My First Bike Ride in Tamarindo, Costa Rica

Wherever I travel I try to get on a bike.  This last week I took my wife and daughter on a trip and I thought I’d share a little about my first bike ride in Tamarindo, Costa Rica.  Since I didn’t travel with one of my bikes (this time) the first job is to source a place to rent a bike.  I found three or four “Bike Rentals” signs in stores but quickly ascertained that Tamarindo doesn’t have a serious bicycle shop.

There were a few places to rent beach cruisers and there was even one place that rented upper end electric bikes but I was looking for a higher end gravel or mountain bike.  I did find one shop that had mountain bikes, Kelly’s Surf Shop.  While they had a few mountain bikes to choose from and they did make sure the back tire (not the front) had “enough” air you should be able to ascertain by the name of the business that, although very nice people, bicycles aren’t their specialty.  Quite simply, I may have overpaid at the $15.00 per day fee I agreed to.

bicycle riding in costa rica
Looking out over the volcanic lava to Tamarindo Bay.

But off I rode on this beautiful warm day with the salt air in my nose, the beach to my right and my Garmin Edge 25 tracking my miles on a very used mountain bike in need of a serious tune up and, frankly, chain lube.  Never-the-less, onwards!

My first ride was just 3.58 miles while my wife and daughter hit the spa.  I headed southwest through the heart of Tamarindo with merchants, beachside bars and restaurants on both sides and the sounds of Central American wafting out across the open air.  I veered to the left leaving Calle Central for Central Avenue. What’s the difference?  I really don’t know.  Then it was up the small hill to down again and around another curve, this time to the right as I headed south on Calle Cardinal.  Now be sure to note that I am glancing at Google Maps as I write this because I don’t really remember seeing any street signs.  That kind of information doesn’t seem to be too high a priority.  Hey, it’s Pura Vida. You just go with the flow.

Awaiting me was a shallow climb past luxury resorts, condos and homes. Quite scenic really.  It’s amazing how so many buildings seem to be suspended in construction while others look as if they have stood the test of time.   The ride was a mix of pretty good blacktop streets drifting in to questionable pavement leading to gravel in varying stages of attention and back again.  After finishing the closed loop that is Calle Cardinal and it’s extensions I headed back to my hotel to meet Marie and Piper.  This time I cut through a neighborhood with beach access and casually rode along the beach.

A cool mural in Costa Rica
Propping my bike up against a cool shop sign. Selina looks to be an automotive repair business.

While the distance of the ride is what I consider to be quite short the enjoyment of the ride was quite high.  I simply cannot express the joy I feel as I pedal through places I have never been. Seeing the world at bicycle speed feeds my #BikeCompulsion.  There is something childlike, explorer like throughout the whole process.  I can quickly slow down to notice the details like an iguana scampering up a tree or a child chasing a scorpion on his driveway.

Later that day I carved out more time to go on a longer, much more adventurous ride and I’ll link to that when the post if finished. At this point I just wanted to share that first bike ride I had in Costa Rica.  The ride made me smile.  I hope it inspires you to do your own exploring on two wheels…even if it is through your own neighborhood. You’ll be amazed at what you notice at bicycle speed.

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