Exploring Guanacaste on a Mountain Bike

January 6, 2020

Summer's arrival in Guanacaste means a slow change from green to gold and days full of sun and outdoor activities. This change of the seasons also brings a few differences to the trails compared to the rainy season, like the dwindling of seasonal streams and waterfalls.

One activity to take advantage of in early summer, while the rivers and waterfalls are still flowing, is the “Old School Guanacaste Tour” from Pura Vida Ride, an all day mountain biking experience that features a challenging ride through the trails across the back roads, forests, and valleys of Guanacaste, ending at a hidden waterfall in the hills past Nuevo Colón.


Mountain Biking Through Guanacaste

The single track trails in town offer a variety of flow riding and thrilling downhills that have something to offer for all skill levels, and as new trails are built that experience will only continue to grow.

There’s also a lot to discover out past the trails in the surrounding area of Guanacaste. The Cartagena loop with “El Horno del Diablo”, the “Old Loop” tracing over the Monkey Trail and back down through the Zapotal Valley, the Playa Flamingo circuit, and many more are all classic mountain biking tours in Costa Rica that provide a varied experience to the trails in town.

Perhaps the most challenging loop is the all-day trek to the hills of Nuevo Colón, which starts in the trails at Las Catalinas before cutting across the valleys and forests of Guanacaste towards a hidden waterfall.

The trail first heads to the end of Secreto, then out into the Zapotal Valley and across the hills and forests of Guanacaste


The route, like all circuits, begins in town, before quickly climbing the trails and onto the back side of the hills down Secreto. From the bottom of Secreto, the trek turns into the Zapotal Valley, where riders cut across the landscape on old roads past fincas and small villages, racing through rivers and forests, and eventually climbing into the hills.

The waterfall at the end of the day tour runs at its strongest throughout the green season and into the summer, before eventually slowing down to a stop. The water is cool, clear, and deep enough to jump into up until about the new year, and the area is a well-kept local secret that you’ll have to make the trek to uncover.

The waterfall in the hills past Nuevo Colón


Setting Out to Explore Guanacaste

As a whole, the trip takes a full day (estimated at 6 or 7 hours), and is generally considered an advanced trip due to the physical challenge of a long ride. However, for more experienced mountain bikers the trip through the beautiful hills and valleys of Guanacaste and the reward of a cool, clear, and hidden waterfall at the end are well worth the ride.

Whether tackling this route, trying one of many other circuits in the area, or enjoying the world-class trails in town for the Reto or a night ride, Pura Vida Ride can provide gear rentals, tune-ups, and offer a guided experience from the experts who know the area best.


Mountain Bike in Las Catalinas