Costa Rica & Panama cycling vacation

“An off-the-beaten path eight-day cycling adventure taking in cities, rainforest and Caribbean beaches, along with a group of like minded travelers and expert guides.”

Highlights

San José | Puerto Viejo | Gandoca Manzanillo National Park | Boquete | Baro Volcano | Panama City | Panama Canal | Gamboa Rainforest

Travel Team

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01 Feb 2020
US $1730
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25 Apr 2020
US $1695
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15 Aug 2020
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12 Sep 2020
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17 Oct 2020
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28 Nov 2020
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19 Dec 2020
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Responsible tourism

Costa Rica & Panama cycling vacation

Carbon reduction

Your vacation will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this vacation and how to reduce them.

Environment

On cycling trips, it is easy to use plastic excessively, especially in hot climates or during the summer months. Rather than use single-use plastic bottles we refill our water bottles from a large water drum kept on our support vehicle. We also encourage people to snack on fresh, seasonal fruits rather than processed fruits in plastic wrappers. As well as keeping a large water drum on our support vehicle we also take advantage of the Spanish tradition of having a drinking water fountain in each village and refill our water bottles directly from the source.

Our greatest contribution to minimising our transportation's impact on the environment is to travel by bike, avoiding the use of any energy or fuel. When we do use a vehicle we are committed to providing local experiences and as part of this philosophy during this trip we use local forms of transport wherever possible. Where we use private transport we stick to the small back roads which minimises the impact on locals using the main roads for daily routines. Where we do use a support vehicle, we will always ensure that it is an appropriate size to suit the cyclists it supports – no using a 16-seater minivan if we only have five people traveling.

On this trip we have joined up with a local Costa Rica-based supplier who shares our commitment to responsible business, from waste and water management to ensuring we are leaving as minimal a foot (or rather tyre) print as possible. We ensure they are educated on all aspects of responsible business and supported in making any changes they need to improve in this regard.

Community

An important part of travel is mixing with the locals and experiencing “real life” in your destination. On this trip, along with staying in locally-owned hotels/guesthouses, we visit small cafes and restaurants and buy locally produced crafts and locally grown fresh produce. This gives locals the opportunity to earn money directly and our travelers the chance to interact with local people in their everyday environment.

We also use only local cycling guides and support staff, as well as local guides in many destinations.

We source local activities which we believe are sustainable to the economy in that they allow the flow of income from visitors to be distributed to a greater audience, rather than remain concentrated with tourism providers. This could be as simple as spending time in a local café, to cooking classes in a local home and shopping at small local stores. On this trip you will visit the stone carvings at Altagracia (Nicaragua) and learn about the early, culturally developed indigenous tribes who inhabited Ometepe Island long before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. You’ll also spend time at the Gamboa Rainforest Discovery Centre (Panama), a non-profit organisation focused on protecting Panama’s bird fauna and rainforest habitat. Our local leader will also assist you in learning as many Spanish words and phrases as you can remember to better interact with the locals.

The role of females in cycling has often been that of support staff. To help combat this we try and ensure as many of our cycling trips as possible have a head female cycling guide.

All aspects of this trip (on the ground) are operated by people local to the region, including all our cycling guides, support vehicle drivers, local site guides, and accommodation providers. We provide our cycling leaders with a formal 4-5 day cycling training so that they are up to speed with the needs of our travelers as well as building their skills.

Locals know where the best food, souvenirs, local crafts and entertainment can be found. This trip is operated by locals and we ensure any shopping opportunities, from the larger centers like San Jose and Panama City to the small villages and towns such as Gamboa, offer authentic experiences that showcase Central America's rich and unique culture and crafts.

Costa Rica and Panama also have a rich arts and craft culture, with a special emphasis on woodwork, pottery and handmade jewellery. Rather than shopping in larger tourist shops we recommend checking out the small village morning markets that often feature the work of local craftspeople.
Local food and drink is often a highlight in Costa Rica and Panama and we offer a variety of opportunities to sample the full range, from Gallo Pinto (rice and beans) for a Costa Rican breakfast to sipping down an evening Ron Ponche, the unique and delicious Panamanian cocktail. Fresh fruit is abundant with papaya, coconut, pineapples, bananas and watermelon perennial favourites – something we keep an eye out for when visiting local markets. The local chocolate is excellent too, something you can experience during a chocolate tour in Puerto Viejo de Talamanca.

Our cycling trips usually have a maximum group size of 16 to minimise our impact on the smaller communities we cycle through in Costa Rica and Panama. We believe this is the perfect size for a cycling trip while respecting the capabilities of the destinations we visit. Overtourism is an issue we are very conscious of and we are taking measures to ensure our impact on the communities we visit and their environment is our top priority.

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