The Coast to Coast Adventure

Costa Rica Coast to Coast Tour BikeHike Lead image 2
Costa Rica Coast to Coast Tour BikeHike Lead image 3
Costa Rica Coast to Coast Tour BikeHike Lead image 3
Costa Rica Coast to Coast Tour BikeHike Lead image 2
Costa Rica Coast to Coast Tour BikeHike Lead image 3
The Coast to Coast Adventure
Duration:
12
Days
Priced from:
2550.00
USD

The Coast to Coast Adventure

Trip Overview

(Biking, Hiking, Kayaking and Whitewater Rafting)  TopMentions2009_NGT_Tour_of_a_Lifetime1_web.jpgOn this exciting Costa Rica adventure tour, the challenge is set up for you to traverse from the Pacific coast to the Caribbean, solely by muscle power. While this could be considered a biking tour, during this fully guided itinerary, we also hike, kayak, and raft during our adventure-filled expedition across the country. Beginning on rocky cliffs and white sand beaches, we pedal and hoof along mountainous roads, pushing across the continental divide. We cross the Talamanca mountain range and pass through rain and cloud forests, coffee plantations, and quaint agricultural villages. Finally, we drift peacefully to the Caribbean shores, and celebrate with champagne in the surf.

POPULAR WITH ACTIVE ADVENTURERS & SINGLE TRAVELLERS 

For the physically fit and the insanely energetic, the Coast Rica Coast to Coast is the Costa Rica trip of a lifetime!

WOW FACTORS

  • Crossing Costa Rica from the Pacific to the Caribbean solely by muscle power!
  • Mountain biking across the Continental Divide
  • 3 days of whitewater rafting, biking and sea kayaking from the Pacuare River to the Caribbean Sea

     

    For more WOWs, watch the video below. This is BikeHike's longest running trip, the trip we started 25 years ago! 
     

Activities

Difficulty Level

Have
Questions?

Itinerary & Map



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Day 1

San Jose
Arrival

After welcoming you at the San Jose Airport, a BikeHike Adventures Inc. representative will transfer you to a comfortable hotel in the city. The rest of the day is free to explore the cosmopolitan sights of San Jose.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: none

Day 2

San Jose - Manuel Antonio
Hiking & Swimming
The day starts with a transfer to Quepos, a fishing village on the Pacific coast. You have time to relax, chill out on the beach or visit Manuel Antonio National Park, which is famous for its abundant wildlife. After a few hours of hiking, swimming and exploring the hidden coves of this unique park, we'll meet in the later afternoon to get sized for our bikes and then has the evening to discuss the details of the trip and tend to any necessary prep-work.

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Dinner

Day 3

Pacific Coast - Naranjillo
Biking & Hiking
Today we begin our journey from coast to coast. We awake at the crack of dawn and enjoy a light buffet of fresh fruit, yogurt and coffee. Mountain bikes are our mode of transport as we leave Quepos and climb into the steep mountains and beautiful valleys of the sparsely populated Pacific Coast. In the small town of Esquipulas we have a hearty breakfast, rest up and prepare our packs for the next leg of today's journey. Trading our wheels for hiking boots, we continue by trekking into the cool mountains of Central Costa Rica. We camp overnight in the valley of Naranjillo.

Biking Distance: 20 km / 12 mi.
Trekking Distance: 14 km / 9 mi.
Ascent: +1,440 m / 4,724 ft.
Descent: -825 m / 2,707 ft.
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 4

Naranjillo - Santa Maria
Biking & Hiking
The adventure continues by trekking towards the Continental Divide, challenging the infamous “Cemetery Hill” - a strenuous 10 km / 6 mi glute burning climb up a steep, winding pass. We then switch to pedal power and head for the pueblo of San Lorenzo ending in the quaint village of Santa Maria where we refortify with some typical Costa Rican fare and rest up in cozy cabins for the night.

Trekking Distance: 10 km / 6 mi.
Biking Distance: 12 km / 8 mi.
Ascent: +1,390 m / 4,560 ft.
Descent: -445 m / 1,460 ft.
Accommodation: Cabin
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 5

Continental Divide
Biking
Today we tackle the hardest, steepest climb of our adventure. The challenge before breakfast is mountain biking a 14 km / 9 mi uphill stretch to the Continental Divide, leading us to an altitude of 2,330 m / 7,700 ft, the highest peak of our journey. Following the rule that everything that goes up must come down, the remainder of the day is mountain biking at its best, mostly downhill on rugged dirt paths. We finish the afternoon in the lush and beautiful Orosi Valley where rich pastures and dark green forests of coffee carpet the land. Overnight at a lodge.

Biking Distance: 47 km / 29 mi.
Ascent: +1,290 m / 4,232 ft.
Descent: -1,800 m / 5,905 ft.
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 6

Tapanti
Biking & Hiking
After breakfast, we mountain bike along a river to the Tapanti National Wildlife Refuge. This is an area of vast rugged terrain covered with dense primary rainforest. Leaving our bikes, we take to the mountains trekking amongst thousands of trees covered with ferns, bromeliads, mosses and other epiphytes. The end of the day finds us on flatter ground, camping near the small settlement of Taus.

Biking Distance: 10 km / 6 mi.
Trekking Distance: 12 km / 8 mi.
Ascent: +680 m / 2,215 ft.
Descent: -1,035 m / 3,396 ft.
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 7

Pacuare River
Biking & Rafting
After breakfast we continue mountain biking towards our rafting “put-in” at La Cruz. This is the gateway to the mighty Pacuare River. We’ll first have lunch and then embark on a thrilling rafting journey on this exciting river that cuts through pristine rainforest and cascading waterfalls. We’ll run through a section of about 30 km /19 mi of class II-IV rapids. By afternoon we’ll arrive at our comfortable and luxurious riverside camp. Nestled between the sounds of the rainforest and the hum of the river, we have the remainder of the day to explore this lush environment looking out for toucans and oropendolas overhead or simply relaxing in a hammock to the sounds of the river.

Biking Distance: 46 km / 29 mi.
Whitewater Rafting Distance: 5 km / 3 mi.
Ascent: +675 m / 2,215 ft.
Descent: -1,150 m / 3,773 ft.
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 8

Pacuare River Valley
Hiking
Today we spend some quality time in this beautiful location on the banks of the Pacuare River. This area of rainforest is maintained as much as possible in its natural state. The camp is a very comfortable camp with permanent tents on wooden platforms, raised off the ground. There are showers, flush toilets, sinks and a dining area with a gazebo strewn with lots of hammocks. We'll head out today on a hike into the rainforest to some of the nearby waterfalls and swimming holes.  

Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 9

Pacuare River
Rafting
After breakfast we cast off the shores paddling through gurgling swells that cut through a virgin rainforest and cascading waterfall. We maneuver through the exhilarating rapids through dense rainforest and rugged canyons. Along the way we break on the riverbank and climb through the muddy jungle to a spectacular hidden waterfall with loads of fresh water pools and cascades to play in. We get back in our boats for a little more whitewater before stopping for a picnic lunch on the shore. Our rafting ends near the town of Siquirres at a riverside camp. Dinner tonight is a home cooked gourmet Pacuare feast. 

Whitewater Rafting Distance: 23 km / 14 mi.
Whitewater Rafting Duration: 3-5 hours
Descent: -175 m / 575 ft.
Accommodation: Tent
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner

Day 10

Pacuare River - Cahuita
Biking & Sea Kayaking
THE SWEET TASTE OF SUCCESS!! This morning we jump on our bikes for a short ride through banana plantations to the town of Freeman where we begin the final leg of our coast to coast traverse in kayaks down the Pacuare River. The frothy whitewater mellows to a gentle flow and we paddle our way into the Caribbean lowlands where banana plantations gradually swallow the receding rainforest. At the end of the adventure, we reach the mouth of the Pacuare as it meets the Caribbean Sea, celebrating our passage with bubbly in the surf, while enjoying a well-deserved rest. After some time on the beach we are picked up by a motorboat and transferred to Moin from where we travel by vehicle to Cahuita. Here we stay in a comfortable hotel as we congratulate ourselves on completing the journey from Coast to Coast of Costa Rica! 

Biking Distance: 20 km / 12 mi.
Kayaking Distance: 15 km / 9 mi.
Ascent: +75 m / 246 ft.
Descent: -125 m / 410 ft.
Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast, Lunch

Day 11

Cahuita & San Jose
Free Day
This morning is free to relax around the hotel or on the beach. After lunch, we journey by vehicle back to San Jose taking time to appreciate the breathtaking views as we pass through Braulio Carrillo National Park. 

Accommodation: Hotel
Meals: Breakfast

Day 12

San Jose
Departure
A BikeHike Adventures representative will transfer you to the international airport for your return flight home. 

Meals: Breakfast

NOTE about Ascent/Descent numbers: 

The ascent/descent numbers are usually generated using Ride with GPS. The numbers are TOTAL ascent/descent for the day and these numbers do not suggest altitude. There are usually multiple small ascents and descents added up throughout the day to reach this total ascent/descent for the day. (While our numbers are generally consistent with Ride with GPS, depending on the mapping technology used, numbers may vary).

 

What's Included

TRIP INCLUSIONS:
Meals as indicated (B=breakfast, L=lunch, D=dinner), all accommodation (twin shared), all internal transportation, Scott mountain bikes (26-29 shift with front suspension and disc brakes), two-person tents, support vehicle, airport transfers and English-speaking guides.

TRIP DOES NOT INCLUDE:
International airfare, airport departure taxes, gratuities, meals not indicated and items of a personal nature.

MEALS:
11 Breakfasts, 8 Lunches, 7 Dinners

ACCOMMODATION:
Hotel: 5 Nights
Cabin: 1 Night
Tent: 5 Nights

Trip Facts

Weather in Costa Rica

Located just ten degrees north of the Equator, Costa Rica enjoys the advantages of the "perfect" tropical climate. The average temperature is 22°C (72°F) in the highlands and temperatures vary from mid 20’s to low 30’s °C (77°F to 95°F) in the lowlands. All year long the conditions are pleasantly moderate, with a rainy season from June to early November, and a dry season or from December through May.

Highlands (includes San Jose, Arenal and Monteverde)

November to April: Dry, especially January to end of April. Pleasant days, about 22°C to 25°C (72 to 77°F). Nights drop to a comfortable 15°C (60°F).
May to November: Green season. Mornings are clear; and generally rain comes as afternoon showers. Wettest months are September and October.

Pacific Coast (includes the Nicoya Peninsula)

November to April: Dry season. Humidity is high.
May to November: Green season. Mornings are clear; and generally rain comes as afternoon showers. Wettest months are September and October.

Caribbean Coast (includes Cahuita and Parismina)

Can rain at any time throughout year. Wettest months are November to January. Lightest rain is February to April and September. Temperatures are hot year-round.

Travel Documents

To enter the country for a Costa Rica adventure vacation, you must hold a current passport valid for six months beyond your date of departure. Citizens of Canada, the US and the UK do not require a travel visa to enter Costa Rica. Visa requirements vary from country to country. Check with your local Costa Rican consulate for current requirements.

Food and Water

Some must-tries include gallo pinto (a dish consisting of rice, black beans and spices), empanadas (bread turnover stuffed with bread and cheese) and ceviche (seafood marinated in a lemon, onion, and garlic sauce). Water is usually safe to drink in San Jose, however bottled water is recommended when traveling in the country and is easily purchased at stores. If you are susceptible to changes in the water, you will find that fresh juices, soft drinks and beer are readily available.

FAQ

How big are BikeHike's groups?

Our adventures are built for small groups, with a maximum of 12 travellers on each guided tour. Each group is diverse, comprised of men and women of many different nationalities and ages. By travelling in small groups we leave minimal ecological impact, cause less disruption to the native life and are able to gain a better appreciation for our surroundings. Small numbers also allow greater flexibility and spontaneity: a dinner in a local home, an impromptu village wedding invite and any such experiences that can become among the most memorable experiences of your BikeHike adventure.

How fit do I need to be to join this trip?

We understand that people come in many fitness levels, so we've graded our trips accordingly. There are four difficulty levels on our trips: Easy, Moderate, Challenging, and Strenuous. 

The Coast to Coast Adventure is a "challenging" trip.

"Challenging" trips are physically demanding and best suited for strong people with a high endurance level. Days can be long with a total of about 7-9 hours of activity, in remote regions and occasionally without a support vehicle nearby. 

The route runs through a wide variety of terrains. It is not unusual to walk in torrential downpour or bake in the hot tropical sun.

Has this trip been run before?

BikeHike Adventures has been operating since 1994. We began in Costa Rica so this is one of our longest running trips. 

The logistics of organizing tours to remote corners of the world can be very complex. Our trip development department spends long hours researching destinations, routes, ground operations and equipment. All itineraries are screened without clients before they are added to our growing repertoire of adventures. Nothing is untested. 

Can you tell me about your typical BikeHike travellers on this trip?

Our travellers share a common love for outdoor adventure. Most are looking for a physical adventure in an unfamiliar destination. This trip attracts one of our most diverse groups. A typical trip is comprised of men and women of varied ages and nationalities. We've had as many as six nationalities represented on the same trip before. Although there are a few die-hard triathletes and marathon runners, most of our clients on this trip are regular mortals in good physical condition, who exercise regularly and are invigorated by a personal challenge.

As well, the age range on this trip is typically from 30-60, although we occasionally get younger and older travellers as well.

Is there a support vehicle?

Yes. The support vehicle will carry all the necessary equipment like rafts, bikes and all our personal equipment. You will have access to the support vehicle throughout the trip, except for the three nights at the riverside camp. The jeep will be available in the mornings before your departure, at lunch and also at the end of each day upon arrival to your destination.

What kind of bikes do you provide?

We use Trek 4500 and Scott Aspect 49er mountain bikes because of the rugged roads. All bikes have front suspension and disc brakes. The riding is not suitable for road bikes.

Which airports do we fly in and out of for this trip?

San Jose, Costa Rica. You can arrive anytime on day 1 of the trip and depart anytime on day 12. 

Can you tell me more about the activities?

Hiking

The hikes on this adventure are easy to moderate walks with no gear required apart from a light daypack.

Biking

We will cycle on varied terrain from country paved and dirt roads to uphill switchbacks and downhill single track. On average we will cycle for four to five hours per day at a steady pace.

If we are a full group of 12 participants, there will be a minimum of two guides. This means that you can cycle at the speed you are most comfortable at without feeling pressure from other people. There will be one guide in the lead and the other sweeping the last person.

If the group size is below six, there will be one guide, and s/he will stay behind with the slowest person, while giving directions to the faster cyclists. Our guides are extremely skilled at working with individuals who are keen to gain the techniques on how to ride a mountain effortlessly.

Kayaking

The kayaking on this adventure takes place on a mellow section of the Pacuare River using sit-on-top kayaks. 

Rafting

Costa Rica is world renowned for exciting Whitewater Rivers and attracts rafting enthusiasts from every corner of the globe. On The Coast to Coast Adventure, we will raft two rivers: the Pejibaye and the Pacuare, with rapids rated class II-IV on the difficulty scale.

Can I take this trip if...

I am a solo traveller? How does solo accommodation and costing work?

Many of our travellers (both men and women) join as singles. On average, BikeHike groups are 75% single travellers and 25% couples. However, this trip is usually even more singles. This trip is likely closer to 90% singles. 

Unlike many adventure travel companies, we don't charge single supplement fees to solo travellers. Instead, we pair you with another traveller of the same gender. If we can't find you a roommate, you get your own room at no additional charge. A single private room supplement fee is only required if you specifically request a confirmed private room for the duration of the trip. Learn more about solo travel with BikeHike

I have special dietary requirements?

We will do our best to accommodate special dietary requests (e.g. vegetarian, gluten free, etc.), but ask that you please discuss your request with us when signing up for a trip.

I am travelling with children? Is this trip children friendly?

While most of our trips are created with adults in mind, many of our itineraries are suitable for strong and active teenagers. This trip is definitely not a family focused trip. However, we do offer many Family Focused trips, some of which are able to accommodate children as young as six.

Accommodation

Most of this trip is comfortable tenting experiences due to the logistics of biking, hiking, kayaking, and rafting across the country. 

Specifically, this trip includes the following types of accommodation:

HOTELS

In an effort to keep money in the communities we visit around the world, BikeHike prefers small hotels, bungalows, and haciendas that showcase the character and local flair of each destination.

CAMPING

Camping on this trip usually involves rustic camping with tents on raised platforms. A couple nights are more "glamping" style than pure camping. At least one night is tenting at a beautiful riverside campsite. Surrounded by the beauty of the rainforest and beautiful manicured gardens, the tents there are mounted on wooden platforms and you'll have access to an open-air dining room and kitchen, a washroom with flush toilets and sinks and lots of hammocks in a gazebo to relax in. This is an incredible experience as you'll be tenting in Costa Rican paradise! 

CABIN

One night is in a rustic cabin. However, this accommodation is comfortable and your night's stay will showcase the natural character of the location.

Click HERE for more information about accommodation styles.

Adventure Dates

  • Sep 07 - Sep 18, 2019
  • Nov 16 - Nov 27, 2019
  • Dec 21 - Jan 01, 2020
  • Jan 18 - Jan 29, 2020
  • Feb 08 - Feb 19, 2020
  • Mar 14 - Mar 25, 2020
  • Apr 11 - Apr 22, 2020
  • May 02 - May 13, 2020
  • Sep 05 - Sep 16, 2020
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Price

(Land only, based on twin/shared room)
2550.00
USD
per person
2850.00
USD
per person, Christmas 2019 and Easter 2020

No single supplement fees
** Guaranteed departures on two travellers

Are You Organizing a Group Trip?
Discover our private group discounts

Add-Ons

  • It's easy to add days before and after your tour. Just ask! 
Day Destination Activity Distance Ascent / Descent Lodging Meals
1
San Jose
Arrival
— / —
Hotel
2
San Jose - Manuel Antonio
Hiking & Swimming
— / —
Hotel
b,
d
3
Pacific Coast - Naranjillo
Biking & Hiking
20 km or 12 mi (Biking)
14 km or 9 mi (Hiking
+ 1440 m (4724 ft)
- 825 m (2707 ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
4
Naranjillo - Santa Maria
Biking & Hiking
12 km or 8 mi (Biking)
10 km or 6 mi (Hiking)
+ 1390 m (4560 ft)
- 445 m (1460 ft)
Cabin
b,
l,
d
5
Continental Divide
Biking
47 km
29 mi 
+ 1290 m (4232 ft)
- 1800 m (5905 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
6
Tapanti
Biking & Hiking
10 km or 6 mi (Biking)
12 km or 8 mi (Hiking)
+ 680 m (2231 ft)
- 1035 m (3396 ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
7
Pacuare River
Biking & Rafting
46 km or 29 mi (Biking)
5 km or 3 mi (Rafting)
+ 675 m (2215 ft)
- 1150 m (3773 ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
8
Pacuare River Valley
Hiking
Variable
— / —
Tent
b,
l,
d
9
Pacuare River
Rafting
23 km
14 mi
+ 0 m (0 ft)
- 175 m (575 ft)
Tent
b,
l,
d
10
Pacuare River - Cahuita
Biking & Sea Kayaking
20 km or 12 mi (Biking)
15 km or 9 mi (Kayaking)
+ 75 m (245 ft)
- 125 m (410 ft)
Hotel
b,
l
11
Cahuita & San Jose
Free Day
— / —
Hotel
b
12
San Jose
Free Day
— / —
b

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LH
Liam H
March 2, 2018

Our guide did a fantastic job and worked tirelessly to make sure we were safe, happy, informed and well taken care of. The mixture of activities, hiking, biking, rafting, kayaking and the itinerary each day was just right. The organization and communication was first class. Everything was excellent. The rafting was a particularly thrilling experience, made all the more fun by the friendly and capable guides.

Hampshire, UK
BO
Belinda O
December 12, 2017

I especially loved getting to be active on vacation and the variety of activities we engaged in. Honestly, I think I got much more value out of the trip than what it cost me. If I didn't have a thing about repeating visits to countries before I've visited other new ones, I would love to do this trip again!

Washington, DC, USA
IP
Isabel P
September 21, 2017

Everything was just perfect - hard to top! I loved the mixture between sleeping in a tent, cabins and lodges. I highly appreciate that this trip doesn't follow the typical touristic routes. I got the feeling that I saw (and experienced) the real Costa Rica life.

Bolton, UK
SC
Sue C
July 2, 2017

My first trip with BikeHike was on the Costa Rica Coast-to-Coast Adventure in 2008. I had never traveled solo on an adventure trip before - little did I know it would be far from a solo and it would set a new standard for my future travels. The BikeHike trips and mission of “connecting the world through active travel” have provided me the gift of new friends (including Trish!), a plethora of new knowledge about local culture, amazing active adventures, delicious local food, and an introduction to a new parts of the world where I’ve often returned to explore even more . I’ve traveled on six BikeHike tours now, each one with new friends made on prior trips, and have always have had a wonderful time – thank you Trish and team!!

Brighton, MA, USA
MF
Marieke F
April 3, 2017

I loved the entire trip, but I think it was the combination of all different elements (biking, hiking, rafting) in combination with the camping that I loved the most. The food prepared in the evenings was perfect! It was a great guide! He knew a lot about nature, animals as well as just the surroundings, plus great English.

New York, New York, USA
ST
Sven T
March 2, 2016

At the end of the Costa Rica Cross-Country Adventure, our troupe was in sea kayaks in the final 10km leg downriver to the Caribbean. Skiffs carrying tourists were heading up-river, from where we just came. I swear, I looked at the tourists looking at us and saw envy and admiration for this dirty ragged group. You can see ... or you can experience.

Vancouver, Canada
JH
Jeff H
May 12, 2012

Maurice was an excellent guide. The best guide I have ever had. He was knowledgeable, helpful, kind, encouraging, and the ever present leader. He made the trip.

Denver, USA
CD
Chris D
March 1, 2012

Great active vacation where you felt like you accomplished something by the end of it. Got to see the real country.

Toronto, Canada
WH
Wayne H
February 17, 2012

No commercialism. Got to see the 'real' Costa Rica, not just the tourist stuff.

Barrie, Canada
MB
Monica B
February 4, 2012

The guide, Juan Carlos, was unbeatable. Also, I like that it was physically challenging. The activity level was refreshing. Most trips "say" they're "active," but this trip lived up to it.

Durango, USA
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