Coatimundi crossing a jungle road with cyclist, Costa Rica

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

16 days
from
£2,999
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Trip code: 
MUC
Ways to Travel:
Guided Group, Tailormade Adventures
Activity:
Cycling
Min age:
16
Group size:
4–16

Challenging rides through tropical scenery spanning 3 countries

Starting in the graceful colonial city of Granada and ending in bustling Panama City, our route takes us into Costa Rica's steamy rain forests, alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del Toro. The rain forest is home to an incredible variety of wildlife and bird species. We explore the island of Ometepe at Lake Nicaragua, and search for Howler monkeys whilst rafting on the Tenorio River. Our journey ends with a ride near the Panama Canal, following our visit to the famous Miraflores Locks. 

Highlights

  • Cycle through three different countries in two weeks
  • Pacific beaches and the idyllic Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro
  • Dramatic Ometepe Island, with its twin volcanic peaks
  • Cycle along the Panama Canal, see the colossal Miraflores Locks in action
  • Look out for wildlife in Costa Rica’s national parks

Key information

  • 9 nights comfortable hotels, 5 nights standard hotels all en suite
  • 12 days cycling with full vehicle support
  • Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and staff. Min age 16 yrs.

 

What's included

  • All breakfasts
  • All accommodation (see accommodation section)
  • All transport and listed activities
  • Tour leader throughout
  • Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
  • Cycling leader and support team
  • Local bike hire

What's not included

  • Travel insurance
  • Single accommodation only (available on request)
  • Visas or vaccinations
Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

12

Days of Cycling
Pace:

Moderate: 13-16km/8-10miles an hour

 

Terrain:

Low altitude; 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved track

Day by day breakdown
Day 229.0km/18.0miles
Day 337.0km/23.0miles
Day 445.0km/28.0miles
Day 544.0km/27.0miles
Day 650.0km/31.0miles
Day 761.0km/38.0miles
Day 856.0km/35.0miles
Day 952.0km/32.0miles
Day 1053.0km/33.0miles
Day 1260.0km/37.0miles
Day 1338.0km/24.0miles
Day 1413.0km/8.0miles

Responsible Travel

At Exodus we believe in the power of Responsible Travel.

Every time we travel, we are part of a global movement that creates jobs, builds more sustainable societies, encourages cultural understanding and safeguards common natural and cultural heritage. To learn more about what Responsible Travel means to Exodus click here… 

Itinerary

London
to
London
  • Day 1

    Fly to Managua; transfer to Granada.

    Those on the group flight land at Managua and will be transferred to Granada (approx. 1 hour). Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel this afternoon. Following a short briefing in the evening, it's time to get some rest before our day's cycling tomorrow.

    Comfortable Hotel

  • Day 2

    Ride along shore of Lake Nicaragua; visit Masaya Volcano N.P.

    After breakfast, we have an overall tour briefing as well as indications for the initial cycling stage. Any last-minute adjustments to the bikes are made before we set off towards the shore of Lake Nicaragua. As we reach the lakeshore, we enter into the Asese Peninsula recreation area, a beautiful protected area, where the traffic is kept to a minimum and several species of exotic birds can be spotted. Our lunch stop offers stunning views of the large volcanic mass of Mombacho.

    Upon arrival back at our hotel, we’ll have time for a swim or stroll along La Calzada, Granada’s main pedestrian street. Late afternoon we will head for the popular Mirador Catarina, overlooking pretty Laguna Apoyo. Our Sunday visit will allow us to experience the local people enjoying the wonderful view while being entertained by strolling marimba bands and souvenir vendors. Afterwards we will head for the Masaya Volcano National Park for a night visit to observe molten lava bubbling away in the depths of the huge crater. It may also be possible to spot the 'Chocoyos', a sub-species of parakeet which nests in the crater walls, having evolved to become resistant to the constant emissions of sulphuric gas. Due to safety concerns, the visit to the crater is limited to 15 minutes (and occasionally the park is closed altogether), we then return to Granada for dinner.

    Gradual descent down to the lakeshore, then virtually flat (but bumpy) out to the tip of the Asese Peninsula. The roads are 65% paved, 35% dirt/rock.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 3

    Transfer to San Jorge; ferry to Ometepe Island and cycle to fresh water spring.

    After breakfast we transfer (approx. 1.5 hours) south to the port of San Jorge on Lake Nicaragua, where we will board the vehicle ferry for the 1 hour trip out to fantastic Ometepe Island, with the twin volcanoes of Concepcion and Masaya dominating the view. Upon arrival at busy Moyogalpa, we start our cycling with a stretch around the west face of Concepcion, the active volcano on Ometepe. We then continue with a climb up and over the isthmus which leads out to rain forest clad Maderas, the extinct volcano on Ometepe. Our destination is lovely Ojo de Agua fresh water spring ($5 entry fee), where we will have lunch, and enjoy a swim in the cool, crystal-clear spring water, a welcome respite on a hot day. Afterwards we get back on our bikes to head for the wildlife-filled Charco Verde Lagoon, where our hotel is set. The west facing situation right on the lake allows for some spectacular tropical sunsets, as well as the possibility to take a dip in the warm waters of Lago Cocibolca, the Indigenous name for Lake Nicaragua.

    The roads are all paved except for the final half mile to Charco Verde.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 4

    Ferry to mainland; ride to San Juan del Sur.

    Today we depart the hotel around 10:30am, which gives us some free time beforehand to hike the trails around the lagoon to spot more wildlife or relax on the beach and admire the view. For keen cyclists looking for a challenge, an early morning ride along the single-track trails within the Charco Verde Reserve ($2 entry fee for hotel guests) is a great start to the day. Those looking for a hike can do the same trails; make sure to bring your camera, as the reserve is full of wildlife, which is best seen in the early morning. 

    Departing the hotel we cycle to Moyogalpa and get the ferry back to the mainland. We then get in the saddle again for a ride to Rivas, the largest city in southern Nicaragua and then along La Chocolata Road towards San Juan del Sur, a Pacific beach town. The road takes us through dry forest where we may see Howler monkeys and large iguanas, we also pass through several small villages which experience no tourism other than our biking groups. If you plan to bring any gifts for local people, the children and teachers in the small rural schools along the way really appreciate pencils, pens and crayons. After finishing the mild climb which then drops us onto the Pacific side of Nicaragua, we ride just a bit further west to the beautiful beach ‘Playa Marsella’, in time for a late afternoon swim. Our hotel for this evening is close to the main San Juan del Sur beach, a great place to watch the sunset or simply enjoy the hotel pool.

    Along mostly level roads with some mild climbs. The road is 60% well-groomed dirt and 40% paved.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 5

    Ride from Pacific to Lake Nicaragua; transfer to Costa Rica.

    Starting early to avoid the heat, we cycle over the continental divide and down to a back road  (subject to road/weather conditions) near La Virgen, which then take us on to Sapoa, close to the border with Costa Rica. Then we have a 5 minute transfer which will take us to Peñas Blancas, from here we will exit Nicaragua. After clearing immigration on the Costa Rica side, we will stop for lunch near La Cruz and then continue south along the Pan Am highway to just outside Cañas, another good sized town. Our arrival will be late in the afternoon due to ongoing highway constructions.

    Initial climb departing San Juan del Sur, then gradual descent to near La Virgen. Back road to Sapoa is mild rolling terrain, graded dirt. 40% paved / 60% dirt

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 6

    Wildlife trip on Tenorio River; Bijagua valley ride; ride to Lake Arenal.

    This morning we get out of the saddle early in the morning for a 2 hour float down the Tenorio River, a haven for birds and wildlife. As our raft takes us gently along the river, we can expect to see several species of monkey, iguanas, coatis and a wide range of birds. There are also crocodiles along the lower stretch of the river and our experienced guides will not only handle the oars but will also point out as many species as possible. This is likely to be a big wildlife highlight of the trip! Afterwards, we transfer up to near Bijagua, then cycle back down to the Pan American Highway before lunch. After our meal we head up to the hilly region surrounding Lake Arenal where our afternoon biking stage will begin. This is quite a challenging section and although the distance is short there are several climbs and it can also be rather windy. The rewards are the spectacular views of the lake and the surrounding hills.

    Morning stage is fast downhill after climbing out from Bijagua but can be pot-holed. Afternoon stage from outside Tilaran to Mystica includes several fairly steep climbs through rolling hills. 100% paved.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 7

    Cycle to La Fortuna.

    After breakfast we set off on our bikes towards La Fortuna. This is one of the most spectacular cycling stages, starting in lush agricultural land which gradually gives way to thick rainforest as we approach the dam which forms Lake Arenal. Watch out for monkeys, toucans and the amazingly colourful neon-blue Morpho butterflies as we cycle. If it's clear the dam is a great place to take a break for a wonderful view of Arenal Volcano. The town of La Fortuna is a major tourism destination within Costa Rica, so those looking for souvenirs will be well satisfied.

    Mostly on rolling hills with some short but fairly steep climbs, followed by fast downhill to La Fortuna. The road is 95% paved and 5% dirt or gravel.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 8

    Ride up from tropical lowlands with views of Arenal volcano; visit thermal springs.

    Today’s ride follows a circular route through the region surrounding La Fortuna, taking in a great variety of terrain and ecosystems. Starting from the hotel we head south toward Chachagua, then diverting to a back road leading to El Bosque, where we pass through agricultural land devoted to bananas and sugar cane before heading into a rugged hilly zone leading back towards rainforest near the small town of La Tigre. We stop for lunch at Chachagua. Toucans are especially common here and there are some incredible views of the jungle and Arenal Volcano. As we approach La Fortuna again, there is one final steep climb before we reach our hotel. This evening we include a visit to the Eco-Termales Hot Springs to soothe any aching muscles - the best hot springs in the area!

    Paved roads, mostly level for the first half, followed by several challenging climbs.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 9

    Morning jungle ride; afternoon cycle along Caribbean coast to Cahuita.

    Another early start today as we head east into the rolling terrain of the San Carlos plains, riding through rich agricultural zones, sugar cane and pineapple plantations and rural villages. We are generally descending on this leg, which levels off as we get closer to Muelle, where we conclude the morning stage. Have your cameras handy upon arrival, as there is a population of large iguanas posing while the staff will load the bikes for the transfer out to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Given that we will be crossing a large portion of Costa Rica, this is a long transfer (approx. 3 hours). Well worth the effort, as we arrive at a beautiful beach, Playa Manzanillo, which will be your introduction to the Afro-Caribe culture on the east side of Costa Rica. We will have lunch at a seafood restaurant. Try the fresh seafood, and the Caribbean rendition of “riceandbeans”, much tastier due to the use of coconut and spices. After lunch you have a bit of time for a swim in the warm Caribbean sea, then back onto the bikes for an afternoon ride through the rain forest and along the coast to bustling Puerto Viejo, one of the most popular destinations on this side of Costa Rica. From here we head to Hone Creek, where we will transfer (approx. 15 minutes) to Cahuita, a typical Caribbean town, with lively reggae music/culture and spicy cuisine.

    Morning stage fast descent leaving La Fortuna, then level out to Muelle. Afternoon stage fully level  100% paved for both stages.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 10

    Ride to Panama border; boat to Bocas del Toro islands.

    Today we begin riding south at the base of the towering Talamanca Mountains. We follow the main coast road at first, before turning off to the indigenous community of Bri-Bri, home to members of the Guaymi tribe. We may see some of the traditionally dressed women in flowing embroidered dresses as we pass through this area. The ride continues through vast banana plantations to the border crossing on the banks of the Sixaola River. After a quick lunch we leave Costa Rica and cross to Guabito, the Panamanian port of entry. After the border formalities, we board the bus through the frontier town of Changuinola and then through steep rainforest hills which are inhabited by indigenous people. We hit the coast and board a private boat transfer to cross into the Caribbean to the wonderful Bocas del Toro Islands, our home for the next two nights.

    Mostly flat roads, although there are some climbs as we head to Bri-Bri. The roads are paved although there are often potholes and washouts close to the border.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 11

    Free day in Bocas del Toro.

    A free day today to explore the beautiful Bocas del Toro Islands, which are rapidly becoming a popular destination in the Caribbean. Today you will get a chance to see why: spectacular palm-shaded white sand beaches, crystal clear water, wonderful snorkelling and diving, lots of wildlife, kayaking and even great surfing are all available! It's also possible to take boat trips to the other islands, or go on dolphin watching tours. All of these optional activities can be arranged through the hotel or nearby tour agencies whom we have long-established relationships with.

    For those who want to ride today, biking is available on the island and the 32km round trip to Bocas del Drago on the island's western tip is recommended. Our bikes will stay on the mainland at Almirante, but bikes can be hired locally.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 12

    Jungle ride; descent to Pan-Am Highway; transfer to Pacific coast.

    After taking a private boat back to the mainland we drive to Punta Robalo for a ride through beautiful jungle scenery. After lunch we transfer (approx. 1.5 hours) through the mountains that separate Panama's two coastlines after which we begin our second ride of the day. The change in temperature, humidity and eco-systems is significant as we gain altitude. At the top of the pass we find beautiful Lago Fortuna, set in a rainforest-clad tropical valley. We then have a fast downhill ride with great mountain views and several river crossings to Gualaca and the Pan-Am Highway beyond. Upon meeting the Pan American Highway junction we board the minibus for the drive down to Las Lajas, a lovely, isolated Pacific beach, which stretches for miles. Here we can enjoy a great tropical sunset while relaxing under the shade of a palm thatch palapa. 

    Some moderate hills near start, then level AM / Fast downhill to Pacific plain then some short climbs near finish PM. 100% paved.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 13

    Tropical lowland forest ride; transfer to Panama City.

    An early start today as we avoid the heat and traffic on our ride through the Panamanian countryside. We have a short drive to Guabala, a customs/passport control point on the Pan Am highway. Once our documents have been checked, we will offload the bikes for a fairly challenging ride through a quite remote and hilly section of the western portion of Veraguas Province. Some of the morning's ride takes us along remote back roads past large sugar plantations and through dry tropical forest. We finish cycling close to the town of Jorones, where we start our transfer to Panama City (approx. 3 hours), with a quick lunch stop in Santiago, the main city in this part of Panama. We cross the famous canal where we're very likely to see huge ships as they make the journey between the Caribbean and the Pacific. Our hotel is located in the suburb of Albrook, where many opulent residences are testament to the days when US military officers and Canal Authority officials lived in the city.

    Level start but becoming increasingly hilly during the middle section. The last stage is level again and the road is fully paved.

    Comfortable Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 14

    Ride alongside the Panama Canal.

    Our final day is truly memorable, as we travel along a stretch of the Panama Canal to observe some of the highlights. Starting from our hotel, which overlooks the Pacific entrance to the canal, we transfer to the Miraflores Locks Visitor Centre (entry fee to museum and video presentation included) to view the process of raising and lowering the ship traffic. Then we have a short transfer to the entry point of the Soberana National Park, where we will enjoy a final biking stage through lush rain forest. Our biking concludes with lunch at lovely Los Lagartos, set over Lago Gamboa, with the canal as a back-drop. This offers a great photo opportunity as ships pass by during their transit. After lunch we transfer back to our hotel for some free time or a swim. In the afternoon we visit the World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo, the historic old portion of Panama City. We will have our final group dinner in the Casco Viejo at Las Bovedas, an excellent restaurant set on the historic Plaza de Francia. 

    This is mostly level along the canal, but with some climbing within the Soberana Park. The main road is fully paved.

    Standard Hotel

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 15

    Depart Panama City.

    Our trip ends after breakfast this morning, and those on group flights will be transferred to the international airport for the return journey to the UK.

    Meals included: Breakfast
  • Day 16

    Arrive London.

    Arrive London.

Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Essential Info

Visas

Costa Rica

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Costa Rica for a stay of 90 days without a visa. Proof of onward travel may be required when entering Costa Rica - we suggest you take a print out of your flight details in case officials ask to see them.
All passengers flying via the USA will have to clear immigration during transit. Prior to travel you must apply for an Electronic Travel Authority (USD14) under the Visa Waiver Programme. Please see www.exodus.co.uk/USVisa for more information. If you are not a UK citizen please check with your local U.S. Embassy.

Nicaragua

Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Nicaragua without a visa - there is a charge of USD10 on entry for a tourist card.

Panama

Most nationalities, including Holders of British, US, Canadian, Australian, New Zealand and most EU passports can enter Panama for 90 days without a visa.

Vaccinations

Costa Rica

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements. Recommended vaccinations are: Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria is slight but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever is a known risk in places visited. It is a tropical viral disease spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for Dengue, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The symptoms and impact of the disease is not serious, but a significant risk to foetus development has recently been highlighted. Therefore, if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant you should seek additional advice from a health professional.

Nicaragua

No vaccinations are compulsory, but vaccination against typhoid, tetanus and hepatitis A are recommended.

The risk of malaria is slight, but you may wish to consult your doctor or travel health clinic.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. 

Proof of Yellow Fever vaccination is required if arriving from a Yellow Fever country which includes a number of Latin American and African countries.

 

Panama

There are no mandatory vaccination requirements for this trip. Recommended vaccinations for this trip are: Typhoid, Hepatitis A.

The risk of malaria on this trip is slight, but you may wish to consult your GP or travel health clinic for further advice.

Dengue fever and/or Chikungunya are known risks in places visited on this trip. Both are tropical viral diseases spread by daytime biting mosquitoes. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available for either, and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites.

Zika fever is a mosquito‐borne viral disease and a known risk in places visited on this trip. There is currently no vaccine or prophylaxis available and therefore the best form of prevention is to avoid being bitten. We recommend you take the usual precautions to avoid mosquito bites. The symptoms and impact of the disease is not serious, but a significant risk to foetus development has recently been highlighted. Therefore, if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant you should seek additional advice from a health professional.

Eating and Drinking

All breakfasts included.

The trip price includes all breakfasts throughout the trip. Restaurant stops for lunch and dinner are selected throughout the itinerary to allow you to try out good quality local cuisine. Expect to see a lot of the Costa Rican speciality 'gallo pinto' and a lot of rice, beans, fruit and grilled meats.

Most days we are on a fairly tight timing schedule, especially at lunchtimes when we have cycling stages and transfers in the afternoon. In order to help us save time and hassle when we are dining as a group, the leader will take a note of people's orders and settle the total group bill him/herself. The leader will then ask clients for individual payments at a convenient time before leaving Nicaragua and then again before leaving Costa Rica. We find that this method is the most efficient, however if you object then you are of course free to opt out.

Weather

Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama lie between 5º and 15º north of the equator, and have an almost perfect tropical climate. The average temperature is 10 - 13ºC in the highlands, and 22 - 28ºC in the lowlands. There is a rainy season from May to October when there may be daily downpours, though these are usually quite short and there is still plenty of bright sunshine. November to April is the driest time of the year but you should still expect some rain - particularly in the cloud forests. August offers moderate temperatures.

Is this trip for you?

This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging).
Please see the introductory pages of the cycling holidays brochure or our website for more important information on classification and grading.
Average daily distance: 45km (28 miles)
Number of days cycling: 12
Vehicle Support: 100%
Terrain and route: surface 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved track, some hills and generally rolling terrain.

Routes follow quiet back roads where possible. In Costa Rica, as we make our way from the Northwest corner of the country to our exit at the Southeast corner, there will be sections where we will use roads with heavy traffic. This is because in some regions they are the only paved roads available.

This tour covers some remote parts of the region. Though many of the roads are in good condition there can be potholes and poor road conditions in some sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic until we reach towns. In the harder areas there are some longish climbs, requiring good fitness, (particularly as the region is invariably hot and humid) and also some steep descents.

Occasionally it may not be possible to follow the itinerary exactly as planned. Leaders will always watch for hazardous traffic situations, road closures, ferry cancellations etc. and look for alternate routes/solutions whenever required. In all such cases that involve shortening a cycling stage, every effort will be made to recover lost mileage (or missed visits) later in the trip.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Accommodation

Hotels

You will spend 14 nights in comfortable hotels. This includes a mixture of colonial-style and modern hotels all with en suite facilities. On standard departures you will stay in a variety of good quality, comfortable colonial-style and modern hotels, all with en suite facilities.

We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability). Please check with your sales consultant for availability and prices.

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Experts

Contact a member of staff who has done this trip

Call for general departures:
020 8772 3936
Call for tailormade trips:
+44 (0)20 8772 3874
Trip Notes

Click on the button below for detailed Trip Notes containing all the particulars about this trip, including kit lists and practical information.

Note: these can vary by departure; you can check out the specific Trip Notes for your chosen adventure on the dates & prices page.

Expert Blog Entries

  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lindsey Taylor

    An amazing trip

    Cycling is such a great way to see a country and this trip didn’t disappoint. There was a great range of cycling from tarmac roads to rough off road. Cycling experience and fitness is a must. The roads are undulating and on some days there were some long climbs, made all the more difficult in the heat. It also meant there were great views! In addition to the cycling there were great trips and even some free time to relax.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    It is difficult to highlight one moment. The whole trip was an experience. It was fantastic to see the views and wildlife whilst cycling along but one highlight would have to be getting so close to an active volcano!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had a fantastic team, they couldn’t do enough for you and all worked really hard. Our leader Roberto (Chino) went out of his way to ensure that everything on the trip was perfect.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Deciding what to take is always difficult. Cycling gear can be rinsed through in the hotels although drying can sometimes be a problem. Snacks are provided whilst cycling and the minibus is always nearby so you don’t have to carry everything with you on the bike, stick it in a day bag on the bus. Clothes when not on the bike are very casual and long sleeves and long pants are handy to cover up in the areas where more mosquitoes are out. We did get bitten but not too bad. Things that don’t crease are ideal and good packing is essential so you know where everything is, there’s no time to keep unpacking your case.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I would recommend the white water rafting in La Fortuna, it was fantastic. We went with Arenal rafting, they were brilliant and great value for money. Take dollars in small denominations as you get change in local currency.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Lisa Meanock

    An outstanding cycling trip

    What a fantastic way to see 3 countries 'on a bike'. Not being a cyclist and having a knee operation in July I was a little sceptical about whether I would be able to complete 2 weeks of cycling but the trip was just the right balance of sight seeing and cycling. The cycling was challenging but very enjoyable with 'amazing views', the terrain was mixed which added to the experience. Our guide for the trip (Roberto Aguilar aka 'Chino') was outstanding couldn't have asked for a better one, his knowledge of all the countries was fantastic and really helped us in understanding the history of each. I felt the trip was quite expensive for a young couple and I feel if it was cheaper would appeal to more younger people to book. Chino's support for the 2 weeks was Albarro and Paul who were also great and really helped the weaker cyclists but also challenged the more experienced cyclist too which was good. Even when we lost Albarro at Nicaragua and just had Paul for the remaining trip the standard didn't slip. Due to the weather in Costa Rica on the Caribbean side our trip had to be changed at short notice whilst this may have been stressful for chino this didn't show and didn't impact on our tour and it all went through smoothly and didn't impact too much on the original itinerary. What I would suggest for future trips would be for the hotels to offer free laundry whilst the weather was warm it was humid and if hand washing we struggled to dry them and with staying only 1 night in some hotels you travel with damp clothes so didn't really smell fresh when eventually dried and needed washing again. I would also recommend exodus invest in purchasing kit to cover the maximum size of the group. There was 12 of us within our group and all our luggage was delayed for 1 day which meant we couldn't take part in the first day cycling because there was only 2 spare helmets but if there was spare we could have purchased spare clothing and still took part. Our first day wasn't ruined because chino stepped into action and arranged a trip for us around the local town on horse and cart which was fantastic to see.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I'm not sure I can specifically call out one inspirational moment of this trip the whole trip totally exceeded my expectations the right balance of cycling and sight seeing. Not once on this trip will you be bored, action packed and just fantastic.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    I can honestly not say anything negative about our trip leader Alberto Aguilar 'chino' everything planned perfectly to the minute. His mileage estimations for the bike rides was spot on which helped me pace myself and keep me going. He explained everything clearly and honestly and nothing was too much trouble. If I was book another cycling holiday I would love chino to be our guide he really did make our holiday an absolute pleasure.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Take spare cycling clothes in your hand luggage in the event of cases not arriving. Have your laundry professionally done as you will struggle to get it dried if hand washing. Power banks are a must so you can charge all your gadgets, (phones, garmins, watches, go pro's). I would bother with energy gels etc because the trip provides fruit, granola bars, re hydration powder for your drinks etc.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Will definitely be booking another cycling holiday following this excellent experience with exodus.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Chris Hunt

    Exceeded Expectations

    This trip exceeded our expectations! The cycling was often challenging with some biggish hills in hot weather but also great fun (what goes up has to come down) and mostly on well made roads without too much traffic. Two longish sections on dirt roads challenge the suspension but are fine in the weather that we had for those sections. At the end of the trip we felt we had achieved something worthwhile. But it was not all cycling with trips to an active volcano, hot and cold springs and and wildlife spotting during river rafting among the notable highlights. The trip accommodation and food ranged from good to adequate. The hotel at Las Lajas and the last meal in Old Panama being particular highlights. The trip was well organised and well run with Roberto (Chino) and his team doing a great job. They responded very well to the issues of our delayed luggage and very poor weather in the Caribbean. The latter meant that we had an extra night at Las Lajas which was more than welcome. Chino, Paul and Ronal had become great friends with the group by the end of the trip. If you enjoy a bit of a challange and doing something a bit different from the usual holiday routine then this trip is for you - overall a superb experience which is going to take some beating!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The tour team of Chino, Paul and Ronal helped to make this trip special - I think they turned something that might have been hard work into a truly enjoyable adventure for the whole group.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto (Chino) was excellent - responded well to any issues that arose and made sure that we were all fed and watered before he himself sat down to eat. Socialised well with the group whilst also retaining our respect as a leader throughout. His daily briefings and leading the singing on the bus were highlights (he's quite fond of Queen). Chino was more than ably supported by Paul (guide/mechanic) and Ronal (driver) - they made a great team. Special mention to Roberro who was with us only for the Nicaraguan leg of the tour - we missed him when we moved into Costa Rica!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    During the dry season you don't need as much DEET as you think - there are only a few areas where mossies are a problem and our bite count was surprisingly low. My wife and I got through only two 100mm sprays for the whole trip. Also take some travel wash - it is possible to use hotel soaps, shampoos etc to wash your cycling kit but provision of hotel stuff isn't consistent. You may also wish to regularly wash your water bottles - we used hotel shampoo but as before provision isn't consistent. White water rafting is a blast - if you don't fancy the optional ride in La Fortuna then white water rafting is great fun.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Peter Booth

    Two of Team Jolly Hockey Cycles ( 12 members )

    Having cycled extensively in the UK and Europe we were invited to join the JHC on this Central America cycle trip. Holidaying with family, old friends, new acquaintances and four strangers could prove daunting, however, it turned out wonderful from the offset. This was far more than just a cycle trip. ( Hardcore cyclists need not apply) It turned out to be an education in history, cultures, wildlife and geography. All of which ticked all our boxes. The cycling was a joy each day with all 16 of us able to stay within our own limits, take time out for photography or just stand and look at everything around us. When we fancied a blast, we did just that. That easy. The hotels and restaurants offered good accommodation and local food with varied menu's to suit all tastes.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Inspiration, where do you start. Everything was different, so inspirational individually.I have never cycled three amazing countries in 16 days. I have never looked down an active volcano. I have never been on a river raft and seen more Iguana's, Osprey's, Crocodile's, Monkey's, Lizard's, Vulture's etc. etc. in one day than I have seen in a lifetime. I have never sat in a hot spring with a pina colada in my hand. I have never been so close to one of the worlds largest engineering feats, the Panama canal. etc.etc. All inspirational in their own way.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We could not have a better group leader, Chino, and support team, Paul, Ronaldo, Alvaro. We arrived with all our luggage missing so instead of losing our first day Chino arranged a sight seeing trip around Granada by horse and carriage. Paul took the other four cycling, (no luggage shortages) and we all met for lunch. We had serious weather issues on the Caribbean so the itinerary was changed to keep everything flowing smoothly. Chino ensured everything was in order, including hotel and meal service, briefings throughout the cycling to ensure we were abreast of what was ahead and the never ending information of the history, culture and geography around us. He carefully explained the difference in the standard of living of the people we met and encouraged us to meet with them. It wasn't just business, we could babble on with all the team about ourselves, themselves and just about anything.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Credit cards accepted everywhere. Small US dollar bills, no larger than $20. Laundry available at some of the hotels and widely at La Fortuna. There is all the in-ride snacks, fruit, energy drinks and bottled water with the bus and plenty of places to purchase more if you need. For those nervous of foreign bus drivers, don't panic. Our driver, Ronaldo, never once broke any speed limit, made any dangerous manoeuvres or gave us any cause for concern.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Quite simply, if we do not take another holiday, this one is our holiday of a lifetime.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Sally Birch

    Not cheap but worth it in many other ways

    Overall a great trip made better by the people in my group and trip leaders (even though we had a change over after Nicaragua). A wonderful experience slightly blighted by lost lounge for the first 5 days and then me having a non cycling accident on the first day in Panama. However the group and the trip leaders were awesome, a real opportunity to see people at their best. So helpful, so caring and so accommodating, every one of them really made sure I was able to enjoy as much of the holiday as possible. Stunning sights, food, adventures and guidance and support from the leaders and so much to laugh about and enjoy.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    So many....seeing my first volcano and active too. Massages in the tree tops, the panama locks, the hot spas, the boat trips, the stunning beach in Panama, animal spotting and rafting. The views were stunning and the people were so friendly and welcoming.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We had Roberto initially, who is very experienced and knowledgable and worked tirelessly to get my suitcase back to me and ensure I could participate as much as possible. Then we switched to Rafa, who despite being younger and newer, was so much fun and the best male nurse in the business ;) His support during and after my accident, in the hospital and helping to redress my wound twice daily, was without doubt a lifesaver. And his good humour and patience during my "colourful language" with each cleaning session (hehe) meant that tears always ended in laughter.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Bug spray was only needed for a couple of nights but useful. Pack your first days cycling gear in your hand luggage, esp shoes (cycling in the equivalent of flip-flops wasn't fun initially). You'll need cash, for the most expensive of trips i've done with Exodus, this had the least about of meals included but cashpoints are available. I literally only took US Dollars as everywhere accepted them and gave change in local currency to each country that i just then used before we crossed the next border. Sunscreen!! I took 4 sets of kit and that was more than enough, could have survived on less (and i did initially). DOn't be precious about sticking to the trip notes, relax and have fun, this is the time to let someone else make decisions and you just ride and see what comes next around the corner!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Well worth it and that's coming from someone that cycled Nicaragua in 1 set of kit and shoes 2 sizes too big and couldn't cycle Panama due to injury...........but it was an adventure and I laughed so hard that it was good for my soul instead of my quads this time :)
  • Reviewed January 2018
    john odonnell

    CENTRAL AMERICA Nov11th

    After braving the ridiculous American vetting of transit passengers[I was lucky came in through Dallas not Houston]things immediately became better.The tour leader and staff were really good.The trip was well organised and the staff were on the ball at all times.The group were really great and mixed well.The three countries were so different and added to the enjoyment of the trip.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think the most inspirational theme of the trip was that all three countries were providing power or attempting to through renewable energy e.g. wind turbines. Made me ashamed to be Australian given our energy policies.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Worked so hard and so determined to ensure we had a good trip and an enjoyable one.The supporting staff were great as well and worked very well as a team.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    There is a great diversity in the countries and a simple example is added taxes to meals for example Costa Rica is the best example of this.I slightly overspent on budget but it was no big deal.Learn some Spanish I had not and wished I had

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I missed on doing the local evaluation and regret it as I would have liked to pass on my gratitude to the staff led by Jackie Garcia I would appreciate it if you[Exodus]could because they deserve to be acknowledged for the efforts put in by all three
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Ali Farrall

    Cycling in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

    This was an amazing trip. The leader team were extremely professional but also really friendly and helpful - a perfect balance. The cycling was superb; routes were varied in terrain, views and challenge and so much thought had gone in to the itinerary. We saw so much in a short time that it was one of our best ever trips.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    I think there were too many, but body surfing on the Caribbean coast was a highlight, as was seeing a whale from a beach in Panama, cycling like a demon down fast roads through a short downpour, managing to get up a really big hill in 35 degree heat or singing the Hokey Cokey with a class of Nicaraguan primary school kids- take your pick!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was brilliant. I will be looking out to see if some future trips can be arranged as I would love to go on more adventures with him and his team. We learnt lots about the history, geography and culture of the places we went to, and always felt very safe in his hands.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Your kit will get soaked in sweat and won't always dry in the humidity, so use the laundry when available and take old stuff that isn't too precious. We are fairly fit and did some extra cycling beforehand and I'm really pleased we did as it made it all the more enjoyable, so do try and be ready for the distances.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I can't recommend this trip enough. It was by far the most expensive trip we have ever done but I am so pleased we went for it. Roberto, Paul, Jackie and Luis were brilliant.
  • Reviewed September 2017
    Fiona McLennan

    Exceptional Cycling

    Absolutely fabulous cycling trip. Stunning scenery & superb organisation. Hot, sweaty and at times challenging, but always fun with a great group of people and exceptional group leaders. Pre organised lunches and added extras with the islands, volcanos , spa pools , along with the Panama Canal and restaurants really added to the diversity of the experience.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Getting fitter and faster and by the end of the trip actually feeling inspired & ready to do the hills again!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    My group leader was Roberto (Chino), along with Paul and Jackie who will lead her own group in November. We had a lovely driver Lois too, whom kept the team supply of water and freshly cut delicious fruit going during our breaks, along with our safe transfers. The team were fabulous, professional, friendly and worked with everyone. The leaders provided advise and options and certainly set an impressive pace cycling. They had great comaradery with each other and the group. Exceptional.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    # Take padded cycle shorts # Take small denomination $USD

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    I suggested on my evaluation form that as we all arrived from London we were all up very early for our fist day in Granada. Due to this I would suggest that breakfast could be brought forward. Given that the day/ cycling could start earlier to give everyone a bit more time to appreciate and explore the magnificent town Granada. We left at 3 for Masaya Volcano which was perfect timing for the best viewing of the Volcano.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Laura Coggles

    Cycling Nicaragua-Costa Rica-Panama

    This was a fantastic adventure!! For those wanting a physical challenge, varied terrain, beautiful scenery and the cultural experience of three different countries, this trip is for you. The guides were very knowledgeable and organized. They are passionate about cycling and sharing the uniqueness of the countries we visited.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Visiting a school in a rural village in Nicaragua. Spending time with the children explaining who we are, where we were from and listening to them introduce themselves and tell us about what they want to be when they grow up.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Our group leader was very knowledgeable and organized. He is passionate about cycling and sharing the uniqueness of the countries we visited. Roberto worked hard to ensure a good time was had by all!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Train prior to the trip - on hills and in heat if possible. The bikes were great. I used my own gel seat as well.
  • Reviewed April 2017
    Louise Staniforth

    3 countries by bike in 2 weeks - do it!

    This isn't just a cycling trip. There's so much more to this than you think... yeah, there's lots of cycling, but there are so many other activities too that it feels like an adventure holiday. The scenery changes dramatically over the various days, from arid land, to amazing beaches, rainforests, cloud forests, remote villages, downtime, uptime! I loved cycling through tropical rain. 3 countries in approx. 2 weeks is an awesome trip - our leader Roberto said that it's like having 3 moments in time. Nicaragua is the past. Costa Rica is the present and Panama is the future. You'll know exactly what he means as the days progress. A great saying for 3 great places. He also said Pura Vida which I will now adopt!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many moments where you just go 'wow'. I won't go into a lengthy description of the awe inspiring moments as it may spoil it for your own 'wow factor' . But the lava in the volcano was mesmerising; cycling in the backdrops of volcanoes makes you smile non-stop; casually seeing a crocodile and other wildlife as you raft on by was brilliant; sharing conversations at a local school, a bus stop and even whilst being overtaken by a 4 year old girl running up the hill (I was on my bike!) are moments I'll never forget; swimming in the sea as the sun comes up; having my 'guardian angel domestiques' (the bf and Antony and Paul - the mechanics) placing their hand on my back and literally pushing me up the tough hills - I can never thank these guys enough, they are amazing. ...... but mostly, it's the feeling of having pedalled yourself many miles through 3 amazing countries with people that you were thrown together with and shared random experiences with, that you'll never forget.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Ah Roberto. What an amazing leader... The passion that Roberto showed both on and off the bike was unbelievable. I don't know where he gets his energy from! Super fit on the bike! I was often up early and would see Roberto working away. Then giving briefings for the day, then cycling back and fore taking photos, making awesome videos that he would then share on fb, plus then giving us cultural information whilst on the van. It was like having our own personal documentary maker and he was brilliant. Awesome knowledge on all 3 countries and a way with people than is a engaging, personal and professional. I can still hear his 'one, two' advice when going up the hills and this is what keeps you going. There are so many things that go on behind the scenes when you have 14+ people to organise and the way he made it seem so easy goes to show how good he is. Oh, and he has some great cycling tops too! He's funny and makes you feel at ease. If I do another trip, I would actually head to Costa Rica just to have him as my leader! Pura vida. The rest of the team were great too. Ronald the driver works super hard and drives so safely and professionally, Paul and Antony, the mechanics were a godsend. Paul is a funny guy, an amazing cyclist and really helped me on tough hills and long flats. Antony - what can I say? This guy is a machine! I called him Terminator 2 as was always looking out for me and pushing me up hills. The strength is has is phenomenal. He made the cycling so much better for me and made my experience better. Thanks guys!!!

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Learn a bit of Spanish. There are opportunities where you least expect it, to meet locals and exchange a few words. It's a great feeling. Great to take some stuff for the school that you visit. We missed/forgot this and were gutted. Get some hill training in! Read the trip notes, but don't micromanage... the best days for me were the surprises of things I had forgotten and the leaders will change the schedule to make the experience better, or if the roads are busy, to make it safer. We did a white water rafting trip on our day off in Fortuna. Was brilliant but if you want a rest... this isn't it! I left my trainers there, one of the guys was going to give them to charity, so don't throw stuff away if you no longer want it.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Everyone goes at their own pace, but remember to enjoy it and stop, take photos, look around. It's about the journey, not the destination! The sights you can preserve, but the smells and environment changes all the time so make sure to notice them as you whizz on by. I had some great conversations whilst panting up a hill, sharing grimaces, water and tips to get to the top. Great friendships are made on a trip like this. Note that the bikes change in Costa Rica for CR and Panama and many bikes of the smaller frame only had room for one water bottle. This was a problem for me and even though the bike mechanics gave me theirs, it meant I was reliant on them and one occasion was by myself and ran out! So, take a camelbak!

Dates & Prices

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An overview of flight options

Exodus is committed to making joining our tours as easy as possible, wherever you live. We generally only block book seats from London, but this certainly does not mean that you need to fly from there. Depending on the route and airlines available, there will usually be various options available for those who want to fly from their local airport.

This page aims to provide a useful overview of the options available to our clients. However, the best flight arrangements should be tailored to your personal requirements, so please contact our Sales team for expert advice.

 

What kind of options do I have ?

1. We can book for you: Flights from anywhere in the world - not via London  

Depending on the route, this may be direct or via an overseas hub like Amsterdam, the Middle East or elsewhere. On short haul routes there may be direct flights with low cost airlines, charter flights or scheduled airlines. Exodus can book most, but not all, of these for you. The most appropriate airline may be different to that which we use for the group flight from London, but many people now travel on different airlines and meet up with their fellow passengers at the destination.

Pros Cons
  • May be the most direct route
  • Often the extra fare compared to the London flight is minimal.
  • As you will be in the hands a single airline for your entire journey, the airline will be responsible for your bags and your connections.
  • You may not be able to join the group transfers. However, we can usually arrange private transfers, or book your flights to try and coincide with the group transfers. See notes on transfer arrangements below.

 

2. We can book for you: Connecting flights from your local airport to London

Exodus can book connecting flights to London so you can join the group flight there. Connecting times will be followed according to airline advice, or as requested by clients. There are two types of fares we can use for this option: a 'through-fare' or a 'published fare'.
 
a) A 'through-fare' is where you will be in the main airline's care throughout. You change planes, but your bags are checked all the way through to your final destination. 

b) A 'published fare' ticket is completely seperate from your onward ticket from London. It is usually cheaper than a through-fare but will need to be paid for and issued as soon as it is booked. This can be a problem if your tour has not yet reached minimum numbers. On 'published fares' neither airline is aware that you have connecting flights, so Exodus is responsible for timing your connection, not the airlines involved. The tickets are also usually non changeable and non refundable.

Pros Cons
  • Depending on the fare type, Exodus or the airline is responsible for flight connections.
  • Through fare tickets can be expensive.
  • On a published fare, tickets must be issued immediately; tickets on published fares can be very difficult to change if onward flight times change; bags are not checked though to your final destination.
  • Published fares are non-refundable.

 

3. Booking some or all of the flights yourself

You can also book connecting air travel yourself, either to London, or all the way to the start point. There may be certain airlines or routes we don't have access to, so this is always an option. However, if you make your own travel arrangements you become liable for any delays, cancellations or missed connections, and Exodus is not required to offer refunds if you have trouble reaching the start of your trip.

Pros Cons
  • You might find cheaper fares, or routes not available to Exodus.
  • You are responsible for any delays or missed connections, and the cost of the tour is not protected should you miss your flight be cancelled.

 

 Notes on transfer arrangements

Sometimes it is possible to travel on a different airline to the group flight from London. Where this is the case, we need to think about ensuring you meet up with the group with minimum extra cost and hassle.

  • On certain trips, it is easy to arrive on a different flight and still meet the group at the hotel with time in hand. We can usually arrange private transfers (at extra cost) or offer advice on taking a taxi to the start hotel.
  • On other trips (especially in Europe), the transfer meets the group flight and then travels some distance to the first night's accommodation. Where this is the case, our Sales team will try to arrange flights that arrive before (and depart after) the group. However, we do have to make it clear in your final documentation that if your flights are delayed, the transfer cannot wait for you. While Exodus or our local operators will do what we can to help you reach the start point of the tour, any additional costs must be paid by the client. 

 

Next steps? 

Call our Sales team on: 0203 733 0698

Email your query: [email protected]

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Call us on 020 8772 3936