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Costa Rica

Costa Rica Coast to Coast Cycle

11 days
Grade 3

About the challenge

Pioneering challenge
Pioneering Challenge

Our adventurous coast to coast challenge involves crossing from the Caribbean Coast to the Pacific on the roads and dirt tracks of Costa Rica’s hilly interior.  En-route we pass lakes, volcanoes, rainforest and tropical plantations with small towns and villages providing plenty of cultural flavour.

Our epic ride starts where Christopher Columbus came ashore on the Caribbean, and takes in over 480km of spectacular scenery and fantastic cycling. The heat, humidity and hills all add to the challenge – this is an unforgettable and strenuous challenge which is a world away from the norm!

Part payment option available on this challenge.

Dates & prices

Departs Days Charity Availability Registration fee   Fundraising target   Payment option  
23 Mar 2017 11 Open challenge Spaces £399 + £4000 Or £1750 Book now
11 Nov 2017 11 Open challenge Spaces £399 + £4000 £1750 Book now
22 Mar 2018 11 Open challenge Spaces £399 + £4000 £1750 Book now
10 Nov 2018 11 Open challenge Spaces £399 + £4000 £1750 Book now

The itinerary

The Highlights

From Caribbean to Pacific Ocean by bike
Diverse landscapes from tropical plantations to rainforest and volcanoes
Discover quiet village communities and striking colonial towns

Concise Itinerary

Day 1-2: Fly to San Jose

Day 3-4: Ride through fruit and coffee plantations of Caribbean lowlands to lush tropical rainforest

Day 5-6: Hillier cycling through forest and around Lake Arenal with wonderful volcano views

Day 7-8: Cross Continental Divide into cattle-ranching country; great descents to Pacific Coast – finish on beach

Day 9-11: Free time on beach, return to San Jose and fly back to UK

Download full challenge details


What makes it tough?

Mix of paved road and dirt tracks
Some steep climbs and long descents
Average 65-70km each day
Heat and humidity add to challenge
Camping at homesteads

Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.

Detailed information

What's Included?

The cost includes all accommodation as well as all flights and transport; camping equipment (except sleeping bag and sleeping mat); all meals except as specified in the itinerary; entrance to Reserves and any sites visited as part of the itinerary. Experienced Discover Adventure leaders and doctor (depending on final group size) are also included, along with a local support crew of guides, cooks and drivers.

What's Excluded?

It does not include personal travel insurance, airline taxes, two meals as specified, tips for local crew, or international departure tax. It also does not include any entrance fees to any optional sites or attractions. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. Please note that costs may fluctuate and we have no control over any changes. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.

Flight Information

Group flights leave from London Heathrow or Gatwick, (we regret that we are unable to book connecting flights), and are booked through Discover Adventure Ltd under ATOL licence 5636. By travelling with Discover Adventure you are protected by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). We are most likely to fly with Iberia Airlines, however, we don’t always fly with the same airline so this is a guideline only. You will usually receive confirmed flight details several months before departure. Our itineraries are always based on current flight schedules and are therefore subject to change by the airline. If you prefer to book your own flights please ask us for a land-only cost.

Accommodation & Food

We camp in two-man tents, often in camps with good facilities that are part of a homestead or permanent camp, though some are simpler. Our hotel accommodation is also twin-share, and comfortable with en-suite facilities but not luxurious.
All food is included except where specified in itinerary. The food is varied, local-style, and will give you plenty of energy. Please let us know any dietary requirements in advance.

Dietary Requirements

Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. Please do not expect as much variety as you would have access to at home – we will be in rural areas and among people of a different culture who may not understand your requirements, however willing they are to help. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply. Please feel free to ask us for advice. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities and you are free to explore and try other culinary experiences! There is always something to suit every budget.

Trip Support
Discover Adventure Crew

Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.

All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. Although our leaders are trained in expedition first-aid, they are accompanied by an expedition doctor or medic (dependent on group size), who is there to look after the well-being of the whole group and deal with any incidents. They help the leaders to ensure the trip runs smoothly and encourage you when things get tough. The number of crew looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but an average-sized group in Costa Rica would be led by two leaders and a doctor. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: trekker ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.

Local Support Crew

Our local support crew is made up of local guides, drivers and cooks. Your local guide knows the local area well, and is a great source of knowledge about local customs and lifestyles. Drivers and cooks  do not always speak English but are very friendly and approachable. The Discover Adventure crew work closely with the local crew to ensure your trip runs smoothly and safely. Your leader will arrange a collection of tips for the local support crew at the end of your trek. Tipping is not obligatory, but once you see how hard they work on your behalf you will be happy to donate something! All our local crew are paid wages, but bear in mind that the average wage in this country is far below what you would spend on a normal night out.


Vehicles take the group to the start of the trek and pick us up at the end. All luggage, food, water and camping equipment is carried by vehicles. Space in camp is limited and hard-sided luggage is not recommended, so we suggest your kit is packed in a soft rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. Bags must be waterproofed – wrap the contents in durable plastic bags, especially your bedding. You should bring a small daypack to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening.

Trip Safety

Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency satellite phones, extensive medical kit and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency UK back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.

Preparing for the challenge

Cycling Information


Cycling distances range between 42km and 83km; the main challenge lies in the terrain – roughly half the cycling is on dirt roads. We will be using 21-speed mountain bikes with front suspension.

The terrain varies from flat to gentle rolling hills and some steeper, more strenuous climbs. There are also some great descents! It is likely to be hot, especially in the lowlands.

We are travelling through remote areas and weather may have an impact on road conditions. Traffic is usually light and we will cycle at our own pace, but we may re-group for busier sections.

This ride is achievable for most people provided they train well in advance. We supply a thorough training guide on registration.

It is imperative that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with straps done up.

Clothing & Equipment

We are travelling through remote terrain where we could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.


Average temperatures in San Jose vary from 14 – 26ºC at the times of year we travel. The weather will vary based on the ecosystem and our elevation: in hillier regions it may be cooler at night. Generally, it will be hot and humid. As in all tropical climates, expect some rain!

Fitness Levels

Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.

Passport & Visa

A valid ten-year passport is essential; it should be valid for at least six months after return from Costa Rica. There is currently no visa requirement for UK citizens. Other nationalities should check entry requirements.


We insist that you have had a Tetanus injection in the last ten years, and highly recommend protection against Polio, Hepatitis A and Typhoid. Although malaria is not prevalent in the majority of the regions we cycle through, there is a risk in the coastal areas where we finish. We therefore strongly advise you to take malarial prophylaxis. A Yellow Fever certificate is essential only if arriving from an infected country. You should always check with a GP or travel clinic for up-to-date travel health advice as it does change.

Cultral Differences

Worldwide Sustainable Tourism

Long before Responsible or Sustainable Tourism became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.

Discover Adventure Projects

We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.

Carbon Offsetting

We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them.  Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at or call 01302 388883.