Those on the group flight land at San Jose and will be transferred to our start hotel in La Garita, around 15 minutes away. Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel this evening.
We have a briefing this morning and spend some time adjusting our bikes before riding out through small rural communities, followed by dense rainforest and dry, tropical forest with very little traffic on the paved roads. We descend to Rio Tarcoles and stop at a good restaurant near the river for lunch. Following a short half hour transfer we arrive at our lodge. Total cycling distance today is 26 miles/41 km.
Following an early breakfast we transfer 10 minutes to Rio Tarcoles for a private, guided boat tour of the estuary where we hope to see crocodiles, water birds, shore birds and Scarlet macaws. A 20 minute transfer brings us to the outskirts of Jaco where we return to our bikes and cycle to the small town of Parrita. From here we have a 30 minute transfer to Manuel Antonio, aiming to arrive in time for sunset on the beach. This evening we have dinner at a restaurant with sea-views where the seafood is a speciality!
Total cycling distance today is 27 miles/43km.
We start the morning with a 2 hour guided hike in Manuel Antonio National Park, an outstanding region for wildlife. The forest here meets the sea and iguanas and White-headed Capuchin monkeys can often be seen on the beach. A 30 minute transfer takes us to Rio Savegre where we begin to cycle on the Coastal Highway. This is a spectacular stretch of road, with dense forest and steep hills on the left and fantastic Pacific views on the right. In the late afternoon we visit the beautiful, isolated Pinuela Beach.
Total cycling distance today is 36 miles/57km.
Our biking route today takes us through Palmar Sur and onto Finca 6 where we will stop to observe some of Costa Rica's famous spherical rocks, made by ancient indigenous cultures. The rocks were originally found in an area being cleared to make way for banana plantations but the land has since been declared a protected area. Back on our bikes we cycle to the junction of the Pan-Am Highway, passing through palm plantations and stopping to observe the harvesting process on the way. A one hour 15 minute road transfer by bus takes us to the Osa Peninsula where we recommence our journey by bike, riding along planted fields bordered by rainforest to Puerto Jiminez. From our accommodation this evening there is an optional sunset kayak trip on the Golfo Dulce, where sea-turtles, dolphins and phosphorescent plankton are frequently seen!
Total cycling distance today is 47 miles/75km
Today has been left free to take a break from the saddle and enjoy the beautiful region surrounding Puerto Jimenez. The coastline and beaches here are lovely and there are plenty of optional excursions to choose from; canopy/zip wire tours, kayaking, surfing, fishing, cacao plantation tour or hiking within Corcovado National Park. If you want to cycle this day there is a great off-road biking route out to Carate and back (52 miles/83km) which will certainly fill up your day!
We board a private boat this morning for a 30 minute journey across the Golfo Dulce to Golfito, where sometimes dolphins can be seen frolicking in the surrounding waters. Our cycle route heads to Rio Claro, via a tropical garden where we will learn about the medicinal properties of indigenous plants and the history of the United Fruit Company in this region. Following a one hour bus transfer across the steep mountains surrounding San Vito we arrive at Las Cruces Biological Station, our lodgings for the evening.
Total cycling distance today is 15 miles/24km.
Las Cruces Biological Station is surrounded by the famous Wilson Botanical Gardens where we enjoy a guided hike this morning. Back in the saddle we take a different route downhill to the Pan-Am Highway at Paso Real, passing through an indigenous area where villagers can often be seen in traditional dress. We board our bus for the three and a half hour journey across the 11,000ft Cerro de la Muerte pass, arriving at Savegre by mid-afternoon. Savegre Valley is spectacular and said to be one of the best places in Costa Rica for spotting the shy quetzal. Our mountain lodge this evening has a wonderful ambience, set in a protected area of forest, with trout ponds and private trails to explore.
Total cycling distance today is 34 miles/54km.
We transfer for two hours by bus to Paraiso and then start riding past coffee plantations and rugged mountains in the Orosi Valley. During harvest season we will visit a coffee plantation to see how coffee is grown, harvested and processed. The views today are incredible, as we ride past Lake Cachi, visit the Cachi Dam and see Turrialba and Irazu volcanoes.
Total cycling distance today is 32 miles/51km.
This morning we set off on bikes to the final ridge that separates Costa Rica from the coast and from here it's a mostly downhill ride to the Caribbean plains. We transfer to isolated Pavon by bus and then board a river launch to take us on the final leg of our journey along wildlife rich canals and waterways to Tortuguero. Our lodge has direct access to the beach where nesting turtles come ashore to lay eggs (in season, July to October).
Total cycling distance today is 29.5 miles/47km
Spend today at your leisure exploring the natural wonders of Tortuguero. Optional activities include a guided boat trip along the canals in search of wildlife or a hike to the top of Cerro Tortuguero, the highest place for many miles along the coast. This area is rich in wildlife and it's common to see monkeys, caiman, iguanas, turtles, butterflies and many of the 309 bird species recorded here.
We re-trace our route by boat to the dock at Pavon where we mount our bikes and travel along the quiet back roads that run through 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! At Guapiles we travel by bus for 2 hours to La Fortuna, a lovely little spot at the foot of Arenal Volcano. Following a massive explosion in 1968, Arenal was Costa Rica's most active volcano until recently when it entered a resting phase. We spend the night in a hotel in the centre of La Fortuna which has observation decks with great views of the volcano, as well as pools and pretty gardens. This evening there is an optional excursion to Eco-Termales hot springs, by far the best in the area.
Total cycling distance today is 31 miles/49km.
Our final cycling stage covers the lush region surrounding La Fortuna, as we cycle past tropical farmlands where exotic fruits and vegetables grow in the surrounding fields. This gives way to dense rainforest as we head towards Bajo Rodriguez, our lunch stop. The last leg of our journey is completed by bus as we transfer back to La Garita, travelling for around two hours with tropical views on the way.
Total cycling distance today is 29 miles/46km.
Our trip ends in San Jose (La Garita) after breakfast this morning and those on group flights will be transferred to the international airport for the return journey.