Costa Rica Route Descriptions & Maps

Costa Rica 2010

Penas Blancas (Nicaraguan border) to LaCruz 19Ks

Good 2-lane road with no shoulder. Light traffic but fast buses and trucks. Lush scenery. NE (tail) wind. Gradually rolling up to 11Ks then down for 2Ks then climb moderately then gradually to 18Ks, veer left into La Cruz at 19Ks.

La Cruz to Liberia 61Ks

Route 1, 2-lanes, no shoulder. Light traffic but fast and often big. Scrub land and ranches sparsely populated. So-so scenery. NE (tai) winds. Rolling mostly down. There were no stores for drinks through here. 1K climb up to 29Ks then down to the coastal plain. Straight and flat mostly. At 60Ks, right at stop light to centro at 61Ks.

Liberia to Playa El Coco 35Ks

Out from centro to Hwy. #21, across Hwy. #1 at 1K, 13Ks to airport. 2-lanes, narrow, no shoulder. lots of fast traffic. Bad riding. At 20Ks, junction. Road to Playa El Coco. Right. Another narrow road. Less traffic but still too much but only cars. No chance to look at nice scenery. NE (tail) winds. At 30Ks up 2 Ks then down into town at 35Ks.

Playa Del Coco to Playa Tamarindo 70Ks

15Ks out to Hwy #21. Right, 2-lanes, no shoulder, flat. NE (cross) winds. Moderate small but fast traffic. OK scenery. At 33Ks, Hwy. #155, right in Belen. 2-lanes, narrower and no shoulder. Could be great biking but there’s too much fast moving traffic on this narrow road. Moderately rolling hills to 47Ks then through a valley to 54Ks. Very good scenery, small mountains ranch country Tail winds. Steep 2Ks up and 2Ks down to Huacas. Hwy. #155 turns left at 58Ks. Flatter and busier to 66Ks, right. Small hills on a rougher black top road to center at 70Ks.

Playa Tamarindo to Playa Flamingo – round trip 48Ks

4Ks back to Hwy. #155 then right to Huacas at 12Ks junction, turn left. 2-lanes with shoulder for 1K then right for 1K with shoulder. Easy rolling hills all the way. After 14Ks, narrow again. Moderate but fast traffic. At 19Ks Brasilito. at 24Ks, Playa Flamingo.

Playa Tamarindo to Avellana 18Ks

Out 4Ks to Villarreal, right. Wide dusty dirt road. Moderate traffic. Often washboard. At 8Ks, right to Avellana. Paved to 10Ks then dusty corrugated road. We went through the Golf Club and back to the road so extra Ks. We arrived at 22Ks. Probably more like 18Ks on the road but we went through the paved golf course complex.

Avellana to Junquillal 13Ks

by coast road. Dirt, corrugated, moderate short hills. Some fast and dusty traffic. No ocean views. At 8Ks, Paraiso. Black top through town, then dirt again. (At 10Ks, just over the bridge is a back road to Marbella.) Some hills. At 13Ks Junquillal.

Junquillal to Marbella 25Ks

3Ks back out toward Paraiso before paved bridge. Right on dirt road. No traffic. good scenery. OK surface. At 5Ks, ford a river (you’ll get your feet wet). at 6Ks another river to ford. Easy hills. At 7Ks, to main coast road. No wash board but rockier. Less traffic. Very good scenery, easy hills. At 11Ks, Playa Lagarto. Steep climb for 1K then lots of hills until 16Ks. Good views. Down into Marbella at 17Ks.

Junquillal to Santa Cruz 34Ks

Out to Paraiso 4Ks, right on paved road with a shoulder and bike lane(when it rains it pours). NE (head) wind. Very light traffic. OK scenery. Ranch land. Coastal road south. Straight on bike lane. Gradually climbing. At 16Ks, 27 de Abrilto to the right.
Left at junction. At 17Ks, junction. Left to Santa Cruz. (right to Tamarindo, 17Ks on a dirt road). End of bike lane. A wide 2-lane asphalt road. Light traffic. A mild climb to 25Ks. The road becomes rougher and patched. More traffic. At 33Ks, junction Hwy.#21. Right, then right again to centro at 34Ks.

**In January the winds are strong. At times for 3 days or more the winds will be alost gale force out of the Northeast.

Day-by-Day Itinerary Costa Rica – 1992

Border with Nicaragua (Penas Blancas) to Liberia 80Ks

It’s 43Ks to the park entrance for Santa Rosa National Park. It’s a good narrow road. Rolling hills. Very little traffic. One climb before La Cruz. After La Cruz, the traffic increases. (In fact, the traffic continues to increase geometrically all the way to San Jose 292 Ks from the border. Also San Jose stands at 1150 meters.) After the park entrance, it’s 37Ks to Liberia.

Liberia to San Ramon 148Ks

Traffic is still manageable but increasing. The Pan American Highway is still narrow. Rolling hills. 24Ks to Bagaces. Then 22Ks to Canas. Now long distances between towns. 50Ks to Rancho Grande. 21Ks to Esparza. All of this at relatively low altitude and well graded small hills. All inland, nothing special. After the turnoff for Puntarenas, Costa Rica’s major port, the riding becomes difficult (and dangerous) because of the traffic, especially the heavy cargo. Finally, a climb to 1700 meters at San Ramon. Trucks get stacked up so stretches are quiet but then a batch of heavy trucks. A tough climb.

Liberia down the peninsula to Playa Narango 135Ks

We didn’t go this way but would next time. Filadelfia 30Ks, Belen 5Ks, Santa Cruz 16Ks, Nicoya 20Ks, Mansion 12Ks, Santa Rita 20Ks, San Pablo 5Ks, Lepanto 20Ks, and Narango 7Ks. In 1992, there were two ferries each day to Puntarenas. From Puntarenas you can take the coastal highway instead of the busy Pan American Highway.

San Ramon to Alajuela (airport) 44Ks

It’s basically downhill. (67Ks to San Jose) 13 Ks to Naranjo. Still basically downhill in hellish traffic. The road is wider her and better maintained. Vistas if you can cap a look. 31Ks to Alajuela. Alajuela, the airport is 23Ks before San Jose. It’s a divided highway into San Jose and up 200 meters over long rolling climbs and descents. Not recommended.