Costa Rica Adventure Vacations – The Best Mountain Bike Trails
Love mountain biking on your active vacation? Then you’re in luck! With so many options and fantastical landscapes, Costa Rica offers a wealth of brilliant mountain bike trails
If we didn’t know any better, we’d say that Mother Nature designed Costa Rica to satisfy the thrill-seeking needs of those who love adventure vacations. Why else would she have concocted such an exhilarating landscape of vertiginous volcanoes and rolling hills covered in luscious jungles and cloud forests? On Costa Rica mountain biking vacations, your choices are plentiful, whether you’re an experienced pro behind the handlebar or just an enthusiastic beginner.
Here are some of the best mountain biking trails to explore on your next Costa Rica adventure vacation:
Ruta de los Conquistadores
This mammoth trail is used for the yearly multi-stage mountain bike race that’s considered the first of its kind in the world. Professional bikers head here from every corner of the world to complete in a long and arduous track that crosses rivers, mud tracks and rises and falls sharply over its 250-mile distance.
The NY Times called this the toughest bike race in the world. The route crosses Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean in the north (from Puntarenas in the west to Limon in the east) and passes through sensational landscapes comprising high-elevation passes, steep valleys, forests and jungles, brimming with wildlife. Before you hyperventilate at the sheer thought of tackling the Route of the Conquerors, however, do note that you need not be an exceptional athlete to enjoy sections of the route. Certain stretches are not only super stunning but also not so difficult for experienced mountain bikers. If you’d like a challenge – but not a colossal trial – keep this one in mind.
Los Senderos de Colon
Over 20 miles comprising dozens of trails make up Los Senderos de Colon, a privately-owned mountain biking estate near Colon, an arty town in the San Jose Province, close to the capital city. With an array of trails suitable for beginners and plenty for experienced riders alike, this park is a fabulous choice for first-time biking vacations. On a single or multiple-day excursion here, you can bike past local farms and discover hidden waterfalls as you follow trails of diverging elevations. Steep climbs, techy trails and sweet downhill sections make this a fab all-rounder. Visit this page for a detailed map of all the trails on offer.
Nicoya Peninsula West Coast Trail
Not an official bike trail but certainly a very titillating itinerary, the Nicoya Peninsula’s western coast offers an incredibly adventurous option to those who wish to tackle a multi-day biking and even multi-activity vacation. Costa Rica’s wild west is a spectacular choice, especially when you’ve got a team of logistical assistants to help! Start from Tamarindo (a convenient starting point) and head south along the dramatic and undulating coastline, riding on dirt tracks and along deserted beaches (keeping your eyes peeled for turtles) and tackling many fantastic river crossings. The wonderful thing about this coastal stretch is that there quite a few towns strewn along the route so you can extend your bike journey for as long – or as short – as you wish.
Nicoya Peninsula – Jicaral to Montezuma
Addicted to biking the Nicoya? Then don’t stop there! The brilliant route from Montezuma (south-west) to Jicaral (north-east) is a favorite among mountain biking circles and offers a totally different adventure to the coastal trail. It stretches for about 36 miles and boasts half a mile of elevation. It’s a stunning trail that offers a plethora of glorious scenery whilst taking you on dirt roads through the beautiful Nicoya countryside and having enough beach sections to satisfy sea-lovers.
Nosara to Limon – Cross-country Trail
Here’s one that – at least in distance – rivals Los Senderos de Conquistadores. Want to cross Costa Rica from west to east whilst exploring the amazing delights of the Central Valley? Then this amazing 300-mile challenge is for you! Start on the Pacific Coast an enjoy the next week ascending over 2.5 miles through the Guanacaste Province along the shores of Lake Arenal, east to Tabacon and La Fortuna and onwards to Puerto Viejo and south to Limon. Take advantage of trails and secondary roads to keep well away from traffic and enjoy a truly superlative experience, remembering that even doing just a section of it is immensely rewarding.
La Angelina Mountain Bike Park, Cartago
Considered the best single-track route in all of Costa Rica, La Angelina offers a steady climb, sensational switchbacks, superb views and a smooth and steep descent. An excellent workout, an unforgettable day out and superb wilderness to match. Your walking or jogging companions can come along for the wonderful views and for a chance to stretch their legs. There are plenty of trails for them too.
Las Catalinas Bike Trails, Guanacaste
A stunning trail system through the wilderness which frames Las Catalinas – the Pacific Coast’s recently developed hub – offers a kaleidoscope of trails for cyclists and walkers alike. Fabulous coastal views have earned the reserve top marks and it’s often been dubbed ‘the most beautiful mountain biking route in the topics’. There are over 10 miles of track to explore, 90% of which is single-track, all offering breathtaking views across the Pacific Coast. You’ll be surrounded by a flurry of exotic birds and will have to keep your eyes out for wild hogs, coatis and monkeys.
At Costa Rica Rios, we are your mountain biking vacation experts! We’ve been there and cycled that and know just the place for whatever skill-set or desire you may have. Take a look at our Costa Rica Mountain Biking Adventure page and our multi-sport vacation itinerary ideas and note that we create affordable, bespoke itineraries that take the stress out of planning and inject more adrenalin-pumping fun into your once-in-a-lifetime Costa Rica vacation.