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Home > Mountain Bike Tours > Costa Rica Mountain Biking - Sky to Sea > Itinerary


Day 1: Arrive & Relax
You'll get your first taste of Costa Rica as soon as you step off your plane at the Juan Santamaria International Airport. Nestled high in the Central Valley, the airport faces both the metropolitan city of San Jose and, in the distance, Costa Rica's lush volcanic mountain ranges. Your Access Trips guide will meet you at the airport and together you'll take a short ten minute drive to your accommodations. After getting to know the other guests over a traditional casado dinner, you'll spend the night at a comfortable modern hotel.

Distance: No riding on this day
Drive time from airport: 10 mins
Accommodation: Modern hotel
Meals: On own

Day 2: Explore Costa Rica by Bike
Our Costa Rica bike tour gets underway early this morning with a drive over the Continental Divide and down to the San Carlos plains. Our first day of exploring Costa Rica by bike is a skills assessment and warm up ride, giving you and our Costa Rica biking guides a chance to set learning goals for the rest of the trip. We'll begin with a mostly flat 28 km ride, with a few short descents and climbs, through picturesque pastures, tropical forests, and sugar cane plantations. We'll ride a mixture of double tracks, cattle farm roads, and a stretch of gravel road through lowland forest. All the while your expert instructor will be providing you with tips, advice, and encouragement to help you maximize your mountain biking performance and enjoyment. Accommodations are at a peaceful riverside resort surrounded by lush tropical gardens with exotic fruits, flowers, birds, and butterflies.

Distance: 28 km/18miles
Climbing: 165 meters
Descending: 365 meters
Drive time: 2.5 hours
Accommodation: Riverside resort
Meals: Breakfast

Day 3: Bike & Hot Springs
Today we'll ride on the lowlands with a few short ups and downs. We bike through Costa Rica's small farms growing papayas, yucca and cattle. This is a good day to learn proper shifting and the experience of carrying your bike over your shoulder as we'll cross several creeks and venture up a few steep paths. The ride takes us to the town of La Fortuna where we'll stop for lunch. After a relaxing stop, we'll continue biking on the paved road all the way to our hotel, which has stunning views of Arenal Volcano - the most active of Costa Rica's volcanoes and one of the ten most active volcanoes in the world. Against the backdrop of the setting sun, you'll spend an unforgettable couple of hours relaxing your muscles in natural hot springs that are framed by lush ferns and tropical gardens. Tonight we'll stay in a relaxing mountain resort nestled in lush gardens, where every room offers amazing views of the volcano.

Distance: 42 km/26 miles
Climbing: 545 meters
Descending: 475 meters
Drive time: N/A
Accommodation: Mountain resort
Meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Majestic Costa Rica by Bike: The Shores of Arenal
Today we'll take a spectacular ride along deserted trails on the southern shore of majestic Lake Arenal. We'll start with an easy ride on a wide, hard-packed dirt/gravel road at the foot of Arenal Volcano National Park. After 17 kilometers of long flat stretches and a few short, easy climbs, we'll cross the Caño Negro river (there are no bridges in this remote part of the park so we'll need to wade). From here we'll ride 15-20 kilometers on an abandoned dirt road that's been taken over by vegetation. The terrain is undulating with only short climbs and the views of the lake are spectacular. Crossing 10 different creeks and negotiating several muddy spots, this ride will be a perfect opportunity to showcase your mountain biking skills! At the end of the ride we'll reach our first sign of civilization, a small restaurant where we'll enjoy a refreshing drink and some lunch. After lunch, we'll cross Lake Arenal by boat. The boat ride is slow and offers excellent birdwatching and gorgeous volcano views.

Distance: 37 km/23 miles
Climbing: 350 meters
Descending: 375 meters
Drive time: 10 minutes plus a 30 minute boat ride
Accommodation: Mountain resort
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 5: Bike Toward Tenorio Volcano
As we descend from the rainforest into the low-lying dry forest of Guanacaste province, we'll experience a huge change in climate and scenery, riding from the lush, Costa Rican jungle to the drier farmland of the Pacific slope. Today we'll ride some technical downhill sections, followed by a rapid descent on dirt roads that offer plenty of curves. We'll end today's ride at a bungalow lodge with excellent views of Tenorio Volcano and two cedar hot tubs. Built in the middle of heliconias gardens, with fruit trees and tropical vegetation surrounding two natural ponds, the lodge offers quiet, relaxation, and serenity.

Distance: 67 km/42 miles
Climbing: 780 meters
Descending: 1330 meters
Drive time: 45 minutes
Accommodation: Deluxe bungalows
Meals: Breakfast

Day 6: Bike & River Safari
The water from Lake Arenal is used to irrigate the farmland in Guanacaste through a vast network of canals and rivers. In this hot and dry land, the canals are shaded by lines of trees and patches of forest that give the landscape its unique look. Today is a fast ride through sugar cane plantations and rice fields, combined with patches of forest. We'll end our ride on the bank of the Bebedero River, where we'll board a boat for a spectacular river safari to see water birds, monkeys, iguanas, and crocodiles. At the end of our river trip, we'll jump in the van and drive across the Nicoya Peninsula to the tiny town of Nosara and the undiscovered yet expansive beach, Playa Guiones. Accommodations for the next two nights are at a beautiful resort and spa nestled in the tropical jungle just 1km from the beach.

Distance: 29 km/18 miles
Climbing: 0 meters
Descending: 21 meters
Drive time: 2.5 hours
Accommodation: Luxury resort hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 7: Coastal Costa Rica by Bike
We've saved one of the most beautiful rides for the end! This rugged, almost deserted stretch of Pacific coast represents wildlife uninterrupted. Most tourist maps have yet to chart the course you will bike and there are few hotels to impede the spectacular views. Our ride will start with a 7 km ride on small dirt roads that pass through small farms and dry forest. We continue along a deserted stretch of coastline passing tiny villages and simple houses until we get to Ostional Beach, a protected turtle nesting beach. Our ride ends at back in Nosara, where we'll enjoy a well deserved lunch. The ride includes some fun downhill and some uphill stretches. You can choose to bike back to the hotel or hitch a ride in the van. After a full day of biking, we'll celebrate the end of our tour of Costa Rica by bike with cold drinks and an optional Guanacaste dinner.

Distance: 36 km/23 miles
Climbing: 275 meters
Descending: 275 meters
Drive time: N/A
Accommodation: Luxury resort hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 8: Our Sky to Sea Trip Ends
Our Costa Rica bike tour will conclude with a final breakfast on the coast. Afterward, we'll drive you to Liberia Airport to catch your flight home or you may take a 50 minute flight from Nosara airport to San Jose. Or ask us about our exciting surf extensions!

Drive time to Liberia Airport: 2 hours
Meals: Breakfast

Please note: This itinerary is designed to give you an idea of what to expect as you explore Costa Rica by bike, but it is not set in stone. What we actually do on a given day is flexible and is tailored to weather and road conditions, and the interests and abilities of the group.