Great ride from San Ramon to La Fortuna. Good climbing with better downhills.
Posted by Tailwinds Cycle Tours on Monday, March 5, 2018
A fantastic winter getaway! February 15th until March 7, 2018 13 EBTC members and 2 Aussies toured Costa Rica with Tailwinds Tours. Tailwinds Tours (www.cyclewithtailwinds.com) is a cycle touring company owned by Robert Fletcher, a longtime EBTC member who now resides in Costa Rica.
The reasonably priced Westjet Flight from Edmonton to Calgary to Liberia was a bonus as the bikes were loaded in Edmonton and not seen again until Liberia. All bikes arrived intact with no reported damage.
On arrival, we went to our first accommodation, the beautiful Cove Condos at Ocotol Beach where we stayed for the first 7 nights. 5 of the 7 days we rode “out and back” from our condos, exploring many of the local beaches and towns. Day 5 was most memorable starting with a cycling tour of Liberia, followed by a “killer” climb up to a volcano “Rincon de la Viaja National Park”. At the summit we did a 2 hour walk viewing bubbling thermal mud pools, a variety of interesting vegetation and animals (howler monkeys, coatis and racoons) and brilliantly colored flowers. This was followed by a rewarding downhill ride to a microbrewery owned by a guy from Nebraska. There we enjoyed great craft beer, excellent food and lots of fun! All that in about 60 km of riding and 800 meters of climbing!
On Day 3, we left our lovely condos at Ocotol Beach by bus to a start just outside of the city of Nicoya. We rode about 72 km to catch a ferry that took the bikes, bus and riders to Puntarenas. It took about 1.5 hours on the ferry then on drove on to Jaco, stopping to see a river full of hungry crocodiles – from a bridge above! Our hotel at Jaco was on the beach where we were able to view one of many exquisite Costa Rican sunsets. The next morning, we had a short and fairly flat fantastic ride to the hilly town of Quepos. We stayed 2 nights in a hotel beside Manuel Antonio National Park where we had a rest day! On our Rest Day-Day 10, we were up early to join a guided tour of the National Park that started at 0730. Here we saw blue morph butterflies, a sloth, frogs, insects, many monkeys and more fantastic very colorful tropical flowers.
En route to La Fortuna, riding the route of the Grand Fondo La Fortuna (check out the video), we stopped in the country at a lovely boutique hotel, San Ignacio! The next day, we cycled to San Ramon where we stayed at an interesting hotel in the city centre. The landscape was lush and green compared to Guanacaste province where we began our trip, in fact there were many fields of large and colorful ornamental plants cultivated for export. The route was very challenging but oh so rewarding when completed. There were many cyclists training on this route, going very fast on the ascent! We stayed 3 nights at an Eco lodge in the cloud forest jungle in the La Fortuna area that was perfect for a group of our size. We had our first and only experience of Costa Rican rain which came down heavily overnight and in the morning the sun came out! This was opportune timing as a guided hike through the jungle was planned. We walked down a river of fast flowing water, under a waterfall, enjoyed a mud bath and observed most interesting tropical plant life. Later that day, we were able to enjoy the thermal pools at our hotel that evening at the base of the Arenal Volcano.
On Day 18, we cycled around the Arenal volcano and Lake Arenal. The ride was the toughest of the trip, climbing 1326 meters over 66 km. As we were all conditioned at this stage, everyone was able to successfully complete the ride, made all the more enjoyable by several stops for refreshments en route where we were able to appreciate the scenery. After Arenal we returned to our original condos for a rest day and bike packing in preparation for our return home.
The trip was well organized, riders were supported every day by a fantastic team, our bus driver Andre, our mechanic Warren and our leader Bob! Everyone and their bikes arrived safely back in Edmonton for more winter!