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Central America is ripe with uninterrupted natural beauty. What's more, it's a part of the world that's frequently overlooked - meaning you can often see it all without the tourist crowd. From the lakes and volcanoes of Nicaragua to Costa Rica's forested surrounds, get to the heart of each of these destinations from the saddle. On this active 8-day adventure you'll cycle past old colonial forts and small villages through serene Nicaraguan countryside, ancient rock carvings and cheeky monkeys on Ometepe Island, and orange groves, banana plantations, and other agricultural bounties in Costa Rica. Action-packed, though not without a good dose of relaxation, this cycling adventure through Nicaragua and Costa Rica delivers it all.
Day 1: Granada
Bienvenidos! Welcome to Nicaragua. Home intriguing volcanic landscapes, laidback 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 2: Masaya/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 century. 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/2115 feet
Day 3: Ometepe 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 feetVehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Day 4: Maderas Volcano & San Juan del Sur
In the early morning make a loop around the less populated Maderas 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. Grab a quick takeaway 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. Time permitting, 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 metres/1900 feetVehicle Transfer: approx. 2 hours
Day 5: Arenal/La Fortuna
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 Arenal. The lake sits at the base of the ever-steaming 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. Spend the evening in the charming town of Fortuna in the shadows of the Arenal Volcano and enjoy a coffee (or a well earned beer) at one of the many small cafes and bars in town.Cycling: riding distance is approx. 45 kilometres/28 miles over 4 hours, on rolling terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 490 metres/1600 feet (mostly towards the end of the ride)Vehicle Transfer: approx. 4-5 hours
Day 6: El Castillo Area
Take breakfast with (hopefully) clear views of Arenal's 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 La Fortuna.Cycling: riding distance is approx. 60 kilometres/37 miles over 6 hours, on hilly terrain with an elevation gain of approx. 625 metres/2050 feetVehicle Transfer: approx. 1 hour
Day 7: Santa Rosa Pocosol
Cycle from La Fortuna 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 8: San Jose
Today is a non-cycling day as you make your way by vehicle to Costa Rica’s capital, San Jose, where your adventure ends on arrival. 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.If you are departing today, please ensure you book a flight departing after 4pm. Should you wish to spend some extra time in this enchanting city, your booking agent would be happy to help you book an extra night's accommodation or two (subject to availability).
- Cycle across Central America, a land of mysterious Maya ruins, active volcanoes, idyllic beaches and emerald jungles.
- See the sights and engage in a wide range of activities across two different countries on this epic Latin adventure.
- Volcanoes, wildlife-rich rainforest, stunning beaches and ancient rock carvings – Ometepe Island has it all. You'll have plenty of free time to explore the island, set in beautiful Lake Nicaragua.
- Whether it's reflecting back at you in the lake or heating the thermal pools you're soaking in, the magnificent volcanoes always make their presence felt
7 Breakfast(s) Included
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Much more difficult bike riding than expected. If I had known it was a mountain bike trip, I might not have booked it. The tour was challenging, but I wish our guide would of shared more info about the countries. He did offer great restaurant options. Several things were left out of the itinerary, without explanation. Like a walking tour...no mention of it. Also wished our guide would of been more customer focused, versus about his own accomplishments or up coming athletic challenges. It struck me odd, that in the first night, he did not give the group a chance to introduce themselves. I'm glad I did this trip, but liked the tour and cycling of the Vienna to Budapest Intrepid tour better.
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