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Home » Destinations » South America » Exodus Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama
Challenging rides through tropical scenery spanning 3 countries. Starting in the graceful colonial city of Granada and ending in bustling Panama City, this route takes you into Costa Rica’s steamy rainforests, alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del Toro. 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. The journey ends with a cycle near the Panama Canal, following a visit to the famous Miraflores Locks.
11 nights comfortable hotels, 3 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.
DAY 1 Fly to Managua
DAY 2 Arrive Managua; transfer to Granada.
Those on the group flight land into Managua early this morning and will be transferred to Granada (approx. 1 hour). Those on land only arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel today. The rest of the day is at leisure to relax and use the hotels’ pool or explore colonial Granada.
DAY 3 Ride along shore of Lake Nicaragua; visit Masaya Volcano N.P.
Any last-minute adjustments to the bikes are made before you set off towards the shore of Lake Nicaragua. As you reach the lakeshore, you 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. YOur lunch stop offers stunning views of the large volcanic mass of Mombacho.
DAY 4 Transfer to San Jorge; ferry to Ometepe Island and cycle to fresh water spring.
After breakfast you transfer (approx. 1.5 hours) south to the port of San Jorge on Lake Nicaragua, where you 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, you start our cycling with a stretch around the west face of Concepcion, the active volcano on Ometepe. You then continue with a climb up and over the isthmus which leads out to rainforest clad Maderas, the extinct volcano on Ometepe.
DAY 5 Ferry to mainland; ride to San Juan del Sur.
Today you 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.
DAY 6 Ride from Pacific to Lake Nicaragua; transfer to Costa Rica.
Starting early to avoid the heat, 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. You then have a 5 minute transfer which will take us to Peñas Blancas where you will exit Nicaragua. After clearing immigration on the Costa Rica side, you will stop for lunch near La Cruz and then continue south along the Pan Am highway to just outside Cañas, another good sized town. YOur arrival will be late in the afternoon due to ongoing highway constructions.
DAY 7 Wildlife trip on Tenorio River; Bijagua valley ride; ride to Lake Arenal.
This morning you 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 your raft takes us gently along the river, you 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 your 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, you transfer up to near Bijagua, then cycle back down to the Pan American Highway before lunch. After your meal you head up to the hilly region surrounding Lake Arenal where your 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 with the surrounding hills and Arenal Volcano off to the east.
DAY 8 Cycle to La Fortuna.
After breakfast you set off on your 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 you approach the dam which forms Lake Arenal. Watch out for monkeys, toucans and the amazingly colourful neon-blue Morpho butterflies as youcycle. 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.
DAY 9 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, you head south toward Chachagua, then divert to a backroad leading to El Bosque where you 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. Toucans are especially common here and there are some incredible views of the jungle and Arenal Volcano. As you approach La Fortuna again, there is one final steep climb before you reach your hotel. This evening you include a visit to the Eco-Termales Hot Springs to soothe any aching muscles – the best hot springs in the area!
DAY 10 Morning easy ride; short afternoon cycle near the Caribbean coast.
You have another early start today as you head east into the rolling terrain of the San Carlos plains, riding through rich agricultural zones, sugar cane and pineapple plantations and rural villages. You are generally descending on this leg, which levels off as you get closer to Muelle where you 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. As you will be crossing a large portion of Costa Rica, this is a long transfer (approx. 3 hours). Just outside the busy port of Limon you put the bikes back into use for a short ride using a more tranquil back road which will take us to the main coastal highway at Rio Banano, you then have a short transfer to the southern zone of the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica. Your destination is bustling Puerto Viejo, a popular destination on this coast of Costa Rica.
DAY 11 Ride to Panama border; boat to Bocas del Toro islands.
Today you begin riding south at the base of the towering Talamanca Mountains. You follow the main coastal road at first before turning off to the indigenous community of Bri-Bri, home to members of the Guaymi tribe. You may see some of the traditionally dressed women in flowing embroidered dresses as you 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 you leave Costa Rica and cross to Guabito, the Panamanian port of entry. After the border formalities, you board the bus through the frontier town of Changuinola, and then through steep rainforest hills which are inhabited by indigenous people. you hit the coast and embark on a private boat transfer to cross into the Caribbean to the wonderful Bocas del Toro Islands, your home for the next two nights.
DAY 12 Free day in Bocas del Toro.
You 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 you have long-established relationships with.
DAY 13 Jungle ride; descent to Pan-Am Highway; transfer to Pacific coast.
After taking a private boat back to the mainland, you drive to Punta Robalo for a ride through beautiful jungle scenery. At the top of the pass you find beautiful Lago Fortuna, set in a rainforest-clad tropical valley. You 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, you board the minibus for the drive down to Las Lajas, an isolated Pacific beach which stretches for miles. Here you can enjoy a great tropical sunset while relaxing under the shade of a palm thatch palapa.
DAY 14 Tropical lowland forest ride; transfer to Panama City.
you have an early start today as you avoid the heat and traffic on your ride through the Panamanian countryside. you take a short drive to Guabala, a customs/passport control point on the Pan Am highway, and once your documents have been checked, you 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.You finish cycling close to the town of Jorones, where you start your transfer to Panama City (approx. 4 hours), with a quick lunch stop in Santiago, the main city in this part of Panama. you cross the famous canal where you’re very likely to see huge ships as they make the journey between the Caribbean and the Pacific.
DAY 15 Ride alongside the Panama Canal.
Your final day is truly memorable, as you travel along a stretch of the Panama Canal to observe some of the highlights. Starting from your hotel which overlooks the Pacific entrance to the canal, you 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. You then have a short transfer to the entry point of the Soberana National Park, where you will enjoy a final biking stage through lush rainforest.
DAY 16 Depart Panama City.
You 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.
Day 17 Fly to London
You will spend 14 nights in comfortable and standard hotels. This includes a mixture of colonial-style and modern hotels all with en suite facilities.
We can arrange single rooms throughout the trip (subject to availability).
This trip is classified Road.
Activity Level: 4 (Moderate/Challenging).
Average daily distance: 44km (27 miles)
Number of days cycling: 12
Vehicle Support: 100%
Terrain and route: surface 80% tarmac, 20% unpaved track, some hills and generally rolling terrain.
Please note, prices listed are guide prices only and are based on 2 people sharing and don’t include any additional supplements. Holiday prices are fluid and dynamic and may be changed at a moment’s notice, prior to booking, at which point they are confirmed. Please call the team free on 0800 707 6229 for more departure dates available and a quote.
Please call us free on 0800 707 6229 for pricing and availability
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