and begin our 3-hour drive to Panama City, stopping along the way for lunch and a swim in the Pacific. Panama City today is a stylish transit hub and melting pot, with a skyline to rival Hong Kong or Miami. Our accommodation is in Casco Viejo – the old quarter, known as the SoHo of the South. First chosen as a safe haven from pirates, it’s 16th and 17th century architecture makes it a World Heritage Site. Rest your legs, or splash out on a Panama hat and local coffee on the waterfront.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

DAY 13

Panama City: Canal visit by bike

Cycling: 20 km

This morning we’ll leave Panama City by bike, entirely via a 10 km-long bike path, offering a perspective rarely available in a car-dominated metropolis. We then cycle to Miraflores Lock, one of the best viewing points for the engineering masterpiece that is the Panama Canal. There’s an excellent museum with displays on its construction, or you can watch the huge container ships traverse the Miraflores Lock, which separates the Pacific Ocean from the artificial Lake Gatun, which is part of the canal. Later you’ll have another chance to enjoy our hip neighborhood of Casco Viejo, with its colonial buildings and stylish shops before getting together for our final dinner.

Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

DAY 14

Departure from Panama City

No cycling

After breakfast, it’s time to say goodbye. This morning there will be one group transfer to Panama City Airport, or you may wish to stay longer to explore this amazing place.

Meals: Breakfast

Tour Inclusions and Exclusions:

Tour Includes:

  • Accommodation in 2* to 4* hotels
  • Meals as listed in the itinerary
  • Group arrival transfers (day 1 afternoon)
  • Group departure transfer (day 14 morning)
  • Support vehicle(s) and driver(s)
  • Cycling guide(s)
  • Drinking water while cycling
  • Route maps and profiles
  • Basic tips for guides and drivers

Tour Excludes:

  • International & domestic flights and airport taxes
  • Bike hire (available on request at extra cost)
  • Meals not listed in the daily itinerary
  • Passport and Travel Visa requirements
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Optional trips & sightseeing tours
  • Pre and post tour nights
  • Personal expenses & drinks (except water for cycling)
  • Entrance fees for sights unless specified
  • Single room surcharge