Costa Rica Travel News – Have you dreamed of riding on a beach with the ocean waves crashing next to you? Cantering along on a beach with salty air filling your lungs while you exalt in the beautiful scenery of a vast ocean spreading out alongside you? Well, there are many people who hold this image in their heads. Whether you are a seasoned equestrian, or someone who has never been on a horse, there are places for you along the Costa Rican countryside that can help you fulfill your dream.
There are numerous companies that advertise by either providing the tours and getting you set up with various tour groups, or there are websites where you may deal directly with the equine companies yourself. All of these companies offer tours for all levels. If you are a seasoned equestrian, then you may want to look a little further at some of the companies and deal directly with the company itself if you don’t want the nose to tail experience while trail riding.
Most of the big day tours appear to be for all levels, and there is no differentiating based on your ability level, however, the larger companies put together some very nice packages such as including a ride to view a waterfall, riding from Arenal to La Fortuna, and there are even some of the packages that combine a spa experience with your horseback ride. This package may be the best for all you beginners because, let me tell you, if you are not used to being on a horse for hours at a time, and then end up doing it all day during your vacation, you will be one sore person for at least 3 days after your horse adventure!
There are packaged tours that deal with many aspects of getting to see much of the terrain in Costa Rica on the back of a horse. There are beach rides, jungle rides where you may be lucky enough to view some of the amazing animals that are native to the country, there are horse places on either the Caribbean or Pacific side of the country. There are mountain rides up in Monteverde and there are also tours that combine a zip line adventure.
Most of the rides average three to five hours depending on the type of horse adventure you are looking for. These are usually combined with other activities, so you will get a break from being in the saddle for a little bit on most of these tours if you aren’t used to horseback riding.
If you are a person who cares about the animals you are riding, and the type of care they receive, there are only a limited amount of horse stables that are approved by SENASA which is the animal welfare organization in Costa Rica. This will require deeper research and will also not be easily verified if you book through a tour organization. If you do take a chance, and are sensitive to what makes a healthy animal, check out the hooves of the horse, if they are severely overgrown, chipping, cracking, or the horse seems tender and is favoring a foot, it is probably a good indicator that these animals are not regularly cared for. Obviously if there are ribs showing or the horse has its head constantly downward and looks like it doesn’t have a shiny smooth coat, that is also another good indicator that you shouldn’t be riding it and that this horse facility isn’t reputable and cares about their livestock.
So, not to be a buzzkill, but if you can be a safe and responsible traveler and notice these types of things, you will perhaps change the thoughts of the people managing these animals. If more travelers insist on good animal care, then the caregivers hopefully will manage better care since these animals are their livelihood.
So, if you want an equestrian experience on your trip, there are lots of different places all around Costa Rica and it is a great and more personal and up close experience from the back of a horse. You can cover more ground in less time, and is a less intrusive way to view the beauty that is all around the beautiful countryside. Whether you enjoy the beach, the mountains, the jungle, or a lovely ride and end with a drink and a spa experience, there is a little something for everyone!
By Stacey Dunahay