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Cycle Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

Cycle three Central American countries from Nicaragua to Panama



At a glance

* 9 nights comfortable hotels, 5 nights standard hotels all en suite
* 12 days cycling with full vehicle support
* Group normally 4 to 16, plus leader and staff. Min age 16 yrs.

 

Cycle three Central American countries from Nicaragua to Panama

Starting in the graceful colonial city of Granada and ending in bustling
Panama City, our route takes us into Costa Rica’s steamy rainforests,
alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del
Toro. We explore the island of Ometepe at Lake Nicaragua, search for Howler
monkeys whilst rafting on the Tenorio River, and ride through rural villages
along the Caribbean coast. Our journey ends with a cycle near the Panama
Canal, following our visit to the famous Miraflores Locks. 

**Please note the FCO recently changed their advice and are now advising
against all but essential travel to Nicaragua. Click on the Essential Info
tab above for more detailed info.*

https://www.exodus.co.uk/sites/exod/files/node/itinerary/images/muc_0.jpg?t=1DSvLJ

Type: Land Only

Flight prices available from NeenanCycling. Contact us for details

What’s included

* All breakfasts
* All accommodation (see accommodation section)
* All transport and listed activities
* Tour leader throughout
* Flights from London (if booking incl. flights)
* Cycling leader and support team
* Local bike hire

Food:
All breakfasts included.

The trip price includes all breakfasts throughout the trip. Restaurant stops
for lunch and dinner are selected throughout the itinerary to allow you to
try out good quality local cuisine. Expect to see a lot of the Costa Rican
speciality ‘gallo pinto’ and a lot of rice, beans, fruit and grilled meats.

Most days we are on a fairly tight timing schedule, especially at lunchtimes
when we have cycling stages and transfers in the afternoon. In order to help
us save time and hassle when we are dining as a group, the leader will take a
note of people’s orders and settle the total group bill him/herself. The
leader will then ask clients for individual payments at a convenient time
before leaving Nicaragua and then again before leaving Costa Rica. We find
that this method is the most efficient, however if you object then you are of
course free to opt out.

Start destination: Granada

End destination: Panama City

Cycling profile

Day 1

Those on the group flight land into Managua and will be transferred to
Granada (approx. 1 hour). Those on land only arrangements should make their
own way to the start hotel this afternoon. Following a short briefing in the
evening, it’s time to get some rest before our first day’s cycling tomorrow.

*Comfortable Hotel*

*Start San Jose.

Those on the group flight land at San Jose and will be transferred to our
start hotel in La Garita, around 15 minutes away. Those on land only
arrangements should make their own way to the start hotel this evening.
You’ll meet your guides and get to know your fellow travellers. 

Day 2

After breakfast, we have an overall tour briefing as well as indications for
the initial cycling stage. Any last-minute adjustments to the bikes are made
before we set off towards the shore of Lake Nicaragua. As we reach the
lakeshore, we enter into the Asese Peninsula recreation area, a beautiful
protected area, where the traffic is kept to a minimum and several species of
exotic birds can be spotted. Our lunch stop offers stunning views of the
large volcanic mass of Mombacho.

Upon arrival back at our hotel, we’ll have time for a swim or stroll along
La Calzada, Granada’s main pedestrian street. In the late afternoon we
will head for the popular Mirador Catarina, overlooking pretty Laguna Apoyo.
Our Sunday visit will allow us to experience the local people enjoying the
wonderful view while being entertained by strolling marimba bands and
souvenir vendors. Afterwards we will head for the Masaya Volcano National
Park for a night visit to observe molten lava bubbling away in the depths of
the huge crater. It may also be possible to spot the ‘Chocoyos’, a
sub-species of parakeet which nests in the crater walls, having evolved to
become resistant to the constant emissions of sulphuric gas. Due to safety
concerns, the visit to the crater is limited to 15 minutes (and occasionally
the park is closed altogether). We then return to Granada for dinner.

Gradual descent down to the lakeshore, then virtually flat (but bumpy) out to
the tip of the Asese Peninsula. The roads are 65% paved, 35% dirt/rock.

*Comfortable Hotel*

*Ride to Rio Tarcoles.

We have a briefing this morning and spend some time adjusting our bikes
before riding out through small rural communities followed by dry, tropical
forest with very little traffic on the paved roads. This initial stage
concludes outside Atenas, then we have a 20 minute transfer to a scenic lunch
stop. In the afternoon we’ll have a second cycling stage, passing mango
orchards and cattle ranches. Following another short half hour transfer we
arrive at our lodge for the night.

Day 3

After breakfast we transfer (approx. 1.5 hours) south to the port of San
Jorge on Lake Nicaragua, where we will board the vehicle ferry for the 1 hour
trip out to fantastic Ometepe Island, with the twin volcanoes of Concepcion
and Masaya dominating the view. Upon arrival at busy Moyogalpa, we start our
cycling with a stretch around the west face of Concepcion, the active volcano
on Ometepe. We then continue with a climb up and over the isthmus which leads
out to rainforest clad Maderas, the extinct volcano on Ometepe. Our
destination is lovely Ojo de Agua fresh water spring ( entry fee), where we
will have lunch, and enjoy a swim in the cool, crystal-clear spring water, a
welcome respite on a hot day. Afterwards we get back on our bikes to head for
the wildlife-filled Charco Verde Lagoon, where our hotel is set. The west
facing location right on the lake allows for some spectacular tropical
sunsets, as well as the possibility to take a dip in the warm waters of Lago
Cocibolca, the Indigenous name for Lake Nicaragua.

The roads are all paved except for the final half mile to Charco Verde.

*Comfortable Hotel*

*Boat tour on Rio Tarcoles; cycle to Cascajal.

Following an early breakfast, we transfer 20 minutes to Rio Tarcoles for a
private guided boat tour of the estuary. We hope to see crocodiles, water
birds, shore birds and Scarlet macaws. A 30 minute transfer brings us to the
start of our cycling stage in Costonera. This will be a beautiful 30 km stage
through lush lowland forest, tiny villages and with very little traffic. Once
we arrive at Cascajal we will transfer to our hotel for the night. 

Day 4

Today we depart the hotel around 10:30am, which gives us some free time
beforehand to hike the trails around the lagoon to spot more wildlife or
relax on the beach and admire the view. For keen cyclists looking for a
challenge, an early morning ride along the single-track trails within the
Charco Verde Reserve ( entry fee for hotel guests) is a great start to the
day. Those looking for a hike can do the same trails; make sure to bring your
camera as the reserve is full of wildlife, best seen in the early morning. 

Departing the hotel, we cycle to Moyogalpa and get the ferry back to the
mainland. We then hop on the saddle again for a ride to Rivas, the largest
city in southern Nicaragua, and then along La Chocolata Road towards San Juan
del Sur, a Pacific beach town. The road takes us through dry forest where we
may see (or hear!) Howler monkeys and spot large iguanas. We also pass
through several small villages which experience no tourism other than our
biking groups. If you plan to bring any gifts for local people, the children
and teachers in the small rural schools along the way really appreciate
pencils, pens and crayons. After finishing the mild climb which then drops us
onto the Pacific side of Nicaragua, we ride just a bit further west to the
beautiful beach ‘Playa Marsella’, in time for a late afternoon swim. Our
hotel for this evening is close to the main San Juan del Sur beach, a great
place to watch the sunset or simply enjoy the hotel pool.

Along mostly level roads with some mild climbs. The road is 60% well-groomed
dirt and 40% paved.

*Standard Hotel*

****Ferry to Playa Naranjo; cycle to Mansion; transfer to Playa Samara.*

Today is another early start as we catch a 6:30 AM ferry from Puntarenas to
Playa Naranjo (approx. 1.5 hours). Upon arrival at Playa Naranjo we start
cycling on well paved roads and with little traffic.

Once we arrive at Mansion depending on the time, we may the opportunity to
add some extra miles. Otherwise we will transfer to Playa Samara (approx. 45
minutes). 

Day 5

Starting early to avoid the heat, we cycle over the continental divide and
down to a backroad (subject to road/weather conditions) near La Virgen, which
then take us on to Sapoa, close to the border with Costa Rica. We then have a
5 minute transfer which will take us to Peñas Blancas where we will exit
Nicaragua. After clearing immigration on the Costa Rica side, we will stop
for lunch near La Cruz and then continue south along the Pan Am highway to
just outside Cañas, another good sized town. Our arrival will be late in the
afternoon due to ongoing highway constructions.

Initial climb departing San Juan del Sur, then gradual descent to near La
Virgen. Back road to Sapoa is mild rolling terrain, graded dirt. 40% paved /
60% dirt

*Comfortable Hotel*

*Transfer to Alto La Roca; cycle to Guaitil; transfer to Canas.

After breakfast, we will transfer to the top of the Cuesta Grande, to then
start a great biking stage, with an initial 10 mile section down to Nicoya.
We will then continue on through beautiful rural scenery, small villages
 and with very little traffic. On arrival at Guaitil we will stop at one of
the ceramic workshops to observe the process of making the beautiful
Chorotega ceramic plates, vases, jars, planters etc. This is a unique
opportunity as it is one of very few places in  Costa Rica where tradition
is retained. We will then carry on cycling to Santa Cruz, where we will stop
for lunch. After lunch, we will transfer via the Puente de la Amistad and
join the normal itinerary of the trip. 

Day 6

This morning we get out of the saddle early in the morning for a 2 hour float
down the Tenorio River, a haven for birds and wildlife. As our raft takes us
gently along the river, we can expect to see several species of monkey,
iguanas, coatis and a wide range of birds. There are also crocodiles along
the lower stretch of the river and our experienced guides will not only
handle the oars but will also point out as many species as possible. This is
likely to be a big wildlife highlight of the trip! Afterwards, we transfer up
to near Bijagua, then cycle back down to the Pan American Highway before
lunch. After our meal we head up to the hilly region surrounding Lake Arenal
where our afternoon biking stage will begin. This is quite a challenging
section and although the distance is short there are several climbs and it
can also be rather windy. The rewards are the spectacular views of the lake
and the surrounding hills.

Morning stage is fast downhill after climbing out from Bijagua but can be
pot-holed. Afternoon stage from outside Tilaran to Mystica includes several
fairly steep climbs through rolling hills. 100% paved.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 7

After breakfast we set off on our bikes towards La Fortuna. This is one of
the most spectacular cycling stages, starting in lush agricultural land which
gradually gives way to thick rainforest as we approach the dam which forms
Lake Arenal. Watch out for monkeys, toucans and the amazingly colourful
neon-blue Morpho butterflies as we cycle. If it’s clear the dam is a great
place to take a break for a wonderful view of Arenal Volcano. The town of La
Fortuna is a major tourism destination within Costa Rica, so those looking
for souvenirs will be well satisfied.

Mostly on rolling hills with some short but fairly steep climbs, followed by
fast downhill to La Fortuna. The road is 95% paved and 5% dirt or gravel.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 8

Today’s ride follows a circular route through the region surrounding La
Fortuna, taking in a great variety of terrain and ecosystems. Starting from
the hotel, we head south toward Chachagua, then divert to a backroad leading
to El Bosque where we pass through agricultural land devoted to bananas and
sugar cane before heading into a rugged hilly zone leading back towards
rainforest near the small town of La Tigre. We stop for lunch at Chachagua.
Toucans are especially common here and there are some incredible views of the
jungle and Arenal Volcano. As we approach La Fortuna again, there is one
final steep climb before we reach our hotel. This evening we include a visit
to the Eco-Termales Hot Springs to soothe any aching muscles – the best
hot springs in the area!

Paved roads, mostly level for the first half, followed by several challenging
climbs.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 9

We have another early start today as we head east into the rolling terrain of
the San Carlos plains, riding through rich agricultural zones, sugar cane and
pineapple plantations and rural villages. We are generally descending on this
leg, which levels off as we get closer to Muelle where we conclude the
morning stage. Have your cameras handy upon arrival, as there is a population
of large iguanas posing while the staff will load the bikes for the transfer
out to the Caribbean side of Costa Rica. Given that we will be crossing a
large portion of Costa Rica, this is a long transfer (approx. 3 hours). It is
well worth the effort as we arrive at a beautiful beach, Playa Manzanillo,
which will be your introduction to the Afro-Caribe culture on the east side
of Costa Rica. We will have lunch at a seafood restaurant where you can try
the fresh seafood and the Caribbean rendition of “riceandbeans”, very
tasty due to the use of coconut and spices. After lunch you have a bit of
time for a swim in the warm Caribbean sea, then it’s back onto the bikes for
an afternoon ride through the rainforest and along the coast to bustling
Puerto Viejo, one of the most popular destinations on this side of Costa
Rica. From here, we head to Hone Creek, where we will transfer (approx. 15
minutes) to Cahuita, a typical Caribbean town with lively reggae
music/culture and spicy cuisine.

Morning stage fast descent leaving La Fortuna, then level out to Muelle.
Afternoon stage fully level  100% paved for both stages.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 10

Today we begin riding south at the base of the towering Talamanca Mountains.
We follow the main coastal road at first before turning off to the indigenous
community of Bri-Bri, home to members of the Guaymi tribe. We may see some of
the traditionally dressed women in flowing embroidered dresses as we pass
through this area. The ride continues through vast banana plantations to the
border crossing on the banks of the Sixaola River. After a quick lunch we
leave Costa Rica and cross to Guabito, the Panamanian port of entry. After
the border formalities, we board the bus through the frontier town of
Changuinola, and then through steep rainforest hills which are inhabited by
indigenous people. We hit the coast and embark on a private boat transfer to
cross into the Caribbean to the wonderful Bocas del Toro Islands, our home
for the next two nights.

Mostly flat roads, although there are some climbs as we head to Bri-Bri. The
roads are paved although there are often potholes and washouts close to the
border.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 11

We enjoy a free day today to explore the beautiful Bocas del Toro Islands,
which are rapidly becoming a popular destination in the Caribbean. Today you
will get a chance to see why: spectacular palm-shaded white sand beaches,
crystal clear water, wonderful snorkelling and diving, lots of wildlife,
kayaking and even great surfing are all available! It’s also possible to take
boat trips to the other islands, or go on dolphin-watching tours. All of
these optional activities can be arranged through the hotel or nearby tour
agencies whom we have long-established relationships with.

For those who want to ride today, biking is available on the island and the
32km round trip to Bocas del Drago on the island’s western tip is
recommended. Our bikes will stay on the mainland at Almirante, but other
bikes can be hired locally.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 12

After taking a private boat back to the mainland, we drive to Punta Robalo
for a ride through beautiful jungle scenery. After lunch we transfer (approx.
1.5 hours) through the mountains that separate Panama’s two coastlines after
which we begin our second ride of the day. The change in temperature,
humidity and eco-systems are significant as we gain altitude. At the top of
the pass we find beautiful Lago Fortuna, set in a rainforest-clad tropical
valley. We then have a fast downhill ride with great mountain views and
several river crossings to Gualaca and the Pan-Am Highway beyond. Upon
meeting the Pan American Highway junction, we board the minibus for the drive
down to Las Lajas, an isolated Pacific beach which stretches for miles. Here
we can enjoy a great tropical sunset while relaxing under the shade of a palm
thatch palapa. 

Some moderate hills near start, then level AM / Fast downhill to Pacific
plain then some short climbs near finish PM. 100% paved.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 13

We have an early start today as we avoid the heat and traffic on our ride
through the Panamanian countryside. We take a short drive to Guabala, a
customs/passport control point on the Pan Am highway, and once our documents
have been checked, we will offload the bikes for a fairly challenging ride
through a quite remote and hilly section of the western portion of Veraguas
Province. Some of the morning’s ride takes us along remote backroads past
large sugar plantations and through dry tropical forest. We finish cycling
close to the town of Jorones, where we start our transfer to Panama
City (approx. 3 hours), with a quick lunch stop in Santiago, the main city
in this part of Panama. We cross the famous canal where we’re very likely to
see huge ships as they make the journey between the Caribbean and the
Pacific. Our hotel is located in the suburb of Albrook, where many opulent
residences are testament to the days when US military officers and Canal
Authority officials lived in the city.

Level start but becoming increasingly hilly during the middle section. The
last stage is level again and the road is fully paved.

*Comfortable Hotel*

Day 14

Our final day is truly memorable, as we travel along a stretch of the Panama
Canal to observe some of the highlights. Starting from our hotel which
overlooks the Pacific entrance to the canal, we transfer to the Miraflores
Locks Visitor Centre (entry fee to museum and video presentation included) to
view the process of raising and lowering the ship traffic. We then have a
short transfer to the entry point of the Soberana National Park, where we
will enjoy a final biking stage through lush rainforest. Our biking concludes
with lunch at lovely Los Lagartos, set over Lago Gamboa, with the canal as a
back-drop. This offers a great photo opportunity as ships pass by during
their transit. After lunch we transfer back to our hotel for some free time
or a swim. In the afternoon we visit the World Heritage Site of Casco Viejo,
the historic old portion of Panama City. We will have our final group dinner
in the Casco Viejo at Las Bovedas, an excellent restaurant set on the
historic Plaza de Francia. 

This is mostly level along the canal, but with some climbing within the
Soberana Park. The main road is fully paved.

*Standard Hotel*

Day 15

Our trip ends after breakfast this morning, and those on group flights will
be transferred to the international airport for the return journey to the UK.
**

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Customer Feedback

Great guide and group made the trip

Summary:
The cycling was challenging in the heat but the guide, mechanic and driver
provided great support. A group were inclusive and the sights seen were
spectacular.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Looking into an active volcano at dusk.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The group letter was exceptional. Nothing was to much trouble. He looked
after the safety and welfare of the group.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The hills are challenging for casual cyclist in the heat of the day.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
An enjoyable trip.

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What a fabulous way to explore these countries

Summary:
This was our first Exodus trip and I have to say we had a few reservations
before we left . We have been on many of our own cycling holidays but never
on an organised one . We were worried there might not be enough cycling or
that we might have to wait ages for others or hold others up.
However Roberto our leader was brilliant . We all cycled at our own pace but
he kept us all together at regroup points and everyone was happy .
What I loved about the holiday was the opportunity to do something we like
-the cycling but also to do sightseeing and explore places I know we would
not have seen if we were on our own .
Everything was so well organised even down to our lunch being booked in
advance and we pay at end of the week .
I liked being in a group we had such a laugh it was like a two week party and
those on their own were looked after well.
I wish we had started looking at Exodus holidays before , I will certainly go
on another

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling along the lake and seeing all the wildlife
The views were amazing
Also staying on a Caribbean island in Panama

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Brilliant
He made the holiday special and created the team ethos

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you can go a day earlier and stay a day later it is worth it so you see
more of Panama and Grenada

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Cycling, Scenery and Swimming

Summary:
The trip is a great combination of cycling in three Central American
countries all with quite distinct scenery. The cycling stages are not too
long but nonetheless quite challenging given the hills and heat/humidity.
Some training – particularly hills – is recommended! There was often time for
a swim at the end of the day and swimming one day in the Caribbean Sea and
the next in the Pacific Ocean was a highlight. Frequently, there was the
opportunity to spot wildlife along the route – sloths, howler monkeys and
toucans! A visit to an active volcano and cycling across the Panama Canal are
also part of the itinerary.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling a very hilly stage of the tour through breathtaking scenery.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The trip leader – Memo – was very sociable, well organised and professional
with a great sense of humour. He too k the time to get to know each member of
the group and made sure that we were happy, comfortable and enjoying the
cycling – offering encouragement up the longer steeper hill sections.
Importantly, Memo was quite conscious of the safety of the group on the road.
Memo’s briefings were comprehensive and helpful and he was always willing to
answer our questions – relevant or otherwise! Memo was well supported by the
local crew who were also very engaged with the group and made sure our bikes
were in good order and we were well hydrated/ fed with fresh local fruits at
the cycling rest stops. The trip was well supported by a great team which
contributed to the overall enjoyment.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The stages are quite hilly so some training is essential. There are a couple
of short off road stages so some off road training may also be helpful. Lunch
and dinner is at the traveller’s cost which can add quite a bit to a two-week
trip. No too much time is spent in towns or villages so make sure you have
all the essentials with you. There are no too many opportunities for engaging
with local people or local culture.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
Cycling Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama is a great way to get a taste of
three different Central American countries.

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Fantastic experience

Summary:
Fantastic to see three amazing countries on two wheels, it was an incredible
trip and the scenery is just stunning. There are so many highs like cycling
around a volcano, the undulating fast rides in Costa Rica were so much fun,
riding a long the beach and seeing amazing wildlife. Having a dip in the
volcanic hot springs was amazing too. The food was excellent and our leader
Memo (Guilermo Sanchez) had the most amazing sense of humour and made the
trip even more special. There were a few hard climbs but when you reach the
top and see the stunning views – its worth it and there was so much support.
If you get a chance to go – do it.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
There are so many, seeing the Lava flow in the Volcano, cycling along a
beach, hot and cold springs, Memo giving us a history lesson with his amazing
drawing skills. Best of all was laughing every day.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We have been on a few Exodus trips and Memo, has been the best leader by far.
He is incredibly organised and nothing seemed to phase him, he was always
there for us 24hrs a day.
He is extremely knowledgeable about the countries and the wildlife – best of
all he always gave us support and encouragement when it got a bit tough on
some of the climbs and we all made.
He is a very warm kind and friendly person – I would definitely ask Exodus
for him if I do the Costa Rica Coasts to Coast as he is just one of a kind. I
miss his sense of humour and stories.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Do some hill training or spinning classes and pack lite. Definitely take
mosquito repellent that has deer and plenty of sunscreen and some that you
can carry on the bike as it gets quite hot in the afternoon.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
if you get a chance to go – go do it. It was so much fun and don’t be daunted
by the climbs as you can do it all in your own pace its not a race. As
mentioned before I thought Memo was just excellent and he made the trip extra
special.

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Cycle Nicaragua Costa Rica and Panama

Summary:
Wow what a brilliant trip… not only did we cycle in 3 amazingly beautiful
countries, we experienced so many added extras… looking down on an active
volcano at night; seeing the molten lava moving … brilliant. We cycled
around a nature reserve one morning prior to the main days cycle… our guide
Memo spotting all sorts of wild life I would surely have missed and his
knowledge is just outstanding. River cruises, hot springs and visiting the
Panama canal centre. This trip rates among the best I have done.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
Cycling the nature reserve. All of it actually it’s hard to pick a single
moment.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Memo our group leader was out standing as a guide… His knowledge of nature,
ecology, history … just brilliant. He communicated with drawings, diagrams
and a wicked sense of humour.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
I did a few spin classes prior to going and whilst I think they are evil they
really helped with the hills

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An amazing trip with the best guiding team ever!

Summary:
This was by far the best cycling holiday I have ever been to. Amazing places
and views!
A challenging cycling route for someone with a minor cycling experience like
myself. But I made it, thanks to the support and encouragement of this
amazing team: Roberto, Paul, Alvaro, Jose, Ronaldo! Names and personalities
we will never forget! Thank you for helping me add beautiful images and
feelings, in my life’s “memory box”, but most of all, thank you for keeping
us SAFE and happy! It was more than obvious that you were there for us to
ENJOY our trip, see, feel and taste the beauty of the most amazing part of
the world. Feeling fit and healthy, looking forward to our next adventure!
Thank you!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
RESCUING A SLOTH ON THE WAY TO LA FORTUNA!

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Just what we wanted!

Summary:
This was a great trip which we really enjoyed. It was described as
‘moderate/challenging’, which related to the ‘undulations’ and sometimes dirt
tracks upon which we cycled, and some of the ‘normal’ roads and paved roads
were a little rough. Having said that, we all managed OK. Additionally, the
trip was ‘full on’ with some early starts, some late meals and other
activities such as boat trips, and other options too. No two days were the
same, variety was the key. There were 16 of us on this trip, ranging in age
from 32-69 (which was me!) with two couples (all in their sixties) the rest
friends/singles, and a majority of women.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
For me it was mixing with different cultures and seeing at first hand how
people can string a life together with minimal resources and facilities.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roberto was quite exceptional, with amazing organisational skills; he was on
the go all the time, dealing with our cycling needs, giving advice, and
permanently planning ahead whether it was pre-warning hotels of our arrival,
ordering our meals in advance or paying for activities to be re-imbursed
later. And delightful with it….. Fantastic.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
We were a little anxious about the challenging nature of the trip, but we all
managed OK. I would certainly recommend some pre-hol training; some of us
hadn’t done any and perhaps wished they had – rather like a skiing holiday!
We’d also strongly recommend gel saddle-savers unless you bring your own
saddle. Also, we were a little anxious about mosquitoes and malaria; in fact
there was minimal mossy activity and we didn’t take anti-malarials. However,
insect repellent was occasionally necessary. Roberto was really helpful on
this one, as with everything else!

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
It was fun, fun fun but full-on too, as is often the case with biking/skiing
holidays. We loved it and only one week after arriving back we’re booking
another trip with Exodus next year.

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Cycling Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

Summary:
Would class myself as a ‘veteran’ having been on many previous cycling
adventures but this is the first trip I have ever left feedback on. I realise
that when you return from holidays you are on a high but I can honestly say
this is one of the best, maybe even the best cycling trip I have done. The
whole thing gels completely. The cycling, the views, the rafting, the
different cultures, the wildlife, all brought together by a fantastic support
team makes this a 5 star trip. Breakfasts are early, sometimes 6-30am, to get
you cycling before it gets too hot, but this means you have downtime at the
end of the day to relax, and take everything in before dinner. It’s a full on
trip with always things to do, then bang, a day off on a pacific beach before
going at it again. Brilliant planning. Loved every minute of it. Thanks.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
In no particular order…..Masaya volcano……. The rafting where the
wildlife was awesome, Iguanas, crocs, lizards, monkeys, beautiful birds (saw
more Ospreys in 2 hours than I have seen in my entire life!)…. Seeing a
Toucan…..Working hard to get up the hills…..Those awesome views…….
Chino’s obvious love for his country and the whole area…. The children
shouting hello as you cycle past…. the anticipation of that first cold beer
after a hot day in the saddle knowing that the weather is cold and miserable
back in the UK!!!!!!!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The luggage of some of our group did not arrive so Chino took on the
responsibility to chase it up and was brilliant at keeping everybody informed
at what was happening. When the weather deteriorated in Costa Rica (and boy
did it deteriorate!) he took the decision to change the itinerary and move us
over from the Caribbean coast to the Pacific coast, that included changing
cycling routes and hotels. All this done with the minimum of fuss and just
presented to us and off we went! So much work done behind the scenes. He was
of course supported by his team of Albarro (Nicaragua), Paul and Ronaldo.
Special mention here for Ronaldo who after the changes in Costa Rica must
have spent around 8 hours driving in sections to get across Costa Rica and
Panama, and we still got two cycle rides in that day. Viva Ronaldo! Pura vida
guys.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
If you enjoy cycling and wildlife this trip is for you!
All 3 countries accept US dollars so you don’t need to change any money on
arrival in Nicaragua.
Food is good and plenty throughout, standard of cleanliness is also good in
the soda’s and restaurants.
Bike quality is also good and we had very little maintenance problems (3
punctures and 1 broken chain I think across 16 of us). Biscuits, fruit,
water and hydrating powders are always available.

Read full review

Jolly Hockey Bikes

Summary:
What a fantastic way to see 3 fantastic countries. This trip however is not
for the faint hearted – expect to be on the go 24/7 from the moment you land
in Nicaragua. Despite this trip being focused around cycling it was so much
more than that with plenty of activities off the bike. If you are looking
for a real adventure with lots of laughs along the way then this is the trip
for you.

Cycling – There was a real mix of cycling from tarmac roads to gravel tracks.
There were some challenging hills that required a decent level of cycling
fitness to complete especially in the heat that reached over 100 on some
days. The views were spectacular and wildlife was spotted along the way. We
averaged around 30 miles a day and our group was fairly fast so this was
usually completed within 3-4 hours. The approach to the cycling was pretty
relaxed so if you wanted to stop at any point for a rest or to take photos
you were free to do so. The cycling catered for everyone and it was up to
you if you wanted to race or just relax at the back! We had our guide along
with 2 support cyclists (mechanics) in Nicaragua – Roberto Aguilar (aka
Chino), Albaro and Paul and then for Costa Rica and Panama there was just
Chino and Paul. The support vehicle, driven by the very safe driver Ronal,
was always on hand to assist anyone who may have been struggling, to provide
water, rest-bite or even extra fuel (fruit & biscuits).

Other Activities – One of the trip highlights for me was going up to the top
of the Masaya Volcano in Nicaragua at night and actually looking into the top
of it – looking into the top of a live volcano was something that I never
thought I would have the opportunity to do – breath-taking!
Volcanic Spa at La Fortuna (Costa Rica) – a great way to relax in the evening
after a days cycling. It was like being in heaven with Cocktails on hand!
River Rafting (Nicaragua) – our guide spotted all kinds of wildlife that
unless you have the eye for you would have never seen. Crocodiles, Toucans,
Iguanas and much more. Nature trail on Ometepe, natural Spa…….. There
is just too many things to mention.

A special mention has to go out to our tour guide Chino and his support staff
who were exceptional.

If you are considering this trip – DO IT!!!

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
The views
Wildlife
Masaya Volcana
Natural Spa on Ometepe Island
Volcanic Spa – La Fortuna
River Rafting
Meal in Panama Old Town at Las Bovedas

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roberto Aguilar AKA Chino – Fantastic. His local knowledge was exceptional
and he was fluent in English. Really couldn’t have asked for a more helpful
guide who by the end of the trip had become a friend. He couldn’t do enough
for us.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The support vehicle is always on hand so you always have access to your day
bags. There is no need to carry anything on your bike with you apart from
cameras etc.

Read full review

An amazing trip

Summary:
Cycling is such a great way to see a country and this trip didn’t
disappoint. There was a great range of cycling from tarmac roads to rough
off road. Cycling experience and fitness is a must. The roads are undulating
and on some days there were some long climbs, made all the more difficult in
the heat. It also meant there were great views! In addition to the cycling
there were great trips and even some free time to relax.

Rating: 5

Question:
What was the most inspirational moment of your trip?

Answer:
It is difficult to highlight one moment. The whole trip was an experience. It
was fantastic to see the views and wildlife whilst cycling along but one
highlight would have to be getting so close to an active volcano!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
We had a fantastic team, they couldn’t do enough for you and all worked
really hard. Our leader Roberto (Chino) went out of his way to ensure that
everything on the trip was perfect.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Deciding what to take is always difficult. Cycling gear can be rinsed through
in the hotels although drying can sometimes be a problem. Snacks are provided
whilst cycling and the minibus is always nearby so you don’t have to carry
everything with you on the bike, stick it in a day bag on the bus. Clothes
when not on the bike are very casual and long sleeves and long pants are
handy to cover up in the areas where more mosquitoes are out. We did get
bitten but not too bad. Things that don’t crease are ideal and good packing
is essential so you know where everything is, there’s no time to keep
unpacking your case.

Question:
Is there anything else you would like to add?

Answer:
I would recommend the white water rafting in La Fortuna, it was fantastic. We
went with Arenal rafting, they were brilliant and great value for money.
Take dollars in small denominations as you get change in local currency.

Read full review


Activity Levels


Activity Levels range from Leisurely to Tough, the grading takes into account the daily cycling distances and terrain, as well as any technical riding skill required. We also consider the number of cycling days as there can be a cumulative affect from tiredness on a longer trip and the type of accommodation used, as this can also influence your day to day recovery.

If you are in any doubt, please give us a call on +353-1-607 9900 or email us.


Activity level 1 - Leisurely Activity level 1: Leisurely

If you can ride a bike and enjoy gentle exercise, these are an ideal introduction to a cycling holiday. No routes are entirely flat, so expect some short climbs and descents. Maximum daily height gain is approximately 250 metres and daily distances rarely exceed 50kms (32 miles), any longer days are often optional.


Activity level 3 - Moderate Activity level 3: Moderate

Most people who enjoy a weekend riding at home will enjoy a Moderate trip. You need to be in good health and reasonably fit. Ideal for occasional cyclists, or as a more relaxed trip for fitter riders. Moderate off-road trips require no previous experience. Distances rarely exceed 70kms (43 miles) per day.


Activity level 5 - Challenging Activity level 5: Challenging

For any ride at this level, fitness is important. Challenging trips require confidence in your ability and physical condition. They are equivalent to an extended period of cycling at home. Previous mountain biking experience is essential for Challenging off road trips as they will involve some technical riding.


Activity level 7 - Tough Activity level 7: Tough

Previous experience of the cycling style or surface is a must as these routes have long cycling days and tougher terrain on both road and off road trips. You need complete confidence in your fitness and technical ability to cope with difficult or steep terrain, rough surfaces and longer distances. Ideal for those seeking a challenge!


Split grades

In order to provide more accuracy, where a trip falls between two grades we use an intermediate or ‘split’ grade, for example 2: Leisurely/Moderate.


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