November 6, 2019

Bringing Your Bike to Costa Rica

Colin Sharpe

As many cyclists know, the search for the right bicycle and components is a long and personal process. Brakes, handle bars, gear system, frame materials, pedals, saddle, shock absorbers, and wheels of your bike all need to be carefully chosen, tested, and adjusted until they’re just right.

All of these factors are reasons to bring your bike when visiting Las Catalinas.

 

Bringing Your Bike to Las Catalinas

In the area around Las Catalinas, you can find casual riding and high-level competition for both road cyclists and mountain bikers. Just outside of town there are 42km of single track mountain biking trails through a tropical dry forest reserve, and departing from town there’s miles of paved coastal highway for a road bike ride.

There are also events up and down the pacific coast like the Playas del Coco IronMan, the Las Catalinas TRI, the XTERRA Triathlon at Conchal, and the Las Catalinas Reto, which feature world-class competitors from around the world.

Whether coming down for a competition, making a more permanent move to the area, or looking for that extra familiarity when tackling the trails and the roads on vacation, having your own equipment is key.

 

Shipping a Bike to Costa Rica

Currently, there are two major online shipping service providers that offer international transport for bicycles and bike boxes to Costa Rica: FedEx and Luggage Forward. Shipping from the United States and South America usually takes about 6 days to account for customs and immigration, shipping from Europe and Asia takes a bit longer, and prices on shipping can be steep, especially on higher end equipment.

All items entering Costa Rica are listed along with their price, and subject to import taxes and customs handling fees. Based on your specific location, value of the bicycle, and how fast you need your delivery, prices can vary wildly. For an average sized bike box with a competition-quality bicycle valued around $2000, Fed Ex quoted a 6-day shipping cost of about $1100. You can calculate your own prices using their shipping international shipping calendar.

Luggage Forward offered a much cheaper at $539 shipping one way for the same bike box. However, standards for Luggage Forward are slightly stricter, and bicycle case dimensions must be less than 46”x30”x12in”. Luggage Forward also has an online app to make shipping easier.

 

Flying Down with a Bicycle

The best way to get a bike down to the country is simply to pack it up and bring it down with you. For almost all major airlines, bikes can be broken down to their components, packed into a bike box, and treated as another piece of checked baggage.

 

 

Prices range from $25 to about $150 each way, and some airlines have regulations for the specifics of a bike box, but as a whole, flying down with your bicycle is the easiest and cheapest way to get your equipment into Costa Rica.

Below, we’ve included some of the airlines flying in and out of the country and their respective rules on bike boxes.

 

Airlines and Their Regulations

 

United Airlines

  • Flights to Liberia from: Houston, Chicago, Denver, New York, San Francisco, Austin, Los Angeles
  • Bike Box Regulations

Alaska Airlines

Sunwing Airlines

Air Canada Rouge

American Airlines

Delta Airlines

TUI Airways

KLM

 

 

Hybrid Approach for Visiting Mountain Bikers in Las Catalinas

For mountain bikers visiting Las Catalinas, local bike shop Pura Vida Ride offers another option to bring some familiarity to the trails of Guanacaste. Bikers can bring their saddle, helmet, gloves, and pedals, and the PVR team will install them on the professional quality mountain bikes already in the shop for weekly rentals.

It’s a high-quality hybrid approach that works well for a shorter stay, bringing the familiar touchpoints of your bike to the country in a checked bag. From there, it’s as simple as setting out from your front door to hit the trails.

If you’re looking to bring a bike or some components down to Costa Rica, reach out to the Las Catalinas concierge team. They can offer advice on which method is best for you, arrange pickup of you and your equipment from the airport, and work with Pura Vida Ride to handle your bike assembly, tune ups, rentals, and component installation.

 

I’m Looking to Bring a Bike to Costa Rica

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