Touring Costa Rica's backcountry by motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle near Nicoya, Guanacaste
Riding a motorcycle near Nicoya, Guanacaste

Costa Rica's rugged terrain is laced with a network of backroads that are inaccessible to many large vehicles that commonly carry tourists, but travelers interested in experiencing the country's landscape in a unique way can tour these roads on a motorcycle.

Weather Helps

The climate of Costa Rica makes the country ideal for riding motorcycles. Unlike nations with cooler weather, Central America's warm and humid climate means that bikers can wear light clothing and still remain comfortable, even when faced with the powerful winds encountered while driving at high speeds.

Avoiding Potholes

Additionally, because backroads are frequently not as well paved as major highways and city streets, riding a motorcycle gives travelers access to a variety of places that they could not visit in a larger car. Motorcycles' suspension and two inline wheels allow drivers to avoid many potholes or obstacles that could block bigger cars, while their smaller size helps them navigate narrow paths that weave through tight spaces.

Travelers should have no difficulty in finding and obtaining a motorcycle for a tour of the Costa Rican countryside. Many tour operators offer rentals that can be taken on self-guided interaries, while vendors in major cities like San Jose also offer rentals and short-term leases.

Motorcycle riders of all skill levels will find something to enjoy during a tour of Costa Rica. Those looking for an easy trip may want to bike down the country's Pacific coast, which features stunning ocean views and long, flat stretches of paved road. These routes allow riders to see some of Costa Rica's most beautiful sights without forcing them to deal with rougher terrain.

Where to Practice

More experienced riders may wish to travel on the direct route between Arenal Volcano and Monteverde Cloud Forest Biological Reserve. The trail takes travelers through lush jungles and allows them to see some of the country's most exotic creatures, while the path itself provides visitors with an adrenaline rush, as its rockier terrain can normally only be navigated on foot or horseback.


Travelers must take some special safety considerations when riding a motorcycle through the backcountry of Costa Rica. Riders should take special care to avoid animals they encounter on the road, as a crash involving an animal is much more dangerous on a motorcycle than in a car. Riders must also be careful when crossing a river, as the current may cause them to lose control of their vehicle.