Helpful Tips for Mountain Biking in Guanacaste, Costa Rica


Whether you want an extreme 100-mile race or an easy singletrack trail, mountain biking in Guanacaste is some of the best in Costa Rica, especially by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

mountain biking guanacaste costa rica
Rincon de la Vieja Challenge mountain biking race in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Costa Rica is known around the world for superb mountain biking. Earlier this month, hundreds of international riders competed in the 24th annual La Ruta de los Conquistadores (The Route of the Conquistadors), often called the world’s toughest mountain bike race. Race founder Román Urbina became the first Latin American to be inducted into the Mountain Bike Hall of Fame in California earlier this year.

The rugged, dry terrain around the western side of the Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste is one of the best places for mountain biking in Costa Rica. Two extreme 100-mile mountain bike races that circumnavigate the active volcano are held here every year: the Rincón de la Vieja Challenge and the 160K Rincon de la Vieja.

Mountain biking in Guanacaste, Costa Rica at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

Guanacaste, Costa Rica is great for mountain biking year-round due to its mostly sunny, warm weather. When traveling in Costa Rica, you can go on thrilling mountain biking tours in Guanacaste at Hotel Hacienda Guachipelin at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano. Tours ride assorted routes on 30 km of shaded trails of varying difficulty – the only mountain bike trails in Costa Rica on an active volcano. To help you enjoy your ride even better, here are some helpful tips for mountain biking in Guanacaste.

160K Mountain Bike Race at Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, Costa Rica.

Tips for Mountain Biking in Guanacaste, Costa Rica:

Weather by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano: Always warm; and either dry or wet depending on the season. It is best to ride in the early morning or late afternoon (weather dependent) when it is cooler. Riding on shaded mountain bike trails also helps keep the temperature down. 

Best clothes to wear: Light short-sleeved bike shirts and loose mountain bike shorts, in addition to your helmet. Using elbow and knee protection is recommended for rocky trails; and you should have sport sunglasses.

Best shoes to wear: Clip-in cycling shoes; a recommended brand is Giro, which is also good to do short hikes to nearby waterfalls and rivers along the trails.

Mountain biking tours in Guanacaste, Costa Rica at Hacienda Guachipelin.

Should you bring snacks? Suggestions: Cliff Bars or any good quality Power Bars, peanuts or trail mix, and bananas.

How much water should you bring? Dehydration is always a concern in a hot climate like in Guanacaste. You should have at least 2 liters of water and electrolytes mixed in with the water. Electrolytes make a world of difference in your body’s ability to absorb water during your ride.

Mountain biking in Guanacaste at Hacienda Guachipelin by Rincon de la Vieja Volcano, Costa Rica.

Special equipment you should have: You should never bike without a patch repair kit, an extra tube, a first-aid kit, and a cell phone for emergencies.

Best things to see: Out in the breathtaking nature around Rincon de la Vieja Volcano in Guanacaste, chances are good you may see wildlife of the region while biking. Keep an eye out for white-faced and howler monkeys, birds like toucans and hawks, iguanas, armadillos and coatis. You will ride by rivers, waterfalls, and incredible volcanic formations.

Article by Shannon Farley

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