Coast to coast cycling holiday in Costa Rica

“This trip is a sociable group tour cycling long stretches of Costa Rica’s breathtaking Pacific coastline by day and kicking back in comfortable hotels by night.”


San Jose | Rio Tarcoles | Parrita | Wildlife hike in Manuel Antonio National Park | Rio Savegre | Osa Peninsula | Puerto Jimenez | Golfito | Las Cruces Botanical Garden | Savegre Valley | Orosi Valley | Siquirres | Tortuguero National Park | La Fortuna | Arenal volcano | Bajo Rodriguez

Description of Coast to coast cycling holiday in Costa Rica

This two week Costa Rica cycling tour from San Jose takes you overland by bike, boat and transfer vehicle via a variety of inland and coastal scenery to ensure you’re left in no uncertain terms as to the natural beauty of Costa Rica.

From dense rainforests and fertile volcanic slopes to sprawling coffee and banana plantations, cycling Costa Rica unveils an exciting exotic canvas with a combination of Pacific and Caribbean coastlines providing well-deserved beach breaks to accompany days out of the saddle.

Wildlife is always high on the agenda for any trip to Costa Rica, cycling tours are no exception, with the national parks of Tortuguero and Manuel Antonio offering insight as to why this stretch of Central America is such an intensely rewarding location for watching animals in their natural habitat.

Cycling in Costa Rica takes you on rides to Puerto Jimenez, Paso Real and Siquirres as well as allowing you to explore in the realm of the Arenal Volcano and cross the Cerro de la Muerte Pass into the Orosi Valley at a height of 3,400 metres above sea level.

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

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Our top tip:
Take a gel seat and some chamois cream - saddle soreness can really ruin a beautiful view.
Trip type:
Small group, 6-16 adults (min. age 16), plus tour leader.
Activity level:
13 nights comforatble hotels with en suite rooms.
Solo travellers welcome. Single rooms available.
All breakfasts, 2 lunches, 3 dinners.
All accommodation, all transport, listed activities, tour leader.
Holiday type

Small group holiday

Small group travel is not large group travel scaled down. It is modelled on independent travel – but with the advantage of a group leader to take care of the itinerary, accommodation and tickets, and dealing with the language. It’s easy to tick off the big sights independently – but finding those one-off experiences, local festivals, travelling markets and secret viewpoints is almost impossible for someone without the insider knowledge gained from years in the field. If you’re heading off on a gap year your, perhaps – but for those with a two-week holiday, a small group tour will save valuable planning time.

The leaders are not guides – they’re not there to shepherd you around. Instead, they’ll let you know which local restaurant serves great value food – without running the risk of travellers’ tummy. They’ll allow you to avoid hour-long queues at train stations and attractions.

We like to think of small group travel as the Goldilocks option. It is independent travel without the fuss, worry and bunk beds – and organised travel without the coaches. And it’s cheaper than a tailor made tour. It’s sits somewhere in the middle – and we think it’s just about right.

What are the main benefits?
Big experiences
Have big, life-enriching experiences that would be impossible to organise without lots of time and insider knowledge.

Make the most of your holiday time by letting someone else do the hard work and boring logistics!

Peace of mind
Small group tours take care of the security aspects – and provide a safety net should anything unexpected happen.
Who is it ideal for?
Travellers who are short of time
If you don’t have three months to spend exploring, small groups trips let you cover more ground in less time. Your days are not spent queuing for tickets or finding hotels – so you can squeeze more into your holiday.

Solo travellers who’d like company
Likeminded travel companions plus peace of mind for those travelling alone. Single supplements are usually available – providing privacy if you want it.

Less confident travellers
Stray from the tourist trail without worrying about getting lost, and meet local people without dealing with the language barrier.
“I won’t get any privacy!”
Couples and friends have private rooms, and you can choose to eat alone or not. Single supplements give solo travellers their own room.

“There won’t be any free time”
Free mornings or afternoons let you explore on your own, or just relax.

“The accommodation will be basic”
Trips are as high or low end as you like. Though off the beaten track destinations won’t have luxury hotels, this is all part of the adventure.

“I won’t like the other travellers!”
Tour operators try to create groups with a similar demographic – age, families, activity levels... Chances are, you’ll even make new friends.

“Will we be following an umbrella?”
Valerie Parkinson
Meet a group Leader
Name: Valerie Parkinson

Story: The first British woman to climb Manaslu, Valerie climbed Everest for her 50th birthday. She’s spent fourteen Christmas Days trekking to Everest Base Camp, and is involved insetting up Responsible Tourism initiatives in the Himalayas.
Roshan Fernando
Meet a local guide
Name: Roshan Fernando

Story: Roshan has led over 130 trips – he adores showing travellers around Sri Lanka. He won the company Leader Award in 2010, but his career highlight was working on their Tsunami Project – which earned him a responsible tourism award.

Responsible tourism

Coast to coast cycling holiday in Costa Rica

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.


As a cycling holiday, this trip has very limited detrimental impact upon the environment, residents and communities in the regions we visit within Costa Rica. Use of the bikes allows us to cover fairly large distances, while having very little adverse impact, like pollution and threat to wildlife. When we do use coaches for transfers, they come from a local business and run in compliance with Costa Rica’s strict anti-pollution laws, which require vehicles to be inspected biannually. Additionally, cycling also allows for easy access to the local population, shops and restaurants, which facilitates cultural exploration. We are able to raise local awareness for a kind of tourism which refuses to sacrifice the environment and real connections with people for financial gain.

Costa Rica is well known for being dedicated to conserving the environment, having long ago set aside protected areas for conservation activity. Our visits to National Parks and protected areas, such as the Wilson Botanical Garden, which is operated by the Organisation for Tropical Studies, help to encourage and expand the ongoing effort to preserve and protect the environment. Our entry fees for Manuel Antonio National Park and Corcovado National Park, amongst other areas, go towards park maintenance, staff salaries, training programmes and the research and monitoring of the plethora of rich wildlife here. These funds also contribute towards the effort to expand the amount of land and sea given a protected status

Water is a really important issue on cycling trips and whilst we must stay hydrated, it is also vital that we have a system for providing clean water without causing lots of waste with plastic bottles. We suggest that instead of repeatedly buying bottled water, guests should re-fill a singular bottle. Water is safe in the regions we cycle through and there is a large water tank installed at the rear of the support vehicle for easy access.

UK Office:
It all starts at home so we have first worked at reducing our carbon footprint in our UK Offices. Through energy conservation measures and recycling policies, we are proud to be actively reducing the waste produced and our impact on the environment. We support various projects all over the world to try and give something back to the places we visit.


Accommodation & Meals:
We spend our time in Costa Rica using small, locally owned hotels and lodges set in quite remote Southern areas. This provides direct employment for many locals who would otherwise need to migrate to San Jose in search of employment. Using small lodgings also allows for a better chance to meet the local residents; as the hotels tend to be family run operations, interaction between guests and staff is really encouraged. Where meals are provided, locally sourced ingredients are used as much as possible- for breakfast, this is usually fresh fruit, eggs and bread. Lunches and dinners are taken in locally owned cafes, restaurants and road stops, which offer the mutual benefit of local employment and a variety of authentic Costa Rican dishes e.g. Gallo pinto, seafood ceviche, plantain and tamales stuffed with meat and vegetables.

Leaders, guides, mechanics and drivers are all locals, thus benefiting the Costa Rican people, and offering guests direct contact with local knowledge of the country. During the itinerary, there is the opportunity to visit schools which would not routinely experience the benefits of tourism, due to their remote locations. A visit to an orphanage on the poorer, less developed Caribbean side of the country can also be included. Other optional activities include kayaking, canopy or zip wire tours, surfing, fishing, plantation tours or hiking in Corcovado National Park. Each of these excursions benefits local communities by creating local employment in a sustainable part of the tourism industry.

Local Crafts & Culture:
All supplies are sourced locally, and the staff will encourage guests to use local shops for purchasing goods and souvenirs. Following the final biking stage, we stop at Sarchi, a famous arts and crafts village, for a visit to the local arts co-operative, where proceeds more directly benefit the artisans. Also included is a visit to a coffee plantation which is in the process of converting to more environmentally benign practices, and one of the huge banana plantations of the Caribbean plains. We'll stop at one of the plantations to learn about the process of banana production right through from picking the bananas to them arriving on the breakfast table.

Group Size:
This small group tour has a maximum of 16 participants, meaning that we have a low impact on the environments and communities we visit and are able to ensure that we do not disrupt or lead to the displacement of local people. The small number also allows us to stay in unique, family-run hotels that cannot benefit from coach tours and other mass tourism due to their limited sizes.

1 Reviews of Coast to coast cycling holiday in Costa Rica

5 out of 5 stars

Reviewed on 02 Feb 2015 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your holiday?

Every day with new discoveries of Costa Rica, beautiful cycling experience, local tour leader Memo and his fantastic crew member Luís and Ronald, and variety of holiday experience in two weeks made this holiday the best I've ever been.

2. What tips would you give other travellers booking this holiday?

Be prepared for rice and beans three times a day for two weeks ;)

3. Did you feel that your holiday benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?

Yes, absolutely, in all the trips (including optional) I felt that local people were supported in their business, be it a local restaurant for a lunch stop, chocolate tour in sustainable farming or cycling, as a way to discover the country. It was very nice that the tour leader, as well as other two crew members were local, from Costa Rica.

4. Finally, how would you rate your holiday overall?

Exceeding my expectations!

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