Costa Rica hosts significant regional and international touring races each year, but as a general rule the major roads are dangerous and inhospitable for cyclists. Roads are narrow and without a shoulder, and most drivers show little care or consideration for those on two wheels. The options are much more appealing for mountain bikers and off-track riders. If you plan to do a lot of biking and are very attached to your rig, bring your own. However, several companies in San José and elsewhere rent bikes, and the quality of the equipment is improving all the time. Bike rental shops are listed in each of the regional chapters that follow.
Arguably, Arenal has the best mountain biking in Costa Rica. The scenery’s great, with primary forests, waterfalls, and plenty of trails. And the hot springs at nearby Tabacón Grand Spa Thermal Resort are a perfect place to unwind after the ride. However, the Río Perdido ★★ (tel. 888/326-5070 in the U.S. and Canada, 2673-3600; www.rioperdido.com) offers many of the same attractions, including incredible hot springs, but also features the country’s best specifically designed mountain bike park, with an extensive network of trails and different level circuits. Finally, Hacienda Guachipelin ★★ also offers a variety of bike trails and some excellent rental bikes.
Tour Operators & Outfitters
Bike Arenal ★ (tel. 2479-9020; www.bikearenal.com) is based in La Fortuna and specializes in 1-day and multiday trips around the Arenal area.
Coast to Coast Adventures ★ (tel. 2280-8054; www.ctocadventures.com) offers mountain-biking itineraries among its many tour options.
Pura Vida Ride ★ (www.puravidaride.com; tel. 2654-6137), based at Las Catalinas, has a variety of short tours in the area, including single track loops that traverse tropical dry forests and river crossings.
Nosara MTB ★ (https://nosaramtb.com; tel. 2573-3949) has a range of tours around the Nicoya peninsula of varying degrees of difficulty, including fat bike beach tours and uphill mountain biking.
A Major Race
Each year, Costa Rica hosts what many consider to be the most challenging and grueling mountain-bike race on the planet. La Ruta (https://racelaruta.com) retraces the path of the 16th-century Spanish conquistadores from the Pacific Coast to the Caribbean Sea—all in 4 days. The race usually takes place in November, drawing hundreds of competitors from around the world.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.