“Thoroughly enjoyable,” “hassle free;” “a real taste of Latin America.” This is just some of the excellent feedback our recent customers have used to describe our Cycle Nicaragua to the Panama Canal trip.
Passing through some of Central America’s most beautiful scenery, this trip visits smouldering volcanoes, cloud forests, lakes and national parks, tiny Caribbean islands and the Panama Canal – so much diversity in fact that one customer defined the itinerary as “a month of activity packed in to two weeks.” The adventurous route is classed as moderate (challenging in a few places), but that’s not to say you won’t have time to relax: we’ve included stops in the paradise islands of Bocas del Toro and a hot springs visit to ease out tired legs, as well as plenty of rest stops. If that’s not enough to tempt you, consider our nine reasons to book now.
1. Visit three countries in one trip
Taking in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama in two weeks, you’ll get to see the best of each country at a pace that allows for deeper exploration – on two wheels, a very different side to Central America will reveal itself. Navigate borders, time zones and different currencies as you travel between the three vastly different countries: Nicaragua is relaxed and unspoilt; Costa Rica full of amazing wildlife and staggering scenery; and Panama bustling and developed – however each is welcoming and friendly.
2. Cycle along beautiful routes
With volcanic scenery prevalent in Central America you can imagine there are a number of climbs on this trip – that’s why we’ve graded it moderate to challenging. If there’s one thing guaranteed to distract you from the hilly parts it’s the scenery, as your journey from Granada to Panama City passes along some of the most scenic cycling routes in Central America. We use buses to transport you along routes that aren’t suitable for cycling, but the rest of the time the best views can be seen from your saddle.
3. See impressive colonial architecture
Central America is famous for its Spanish colonial architecture and some of the best examples can be seen in Granada at the start of your journey; founded in 1524 by a conquistador, the old town is full of historic buildings of the Renaissance and Baroque style. Finish off your trip among the colonial buildings of Panama Vieja, walking among the old houses and observing the opposing views across the new city’s modern skyline.
4. Learn about the contrasting history and culture
Despite being neighbours, each of the three countries are very different and during your trip your Explore Leader will take time to illuminate how history and culture has shaped the three countries into being markedly different from the next.
5. Explore fascinating and beautiful Nicaragua
We’re not allowed to have favourites – but if we could, Nicaragua would be in our pick of the best countries to visit in Latin America. Poor though it may be, the country makes up for its lack of funds with a vibrancy and history (including a revolution!) that makes it a joy to explore. Being largely undeveloped Nicaragua is unspoilt by modern tourism and offers a chance to see the ‘real’ Latin America. On their return, many of our customers report that Nicaragua was their favourite country of the trip.
6. Cycle around Ometepe Island
Bikes, buses and ferries – a full spectrum of transport is included on this trip! A one-hour crossing takes you to the volcanic island of Ometepe, set in the blue waters of Lake Nicaragua. The island’s twin volcanic peaks have inspired everyone from the Aztecs to Mark Twain – we think you’ll find them pretty inspiring too.
7. Discover active volcanoes
During the trip you’ll get to visit some of the most active volcanoes in the Americas, exploring Masaya National Park and the crater rims on foot – you can’t miss the incredible views. Later you’ll get to ride around Maderas volcano, one of Ometepe’s twin cones, and then around Arenal in Costa Rica.
8. Swim in the Caribbean
Before crossing into Panama you’ll cycle along Costa Rica’s lush Caribbean coast between large banana plantations. This scenic route sets you up for your destination for the next two nights: relaxing on the islands of Bocas del Toro. The archipelago is home to unspoilt white sand beaches and coral reefs rich in marine life, which you can explore on boat trips or snorkelling and diving.
9. Explore a city on the up
Much of the trip travels through pretty countryside, but you’ll also get to see Panama’s staggering contrasts between its rural way of life and the buzzing capital of Panama City, with its glittering skyscrapers. The city is full of great bars and restaurants and makes for an enjoyable evening out. You’ll also get to visit Miraflores lock at the Panama Canal – a feat of engineering.
Feeling inspired? Find out more about out Cycle Nicaragua to the Panama Canal tripor view more cycling holidays in Central America.