Coatimundi crossing a jungle road with cyclist, Costa Rica

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

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16 days
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£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 rainforests, alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del Toro. We explore the island of Ometepe at Lake Nicaragua, search for Howler monkeys whilst rafting on the Tenorio River, and ride through rural villages along the Caribbean coast. Our journey ends with a cycle near the Panama Canal, following our visit to the famous Miraflores Locks. 

Highlights

  • Cycle through three different countries in two weeks
  • Relax on Pacific beaches and the idyllic Caribbean islands of Bocas del Toro
  • Discover the dramatic Ometepe Island, with its twin volcanic peaks
  • Ride 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 into 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 first 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. In the 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 rainforest 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 location 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, best seen in the early morning. 

    Departing the hotel, we cycle to Moyogalpa and get the ferry back to the mainland. We then hop on 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 (or hear!) Howler monkeys and spot 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 backroad (subject to road/weather conditions) near La Virgen, which then take us on to Sapoa, close to the border with Costa Rica. We then have a 5 minute transfer which will take us to Peñas Blancas where 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

  • 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 divert to a backroad 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.

    We have 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). It is 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 where you can try the fresh seafood and the Caribbean rendition of “riceandbeans”, very tasty 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 it's back onto the bikes for an afternoon ride through the rainforest 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 coastal 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 embark on 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.

    We enjoy 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 other 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 are 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, an 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.

    We have an early start today as we avoid the heat and traffic on our ride through the Panamanian countryside. We take a short drive to Guabala, a customs/passport control point on the Pan Am highway, and 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 backroads 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. We then have a short transfer to the entry point of the Soberana National Park, where we will enjoy a final biking stage through lush rainforest. 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 a Yellow Fever vaccination is required if arriving from a Yellow Fever country which includes a number of Latin American and African countries. 

Please note it is now compulsory to produce a Yellow Fever certificate if you clear customs in Panama before flying into Nicaragua. 

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.

Our 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.

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

Please note it is now compulsory to produce a Yellow Fever certificate if you clear customs in Panama before flying into Nicaragua. 

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

Embracing a healthy lifestyle can be a challenge, but if you’re going to keep it up there’s got to be more to it than

  • Reviewed April 2018
    Jennifer Steward

    Cycling, Scenery and Swimming

    The trip is a great combination of cycling in three Central American countries all with quite distinct scenery. The cycling stages are not too long but nonetheless quite challenging given the hills and heat/humidity. Some training - particularly hills - is recommended! There was often time for a swim at the end of the day and swimming one day in the Caribbean Sea and the next in the Pacific Ocean was a highlight. Frequently, there was the opportunity to spot wildlife along the route - sloths, howler monkeys and toucans! A visit to an active volcano and cycling across the Panama Canal are also part of the itinerary.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling a very hilly stage of the tour through breathtaking scenery.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The trip leader - Memo - was very sociable, well organised and professional with a great sense of humour. He too k the time to get to know each member of the group and made sure that we were happy, comfortable and enjoying the cycling - offering encouragement up the longer steeper hill sections. Importantly, Memo was quite conscious of the safety of the group on the road. Memo's briefings were comprehensive and helpful and he was always willing to answer our questions - relevant or otherwise! Memo was well supported by the local crew who were also very engaged with the group and made sure our bikes were in good order and we were well hydrated/ fed with fresh local fruits at the cycling rest stops. The trip was well supported by a great team which contributed to the overall enjoyment.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The stages are quite hilly so some training is essential. There are a couple of short off road stages so some off road training may also be helpful. Lunch and dinner is at the traveller's cost which can add quite a bit to a two-week trip. No too much time is spent in towns or villages so make sure you have all the essentials with you. There are no too many opportunities for engaging with local people or local culture.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    Cycling Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama is a great way to get a taste of three different Central American countries.
  • Reviewed April 2018
    Kelly Nicholls

    Fantastic experience

    Fantastic to see three amazing countries on two wheels, it was an incredible trip and the scenery is just stunning. There are so many highs like cycling around a volcano, the undulating fast rides in Costa Rica were so much fun, riding a long the beach and seeing amazing wildlife. Having a dip in the volcanic hot springs was amazing too. The food was excellent and our leader Memo (Guilermo Sanchez) had the most amazing sense of humour and made the trip even more special. There were a few hard climbs but when you reach the top and see the stunning views - its worth it and there was so much support. If you get a chance to go - do it.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    There are so many, seeing the Lava flow in the Volcano, cycling along a beach, hot and cold springs, Memo giving us a history lesson with his amazing drawing skills. Best of all was laughing every day.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    We have been on a few Exodus trips and Memo, has been the best leader by far. He is incredibly organised and nothing seemed to phase him, he was always there for us 24hrs a day. He is extremely knowledgeable about the countries and the wildlife - best of all he always gave us support and encouragement when it got a bit tough on some of the climbs and we all made. He is a very warm kind and friendly person - I would definitely ask Exodus for him if I do the Costa Rica Coasts to Coast as he is just one of a kind. I miss his sense of humour and stories.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    Do some hill training or spinning classes and pack lite. Definitely take mosquito repellent that has deer and plenty of sunscreen and some that you can carry on the bike as it gets quite hot in the afternoon.

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    if you get a chance to go - go do it. It was so much fun and don't be daunted by the climbs as you can do it all in your own pace its not a race. As mentioned before I thought Memo was just excellent and he made the trip extra special.
  • Reviewed March 2018
    Elaine Willett

    Cycle Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama

    Wow what a brilliant trip... not only did we cycle in 3 amazingly beautiful countries, we experienced so many added extras... looking down on an active volcano at night; seeing the molten lava moving ... brilliant. We cycled around a nature reserve one morning prior to the main days cycle... our guide Memo spotting all sorts of wild life I would surely have missed and his knowledge is just outstanding. River cruises, hot springs and visiting the Panama canal centre. This trip rates among the best I have done.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    Cycling the nature reserve. All of it actually it's hard to pick a single moment.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Memo our group leader was out standing as a guide... His knowledge of nature, ecology, history ... just brilliant. He communicated with drawings, diagrams and a wicked sense of humour.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    I did a few spin classes prior to going and whilst I think they are evil they really helped with the hills
  • Reviewed March 2018
    VASILIKI NTAVLOUROU

    An amazing trip with the best guiding team ever!

    This was by far the best cycling holiday I have ever been to. Amazing places and views! A challenging cycling route for someone with a minor cycling experience like myself. But I made it, thanks to the support and encouragement of this amazing team: Roberto, Paul, Alvaro, Jose, Ronaldo! Names and personalities we will never forget! Thank you for helping me add beautiful images and feelings, in my life's "memory box", but most of all, thank you for keeping us SAFE and happy! It was more than obvious that you were there for us to ENJOY our trip, see, feel and taste the beauty of the most amazing part of the world. Feeling fit and healthy, looking forward to our next adventure! Thank you!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    RESCUING A SLOTH ON THE WAY TO LA FORTUNA!
  • Reviewed March 2018
    John LAIDLOW

    Just what we wanted!

    This was a great trip which we really enjoyed. It was described as 'moderate/challenging', which related to the 'undulations' and sometimes dirt tracks upon which we cycled, and some of the 'normal' roads and paved roads were a little rough. Having said that, we all managed OK. Additionally, the trip was 'full on' with some early starts, some late meals and other activities such as boat trips, and other options too. No two days were the same, variety was the key. There were 16 of us on this trip, ranging in age from 32-69 (which was me!) with two couples (all in their sixties) the rest friends/singles, and a majority of women.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    For me it was mixing with different cultures and seeing at first hand how people can string a life together with minimal resources and facilities.

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto was quite exceptional, with amazing organisational skills; he was on the go all the time, dealing with our cycling needs, giving advice, and permanently planning ahead whether it was pre-warning hotels of our arrival, ordering our meals in advance or paying for activities to be re-imbursed later. And delightful with it..... Fantastic.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    We were a little anxious about the challenging nature of the trip, but we all managed OK. I would certainly recommend some pre-hol training; some of us hadn't done any and perhaps wished they had - rather like a skiing holiday! We'd also strongly recommend gel saddle-savers unless you bring your own saddle. Also, we were a little anxious about mosquitoes and malaria; in fact there was minimal mossy activity and we didn't take anti-malarials. However, insect repellent was occasionally necessary. Roberto was really helpful on this one, as with everything else!

    Is there anything else you would like to add?

    It was fun, fun fun but full-on too, as is often the case with biking/skiing holidays. We loved it and only one week after arriving back we're booking another trip with Exodus next year.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Dave Hyslop

    Cycling Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

    Would class myself as a 'veteran' having been on many previous cycling adventures but this is the first trip I have ever left feedback on. I realise that when you return from holidays you are on a high but I can honestly say this is one of the best, maybe even the best cycling trip I have done. The whole thing gels completely. The cycling, the views, the rafting, the different cultures, the wildlife, all brought together by a fantastic support team makes this a 5 star trip. Breakfasts are early, sometimes 6-30am, to get you cycling before it gets too hot, but this means you have downtime at the end of the day to relax, and take everything in before dinner. It's a full on trip with always things to do, then bang, a day off on a pacific beach before going at it again. Brilliant planning. Loved every minute of it. Thanks.

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    In no particular order.....Masaya volcano....... The rafting where the wildlife was awesome, Iguanas, crocs, lizards, monkeys, beautiful birds (saw more Ospreys in 2 hours than I have seen in my entire life!).... Seeing a Toucan.....Working hard to get up the hills.....Those awesome views....... Chino's obvious love for his country and the whole area.... The children shouting hello as you cycle past.... the anticipation of that first cold beer after a hot day in the saddle knowing that the weather is cold and miserable back in the UK!!!!!!!

    What did you think of your group leader?

    The luggage of some of our group did not arrive so Chino took on the responsibility to chase it up and was brilliant at keeping everybody informed at what was happening. When the weather deteriorated in Costa Rica (and boy did it deteriorate!) he took the decision to change the itinerary and move us over from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast, that included changing cycling routes and hotels. All this done with the minimum of fuss and just presented to us and off we went! So much work done behind the scenes. He was of course supported by his team of Albarro (Nicaragua), Paul and Ronaldo. Special mention here for Ronaldo who after the changes in Costa Rica must have spent around 8 hours driving in sections to get across Costa Rica and Panama, and we still got two cycle rides in that day. Viva Ronaldo! Pura vida guys.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    If you enjoy cycling and wildlife this trip is for you! All 3 countries accept US dollars so you don't need to change any money on arrival in Nicaragua. Food is good and plenty throughout, standard of cleanliness is also good in the soda's and restaurants. Bike quality is also good and we had very little maintenance problems (3 punctures and 1 broken chain I think across 16 of us). Biscuits, fruit, water and hydrating powders are always available.
  • Reviewed January 2018
    Rachael Johnson

    Jolly Hockey Bikes

    What a fantastic way to see 3 fantastic countries. This trip however is not for the faint hearted - expect to be on the go 24/7 from the moment you land in Nicaragua. Despite this trip being focused around cycling it was so much more than that with plenty of activities off the bike. If you are looking for a real adventure with lots of laughs along the way then this is the trip for you. Cycling - There was a real mix of cycling from tarmac roads to gravel tracks. There were some challenging hills that required a decent level of cycling fitness to complete especially in the heat that reached over 100 on some days. The views were spectacular and wildlife was spotted along the way. We averaged around 30 miles a day and our group was fairly fast so this was usually completed within 3-4 hours. The approach to the cycling was pretty relaxed so if you wanted to stop at any point for a rest or to take photos you were free to do so. The cycling catered for everyone and it was up to you if you wanted to race or just relax at the back! We had our guide along with 2 support cyclists (mechanics) in Nicaragua - Roberto Aguilar (aka Chino), Albaro and Paul and then for Costa Rica and Panama there was just Chino and Paul. The support vehicle, driven by the very safe driver Ronal, was always on hand to assist anyone who may have been struggling, to provide water, rest-bite or even extra fuel (fruit & biscuits). Other Activities - One of the trip highlights for me was going up to the top of the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua at night and actually looking into the top of it - looking into the top of a live volcano was something that I never thought I would have the opportunity to do - breath-taking! Volcanic Spa at La Fortuna (Costa Rica) - a great way to relax in the evening after a days cycling. It was like being in heaven with Cocktails on hand! River Rafting (Nicaragua) - our guide spotted all kinds of wildlife that unless you have the eye for you would have never seen. Crocodiles, Toucans, Iguanas and much more. Nature trail on Ometepe, natural Spa........ There is just too many things to mention. A special mention has to go out to our tour guide Chino and his support staff who were exceptional. If you are considering this trip - DO IT!!!

    What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

    The views Wildlife Masaya Volcana Natural Spa on Ometepe Island Volcanic Spa - La Fortuna River Rafting Meal in Panama Old Town at Las Bovedas

    What did you think of your group leader?

    Roberto Aguilar AKA Chino - Fantastic. His local knowledge was exceptional and he was fluent in English. Really couldn't have asked for a more helpful guide who by the end of the trip had become a friend. He couldn't do enough for us.

    Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

    The support vehicle is always on hand so you always have access to your day bags. There is no need to carry anything on your bike with you apart from cameras etc.
  • 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.

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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