“Pura Vida” is the well-known catchphrase of Costa Rica. Its literal translation is “pure life” or “simple life,” but the expression holds so much more. It conveys joy and happiness, zaniness and good fortune, pura vida applies to virtually anything that brings a smile. And there is a whole lot of pura vida to be found on BMW Motorrad’s Great Getaway in the paradisaic Central American country.
BMW Motorrad is helping to reawaken the adventurous spirit and inspire wanderlust after the global hibernation that was the Covid pandemic. And what better way to explore than on a motorcycle and an all-inclusive tour package that unfolds the colorful tapestry of sights and sounds Costa Rica has to offer.
The Great Getaway is the result of BMW’s partnership with Elephant Moto’s staff of local, bilingual tour experts, and it features BMW’s new heavy cruiser, the R 18. With BMW Motorrad–certified guides and a support team (including a snack and hydration chase vehicle) that provides exceptional knowledge of the country, the 10-day excursion is a wonderful exercise in frivolity, with everything taken care of, right down to freeing you of your bags and delivering them each night to your room. With lodgings, route planning, stops and dining experiences all prearranged, the result is a carefree cruise.
Although the trip is focused on delivering an exotic riding experience from the seat of the R 18, there are numerous ancillary activities designed to present the true culture of the country. The roughly 900-mile program is divided into eight days in the saddle, each covering anywhere from 65 to 155 miles, and all on paved roads that meander along the coast and through lush forests. There’s also a beach day and a boating day worked in as well. The skill-level required of riders is beginner to intermediate. It helps that the majority of the journey is done on secondary mountain roads so that traffic is at a minimum.
As for the bike selected, the BMW R 18 is surprisingly well-suited to Costa Rica’s roads. Its torquey 1,800 cc Boxer engine allows for mellow cruising—indicative of the country’s laidback attitude—with just the right amount of agility to take full advantage of the copious twists and turns as the route weaves up into the mountains. The ergonomics of the R 18 make for a comfortable platform to fully enjoy the moment, just leave the bike in second or third gear and and let the warm, rich air of Costa Rica wash over you. But do keep an eye out for potholes, and don’t let the eye-catching flora and fauna distract you.
In some areas, the trees are filled with colorful parakeets and macaws, as the country is home to 17 species of parrots. On the ground, you’re likely to come upon white-nosed coatimundi, or coati (which resemble raccoons), one of Costa Rica’s 200 mammal species. Then there’s the cuisine—a wonderful mix of fresh vegetables and meats, almost always offered with black beans and rice. The fruit available may redefine your expectations of what strawberries, cantaloupe, pineapple and bananas should taste like, as the climate produces incredibly sweet flavor profiles. The latter also provide a refreshing way to stay hydrated against the heat. Finally, the accommodations have been selected for their uniqueness, from exclusive coastal resorts to mountain hideaways that place you in the center of a forest, and where your morning alarm comprises a dazzling display of birdsong.
The next Great Getaway Costa Rica will be offered in December and includes your own R18 rental, all meals, local airport pickup and drop-off, fuel, and all side activities. Also included are the ubiquitous smiles from the locals followed by the warm and genuine greeting of “pura vida.”