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Visit Central America’a Nicaragua and cycle among Costa Rica’s rainforests and Panama’s Caribbean islands

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The narrow isthmus between Central and South America lends itself perfectly to two-wheeled exploration.

From Granada’s colonial hub to Panama City’s bustling excitement, this ride through three Central American countries will have you discovering the steamy rainforests of Costa Rica, the Arenal Volcano at La Fortuna, and Bocas del Toro – a true island paradise.

You’ll also visit Lake Nicaragua (a nature lovers paradise), cruise alongside the Tenorio River, and do a bit of snorkeling in Panama’s reefs.

A great cycle adventure that includes:

  • Beautiful and lively colonial cities
  • The chance to let your worries fade away around the heavenly islands at Bocas del Toro
  • Rural life in Nicaragua and Panama that is truly off the beaten path
  • The active and lit up (at night) Arenal volcano with it’s bubbling lava
  • Central America’s wildlife mecca of Lake Nicaragua
  • Yummy rum cocktails on the Caribbean shore
  • Crocodile spotting along the Tenorio River
  • The historic and iconic Panama Canal
  • The most delicious seafood you’ve ever tried
  • Toucan watching!

If you’re the kind of travel adventurer who wants to make the most of the time they have, this is the cycling tour for you.  Over these fifteen days you’ll not only come to know the country well, but it’s people’s, culture, challenges, and uniqueness as well.

This cycle trip is not just sun and beach though.  Be prepared for some rigorous physical activity!    The road includes main roads as well as scenic back roads, and will take you through remote parts of the islands. You can expect to cycle an average of 45 kilometers per day.

You won’t just be challenged physically – you’ll also see and experience challenging and heart opening situations while you’re there.  But it is these challenges that make such a journey so powerful and unique.

The trip ends with a ride along the very impressive Panama Canal.  This one of a kind adventure gives you the perfect balance between planned activities and free time – so you can move at your own pace, seek out what draws you in, and really get beneath the skin of these remarkable places.

Fill out the enquiry form to take the first step towards this amazing adventure.

Please call or complete the enquiry form for live availability and pricing for the departure dates below which are shown EXCLUDING flights. There is a UK Flight Included option available on request and all prices are from rates which may be higher or lower on the operator’s website at the point of booking. 

Last updated: 14th October 2015

Sat 17 Oct 15 – Sat 31 Oct 15
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,949

Sat 31 Oct 15 – Sat 14 Nov 15
Standard Departure
On Request GBP £1,949

Sat 07 Nov 15 – Sat 21 Nov 15
Premium departure
Fully booked GBP £2,249

Sat 14 Nov 15 – Sat 28 Nov 15
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,949

Sat 21 Nov 15 – Sat 05 Dec 15
Standard departure
Fully booked GBP £1,949

Sat 28 Nov 15 – Sat 12 Dec 15
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,949

Sat 12 Dec 15 – Sat 26 Dec 15
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,949

Sat 19 Dec 15 – Sat 02 Jan 16
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,949

Sat 26 Dec 15 – Sat 09 Jan 16
Standard departure
On Request GBP £1,949

Sat 02 Jan 16 – Sat 16 Jan 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 09 Jan 16 – Sat 23 Jan 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 23 Jan 16 – Sat 06 Feb 16
Standard Departure
Limited Availability GBP £1,969

Sat 30 Jan 16 – Sat 13 Feb 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,999

Sat 06 Feb 16 – Sat 20 Feb 16
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,969

Sat 13 Feb 16 – Sat 27 Feb 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 05 Mar 16 – Sat 19 Mar 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 19 Mar 16 – Sat 02 Apr 16
Standard Departure
Fully booked GBP £1,969

Sat 02 Apr 16 – Sat 16 Apr 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 09 Apr 16 – Sat 23 Apr 16
Standard Departure
Available & guaranteed GBP £1,969

Sat 06 Aug 16 – Sat 20 Aug 16
Standard Departure
Available GBP £2,049



Days 1-2 Granada
Get sightseeing in Granada’s cobblestone streets and let the holiday vibe kick in. Cycle through Lake Nicaragua’s protected zone and be on the lookout for exotic birds. Continue to Masaya and spend time shopping at the artisans’ markets before visiting the mighty Masaya Volcano. The road goes almost to the lip of the crater and it’s possible to see bubbling lava as well as colourful parakeets that call the crater home.

Day 3 Ometepe Island
Take a relaxing boat ride to Ometepe Island, teeming with exotic wildlife, rainforests and two volcanoes.

Day 4 San Juan del Sur
Hop in the saddle for a ride through the forest to San Juan del Sur. Feast on seafood and perhaps sip cocktails on the beach.

Days 5-6 Canas
After a steep, early-morning ride, cross into Costa Rica and cycle between the Miravalles and Tenorio volcanoes. Float down the Tenorio River, watching out for monkeys and crocodiles. Cycle a trail surrounding Lake Arenal. This section can be challenging but the incredible vistas are worth it.

Days 7-8 La Fortuna/Arenal
See toucans swooping through the rainforest on the cycle towards La Fortuna. Pass banana and sugarcane fields and sooth weary muscles in the hot springs. While here, take in views of the mighty Arenal Volcano – the red-hot lava makes for great night-time viewing.

Day 9 Cahuita
Traverse the rolling San Carlos plains, dodging neon-blue morpho butterflies. Journey down the vibrant Caribbean coast road to Cahuita, home to reggae music and spicy cuisine.

Days 10-11 Bocas del Toro
Skirt around the Talamanca Mountains and through Guaymi tribe country. Cross into Panama and sail to the island paradise of Bocas del Toro. Go snorkelling, diving, kayaking or surfing. Take a boat trip to nearby islands and spot dolphins, or simply relax beneath a palm tree on a Caribbean beach.

Day 12 Santiago
Relish the tropical scenery en route to Santiago and take an exhilarating downhill ride through the mountains.

Days 13-15 Panama City
Enjoy a ride through the lush countryside before making tracks to Panama City. Spend an unforgettable day cycling along the iconic Panama Canal. Make time to explore the ins and outs of this fascinating metropolis – perhaps end your Central American cycling tour by dancing the night away at a samba club.


Home to one of the world’s most exceptional modern engineering marvels, Panama invokes historic nostalgia. Yet there’s more to this Central American nation than the mighty Panama Canal, and travellers lucky enough to end up in Panama will be delightfully surprised by the uncrowded beaches, sensational surf breaks, magical rainforests and splendid colonial towns. It’s high time the world’s wanderers added Panama to their adventure agendas.


Central America’s largest, but least densely populated, country overflows with natural beauty. It can be hard to choose between chatting with monkeys, climbing volcanoes or picking a banana straight from the tree. The locals are incredibly welcoming and you’ll find new friends at every turn.

Costa Rica:

Golden beaches, lively cities and emerald green forests, Costa Rica is a classic combination of rich Latino culture and jaw-dropping natural beauty. The world’s first ‘carbon neutral’ nation, this is a destination for the conscientious and the curious – a friendly, laidback slice of sun-drenched Central America.

Style: Original trips are classic adventures. With a mix of included activities and free time, they offer plenty of opportunities to explore at your own pace and take part in activities that really get beneath the skin of a destination. While the occasional meal may be included, you’ll have the freedom to seek out your own culinary adventures. Accommodation is generally budget or tourist class (2-3 star), but you’re as likely to find yourself as a guest of a local family as staying in a hotel or camping. Transport will vary as well. Depending on the destination and the itinerary you could find yourself travelling on anything from a camel to a train or a private safari vehicle. It’s all part of the adventure! Original travellers have a desire to make the most of their travel time and really get to know a place, its people and cultures.

What’s included in this trip
• Start: 
Granada, Nicaragua
• Finish: 
Panama City, Panama
• Group size: 
Min 6 , Max 16
• Ages:
 Min 16
• Meals: 
14 breakfasts, 0 dinners
• Accommodation: 
Hotel (14 nts)
• Transport:
 Bicycle, Ferry, Support vehicle

Culture shock rating 3/5

Expect some culture shock. You’ll be exposed to signs of poverty and access to services may be sporadic. The food will be quite different to home and English speakers harder to find. Respecting the local culture will make it easier to fit in and really experience the location.

Physical rating 4/5

Be prepared for some serious physical activity. The majority of activities included on this trip will be challenging. The fitter you are, the more you’ll enjoy your holiday.

Physical preparation
We recommend that you undertake regular aerobic exercise in the weeks before you travel, particularly if you are not in the habit of regular exercise. Walking, jogging, swimming or riding a bike are all good ways to increase your aerobic fitness, which will allow you to enjoy the trip to its fullest.

Routes follow mainly quiet back roads and can be potholed. This tour covers some remote parts of the island. Though many of the roads are in good condition you should expect potholes and poor road conditions on some sections. The roads are generally free of heavy traffic, except in the towns. The route is 80% on tarmac, and 20% on dirt roads. We cycle an average of about 45 km (28 miles) per day, over 12 days of cycling.

Included activities
Included activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary, all other activities are optional and at your own expense. If you choose not to participate in the included activities on this itinerary, the cost will not be refunded.

Optional activities
A selection of optional activities are listed in the day-to-day itinerary. This isn’t an exhaustive list and should be used as a guide only. Prices are for entrance only and don’t include transport costs to and from the sites or local guides unless indicated. It may not be possible to do all the activities listed in the time available at each destination. Optional activities aren’t necessarily endorsed or recommended by Intrepid nor included in price of this trip. If you do any optional activities, you do so at your own risk and it must be clearly understood that your participation is your own decision and doesn’t form part of your contract with the operator. You may be required to sign/complete a waiver form or a receipt for some optional activities.

Spending money
Every traveller is different and therefore spending money requirements will vary. Some travellers may drink more than others while other travellers like to purchase more souvenirs than most. Please consider your own spending habits when it comes to allowing for drinks, shopping, participating in optional activities, and tipping. Please also remember the following specific recommendations when planning your trip.


The minimum age of clients on this trip is 16 years. Please note that teenagers aged 16 or 17 must be accompanied by (and share accommodation with) a parent or legal guardian.

Please note that 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.
Costa Rica is a country which, in parts, is more developed compared to other Latin America countries. A high standard of living means that prices of food and activities can be as high as what you would expect to pay in the US, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, etc; and you should budget accordingly.

Group size
Maximum of 16 travellers per group.

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 of everyone’s travel experience. Remember too that you have responsibilities to the group. If you are requested to be at a place at a certain time, ensure that you don’t keep the rest of the group waiting. We have found time and time again that the very best trips we operate are those where the dynamics within the group work well – this takes just a little effort on your part.

Single travellers
Our group trips are designed for shared accommodation and don’t involve a compulsory single supplement. Single travellers share with people of the same gender in accommodation ranging from twin to multishare. Some of our itineraries have accommodation booked on a mixed gender share basis and where applicable this will be specified in our Trip Notes. On a selection of our trips, you have the option to pay a single supplement to ensure that you have your own room (where available). Please note that this only applies to accommodation during the tour – pre-trip and post-trip accommodation will be booked on a single room basis.

Hotel (14 nts)

We use a variety of good quality, comfortable colonial-style and modern hotels, all with en suite facilities.

14 Breakfasts

Please budget for additional meals and expenses while on your trip. Our suggestion is based on past traveller feedback but you may choose to spend more or less.

USD $750.00

Ferry, Bicycle, Support vehicle

The support vehicle will carry all your luggage and personal belongings. The vehicle will follow the riders all of the time, allowing you to cycle as much or as little as you like (although not everyone may be able to travel in the support vehicle at once).

Mountain bikes are ideal for this trip and flat bars are preferable, but a good strong tourer will suffice (though make sure you have suitably low gearing). If you wish to hire a bike, we use Haro Escape or Cannondale bikes with front suspension. Bike hire should be arranged at time of booking. Very occasionally a bike of your size may not be available. We may be able to offer you a bike of a different but acceptable size, or otherwise you must bring your own bike.

Please note that transit police in Nicaragua now request ownership documents for all bikes on this trip. If you are bringing your own bike, you should take a receipt or guarantee document for your bicycle with you to prove that you are the owner. If you cannot provide this, then a repair or service invoice from your bike shop should be sufficient to establish ownership. If the group is stopped by the police and this documentation cannot be provided, you may be liable for an on-the-spot fine.

Group leader
There will be a local leader and drivers and local guides where needed. An experienced English-speaking cycle guide and local driver will accompany all groups.
if the group is full, it will be accompanied by a leader, driver and two additional guides/bike mechanics.

Visas are the responsibility of the individual traveller. The visa requirements for your trip vary depending on where you are from and where you are going. As a general rule most countries expect that you will have at least 6 months’ validity on your passport. On arrival visitors may be asked to present return tickets and evidence of means to cover your intended stay.

What to take
What you need to bring will vary according to the trip style you have chosen, the countries you are visiting and when you are travelling. Generally speaking you should pack as lightly as possible. On the vast majority of our trips you are expected to carry your own luggage and although you won’t be required to walk long distances with your luggage (max 30 minutes), we recommend keeping the weight under 10kg / 22lb.

Most travellers carry their luggage in a backpack, although an overnight bag with a shoulder strap would suffice if you travel lightly. Smaller bags or backpacks with wheels are convenient although we recommend your bag has carry straps. You’ll also need a day pack/bag to carry water and a camera etc for day trips.

On this trip we cross several borders. In order to ensure a smooth passage it is essential that you have proof of your onward travel arrangements – please take a printed copy of your flight itinerary, along with 3 copies of your passport.

Plenty of people choose to bring their own bikes on our cycle trips. If you wish to bring your own bike, please note that we cannot guarantee against small scratches and paintwork damage involved in the loading and unloading from support vehicles.HELMETS:
Please note that helmets must be worn when riding on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.

You may like to bring your own saddle (excluding the seat post), or over gel cover to fit to the hire bikes. We encourage this, if it’s your preference. However, please note that you are responsible for your own equipment, and removing your saddle at the end of the trip. We can’t guarantee the return of any bike parts left behind.

A helmet, eye-protection (sunglasses), cycling gloves and water bottles or hydration system (e.g. camelbak). Please note that helmets must be worn when riding off-road on all our Cycling holidays. You must bring your own helmet with you for this trip, as they are not available for hire.

Padded cycling shorts (with loose ‘over-shorts’ where recommended), breathable clothing, and a lightweight waterproof / windproof top. Shoes with relatively stiff soles are better for biking, but are not essential unless you are cycling long distances. Most people want to carry certain items with them during the day while cycling, for this for this we recommend a large bum-bag or small close-fitting day pack.

FIRST AID KIT: You should bring a small, personal first aid kit with you including items such as high factor sunscreen, lip balm and chamois cream if required.

In Costa Rica it is compulsory for all cyclists to wear helmets and, after 6pm, reflective high-visibility vests must be worn. Vests will be provided by our local partners, so you do not need to take these on the trip, but you must take your own helmet and ensure that you wear it at all times when on the roads in Costa Rica. The tour leader will not start a day’s ride unless all clients comply with this legislation.

If you’re looking for a company with experience you can’t beat these guys. This operator started life in February 1974 when two friends got together to provide an overland truck to travel to the Minaret of Jam, deep in the heart of the Hindu Kush, the most inaccessible of the world’s great monuments.

For the company, and people who work for them “it’s all about adventure” which is what they were founded on and what they are still about today. Their trips take place all around the world where they help travelers to delve into local traditions, cultures, cuisine, lifestyles – anything that contributes to a country’ unique identity.

We love that their groups and guides travel courteously and respectfully, in smaller groups to minimise the impact, to ensure that every holiday is a beneficial experience for everyone involved.

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