Mountain Biking

Nature Spotting Bicycle Rides in Costa Rica

Free Travel Guide

Mountain Biking is one of our most favorite things to do in Costa Rica. 

Costa Rica has several significant regional and international touring races each year, and the Ticos are quite serious about this sport.  The terrain that covers the country includes rocky volcanoes, dirt roads, roaring creeks, and forests, this only adds to the Mountain Biking in Costa Rica.  The “Ruta de Los Conquistadores” is the most grueling and the most well-known yearly touring race.  People from all over the world travel to take part in the “Route of the Conquerers.  This route retraces the steps of 16th-century Spanish conquistadores from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea.  The brutal part is that this is all done four days!  It’s also done during the rainy season, usually taking place in mid-November. 

The best way to discover Costa Rica, by far, is by bike. It is economical, environmentally friendly.  Moreover, it allows you to reach hidden spots and to see an exotic menagerie of animals and birds. For example kingfishers, quetzals, macaws, iguanas and more. Mountain Biking in Costa Rica Expeditions gives you the opportunity to see hidden places otherwise out of reach.  Also, without leaving any footprint of your passage as you cruise through protected wildlife areas and get in close contact with nature. You will have the opportunity to learn about the indigenous animals and plants from experienced naturalist guides.

Bike Arenal for a Complete Costa Rican Holiday

The Arenal Tour starts in La Fortuna, goes around Lake Arenal to finish by the dam, on the northern side.  Imagine riding through rivers and streams, down canyons and up the steep valleys. Then cycling around Lake Arenal by one of the most iconic volcanoes of Central America.  Don’t miss some of the Tours of Arenal Volcano Park while you are in the area.  Make sure you finish your day at one of the many hot springs for a relaxing soak.  What a better way to end a challenging biking day than to ease your muscles in a soothing hot spring!  You can also cross the Cano Negro River, where you will discover a plethora of tropical wildlife.

Enjoy the stunning views of the Arenal Volcano as you cycle through the path along Lake Arenal. And benefit from the views of Arenal volcano, they are quite remarkable as seen from the Lake! The trail takes you to the northern side of the lake where you can see many animals and plants. This tour, 18 to 25 miles long, is suitable for Beginners as well as for Intermediates. Here beginners should be prepared for the 600 meters uphill, however, in general, it is quite doable.  Also remember, you are a part of the true wilderness in the tropical jungle of Costa Rica!


Mountain Bike Costa Rica expedition

Mountain Biking Arenal

Arenal. Nature, Excursion Guide, Snack, Meal, Equipment.
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Mountain Biking in Costa Rica Ruta de Los Conquistadores

This race is more about finishing it than winning it.  It follows the steps of the Conquerors of the year 1560. Juan de Cavallon and Perefan de Ribera discovered Costa Rica and fought their way through the virgin forests and mountains of Costa Rica.  While they were on horses, the competitors are on their bikes, on a journey of self-discovery from the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica all the way to the Caribbean. This endurance test goes on for three days.  It starts through valleys, up the mountains, passes, in the jungle, then by steamy volcanoes and pristine beaches in the rain.  All throughout the path is wet and slippery, there are hanging bridges, and rivers to cross; bikes have to be carried when the rivers are full!

The scenery is sensational, but only the dedicated, tenacious and high-spirited minds should undertake such an arduous journey!  They come in all shapes and ages, and they are all heroes.  The Ruta de Los Conquistadores is considered to be one of the ten toughest endurance events of the world. Indeed, keeping this race alive has been a challenge by itself!  You will see some of the most amazing Beaches of Costa Rica, and ride through the most enchanting landscape.

Mystical Bicycles in Costa Rica from Puerto Viejo to Manzanillo

Riding bikes in Costa Rica on pavement is not always a safe activity. The country’s many cars and trucks added to dangerous roads, drivers, and weather conditions are a buzz kill. Mountain Biking in Costa Rica can take you to many beautiful places.  Although it’s a treacherous sport that doesn’t leave much space for nature spotting and relaxation.  The best place for relaxing bicycle rides in Costa Rica with plenty of wildlife spotting is a 13-kilometer section of flat paved road. This is between the small Caribbean beach towns of Puerto Viejo de Talamanca and Manzanillo.

Take an easy and laid back ride down the gorgeous Caribbean side. Here it’s standard to expect the friendly transient acknowledgment from those passing by in the opposite direction. 

Between the destinations about the best of nature loving Mountain Biking in Costa Rica, there are some places that merit stops to admire the sheer beauty of the jungle and ocean.  Places like Punta Uva, Cocles Beach, Playa Chiquita and the Jaguar Rescue Center. Along the paved flat road, with the exception of one small hill, observant bicycle riders will be able to spot different flora and fauna as they pedal underneath the giant rainforest parallel to the ocean.

There are also a few stores, mini marts, and Caribbean hotels nested in the jungle along way in case there is a need to have a drink of water or to eat a piece of fresh fruit. The ideal time to start riding bicycles in Costa Rica is in the early morning for there’s a better chance of fair weather. Naturalists on their bikes favor mornings because there’s more wildlife activity in the trees and sky.

The Wildlife

On the subject of wildlife spotting, while mountain biking in Costa Rica, this is the ideal trip.  Make sure to, use your senses as you quietly pedal on the tarmac and you’ll encounter numbers of toucans flying by and silly monkeys eating in the trees. If you see fresh leaves and branches spread out on the road, stop and look up in a tree overhead.  Here you might need to stand back a little and listen quietly; nine out of ten times there’s one or more incredible creatures up there. For example, a brown throated three-toed sloth or a group of mantled howler monkeys picking away at leaves.

Another wildlife spotting tip along Puerto Viejo – Manzanillo Costa Rican bike ride is to look carefully to see what’s hanging down from the Cecropia trees. Cecropia trees are easy to recognize and can be found everywhere. They have a thin main trunk radiating a few small branches with large hand-shaped leaves. Locals call the tree Guarumo, and they are a favorite dish for sloths and iguanas.

Guarumos and other tall trees with seldom long branches and receding leaves are a favorite hangout for toucans and their large beaks. Just think if you were a toucan, how uncomfortable it would be to spend your time in a tree full of branches and leaves to clutter your beak. If all else fails, other tourists and locals will be eager to point out the wildlife to you.

Mountain Biking in Costa Rica Caribbean Style 

Once you’re there, Manzanillo offers beautiful soft white sands and coconut palm trees for shade. The beach is ideal for sunbathing and snorkeling, especially during the months of September and October; March, April, and May aren’t bad either. The Gandoca Manzanillo Wildlife Refuge is also another beautiful place to walk in the jungle although it’s only recommended with a guide.

Puerto Viejo is a fun beach town with modern amenities that seem oddly placed in such a laid back and natural atmosphere. Puerto Viejo is the home of Salsa Brava, Costa Rica’s heaviest wave for professional surfers. It’s important to warn bicycle riders to be extra careful on this bike route during the weekends and holidays when there’s more traffic. The rainiest months here are November and December.

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