Rev Up For a Costa Rica Motorcycle Tour

Welcome Guest Writer Evelyn Robinson and her post about options for touring Costa Rica by motorcycle!

Blue color of Rio Celeste, Costa Rica
The blue color of Río Celeste in Tenorio National Park

Tourism has become one of the fastest growing sectors of the Costa Rican economy. Currently around 2.2 million people visit the nation annually with its national parks and protected areas being the main attractions. This includes the magnificent Cocos Islands, which are a World Heritage Site and its numerous volcanoes. It is also, like Madagascar, one of the most biodiverse nations on this planet. Now many people take tours to see these sites or to hike or to go bird watching, but with Costa Rica being one of the safest countries in the region, it is the prime Central American country for motorcycle touring.

Now, a motorcycle tour will not take you to the Cocos Island because it is around 500 miles off the coast of the country and is about halfway to the Galapagos Islands, but there are a huge number of parks for such a small country. These include top parks like Manuel Antonio, Tortugero, Paos, Arenal and Cahuita. There are volcanoes like Irazu, Arenal, Turialba and Tenorio, plus world famous beaches such as the one in Manuel Antonio National Park, also Tramarindo beach in Guanacaste and Jaco Beach in Puntarenas. Six of the Seven Natural Wonders of Costa Rica are accessible by motorbike and these are Arenal Volcano, Chirripo Mountain, the Celeste River, the Tortuguero Canals, Poas Volcano and the Monteverde Reserve.

Guided Tours

Arenal volcano night eruption
Arenal Volcano Night Eruption

The easiest means of doing a motorcycle tour of Costa Rica is to do a guided tour. These are great for first time motorcycle tourists or first timers to Costa Rica. It helps with the lingo, finding accommodation and you have tour guides who know where they are going and what needs to be seen or done. These range from short one week tours to full on 14 day trips. There are also a range of educational tours. Companies offering tours include Costa Rican TrailsWild Rider and Moto Tours Costa Rica. Typically these tours supply the bike, the guide and your general itinerary. There are different types of tours and they might be group tours with other strangers from around America or even the world.

Have Map Will Travel

large hand-carved sphere
Stone sphere made by Pre-Colombian natives
Once you have done the official guided tours, perhaps it is time to get to know the country a bit more. It is said that no country is ever truly known until it has been travelled independently with no map or fancy hotels. There are several advantages here. First, you get to pick where you go and how long you stay there. Second, there is more of a chance of meeting locals and getting locked into the local culture - though brush up on your Spanish first. It also allows you to tailor your tour to your interests, be they biodiversity or Hispanic churches. When considering this kind of tour plan carefully first.

Getting To And From Costa Rica

It is possible to do a grand tour and drive down to Costa Rica from America. It will take a long time and would be a trip of a lifetime, but it is also possible to bring your own bikes with you. Like any modern country, Costa Rica is quite easy to get to. From America there are two other basic routes. Firstly, by air and secondly by sea. There are several airlines who fly to San Jose and a number of Caribbean cruise companies who make anchor in Costa Rica’s eastern ports plus a few Pacific ones who stop off on the west coast too. This kind of traveling can add an extra dimension to your tour.

Bike Hire

san josé capital of costa rica
San José, capital of Costa Rica
If you do not wish to bring your own bike, then the next best idea is to hire one. There are a wide range of bikes available from KTM motorcycles to Harley Davidson bikes. The best place to start is the capital, San Jose, but most deals can be done online well in advance, so when you get there, you know what to expect. Before hiring a motorbike be sure to check certain aspects such as the contract, the conditions of use, and penalties payable. Before taking the bike off the hiring company, check the bike is in good working repair. When doing a motorcycle tour of any place, it is always best to get insurance, even the cheapest motorcycle insurance can be quality and it is going to give you coverage should something happen during the vacation. Now you have planned ahead, it is time to enjoy the ride.


  1. Nice article, although the tourism industry in Costa Rica probably hasn't been "one of the fastest growing sectors of the Costa Rican economy", for at least five years.

    1. Nonetheless, from recent OECD report: "tourism is an important source of foreign exchange reserves as in 2014 it accounted
      for more than 20% of total exports (higher than the total exports of coffee, bananas and

  2. True, it's been flat to only slight up since 2008 in terms of visitors and money spent. Not bad, though, considering its held its own during the global recession. It's definitely the most favored destination in C. America, almost as many visitors as Panamá and Guatemala combined.

    What is growing in CR's economy?

  3. Riding a motorcycle would probably be the best way to see the sites in Costa Rica.

    When driving around you miss so much of the beauty no matter where your at.

    I rather see the sites by horse back in Costa Rica because I like to discover animals bugs and plants you don't see in the U.S.

  4. Nice article indeed! I've never been to Costa Rica but by reading and watching the photos here makes me wanna visit the place one day!

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