Cycle Central America
Day 1 Granada
Arrive in Granada at any time. Granada is approximately one hour from the Managua International Airport, and taxis are readily available to transfer you to the hotel. Check into our hotel and enjoy the city. Please try to arrive before 6pm for an important group meeting where you can meet the Chief Experience Officer (CEO) and the other group members. If you want to spend some time exploring the city then we advise you to arrive a day or two early and booking some accommodation before your tour.
Day 2-3 Ometepe (2B,2L,1D)
Depart from Granada in the morning for the first journey on two wheels. We head out of Granada to visit one of Nicaragua’s famous active volcanos in Parque Nacional Volcán Masaya. The Masaya volcano was first discovered by the Spanish back in 1524. Since its discovery, Masaya has erupted at least 19 times and from 1965 to 1979 it has contained an active lava lake. Masaya is a caldera that contains approximately 13 vents. Most activity at these vents consisted of effusion of basaltic lava. Pyroclastic eruptions have constructed an additional three cones: Masaya, Nindiri, and Santiago. After leaving Granada we cycle on unpaved back roads to see more of the surrounding landscape, including a view of Laguna de Apoyo, before heading back to the main road that goes to the national park entrance. Travel south to the town of San Jorge where we board a ferry and cross Lake Nicaragua to arrive at Ometepe Island. This unspoiled island paradise formed out of the lava flowing in between two volcanoes, Maderas (1394m) and Concepción (1610m), is a nature-lover’s dream with abundant wildlife and beauty. It is located in the middle of Lake Nicaragua, tenth largest freshwater lake in the world and home to the world’s only freshwater sharks. The Planeterra Project - the community homestay program Puesta del Sol in the village of La Paloma on Ometepe Island, Nicaragua, is now receiving at least two groups per week from G Adventures increasing income for the community. Planeterra is strengthening the organization with training on how to run their small businesses and is investing in solutions to reduce environmental impacts. We are also working on developing other small businesses in the area to be linked to the home stay, creating a sustainable supply chain - and more positive local economic benefits. Once on Ometepe, we have a day cycling around the island. We pass through lush forest and small villages around the island where they farm a variety of crops in the fertile volcanic soil including plantains, coffee, beans and tobacco. We stop en route to visit the coin museum, keep an eye out for Howler Monkeys at Chaco Verde Lake, view pre-Columbian petroglyphs or the small museum of indigenous artifacts in Altagracia. We stop for lunch in a local restaurant before spending the evening in a local Planeterra-supported homestay. The group will be split up amongst different local families who will host you in their homes for two nights in a small community on the island. Breakfasts and dinners will be provided in the home. Approximate Cycling Distance (Granada to Masaya) 33km Approximate Cycling Distance (Ometepe Island) 50km Approximate Total Distance: 150 km
Day 4-5 La Fortuna (1B)
Our journey takes us onto one of the most iconic roads in all of the Americas. The Pan-American Highway travels from Alaska down to Patagonia, covering the length of the continent, and taking in a huge variety of terrain, the road snakes its way through 23 countries, with a break of just 87 kilometres along the way. The next morning there is a included half day cycling trip along the edge of Lake Arenal. Follow a route via Arenal Dam up to the village of El Castillo. This ride takes us on an old road connecting Arenal Dam with the main entrance to Arenal Volcano National Park. From there go towards the village of El Castillo, keeping an eye out for diverse wildlife. This afternoon is free to relax or enjoy some of the many activities available in La Fortuna. Approximate Cycling Distance - 30km
Day 6 San José (1B)
This morning set out from La Fortuna on our bikes along a scenic road towards Santa Clara en route to San Jose. The route is along a paved mostly flat road that cuts through a large valley. Ride past fields of cassava, banana, papaya and other crops with mountains jutting out in the distance on all sides. In Santa Clara we load up the bikes and drive the rest of the way to San Jose where we stop for the night. Approximate Cycling Distance 42km
Day 7 Orosi (1B,1D)
In the morning get back in the van and continue south through San Jose and Cartago to the town of Paraíso (Paradise), where we get back on the bikes. Our ride starts with a big descent to the Ujarras Ruins, the remains of the first church built in Costa Rica. From Ujarras we cycle past the Cachi Dam, and along the Orosi river valley until we reach Orosi. This is one of Costa Rica’s best coffee growing regions and small coffee farms dot the hillsides at the edges of the valley. The town of Orosi was one of the first and most important colonial settlements in Costa Rica. If you still want to cycle more you can go for a ride in the surrounding area spend the afternoon exploring the town and people watching in the main square. Approximate Cycling Distance 30km
Day 8 Turrialba (1B,1D)
Today we leave Orosi on our bikes and pedal the entire 54km to Turrialba. With multiple large ascents and descents today is one of the most physically challenging rides of the trip. Riding in the fresh mountain air past pristine rivers, coffee farms, sugar cane fields and lush tropical forests makes todays ride one of the most rewarding as well. In the afternoon arrive at our hotel on top of a large hill giving us spectacular views of Turrialba and the surrounding valley down below. In the afternoon maybe walk down from the hotel to a small waterfall or make a trip into town. Approximate Cycling Distance 54km
Day 9-10 Cahuita (2B,1L)
Continuing to the coast, we change to a different mode of transport - white water rafting. Costa Rica is renowned for the variety and quality of the rafting available, and today we will raft class III and IV rapids through the land of the Cabecar indigenous people. Stop for a great riverside picnic lunch and continue rafting all the way to the Caribbean lowlands. In the afternoon we drive to Cahuita, where there is time to relax for the afternoon on the beach. The following day ride down the coast to Puerto Viejo and continue all the way to the postcard perfect beaches of the Manzanillo-Gandoca Refuge. Another option is to return to Cahuita and go hiking and snorkeling in Cahuita National Park or spend the day on the beach swimming and surfing in the Caribbean Sea. Costa Rica’s Caribbean Coast has its own identity and you will notice the Afro-Caribbean influence in everything from food to music and language. The area is also rich with wildlife, monkeys, sloths and many species of tropical birds are common to see.
Day 11-12 Bocas del Toro
Crossing into Panama, travel by means of buses then a boat to arrive at the Archipelago of Bocas del Toro. The time here offers plenty of opportunities to snorkel, scuba dive, or just relax on the beach. The Archipelago of Bocas del Toro is made up of 6 islands, only 2 of which have roads and services for tourists. Cycling here is a great way to get around the main island, as it is almost entirely flat. Getting around the island is approximately a 20 mile round trip, although you may want to stop along the way. The islands are very unique in many ways. The islands and closest shoreline are an isolated pocket of lowlands, between the mountains and swamps of most of nearby mainland. Because of this, there is much wildlife and fauna ,which are found only in this region and nowhere else! The islands are mostly covered in rainforest, and have spectacular beaches perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and snorkeling or diving. If you prefer not to cycle there are plenty of other options for you to choose from. Snorkelling and boat trips between the islands are readily available, or you could choose to just relax at the beaches here. Estimated Travel Time: 5 hours Approximate Distance: 70 km
Day 13-14 Boquete
Transfer to mainland Panama, and cross through dense jungle, passing banana plantations to reach the Panamanian highlands. Its a long day of travel before arriving at the impressive mountain retreat of Boquete. The picturesque town of Boquete is nestled in a green mountain valley, with a beautiful river running through it. The town is well-known for its cool, fresh climate and unspoiled natural environment, making it an outdoor lover’s paradise. There are numerous hiking tours to choose from, as well as horseback riding and whitewater rafting. It is also a good place to just relax in the mountain climate as a break from the lowland heat. For the coffee lovers, there are many plantations that offer tours of their factories as well as taste tests. There is a day for cycling through the highlands here, covering the terrain on many of the pristine mountain roads. The highlands are a great place for cycling, as the varied terrain and cooler climate makes for a very different experience to the previous couple of weeks. Estimated Travel Time: 8 hours Approximate Distance: 340 km
Day 15 Panama City
Its a full day of travelling today to get to Panama City, the country's capital.
Day 16 Panama City (1L)
Leave Panama City and head for Soberania National Park, close to the Panama Canal, a popular destination for bird watchers, so keep your eyes peeled. The tour ends in Panama City in the late afternoon, please book ongoing travel after 3pm. Approx. cycling distance 30km.