Cycle from coast to coast on this epic adventure tour that will take you from the Caribbean Sea to the Pacific Ocean. See authentic Costa Rica as you bike past villages, farms, banana plantations, and sugar cane fields on your way toward the west coast. Stop to explore jungle rivers, mountains, an active volcano, and a famous coffee-growing region, then celebrate the end of the trip on the beaches of Manuel Antonio National Park.

Highlights

  • Marvel at Latin America's largest pre-Columbian gold collection in San José
  • Spend the night in a hilltop lodge overlooking the Turrialba Volcano 
  • Ride Costa Rica's lowlands and mountains from the Caribbean to the Pacific
  • Thrill to a morning downhill ride to the valley floor of the Reventazon River
  • Explore the pristine beaches and tropical wildlife of Manuel Antonio National Park

Brief Itinerary

Day Highlights Overnight
Day 1 Arrive in San José San José
Day 2 Bike from Playa Bonita to Siquirres Siquirres
Day 3 Cycle from Siquirres to Turrialba Turrialba
Day 4 Continue from Turrialba to Orosi Orosi
Day 5 Pedal from Orosi to Santa Maria Santa Maria de Dota
Day 6 Enjoy a Downhill Ride from Santa Maria to Quepos Quepos
Day 7 Depart Costa Rica  

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Arrive in San José

Teatro Nacional in San José
Teatro Nacional in San José

Welcome to Costa Rica! A driver will transfer you from the airport to your hotel in San José. After settling in, go for a self-guided walking tour of downtown. Depending on your hotel's location, you can walk or hail a taxi to your first destination: Mercado Central (Central Market), featuring over 200 shops, food stalls, and sodas (traditional restaurants). It's a short walk to Central Park, a small bustling plaza. Pass various outdoor sculptures as you walk through the park toward Catedral Metropolitana and continue walking down Central Avenue until you reach the Teatro Nacional, an opulent Neoclassical building constructed in the late 19th century. 

Your first museum stop is the Museo del Oro Precolumbino, which is accessible from beneath the Plaza de la Cultura and holds the most extensive Pre-Columbian gold collection in Latin America. Next, head to the Museo del Jade, the world's largest collection of pre-Columbian jade artifacts. As you wander among thousands of unique jade pieces, you'll gain an even deeper appreciation for Costa Rica's rich history. 

Check out 24 Hours in San José and read about the top restaurant recommendations in San José here.

Day 2: Bike from Playa Bonita to Siquirres

A Costa Rican banana plantation
Pedal amid banana fields and plantations

Get ready for the first leg of your cross-country cycling trip. Start the day with a four-hour drive from San José to Playa Bonita, located on the east coast. Spend some time by the turquoise waters of this quiet Caribbean beach before getting on your bike and heading for the west coast.

Follow a coastal dirt road shaded by coconut trees, then make your way inland along the railroad tracks. This is the route used to transport bananas to the port city of Limon. As you continue westward, you'll wind through the small villages and banana fields of Costa Rica's Caribbean lowlands. End your day at the Finca Pacuarito Camp on the banks of the Pacuare River near the town of Siquirres.

Cycling Distance: 37.2 miles (60 km)

Day 3: Cycle from Siquirres to Turrialba

A fertile valley lies below Turrialba Volcano
The fertile valley below Turrialba Volcano

This morning you'll cross the Pacuare River by boat before making your way north into town. Explore the bustling center of Siquirres and relax in the park before starting your day's first climb. This 9.3-mile (15-km) uphill stretch along a paved road offers lovely views of the banana plantations carpeting the lowlands below. Keep an eye out for puffs of smoke rising out of the active Turrialba Volcano.

The last 12.4 miles (20 km) of today's route will take you along the rolling ridgeline of the mountains that separate the Reventazon and Pacuare River Valleys. Spend the night in the hilltop Turrialtico Lodge overlooking the volcano and the valley below.

Cycling Distance: 21.7 miles (35 km)

Day 4: Continue from Turrialba to Orosi

Orosi Valley at sunrise
Orosi Valley at sunrise

After yesterday's challenging climb, today brings a thrilling downhill ride to the valley floor of the Reventazon River. This area is where much of Costa Rica's sugar cane is produced using both modern and traditional methods. You'll pass two sugar processing plants along this route: one is a large machine-operated plant, and the other still uses a water-propelled wheel to squeeze the juice out of the cane.

Stop for lunch on the banks of Pejibaye River and cool off with a swim. As you continue cycling through the valley, the expansive sugar cane fields narrow into one of Costa Rica's most important coffee-growing regions, the Orosi Valley. Cross a swing bridge into the tranquil town of Orosi and make yourself at home at the Tetey Lodge. If you have time, visit the 18th-century colonial Iglesia de San Jose de Orosi, Costa Rica's oldest church still in use today.

Plan your trip to Costa Rica
Chat with a local specialist who can help organize your trip.

Eager to sample locally produced coffee? Check out the Ultimate Guide to Costa Rican Coffee.

Cycling Distance: 31 miles (50 km)

Day 5: Pedal from Orosi to Santa Maria

Bike through the mountains as you cross the Continental Divide
Bike through the mountains as you cross the Continental Divide

After building up your strength and endurance over the last three days of cycling, you'll be ready to take on the most challenging day of the trip. Starting at an altitude of 4,265 feet (1,300 m), you'll climb nearly 3,300 feet (1,000 m) to cross the Continental Divide at just under 7,545 feet (2,300 m) above sea level before dropping down to 4,900 feet (1,500 m) on the Pacific side of the country.

Your morning will be spent pushing up the mountain. The cool mountain air, a slow and steady pace, and plenty of stops to enjoy the unforgettable views will help you reach the top. Take a break for a delicious buffet-style lunch. Then enjoy a fun 9.3-mile (15-km) downhill ride to the charming town of Santa Maria de Dota, where you'll rest for the night. It's just a five-minute walk from your cabin into town, where you can sample some excellent coffee and practice your Spanish with the locals.

Cycling Distance: 28 miles (45 km)

Day 6: Enjoy a Downhill Ride from Santa Maria to Quepos

A beautiful Pacific beach in Quepos
A beautiful Pacific beach in Quepos

This last exhilarating push toward the Pacific is nearly entirely downhill. You'll breeze down the slopes of the rainforest, through dense forest, and past remote farms and coastal plains covered in palm trees. Once you're out of the mountains, you'll cross the river at Paso Real and make your way to the bustling fishing town of Quepos on the Pacific Coast.

Although Quepos is small, it is the gateway to Manuel Antonio National Park and offers a variety of restaurants and nightlife, as well as the swanky Marina Pez Vela (a world-class marina). Enjoy fresh seafood and steak at the upscale Gabriella's or Z Gastro Bar, or opt for classic Costa Rican fare at one of the many sodas, or traditional cafés.

Cycling Distance: 40.5 miles (65 km)

Day 7: Depart Costa Rica

Sunset in Costa Rica
The trip ends today. You'll transfer to the airport to catch your flight out. Safe travels!

More Great Costa Rica Itineraries

Looking for more inspiration for your trip to Costa Rica? Check out these other Costa Rica itineraries, explore different ways to spend a week in Costa Rica, or discover the best time to visit Costa Rica.

Map

Map of Costa Rica Cycling Adventure - 7 Days
Map of Costa Rica Cycling Adventure - 7 Days
Emily
Written by Emily Strauss, updated Jul 19, 2022