Discover volcanoes, wildlife-filled rainforests and postcard-worthy beaches on this cycling adventure through Nicaragua and Costa Rica.

Central America is ripe with uninterrupted natural beauty. What’s more, it’s a part of the world that’s frequently overlooked – meaning you can often see it all without the tourist crowd. From the lakes and volcanoes of Nicaragua to Costa Rica’s forested surrounds, get to the heart of each of these destinations from the saddle. On this active 8-day adventure you’ll cycle past old colonial forts and small villages through serene Nicaraguan countryside, ancient rock carvings and cheeky monkeys on Ometepe Island, and orange groves, banana plantations, and other agricultural bounties in Costa Rica. Action-packed, though not without a good dose of relaxation, this cycling adventure through Nicaragua and Costa Rica delivers it all.


Start
Granada, Nicaragua
Finish
San Jose, Costa Rica
Destinations
Style
Original
Theme
Cycling
Code
QZXN
Physical rating
Ages
Min 14
Group size
Min 1, Max 16

Why you'll love this trip

  • Cycle across Central America, a land of mysterious Maya ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles

  • See the sights and engage in a wide range of activities across two different countries on this epic Latin adventure

  • Volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforest, stunning beaches and ancient rock carvings – Ometepe Island has it all. You'll have plenty of free time to explore the island, set in beautiful Lake Nicaragua

  • Encounter Costa Rica's famous Arenal Volcano. Whether it's reflecting back at you in the lake or heating the thermal pools you're soaking in, the magnificent volcano always makes its presence felt

Is this trip right for you?

  • To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle.

  • This is a new trip for us - we have researched the itinerary and accommodation extensively but there is the possibility of some last minute changes if improvements can still be made.

  • On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)

  • While the cycling distances on this trip are relatively short, the terrain of Central America is naturally hilly with a warm, humid climate. You’ll need a reasonable level of fitness to enjoy the trip – but remember the support vehicle will be on hand if you need to take a break for an hour or a day.

  • Please note that many of the road we cycle on in Central America are not of the standard you may be used to riding on at home. To avoid riding on main roads with too much traffic, most of our riding is done on gravel/dirt roads (approx 75%) with the remainder on paved roads (approx. 25%).

  • The terrain also varies greatly as we make our way across two countries, but hills are a constant feature on this trip.

  • Cycling and driving distances may vary due to local circumstances.

  • There’s the possibility of a few hiccups along the way, perhaps a puncture here and there, but there’s no doubt this is an incredibly rewarding adventure.

  • The weather in this region varies seasonally. Be prepared to get sweaty, and even encounter the occasional rainstorm which may require a change of plans.

Itinerary

Bienvenidos! Welcome to Nicaragua. Home intriguing volcanic landscapes, laid-back colonial towns, lush forests and gorgeous beaches, it’s no small wonder Nicaragua has flourished in recent years and is often a traveller favourite. Make you own way to the hotel, where your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Other than this important group meeting there are no activities planned for today.

Cycling: none
Meals Included
There are no meals included on this day.
Special Information
If you can't arrange a flight that will have you arrive in time for today's welcome meeting, you may wish to arrive a day early so you're able to attend. We'll be happy to book additional accommodation for you (subject to availability). If you're going to be late, please inform the hotel reception. We'll be collecting your insurance details and next of kin information at this meeting, so please have these on hand.
Avoid the heat today with an early cycle (approximately 4 hours) around Apoyo Lagoon. As you leave town, pass by the ‘Fuerte de Polvora’, a white Spanish colonial fort built in the 18th centu-ry. The route takes you off the beaten path, on dirt tracks and up slight inclines, through small settlements in the Nicaraguan countryside. Before arriving at Apoyo Lagoon, stop at a lookout in Santa Catarina and enjoy breathtaking vistas over Apoyo Lagoon and the distant Mombacho Volcano. There are some steep, cobblestoned hills leading up to this viewpoint but the effort is well worth it. Please note that if you are not comfortable with riding the steep hills to Santa Cata-rina you can always use our support vehicle. After soaking in the view, ride along the border of the lagoon before returning to Granada (a route that is mainly downhill). On return to Granada there is time to enjoy lunch at your leisure. Following lunch, hop aboard a tour bus to see the sights of this charming city. This includes a visit to the White Towns – an area where talented local artisans make clay pottery, bamboo baskets, up-cycled flowerpots out of old car tyres and much more. Stop for a quick visit at Masaya Market and then on to Masaya Volcano, where lava can often be seen. The day concludes on return to Granada, where you can take dinner at your leisure.

Cycling: riding distance is about 37 kilometres/23 miles over 4 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of aprox. 645 metres/2,115 feet
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Head out this morning on a walking tour with a local expert, who will point out traditional historic sites and reveal behind-the-scenes insight into life in Granada. In the late morning, catch a transfer to San Jorge, then take a boat across Lake Nicaragua to Moyagalpa, the main town on Ometepe Island. Formed by two impressive volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, you will want to pay attention to views of this remarkable hourglass-shaped island during the journey. Upon arrival, enjoy some free time before starting your biking adventure around the north side of Conception Volcano. Stop and marvel at the many stone carvings of Altagracia – evidence of early, culturally developed indigenous tribes who inhabited the island long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. After another half hour in the saddle, arrive at Santo Domingo Beach in time for a swim and some well-deserved rest at the beach or hotel pool.

Cycling: riding distance is about 23 kilometres/14 miles over 2.5 hours, on rolling terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 345 metres/11,30 feet

Vehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
In the morning make a loop around the less populated Madera Volcano. The volcano itself is not active and its crater now contains a lake. Ride through secluded rural areas that are home to howler monkeys, a wide variety of bird species and small mammals. Stop and cool off with a visit to Ojo de Agua, a beautiful swimming spot where the water comes from deep within the Maderas Volcano. Take time to relax and enjoy lunch before transferring to Moyagalpa and boarding the boat back to the mainland. It’s a 2-hour journey (first by boat, and then by bus) to the laidback surf town of San Juan del Sur, on Nicaragua’s south-west coast. Upon arrival, take an easy afternoon ride down to the Pacific beach in time for sunset.

Cycling: riding distance is approx. 50 kilometres/30 miles over 4 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 580 meters/1,900 feet

Vehicle Transfer: approx. 2 hours
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Say goodbye to Nicaragua and journey south to Costa Rica. Hit the road before 7 am and cross the border at the sometimes unpredictable Penas Blancas border crossing. Once on the other side, start cycling down and along the shores of Lake Fortuna. The lake sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano in the northern highlands of Costa Rica and is the country's largest landlocked body of water. There are quite a few rivers to cross, with Cano Negro being the biggest one. Most of the hotels in Lake Fortuna are located on the slopes of Arenal Volcano, so expect a little climb towards the end of the day.

Cycling: riding distance is approx. 45 kilometres/28 miles over 4 hours, on rolling terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 490 meters/1,600 feet (mostly towards the end of the ride)

Vehicle Transfer: approx. 4-5 hours
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Take breakfast with clear views of Arenal's gorgeous lake and volcano before saddling up for the day. Your destination is the El Castillo region, an area of great natural beauty, rich in orange groves, banana plantations, sugar cane and other agricultural bounties. Spend a full day exploring this lush and fragrant region before returning to Arenal.

Cycling: riding distance is approx. 60 kilometres/37 miles over 6 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 625 meters/2,050 feet

Vehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Cycle from Arenal to Santa Rosa where you’ll spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama, an agricultural community where you’ll have the opportunity to get to know local villagers, help with farm chores or take a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes. All rooms have shared facilities. In order to make the most of this homestay experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Learn as many Spanish words as you can and get ready for some serious hand language signals.

Cycling: riding distance is approx. 45 kilometres/28 miles
Meals Included
  • Breakfast
Today is a non-cycling day as you make your way by vehicle to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, where your adventure ends on arrival. San Jose is perhaps Central America’s most surprising capital, where an assortment of interesting museums, galleries, theatres, lively plazas and markets are set amongst glitzy modern shopping malls. Many of the most interesting buildings can be found near Avenida Central, including the Teatro Nacional, an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors. Should you wish to spend some extra time in this enchanting city, your booking agent would be happy to help you book an extra night's accommodation or two (subject to availability).
Meals Included
  • Breakfast

Meals

7 breakfasts

Transport

Bicycle, Support vehicle, Boat

Accommodation

Hotel (6 nights), homestay (1 night)

Dates & availability

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Important notes

1. A Single Supplement is available on this trip, please ask your booking agent for more information.
2. Bicycle hire is included in your trip price. Please advise your height at time of booking so as we can organise a suitable sized bike.
3. Bike helmets are compulsory on this trip. We are unable to hire bike helmets locally so please ensure you bring your own bike helmet from home.
4. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a back marker where needed)
5. Border crossing fees are not included in the trip cost

Essential trip information

Want an in-depth insight into this trip? Essential Trip Information provides a detailed itinerary, visa info, how to get to your hotel, what's included - pretty much everything you need to know about this adventure and more.