Bicycling and Walking Vacations Call a VBT Tour Consultant: (800) 245-3868

Adventure Costa Rica!

Explore one of the greenest countries on earth, both in vegetation and in philosophy. We’ll soar through the rainforest canopy on a thrilling zip line, have a private, guided tour of a coffee estate and bike through the lush countryside in the shadows of the magnificent Arenal Volcano.

  • 7 Days
  • Activity Level: Moderate
  • Daily Mileage: 9 - 20 mi
  • Daily Biking: 2 - 5 hr
  • Small Groups: 20
  • Biking Activity
  • Terrain includes more hills. Longer distance options can be very rewarding for those who cycle regularly.
  • Airfare Packages Available

Why You'll Love This Tour

Overview

Adventure Costa Rica!

Scarlet macaws take wing in the canopy. The calls of howler monkeys echo in the treetops. Misty cloud forests blanket mountain slopes. And magnificent volcanoes tower over lush landscapes dotted with pristine lakes. This can only be Costa Rica, where ticos conserve one quarter of their country and where exploration by bicycle immerses you in a laid-back culture celebrating pura vida, or pure life. Using eco-lodges as your base, you’ll ride through landscapes of astonishing beauty, pausing to soar above it all by zipline, soak in thermal hot springs, embark a rafting safari, and meet local farmers. It’s an adventure like none other!

Cultural Highlights

  • Share a lunch of locally sourced food with a misty cloud forest as your dining room
  • Take wing through the rainforest canopy on a thrilling zip line
  • Delight in 5 nights at eco-resorts set beautifully in natural surroundings
  • Go bird watching to seek out some of Costa Rica’s 840 colorful species
  • Cycle through lovely lowlands to the foot of the spectacular Arenal Volcano
  • Ride along the shore of beautiful Lake Arenal after a scenic boat excursion
  • Luxuriate and restore with a soak in natural thermal hot springs
  • Drift tranquilly down the Peñas Blancas River on a rafting safari
  • Enjoy a thrilling coast down the slopes of Poás Volcano to the charming farm town of Poasito
  • Visit a family-owned fruit stand and chat with local farmers
  • Savor Costa Rican hospitality during a home-hosted locally sourced dinner

What to Expect

This tour offers a combination of rolling terrain mixed with moderate hills. Rides may be on roadways alongside vehicular traffic. Our VBT van support shuttle is always available for those who would like assistance. Ideal for energetic beginners to experienced cyclists.

Average Daily Mileage: 9 – 20 miles
Average Cycling Time: 2 – 5 hours

Climate Information

Average High/Low Temperature (°F) – San José
Jan 78°/58°  Feb 76°/58°  Mar 79°/59°  Oct 77°/60°  Nov 77°/60°  Dec 75°/58°

Average Precipitation (in.) – San José
Jan .6  Feb .2  Mar .8  Oct 11.8  Nov 5.7  Dec 1.6

What’s Included:

Bicycle Vacation Only – without Air

  •  5 nights in 4- and 5-star hotels
  • 12 meals – 5 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners

Air Package Plus

  • Roundtrip international airfare
  • 5 nights in 4- and 5-star hotels

PLUS: 1 extra night in a 4-star airport hotel in San José

  • 13 meals—6 breakfasts, 4 lunches, 3 dinners
  • All overseas transfers
  • AND the option to add our Low-Cost Trip Extensions:
    Pre-trip: Tortuguero & San José – San José 1 night, Tortuga Lodge & Gardens 2 nights for only $795*
    Post-trip: Gulfo Dulce & San José – Playa Cativo Lodge 2 nights, San José 1 night from only $995-$1,145*

*Please note: For those traveling in 2017, Pre-trip Extension: Tortuguero – 3 nights for only $645. Post-trip Extension: Manuel Antonio National Park – 3 nights for only $645. Depending on your departure date your post-trip extension price may vary.

Both Vacations Include

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Air Package Plus Single Supplement: $745 | Land Only Single Supplement: $695

Please note: Web Special savings cannot be combined with any other offer. Standard Terms & Conditions apply when purchasing this trip. Prices include all airline surcharges and Government taxes and fees. Ask our Tour Consultants for details. Every effort has been made to produce this information accurately. We reserve the right to correct errors. Prices are based on preferences selected above, including meals and sightseeing as specified in What’s Included. All prices are subject to change. Departure dates and prices shown may be updated several times daily, and apply to new bookings only.

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Itinerary & Map
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DAY 1: Arrive in San José, Costa Rica

Upon arrival at San José’s Juan Santamaría International Airport, meet your complimentary hotel shuttle curbside outside the customs area. The driver will be holding a Wyndham San José Herradura sign. The shuttle service operates approximately every 30 minutes, so please be patient if you do not immediately see the Wyndham representative. You may also contact the Wyndham hotel directly at 2209-9800 to confirm the next transfer time.  Your transfer by minibus to your hotel in the outskirts of San José takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes.

The rest of the day is free to settle in and explore the city. Choose a restaurant for dinner on your own.

Please note: If you arrive early, your hotel room may not be available until 3:00 pm. You may store your luggage at the reception desk.

Our splendid San José hotel, Wyndham San José Herradura, is located just minutes from the International Airport and approximately 30 minutes from the center of the city. VBT provides you with City Information that includes recommendations on what to see and do in San José during your stay.

Upon arrival in San José enjoy the remainder of the day and evening at your leisure.

Hotel: Wyndham San José Herradura

DAY 2: Bicycle Vacation begins / Warm-up ride / Zip line through rainforest canopy / Welcome reception

VBT Bicycle Vacation Only guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders and the rest of the group at 7:45 am at our San José hotel (the Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel, General Cañas Highway, 3 miles south of Juan Santamaría International Airport, San José, Costa Rica; tel: +506 2209 9800). Your Trip Leaders will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please be dressed for your first warm-up ride. From San José, you transfer by private motorcoach (approximately 20 minutes) to the site of your warm-up ride. If your arrival is scheduled later than 7:45 am or if you are delayed, you must take a taxi at your own expense to the Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Spa in the Los Angeles Cloud Forest, near the town of San Ramon (approximately $100 USD). Please contact the hotel if you experience any travel delays or changes; the staff will pass the message on to your VBT Trip Leaders.

VBT Air Package guests and Pre-Trip Extension guests: Meet your VBT Trip Leaders at your San José hotel at 8:00 am. They will be wearing VBT staff garments. Please be dressed for your first warm-up ride. From San José, you transfer by private motorcoach (approximately 20 minutes) to the site of your warm-up ride.

After a safety and bike-fitting session, set off on a warm-up ride into the lush and pastoral landscapes of Costa Rica. After, shuttle along the “Route of the Ox-Cart” – so named for the colorful, two-wheeled carretas that were once a common sight on these farmlands. Make a brief stop to explore the historic town of San Ramon, a richly agricultural mountain community and home to many Costa Rican presidents and well-known poets. Continue to a nearby cloud forest for lunch. More than half of Costa Rica is blanketed in these magical woodlands where mists float through canopies and give life to bromeliads and mosses. After lunch, enjoy the thrill of a canopy tour, ascending high into the treetops and taking wing on a secure zip-cable line. You’ll fly from platform to platform, glimpsing parts of the rainforest typically out of sight from the ground and marveling at the sweeping vistas of surrounding countryside.

Later, you will shuttle (approximately 30 minutes) to the nearby Los Angeles Cloud Forest and the conservation-focused Villa Blanca Resort, one of the elite “Green Hotels of Costa Rica.” Villa Blanca strives for absolute guest comfort while maintaining the highest standards of respect for its natural surroundings. Villa Blanca was given a “5-leaf” rating by the Certification Board of Sustainable Tourism, its highest score.

This evening, get to know your fellow travelers over a welcome reception and dinner at El Sendero, the resort’s restaurant.

Reminder: It can be cool in the evenings and on cloudy days at the higher elevations on this trip. You will want to have a lightweight layer of warm clothing, no matter the time of year.

Hotel: Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Spa
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 2 to 4 miles

DAY 3: Cycle to the foothills of Arenal Volcano / Tabacón Resort's hot springs

Early risers may join expert naturalists on an optional bird-watching expedition through the Los Angeles Cloud Forest. Costa Rica is home to an estimated 840 bird species, so you will be treated to a variety of unusual sightings, perhaps the brown pelican, toucan, and macaw. You might even spot the elusive, resplendent quetzal as a symphony of song—courtesy of aricaris, bellbirds, and monkeys in the canopy—provides a delightful soundtrack.

After breakfast, shuttle to the start of today’s ride, an invigorating reel through the northern lowlands that stretch at the foot of the famed Arenal Volcano. Arenal is the youngest volcano in Costa Rica; it erupted for the first time about 7,000 years ago. You will cycle through small towns on paved paths and across rushing rivers to the Arenal foothills, passing yucca, pineapple, and papaya farms. Pause for lunch in the small, charming town of La Fortuna before continuing by bicycle or by shuttle to your nearby resort for the next two nights.

This evening, gather with your Trip Leaders at the thermal springs of our hotel, Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort, a member of The Leading Hotels of the World. After time to soak in the soothing natural waters, you may dine on your own at one of the resort’s fine restaurants. Your Trip Leaders will also offer a shuttle to La Fortuna if you prefer to have dinner in town.

Please note: Arenal Volcano has been dormant since 2010 and most likely will not be active during your visit.

Hotel: Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 17, 21 or 32 miles

DAY 4: Lake Arenal boat excursion / Lake Arenal shore ride / Evening in La Fortuna

Costa Rica’s largest lake, Lake Arenal offers scenic and some of the most breathtaking cycling routes you may ever follow and an especially picturesque shore. With its serene waters and magnificent setting, it is a popular spot for fishing, kayaking, and boating, as well as shoreline hiking, horseback riding, and cycling.

This morning, enjoy a relaxing boat excursion on its pristine waters, taking in a splendid canvas of rolling fields, sloping forests, and the towering cone of Arenal Volcano on a clear day. Though you might never know by its serene appearance, Lake Arenal is crucial to Costa Rica’s energy production, providing nearly 70% of the country’s electricity. The Lake Arenal hydroelectric dam, completed in 1979, tripled the lake basin’s size to about 33 square miles. You will disembark in Nuevo Arenal, a sleepy town and major service center for surrounding villages. From here, you will trace the lake’s scenic northern shore by bicycle, marveling at the glittering waters to your right and the hills sloping upward to your left. Along the way, you may stop at a restaurant for lunch on your own.

Back at your resort, enjoy another soak in the hot springs or a treatment at the spa. As a guest of the Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort, you may enjoy unlimited access to the hot springs. Later, join your Trip Leaders for a shuttle into La Fortuna, where you will enjoy dinner with your fellow riders.

Hotel: Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort
Meals: B, D
Daily Options: 16 miles

DAY 5: Morning ride / Peñas Blancas River wildlife safari

After breakfast, start your day with a cycle to a nearby boat launch on the scenic Peñas Blancas River, fed by the surrounding cloud forests of adjacent Monteverde. Here, embark a river raft for a mesmerizing and peaceful safari. As you drift past lush rainforest, volcanic hot springs, and cascading waterfalls, your guide will help you search for some of Costa Rica’s diverse wildlife such as lizards, sloths, monkeys, toucans, herons, and kingfishers, as well as many beautiful native plants.

This is an ideal opportunity to photograph wildlife, plants, and even butterflies up close. This outing is invaluable in helping you understand more fully that Costa Rica’s landscapes and wildlife are among the most diverse on Earth—and so highly valued that more than a quarter of the country’s land has been set aside for conservation.

Please note: You may want to have a pair of water shoes or casual sandals for the rafting trip.

Later this afternoon, you will shuttle back to cooler altitudes and Costa Rica’s central valley, where your resort for the next two nights awaits. Enjoy the remainder of the evening at your leisure, and savor dinner on your own.

Hotel: Xandari Resort & Spa
Meals: B, L
Daily Options: 13 or 18 miles

DAY 6: Poás Volcano / Coffee Tasting / Home-hosted Farewell Dinner

This morning, a shuttle transports you to the dramatic summit of Poás Volcano. More than one million years old, it has seen only occasional eruptions since 1828. If the conditions are right you will have time to walk up to its crater rim and gaze into its gaping, awe-inspiring mouth, some 900 feet deep and a mile wide. After, you will climb on your bike and get ready for one of the most thrilling rides of your life. *

On paved road, you’ll coast past astonishing landscapes backed by vistas stretching into the countryside. Ride past coffee fields, well-kept gardens that burst in volcanic soils, dairy pastures and fruit groves. Pause from your descent at a family-owned fruit stand, where you’ll taste some of Costa Rica’s sweetest strawberries and discuss local agricultural practices with the farmers. After an incredible reel, return to your resort for lunch. This afternoon, perhaps you’ll participate in a coffee tasting, a fascinating chance to learn more about one of the nation’s most important crops. You might also take advantage of the resort’s hiking trails, swimming pools, or spa.

This evening, you are invited to a festive farewell dinner in a nearby home, hosted by local couple and VBT friends, Manrique and Lorena. There’s sure to be hearty Costa Rican fare prepared from the freshest ingredients, and lots of stories to share as your adventure comes to a close.

*Please note: If the Poás Volcano is active during your visit, and therefore unsafe to view, an alternate ride will be offered on this day. 

Hotel: Xandari Resort & Spa
Meals: B, L, D
Daily Options: 22 miles

DAY 7: VBT Bicycle Vacation ends / Depart for home, or begin your optional Golfo Dulce extension

Enjoy a leisurely morning at your resort, perhaps starting your day with a swim in one of its pools, a spa treatment, or a walk through the beautiful tropical gardens.

VBT Air Package guests: Those flying home today will transfer to the nearby Juan Santamaría International Airport throughout the day. For guests with later afternoon flights, you will need to check out of your room at noon, and will have leisure time and lunch on your own at the resort prior to your airport transfer. We will assist you to the San José airport. Transfer times are pre-arranged based flight departure times.

VBT Bicycle Vacation only guests: You may join one of the pre-arranged Air Package transfers.  Please inform your Trip Leaders of your flight details on the first day of the tour so they can make arrangements to include you on one of the pre-arranged airport transfers; otherwise you will need to make transfer arrangements from the last hotel at your own expense. If you decide you would prefer to transfer at a time other than the VBT shuttle times, you may make transfer arrangements from the last hotel at your own expense. The cost of a taxi to the airport is approximately $50 USD.  Please verify costs with the hotel prior to confirming your private transfer.

VBT Post-Trip Extension guests:  This morning, you will transfer to the Juan Santamaría International Airport for your flight to Golfo Dulce. Please note that you are only allowed ONE piece of luggage, and your luggage weight cannot exceed 30 pounds. Please visit http://www.flysansa.com/eng/tri/bag/bagbagpol.asp for all luggage guidelines and restrictions. Golfo Dulce is serviced by two airports – Puerto Jimenez and Golfito and your Trip Leaders will provide you with your final flight confirmation and with details about your transfers. Additional luggage may be stored in San José at the Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel, where you may pick them up on your last night.

You will enjoy a scenic 50-minute flight from San José to Gulfo Dulce on Costa Rica’s South Pacific Coast. Getting to Playa Cativo is an adventure by itself. The flight provides spectacular views of Costa Rica’s diverse landscape; you will soar over mountains, farmland, rivers, the Pacific Ocean, Drake Bay, and the Osa Peninsula before descending into Golfo Dulce. You will meet your Playa Cativo Lodge staff for a 20-30 minute boat transfer across Golfo Dulce to the lodge – you may even see dolphins along the way!  After settling into your accommodations, enjoy a guided walk around the lodge’s organic farm, a beautiful bounty of the organic foods that you will sample during your meals. Later, meet your lodge guides to plan your activities.

All meals are included during your stay at Playa Cativo Lodge, and complimentary tea and coffee are available throughout the day

Please note: VBT transfer times and departure points are finalized in advance and cannot be modified for individual guests. If you extend your stay beyond the scheduled program dates, return transportation to the airport will be at your own expense. 

Hotel: Playa Cativo Lodge
Meals: B, D (for post-trip guests only)

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Accommodations

Tortuga Lodge & Gardens

Situated on 146 acres of private riverside land on Costa Rica's northeast Caribbean coast, the Tortuga Lodge & Gardens exudes a rustic elegance, surrounded by beautifully manicured grounds and untamed rainforest that attract an abundance of natural wildlife. Each room was designed to maximize your connection to the outdoors, with large screened windows instead of a television, a ceiling fan instead of an air conditioner, and a relaxing terrace outfitted with a hammock. This infinity pool, too, blends into the riverside environment. At the restaurant and bar, enjoy creative Costa Rican fare in a relaxed atmosphere with soothing views. You may take meals either family-style or individually. Please note: Rooms have ceiling fans instead of air conditioning. Additional floor fans are available for guests requiring cooler conditions.
Free WiFi Included

Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort

Resting at the base of the Arenal Volcano, Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort provides luxurious accommodation in the midst of Costa Rica’s natural beauty. The resort offers much more than the beauty of its natural setting. Take a dip in the Tabacón hot springs at any time during your stay, indulge at the resort’s spa, and enjoy the comfortable luxury of this 5-star hotel. A member of The Leading Hotels and The Leading Spas of the World, and the recipient of many international accolades, this 102-room resort is the perfect oasis for relaxation after a day of discovery. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Xandari Resort & Spa

Xandari Resort & Spa is a tropical paradise of 22 individually designed villas nestled in a 40-acre plantation overlooking the Central Valley. At an elevation of 3,900 feet, Xandari enjoys a near-perfect temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit all year. The resort’s spa was named Costa Rica’s Leading Spa Resort by World Travel Awards; indulge in its massages, mud wraps, facials, and exotic body treatments with a distinctive Costa Rican flair. The resort also features an elegant indoor/outdoor restaurant specializing in healthy continental and Costa Rican cuisine, with many ingredients harvested from its own gardens and with panoramic views of the Central Valley. Take a dip in the two 60-foot lap pools, sunbathe on the pool terraces, visit the orchid house and greenhouse, and hike two miles of private scenic trails to intimate river vistas and dramatic waterfalls.
Free WiFi Included

Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel

Located just outside of San José, the Wyndham San José Herradura Hotel is both convenient to the city and removed from it in its own pocket of tranquility, the ideal spot to retire to as your days of exploration draw to a satisfying close. The 4-star resort offers numerous ways to enhance your Costa Rican vacation: Enjoy the golf course, tennis courts, floral gardens, pools, Jacuzzis, and three onsite restaurants as you relax and unwind here. A/C is available.
Free WiFi Included

Si Como No

Located in Manuel Antonio National Park, Si Como No is surrounded by lush tropical rainforest, inviting soft-sand beaches, and rivers well suited for rafting. The hotel enhances its guests’ experience by offering a full array of activities, including guided excursions into Manuel Antonio National Park, mangrove and ocean kayaking, horseback riding, tours to its nearby butterfly and private nature refuge (Fincas Naturales), world-class sport fishing, and whitewater rafting. The hotel’s 58 rooms are distributed within 10 separate terraces located on 10 acres of protected tropical forest. Each room has a well-appointed bath and fully stocked mini-bar. Most rooms also have private balconies, direct-dial telephones, and energy-efficient air-conditioning.
Free WiFi Included

Villa Blanca Cloud Forest Hotel & Spa

Located in the heart of the cloud forest, this recently renovated “green hotel” was formerly owned and operated by an ex-president of Costa Rica and his family. Each of the 35 well-appointed adobe casitas, spread out over lush grounds, has its own fireplace and overlooks 3,000 acres of dairy pastures and pristine tropical cloud forest. The main Hacienda House rests on a hilltop, a relaxing spot to snack on freshly baked breads and pastries at El Cafe del Bosque or to play a game of chess or billiards in El Mirador de Los Angeles salon. The charming restaurant, El Sendero, offers fine country-style dining.
Free WiFi Included

Playa Cativo Lodge

Enjoy luxurious accommodations with stunning views of Golfo Dulce. The Playa Cativo luxury eco-lodge puts you at the heart of the rainforest, with a symphony of birds, frogs and monkeys playing against a backdrop of crashing surf. Each luxurious room has a view, and the entire property exudes an authentic Costa Rica spirit. Stroll the lodge’s pristine beach. Hike the tropical rainforest amidst abundant wildlife. Pamper yourself with a deep-tissue massage. At mealtime, settle in to the open-air restaurant and enjoy sweeping vistas and healthy meals prepared with ingredients plucked fresh from the lodge’s organic farm.
Free WiFi Included
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The canal side bar at the Pachira Lodge in Tortuguero National Park Costa Rica Central America.

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Coconut Palms (Cocos nucifera) on rocks at the beach, Golfo Dulce, Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica

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