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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 rain forests,
alongside active volcanoes and to the tropical island paradise of Bocas del
Toro. The rain forest is home to an incredible variety of wildlife and bird
species. We explore the island of Ometepe at Lake Nicaragua, and search for
Howler monkeys whilst rafting on the Tenorio River. Our journey ends with a
ride near the Panama Canal, following our visit to the famous Miraflores
Locks. 

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 at 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 day’s cycling tomorrow.

*Comfortable Hotel*

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. 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*

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 rain forest 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 situation 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*

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, which is best seen in the early
morning. 

Departing the hotel we cycle to Moyogalpa and get the ferry back to the
mainland. We then get in 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 Howler monkeys and 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*

Day 5

Starting early to avoid the heat, we cycle over the continental divide and
down to a back road  (subject to road/weather conditions) near La Virgen,
which then take us on to Sapoa, close to the border with Costa Rica. Then we
have a 5 minute transfer which will take us to Peñas Blancas, from here 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*

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 diverting to a back road
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

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). 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. Try the fresh
seafood, and the Caribbean rendition of “riceandbeans”, much tastier 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 back onto the bikes for an afternoon
ride through the rain forest 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 coast 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 board 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

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 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 is 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, a lovely, 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

An early start today as we avoid the heat and traffic on our ride through the
Panamanian countryside. We have a short drive to Guabala, a customs/passport
control point on the Pan Am highway. 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 back roads 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. Then we have a
short transfer to the entry point of the Soberana National Park, where we
will enjoy a final biking stage through lush rain forest. 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.
**

Prices & Dates

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Customer Feedback

Cycling in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama

Summary:
This was an amazing trip. The leader team were extremely professional but
also really friendly and helpful – a perfect balance. The cycling was superb;
routes were varied in terrain, views and challenge and so much thought had
gone in to the itinerary. We saw so much in a short time that it was one of
our best ever trips.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
I think there were too many, but body surfing on the Caribbean coast was a
highlight, as was seeing a whale from a beach in Panama, cycling like a demon
down fast roads through a short downpour, managing to get up a really big
hill in 35 degree heat or singing the Hokey Cokey with a class of Nicaraguan
primary school kids- take your pick!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Roberto was brilliant. I will be looking out to see if some future trips can
be arranged as I would love to go on more adventures with him and his team.
We learnt lots about the history, geography and culture of the places we went
to, and always felt very safe in his hands.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Your kit will get soaked in sweat and won’t always dry in the humidity, so
use the laundry when available and take old stuff that isn’t too precious. We
are fairly fit and did some extra cycling beforehand and I’m really pleased
we did as it made it all the more enjoyable, so do try and be ready for the
distances.

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

Answer:
I can’t recommend this trip enough. It was by far the most expensive trip we
have ever done but I am so pleased we went for it. Roberto, Paul, Jackie and
Luis were brilliant.

Read full review

Exceptional Cycling

Summary:
Absolutely fabulous cycling trip. Stunning scenery & superb organisation.
Hot, sweaty and at times challenging, but always fun with a great group of
people and exceptional group leaders. Pre organised lunches and added extras
with the islands, volcanos , spa pools , along with the Panama Canal and
restaurants really added to the diversity of the experience.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Getting fitter and faster and by the end of the trip actually feeling
inspired & ready to do the hills again!!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
My group leader was Roberto (Chino), along with Paul and Jackie who will lead
her own group in November. We had a lovely driver Lois too, whom kept the
team supply of water and freshly cut delicious fruit going during our breaks,
along with our safe transfers. The team were fabulous, professional, friendly
and worked with everyone. The leaders provided advise and options and
certainly set an impressive pace cycling. They had great comaradery with each
other and the group. Exceptional.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
# Take padded cycle shorts
# Take small denomination $USD

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

Answer:
I suggested on my evaluation form that as we all arrived from London we were
all up very early for our fist day in Granada. Due to this I would suggest
that breakfast could be brought forward. Given that the day/ cycling could
start earlier to give everyone a bit more time to appreciate and explore the
magnificent town Granada. We left at 3 for Masaya Volcano which was perfect
timing for the best viewing of the Volcano.

Read full review

Cycling Nicaragua-Costa Rica-Panama

Summary:
This was a fantastic adventure!! For those wanting a physical challenge,
varied terrain, beautiful scenery and the cultural experience of three
different countries, this trip is for you. The guides were very knowledgeable
and organized. They are passionate about cycling and sharing the uniqueness
of the countries we visited.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Visiting a school in a rural village in Nicaragua. Spending time with the
children explaining who we are, where we were from and listening to them
introduce themselves and tell us about what they want to be when they grow
up.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Our group leader was very knowledgeable and organized. He is passionate about
cycling and sharing the uniqueness of the countries we visited. Roberto
worked hard to ensure a good time was had by all!!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Train prior to the trip – on hills and in heat if possible.
The bikes were great. I used my own gel seat as well.

Read full review

3 countries by bike in 2 weeks – do it!

Summary:
This isn’t just a cycling trip. There’s so much more to this than you
think… yeah, there’s lots of cycling, but there are so many other
activities too that it feels like an adventure holiday. The scenery changes
dramatically over the various days, from arid land, to amazing beaches,
rainforests, cloud forests, remote villages, downtime, uptime! I loved
cycling through tropical rain. 3 countries in approx. 2 weeks is an awesome
trip – our leader Roberto said that it’s like having 3 moments in time.
Nicaragua is the past. Costa Rica is the present and Panama is the future.
You’ll know exactly what he means as the days progress. A great saying for 3
great places. He also said Pura Vida which I will now adopt!

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
There are so many moments where you just go ‘wow’. I won’t go into a lengthy
description of the awe inspiring moments as it may spoil it for your own ‘wow
factor’ . But the lava in the volcano was mesmerising; cycling in the
backdrops of volcanoes makes you smile non-stop; casually seeing a crocodile
and other wildlife as you raft on by was brilliant; sharing conversations at
a local school, a bus stop and even whilst being overtaken by a 4 year old
girl running up the hill (I was on my bike!) are moments I’ll never forget;
swimming in the sea as the sun comes up; having my ‘guardian angel
domestiques’ (the bf and Antony and Paul – the mechanics) placing their hand
on my back and literally pushing me up the tough hills – I can never thank
these guys enough, they are amazing.

…… but mostly, it’s the feeling of having pedalled yourself many miles
through 3 amazing countries with people that you were thrown together with
and shared random experiences with, that you’ll never forget.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Ah Roberto. What an amazing leader… The passion that Roberto showed both on
and off the bike was unbelievable. I don’t know where he gets his energy
from! Super fit on the bike! I was often up early and would see Roberto
working away. Then giving briefings for the day, then cycling back and fore
taking photos, making awesome videos that he would then share on fb, plus
then giving us cultural information whilst on the van. It was like having our
own personal documentary maker and he was brilliant. Awesome knowledge on all
3 countries and a way with people than is a engaging, personal and
professional. I can still hear his ‘one, two’ advice when going up the hills
and this is what keeps you going. There are so many things that go on behind
the scenes when you have 14+ people to organise and the way he made it seem
so easy goes to show how good he is. Oh, and he has some great cycling tops
too! He’s funny and makes you feel at ease. If I do another trip, I would
actually head to Costa Rica just to have him as my leader! Pura vida.

The rest of the team were great too. Ronald the driver works super hard and
drives so safely and professionally, Paul and Antony, the mechanics were a
godsend. Paul is a funny guy, an amazing cyclist and really helped me on
tough hills and long flats. Antony – what can I say? This guy is a machine! I
called him Terminator 2 as was always looking out for me and pushing me up
hills. The strength is has is phenomenal. He made the cycling so much better
for me and made my experience better. Thanks guys!!!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Learn a bit of Spanish. There are opportunities where you least expect it, to
meet locals and exchange a few words. It’s a great feeling.
Great to take some stuff for the school that you visit. We missed/forgot this
and were gutted.
Get some hill training in!
Read the trip notes, but don’t micromanage… the best days for me were the
surprises of things I had forgotten and the leaders will change the schedule
to make the experience better, or if the roads are busy, to make it safer.
We did a white water rafting trip on our day off in Fortuna. Was brilliant
but if you want a rest… this isn’t it!
I left my trainers there, one of the guys was going to give them to charity,
so don’t throw stuff away if you no longer want it.

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

Answer:
Everyone goes at their own pace, but remember to enjoy it and stop, take
photos, look around. It’s about the journey, not the destination! The sights
you can preserve, but the smells and environment changes all the time so make
sure to notice them as you whizz on by. I had some great conversations whilst
panting up a hill, sharing grimaces, water and tips to get to the top. Great
friendships are made on a trip like this. Note that the bikes change in Costa
Rica for CR and Panama and many bikes of the smaller frame only had room for
one water bottle. This was a problem for me and even though the bike
mechanics gave me theirs, it meant I was reliant on them and one occasion was
by myself and ran out! So, take a camelbak!

Read full review

Fantastic, active way to explore 3 countries, their culture and wildlife.

Summary:
An all-round fantastic holiday. A great way to see three countries at a
slower pace. Cycling through the villages gives you a great chance to soak up
their way of life. It was great to be active each day, fitting so much in to
any one day. On paper the cycling distances look short but in the heat they
are about right. There were a few hills but the scenery totally made it
worthwhile. The changing landscapes (rain forest, volcanoes, islands, Pacific
coast, Caribbean coast, continental divide etc) were great to experience.
There are fantastic opportunities to see wildlife be it from the roadside, in
the hotel grounds or via activities such as the river floats and canopy
walks.
The trip has been well planned to provide the perfect balance of cycling
activity, wildlife spotting and experiencing the three countries. Hotels were
better than I had expected and restaurants were well chosen.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
There were so many: Seeing inside the live volcano; Seeing all the animals on
the road/in the hotel grounds/via trips such as the river float (Howler
Monkeys, Toucans, Iguanas, Coatis, Frogs, Crocodiles etc); Passing through
the villages, getting a feel for local life and seeing all the villagers wave
and say ¡Hola!; Sunsets/sunrises on both coasts.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
The Team were really superb: Roberto (Lead Guide), Walter & Alvertivo
(Guide/Mechanic), Neno (Driver). They worked well together to provide
excellent service and support.
Roberto delivered a very well organised trip which went seamlessly. His
knowledge and information on each country/location was invaluable. The
regular briefings and well planned pit stops were great. Booking group
lunches/dinners, and the organised bill paying & individual account keeping
made life so much easier and saved a lot of time. His additional help with
translating dietary requirements was appreciated. Border crossing were made
much easier thanks to their help.
The support provided on the road by the Guide/Mechanics and Driver were much
appreciated. From on the road mechanics to loading the bikes and general
encouragement. Between them, their wildlife spotting was fantastic.
Many thanks to all of you for really making the trip wonderful.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Kit: Padded cycling shorted and padded cycling gloves are essential – there
are some very bumpy roads in Nicaragua. If you can, take your own saddle as
well. They can also fit your own pedals if you prefer to take cycling shoes.
Cycling snacks: take your own snacks, gels etc if you are used to using them
or have any intolerances. They provide some biscuits / isotonic / fruits at
stops. For Gluten Free travellers, there were options at breakfast in all but
a few places so just take a small amount of GF breakfast food. Lunches /
dinners were mainly in restaurants where there was a full menu choice, so
there was always something which could be eaten (practise your spanish for
clarifying with waiting staff or ask your guide for help).
Currency: there is no need to exchange to any local currency. Take USD. All
three countries accept USD and you get change in local currency in Nicaragua
and Costa Rica, which you just need to spend before the border. You can use
credit cards in a lot of the restaurants and you pay the guide for your
lunches in USD cash in the first two countries.
Re-apply sun cream at each stop (think about taking some sleeves for the
strong afternoon sun) along with regular mosi spray in the evenings/early
mornings (mosis only seem to be around in a few locations).
Don’t take too many clothes. It is very warm, even in the evenings and
cycling clothes can be hand washed and dried overnight in the first two
countries. Also there is a launderette in La Fortuna.
The cycling is hot and there are a few hills but you can take your time and
there are plenty of stops. Take your time to spot the wildlife – it’s worth
going a little slower in some locations. I would recommend hiring quad bikes
on Bocas del Tores as a way to see the rest of the island.

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

Answer:
It is a really fantastic trip. Cycling / active / outdoors / wildlife
enthusiastic travellers will love this trip. Go for it!

Read full review

Great trip

Summary:
A fantastic way to see three countries and test yourself with some
challenging cycle routes. The various destinations varied a lot in terms of
the evening distractions – some were town centre with plenty of options –
others were more remote. Worth reviewing the trip notes so you can plan.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
The volcano trip was particularly breathtaking – worth the queueing.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Great – Gerhard’s knowledge and patience was admirable.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Do some training if your not that fit – otherwise the first few days cycling
can hurt. Heat and hills!

Read full review

Three Central American countries in one brilliant trip

Summary:
An amazing whistlestop tour of Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama, their
Pacific and Caribbean coasts and their rain forests, cloud forests and arid
plains. We covered a lot of ground on the trip, over 330 miles on the bikes
and in excess of 2,000 miles in the bus. For nature lovers the variety of
birds and animals is wonderful. We managed to see sloths, toucans, ospreys,
howler monkeys, various iguanas, an armadillo and a crocodile not to mention
numerous unusually coloured birds, on which we got the full low down, thanks
to David, a keen twitcher in our group. He drew our attention to Montezuma’s
Oropendola, a member of the Blackbird family with a yellow tail that builds a
hanging nest. Until then I would have said it was something nasty one went
down with on holiday!

My knowledge of the geography of the three countries was scanty prior to the
trip and I hadn’t appreciated how many volcanoes there were, nor that several
are still active. The resulting terrain is quite ‘lumpy’ from a cycling
perspective which made for some energetic days, especially given the heat
(and humidity in some areas).

We finished in Panama City and, of course, got to see the canal and the
container ships being guided through it and experienced the crazy driving of
the Panamanians.

All in all a wonderful trip and one that I would heartily recommend. Having
been on the Cycling Cuba trip last year, which my wife and I thoroughly
enjoyed, I would say that this exceeded it.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Like other reviewers, there were many highlights – looking down at molten
lava in the crater of the Masaya volcano; a guided trip down the Rio Tenorio
where the iguanas and ospreys are so numerous that we became blase about
them; the wildlife around Lake Arenal; the hot springs near La Fortuna;
bathing in the Pacific after the day’s ride at Las Lajas and the Panama
Canal.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
This is our third Exodus trip and each of the leaders has been excellent in
terms of organisation, humour and imparting local knowledge but Roberto was
definitely a cut above the others. Everything was done that bit better than
before e.g. daily briefings on the route with its profile, where the
refreshment stops would be and any specific things we had to be vigilant
about; paying for the meals, rather than us delaying things by doing it
individually and then presenting us later with our own aggregated accounts;
copious photos and videos being uploaded daily to a WhatsApp group so we
could review and chat about them over dinner; melding the new group of
support staff into a harmonious and happy team. The result was that we (and,
I believe, they) had a ball. His Pièce de Résistance was his male howler
monkey impersonation that certainly had the desired effect on the local
monkey population!

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
We hadn’t appreciated that the prevailing weather comes from the Caribbean
and so, even in the dry season, it can be wet on that coast. Also, like
another reviewer, we had debated about taking anti-Malaria tablets. In the
end we used Deet and saw few mosquitoes, which vindicated our decision not to
take them. Do take advantage of the laundry in La Fortuna, which was
efficient and used to cycle wear.

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

Answer:
If you hadn’t already gathered it was a great trip. Do it!

Read full review

Nicaragua, Costa Rica & Panama

Summary:
Really enjoyable cycling trip though Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. Good
group of twelve people who all got along pretty well! Really nice lead guide
with an excellent support guide in Nicaragua. Nicaragua was my highlight of
the trip as I loved Grenada, Ometepe and San Juan Del Sur. Northern Costa
Rica was also excellent especially round Lake Arenal. I was less attracted
to southern Costa and the Panamainian island of Bocas Del Toros was my least
favourite place as it was just a scruffy hedonist playground on which we
didn’t get to take our bikes! The pacific coast of Panama was lovely, the
sea was stunning and the hotel was great. Couldn’t get excited about the
Panama Canal (yes I know it is a major engineering feat, but watching boats
go up and down was like watching paint dry for me!). Loved Panama City old
town and the live Panamanian Covers band in the Irish bar next to Holiday Inn
on our night was great!

Rating: 4

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

Answer:
For me it was the cycling. I absolutely loved the winding steep decent after
we crossed the Continental Divide! My wife, who was not a cyclist coped
really well and this is a moderate/challenging tour. Seeing the live active
Nicaraguan Volcano is a one off thing too!

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
He was great, Great sense of humour and saw to the needs of each individual
on the trip!! Not over fussy and that suited me fine.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Costa Rica and Panama are much more expensive than you would imagine
especially if you are used to India, South Africa etc. The ‘Tat’ shops are
not great – even my tat collecting wife struggled to find anything she would
put in her ‘Tat’ collection. It all seemed really safe so don’t worry about
the Central America issues. Don’t be too uptight about plan changes – in the
words of one of our guides ‘Shit Happens’

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

Answer:
Go and enjoy – if you are not into nature, you maybe a little disappointed as
it lacks a little bit of the culture and charm of Asia and Africa. However
I’m really glad I went and I wouldn’t put anyone off!

Read full review

Charm, wildlife and incredible scenery

Summary:
What a fabulous trip!
Three amazing countries with some challenging rides, an abundance of wildlife
and lots of laughter.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
It was all about the wildlife for me and we were lucky enough to see sloths,
toucans, pelicans, monkeys, agoutis, coatis, iguanas, crocodiles,
butterflies, various species of heron and many other colourful birds.
Experiencing the Masaya Volcano at night was also an unforgettable
experience. For me, Nicaragua had the charm, Costa Rica had the wildlife and
Panama had the landscapes.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Andres and the whole support team (Ronald, Paul and Alvero) were great. The
team couldn’t do enough for us and we were very well looked after throughout
the trip. The whole support team laughed with us for 2 weeks.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
The hills can be tough especially in full heat and even though the distances
are relatively short, a certain level of fitness is required. Take plenty of
sun block and insect repellent. I wish I’d taken a video camera for my bike /
helmet.

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

Answer:
Amazing trip with a fabulous bunch of people. I would highly recommend this
trip.

Read full review

One of the best holidays

Summary:
Great way to get a flavour of the three countries. The trip was well
organised, great guide and support team – Andres, Paul, Ronald and Alvaro.
Good bikes in Costa Rica and Panama, okay in Nicatagua. If I could change one
thing, I’d have brought my own saddle. Some challenging hilly rides but also
well organised technical/food stops. Excellent extra activities like a night
volcano trip in Nicaragua, boat will life spotting trip in Costa Rica and
Miraflores locks visit in Panama. Good internary, we’ve visited some cool and
beautiful places, however two nights in La Fortuna was one night too many,
and two nights in Panama City was one night too many. Otherwise a fantastic
trip.

Rating: 5

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

Answer:
Visiting Masaya volcano in Nicaragua, seeing sloths in the wild in Costa Rica
and unspoiled, empty beach in Panama.

Question:
What did you think of your group leader?

Answer:
Very well organised, engaged, funny and knowledgeable.

Question:
Do you have any advice for potential travellers?

Answer:
Bring your own saddle, waterproofs and well padded shorts.

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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