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Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama 2019

Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama 2019

Biking
·
Start: Granada
·
End: Panama City

Discover volcanoes, rainforests and idyllic beaches on this cycling adventure

Activity
Biking
LocationCosta Rica, Nicaragua, Panama
Duration15 days
Start / EndGranada / Panama City
Tour operatorIntrepid Travel

Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Panama

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama 2019

Biking·
15 days·Intrepid Travel
Start: Granada
·
End: Panama City

Description

From the deep rainforests of Panama to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, witness all the natural splendour of Central America from your unique vantage point in the saddle. Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama are the ultimate trifecta of Central American and Caribbean living, with a diversity of wildlife and rich local cultures waiting to be discovered. This cycling adventure takes you off...

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Itinerary

Day 1Granada
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Nicaragua. Home intriguing volcanic landscapes, laid-back colonial towns, lush forests and gorgeous beaches, it’s no small wonder Nicaragua has flourished in recent years and is often a traveller favourite. Make you own way to the hotel, where your adventure begins with a welcome meeting at 6 pm. Please look for a note in the hotel lobby or ask reception where it will take place. Other than this important group meeting there are no activities planned for today. Cycling: none
Day 2Masaya/Granada
Avoid the heat today with an early cycle (approximately 4 hours) around Apoyo Lagoon. As you leave town, pass by the ‘Fuerte de Polvora’, a white Spanish colonial fort built in the 18th centu-ry. The route takes you off the beaten path, on dirt tracks and up slight inclines, through small settlements in the Nicaraguan countryside. Before arriving at Apoyo Lagoon, stop at a lookout in Santa Catarina and enjoy breathtaking vistas over Apoyo Lagoon and the distant Mombacho Volcano. There are some steep, cobblestoned hills leading up to this viewpoint but the effort is well worth it. Please note that if you are not comfortable with riding the steep hills to Santa Cata-rina you can always use our support vehicle. After soaking in the view, ride along the border of the lagoon before returning to Granada (a route that is mainly downhill). On return to Granada there is time to enjoy lunch at your leisure. Following lunch, hop aboard a tour bus to see the sights of this charming city. This includes a visit to the White Towns – an area where talented local artisans make clay pottery, bamboo baskets, up-cycled flowerpots out of old car tyres and much more. Stop for a quick visit at Masaya Market and then on to Masaya Volcano, where lava can often be seen. The day concludes on return to Granada, where you can take dinner at your leisure. Cycling: riding distance is about 37 kilometres/23 miles over 4 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of aprox. 645 metres/2,115 feet
Day 3Ometepe Island
Head out this morning on a walking tour with a local expert, who will point out traditional historic sites and reveal behind-the-scenes insight into life in Granada. In the late morning, catch a transfer to San Jorge, then take a boat across Lake Nicaragua to Moyagalpa, the main town on Ometepe Island. Formed by two impressive volcanoes rising from Lake Nicaragua, you will want to pay attention to views of this remarkable hourglass-shaped island during the journey. Upon arrival, enjoy some free time before starting your biking adventure around the north side of Conception Volcano. Stop and marvel at the many stone carvings of Altagracia – evidence of early, culturally developed indigenous tribes who inhabited the island long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. After another half hour in the saddle, arrive at Santo Domingo Beach in time for a swim and some well-deserved rest at the beach or hotel pool. Cycling: riding distance is about 23 kilometres/14 miles over 2.5 hours, on rolling terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 345 metres/11,30 feet Vehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Day 4Maderas Volcano & San Juan del Sur
In the morning make a loop around the less populated Madera Volcano. The volcano itself is not active and its crater now contains a lake. Ride through secluded rural areas that are home to howler monkeys, a wide variety of bird species and small mammals. Stop and cool off with a visit to Ojo de Agua, a beautiful swimming spot where the water comes from deep within the Maderas Volcano. Take time to relax and enjoy lunch before transferring to Moyagalpa and boarding the boat back to the mainland. It’s a 2-hour journey (first by boat, and then by bus) to the laidback surf town of San Juan del Sur, on Nicaragua’s south-west coast. Upon arrival, take an easy afternoon ride down to the Pacific beach in time for sunset. Cycling: riding distance is approx. 50 kilometres/30 miles over 4 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 580 meters/1,900 feet Vehicle Transfer: approx. 2 hours
Day 5Arenal
Say goodbye to Nicaragua and journey south to Costa Rica. Hit the road before 7 am and cross the border at the sometimes unpredictable Penas Blancas border crossing. Once on the other side, start cycling down and along the shores of Lake Fortuna. The lake sits at the base of the Arenal Volcano in the northern highlands of Costa Rica and is the country's largest landlocked body of water. There are quite a few rivers to cross, with Cano Negro being the biggest one. Most of the hotels in Lake Fortuna are located on the slopes of Arenal Volcano, so expect a little climb towards the end of the day. Cycling: riding distance is approx. 45 kilometres/28 miles over 4 hours, on rolling terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 490 meters/1,600 feet (mostly towards the end of the ride) Vehicle Transfer: approx. 4-5 hours
Day 6El Castillo Area
Take breakfast with clear views of Arenal's gorgeous lake and volcano before saddling up for the day. Your destination is the El Castillo region, an area of great natural beauty, rich in orange groves, banana plantations, sugar cane and other agricultural bounties. Spend a full day exploring this lush and fragrant region before returning to Arenal. Cycling: riding distance is approx. 60 kilometres/37 miles over 6 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 625 meters/2,050 feet Vehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Day 7Santa Rosa Pocosol
Cycle from Arenal to Santa Rosa where you’ll spend the night in a homestay. Just down the road is the Juanilama, an agricultural community where you’ll have the opportunity to get to know local villagers, help with farm chores or take a cooking lesson. Several villagers have built comfortable rooms for guests next to their homes. All rooms have shared facilities. In order to make the most of this homestay experience, it may take a bit of effort from your side to break the ice first. Learn as many Spanish words as you can and get ready for some serious hand language signals. Cycling: riding distance is approx. 45 kilometres/28 miles
Day 8San Jose
Today is a non-cycling day as you make your way by vehicle (approx. 3hrs) to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose. The rest of the day is free for you to explore this intriguing city until a group meeting at the hotel at 6pm. San Jose is perhaps Central America’s most surprising capital, where an assortment of interesting museums, galleries, theatres, lively plazas and markets are set amongst glitzy modern shopping malls. Many of the most interesting buildings can be found near Avenida Central, including the Teatro Nacional, an elaborate confection of marble staircases, statues, frescoes and mirrors. If you'd like something more organised than just wandering the city why not try one of our Urban Adventures - ask your leader for more information.
Day 9Puerto Viejo
Depart San Jose early this morning on a long driving day (approximately 230 kilometres/143 miles over 4 hours). Make your way to Puerto Viejo de Talamanca for a taste of the Caribbean: think reggae bars and palm-fringed beaches. Once known only for the legendary Salsa Brava surf break, this town maintains its laid-back vibe while being the departure point for a wide range of activities such as snorkelling, chocolate tours or the popular Jaguar Rescue Centre. Stop en route at the famous (and supposedly haunted) Cartago ruins. On arrival in Puerto Viejo, check into the accommodation then stretch your legs on a relaxing ride along the coast to the small beachside town of Manzanillo. Return to Puerto Viejo in time for a sunset beer.
Day 10Puerto Viejo
Cycle away from the beach this morning and follow the Sixaola River, a peaceful stream that forms the border between Costa Rica and Panama. Enjoy a longer ride, passing rolling green farmland and the Gandoca Manzanillo National Park before returning to Puerto Viejo for a free afternoon. Hit the surf, rest your riding muscles on the beach or grab a cold drink at one of the town's bamboo bars.
Day 11Boquete
Board a support vehicle this morning and cross the border into Panama, arriving in Caldera some 4 hours later (245 kilometres/150 miles). The area is home to beautiful pine forests, river valleys and streams, with the Baru Volcano serving as a stunning backdrop. Jump back in the saddle for a hilly ride with nice descents and amazing scenery. Once you reach the town of Caldera, board a special all-terrain vehicle that will take you up to the Boquete area, the spectacular mountain town serving as your home for the next two nights. Your hotel is located at nearly 1700 metres/558 above sea level, and the 7 kilometre/4 mile incline to the hotel door may be an appealing challenge for the more energetic cyclists in the group. Cycling: riding distance is approximately 30 kilometres/18 miles over 3 hours, on hill terrain with an elevation gain of approximately 530 metres/1,740 feet. Vehicle transfer: approximately 3.5 hours.
Day 12Boquete
Enjoy the chance to rest your legs on this free day. Take part in an optional tour of a coffee plantation or visit a nearby hot springs to soothe your muscles. Alternatively, take it easy and simply soak in the serenity surrounding this mountain gem. If you're keen to get back in the saddle, optional rides in the area can be arranged with your leader.
Day 13Baru Volcano & Panama City
Transfer to Los Portrerillos for today's ride along the slopes of Baru Volcano, an active stratovolcano. There are some undulating sections before a long, fun descent on rarely-used roads and on a clear day you can see the Pacific Ocean. Freshen up at the bottom before boarding your transfer to Panama City. Cycling: riding distance is approximately 32 kilometres/20 miles over 2 hours, on undulating then downhill terrain with an elevation gain of approximately 270 metres/885 feet. Vehicle transfer: approximately 7 hours.
Day 14Panama Canal & Gamboa Rainforest
See the highlights of Central America's glitziest capital on a short ride along the Panama Canal. Set out from the hotel, located close to the Pacific end of the Panama Canal, and transfer by bus (approximately 15 minutes) to the Miraflores Locks. The Miraflores Visitor Centre (entrance is included) features a large interactive museum, multiple viewing platforms and a delicious buffet restaurant with views of the canal. After spending some time learning about this intriguing canal, ride into Soberania National Park. Covering 55,000 acres (220 square kilometres), the park spans almost the entire width of the country along the east side of the canal. Take a quick side trip down the plantation trail deep into the jungle. Afterwards, continue to Gamboa, a town which was left deserted following the completion of the Panama Canal. See the remains of the town before ending your ride at the truly spectacular Rainforest Discovery Center. One of the main attractions is a tower way above the canopy where it's possible to observe up to 14 species of hummingbirds. You may also see other animals such as monkeys, crocodiles, coatis and butterflies. Enjoy lunch at the Discovery Center before heading back to town for some free time. Perhaps explore Casco Viejo, the historic old town of Panama City. This evening you have a special farewell dinner to celebrate the end of this cycling adventure. Cycling: riding distance is approx. 20 kilometres/12 miles over 3 hours, on mostly flat terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 190 metres/625 feet Vehicle transfer: approx. 1.5 hours
Day 15Panama City
You can depart at any time as there are no activities planned for today. Cycling distance: none

More info

Last modified (date)

26 Nov 2018

Trip title

Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama 2019

Trip code

QZXBC

Validity

Validity: 01 Jan 2018 to 31 Dec 2019

Introduction

From the deep rainforests of Panama to the crystal clear waters of the Caribbean, witness all the natural splendour of Central America from your unique vantage point in the saddle. Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama are the ultimate trifecta of Central American and Caribbean living, with a diversity of wildlife and rich local cultures waiting to be discovered. This cycling adventure takes you off th... Read more

Style

Original

Transport

Bicycle,Support vehicle,Boat

Physical Rating

4

Physical preparation

This is an active trip, requiring a reasonable level of physical fitness. While there is flexibility in the distance you can elect to cycle each day, the cycling on this trip can be challenging at times, with the heat and terrain adding to the physical effort. It is also important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. As a general rule, the more preparation you can do fo... Read more

Joining point

B&B Hotel La Estación

Finish point

Hotel Centroamericano

Finish point description

Hotel Centroamericano is 600 m from Panama City Yacht Club and a 10-minute drive from Marcos A. Gelabert International Airport. The hotel offers 24-hour reception, free Wi-Fi and free parking. The modern air-conditioned rooms feature flat-screen cable TV and a laptop safe. There is a desk and a wardrobe, and the private bathroom comes with a shower, hairdryer and toiletries. A laundry and dry clea... Read more

Finish point instructions

Intrepid offers a pre-arranged departure transfer service to Panama City International Airport [PTY] at an additional fee. If you require this service, please advise your flight arrival details at least 14 days prior to your trip departure. If you have pre-booked this service, your transfer driver will collect you from your hotel 4 hours before your flight time. If your transfer has not arrived ... Read more

Group leader

All Intrepid cycling group trips are accompanied by one of our cycling leaders. The aim of the group leader is to take the hassle out of your travels and to help you have the best trip possible. Intrepid endeavours to provide the services of an experienced leader however, due to the seasonality of travel, rare situations may arise where your leader is new to a particular region or training other g... Read more

Safety

We take safety seriously on all our trips, but cycling tours deserve a few special considerations. HELMETS: Helmets are compulsory and we do not allow anyone to ride without one (including our own staff!). You can bring your own, or purchase one that meets international safety standards on the ground. Your leader can assist with this. FOOTWEAR For safety reasons we strongly recommend that you w... Read more

Visas

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. Entry requirements can change at any time, so it's important that you check for the latest information. Please visit the relevant consular website of the country or countries you’re visiting for detailed and up-to-date visa information specific to your nationality. Your consultant will also be happy to point you in the right direction with ... Read more

Why we love it

Cycle across Central America, a land of mysterious Mayan ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles

Is this trip right for you

To complete this trip it is important that you are both confident and competent in riding a bicycle. This is a new trip - we have researched the itinerary and accommodation extensively but there is the possibility of some last minute changes if improvements can still be made. On this trip we have a single leader that rides with the group, and another that drives the support vehicle (acting as a ... Read more

Health

All Intrepid travellers need to be in good physical health in order to participate fully on this trip. When selecting your trip please make sure you have read through the itinerary carefully and assess your ability to cope with our style of travel. Please note that if, in the opinion of our group leader or local guide, any traveller is unable to complete the itinerary without undue risk to themsel... Read more

Food and dietary requirements

While travelling with us you'll experience the vast array of wonderful food available in the world. Your group leader will be able to suggest restaurants to try during your trip. On our camping trips we often cook the region's specialities so you don't miss out. To give you the maximum flexibility in deciding where, what and with whom to eat, generally not all meals are included in the trip price.... Read more

Money matters

Nicaragua currency information - The official currency of Nicaragua is the Nicaraguan gold córdoba (NIO). You can pay with major credit and debit cards at many hotels, restaurants and stores. You can use major credit cards and some debit cards to withdraw córdobas from ATMs and over the counter at banks. US dollars are widely accepted, but for smaller items using córdobas is cheaper and easier. Có... Read more

What to take

Packing for a cycling tour isn’t that different from any other adventure. But if you want to be comfortable and warm, here are a few bike-specific tips. • Helmet – these are compulsory, but if you don’t have your own you can sometimes purchase an approved and well-fitted one at the start of the trip (our leaders can assist you with this). There are some destinations where you are unable to pur... Read more

Climate and seasonal

HURRICANE SEASON: Hurricane season in this region is June to November, when landslides, mudslides, flooding and disruptions to essential services can occur. Intrepid monitors any situations that arise, and may need to change itineraries or activities in response to these natural weather occurrences.

A couple of rules

Everyone has the right to feel safe when they travel. We don’t tolerate any form of violence (verbal or physical) or sexual harassment, either between customers or involving our leaders, partners or local people. Sexual relationships between a tour leader and a customer are strictly forbidden. Use or possession of illegal drugs will not be tolerated on our trips. If you choose to consume alcohol... Read more

Feedback

After your travels, we want to hear from you! We rely on your feedback. We read it carefully. Feedback helps us understand what we are doing well and what we could be doing better. It allows us to make improvements for future travellers. http://www.intrepidtravel.com/feedback/

Emergency contact

For general contact details please use the following page: http://www.intrepidtravel.com/ourtrips/contact/ While we always endeavour to provide the best possible holiday experience, due to the nature of travel and the areas we visit sometimes things can and do go wrong. Should any issue occur while you are on your trip, it is imperative that you discuss this with your group leader or our local re... Read more

Responsible travel

As part of our commitment to responsible travel a portion of your trip cost will be donated to Bicycles for Humanity – a not-for-profit, volunteer run, grass roots charity organisation focused on the alleviation of poverty through sustainable transport – in the form of a bicycle. In the developing world a bicycle is life changing, allowing access to health care, education, economic opportunity an... Read more

The Intrepid Foundation

Help us change thousands of lives by creating meaningful work and supporting skills training in communities around the world. The Intrepid Foundation is the not-for-profit for Intrepid Group. We work with local organisations around the world to improve the livelihoods of vulnerable individuals and communities through sustainable travel experiences. With our travellers’ help, we’ve contributed mo... Read more

Accommodation notes

OCCASIONAL ALTERNATIVE ACCOMMODATION The style of accommodation indicated in the day-to-day itinerary is a guideline. On rare occasions, alternative arrangements may need to be made due to the lack of availability of rooms in our usual accommodation. A similar standard of accommodation will be used in these instances. TWIN SHARE / MULTI SHARE BASIS Accommodation on this trip is on a twin/multisha... Read more

Transport notes

While there are occasions we use local public transport such as trains, buses or taxis to cover long distances or attend non-cycling activities we predominantly use the bicycle as our main form of transport. On most of our trips we also have a support vehicle as secondary transport for travelling longer distances, avoiding hazardous areas to cycle, as a backup should we have any incidents and of c... Read more

Travel insurance

Travel insurance is compulsory for all our trips. We require that, at a minimum, you are covered for medical expenses including emergency repatriation. We strongly recommend that the policy also covers personal liability, cancellation, curtailment and loss of luggage and personal effects. When travelling on a trip, you won't be permitted to join the group until evidence of travel insurance and th... Read more

Your fellow travellers

As you travel on a group trip you will be exposed to all the pleasures and maybe some of the frustrations of travelling in a group. Your fellow travellers will probably come from all corners of the world and likely a range of age groups too. We ask you to be understanding of the various needs and preferences of your group - patience with your fellow travellers is sometimes required for the benefit... Read more

Itinerary disclaimer

Occasionally our itineraries are updated during the year to incorporate improvements stemming from past travellers' comments and our own research. The information given in this itinerary may be slightly different to that in the brochure. It's very important that you print and review a final copy of your Essential Trip Information a couple of days prior to travel, in case there have been changes th... Read more

Accommodation

Hotel (11 nights),Mountain Lodge (2 nights),homestay (1 night)
15days
€2,630per person
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Mar 9
Granada
Mar 23
Panama City
€2,630
Seats left: 8
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Mar 30
Granada
Apr 13
Panama City
€2,630
Seats left: 16
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Apr 20
Granada
May 4
Panama City
€2,630
Seats left: 16
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Aug 10
Granada
Aug 24
Panama City
€2,630
Seats left: 16
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