Costa Rica
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Horseback Riding

Horseback Riding is one of the best ways to explore the natural wonders of Costa Rica, allowing you to get up close and personal with the country's exotic array of wildlife. There are trails along the beach, through the rain forests, and up in the mountains Available year round throughout the country, your riding adventures can be arranged through local families or ecotourism resorts. There are plenty of options for everyone, from novices to expert equestrians. Closed shoes and long pants recommended. If you plan on doing any serious riding, bring your own helmet, as the stables may not have them.

Rules of Riding

When considering a horse for hire, follow these basic rules:

  1. Always inspect the condition of the horse before setting out. Some tour operators have been known to abuse and overwork their animals. If a horse appears ill, lame or abused, REFUSE to ride it. Change horses or leave. Please let us know by writing to if you find inhumane conditions at any stables. You can also report mistreatment of animals to the Asociación Humanitaria para la Protección Animal de Costa Rica (

  2. If you cannot control the horse or do not feel safe, it's best to change horses or not to ride. If you are on a trail when a problem arises, do not hesitate to dismount.

  3. If the tack (saddle and bridle) looks ill-fitted, old, cracked or damaged, ask to have it changed – a fall could ruin your entire trip.

  4. Check the tack adjustments before getting on the horse. Is the girth band tight? Are the reins and stirrup leathers in good condition? Most importantly, take the time to set your stirrups for the right length. Stirrups that are too short will hurt your knees and can be dangerous, as can stirrups that are too long.

  5. Most riding outfitters use typical Costa Rican tack, which looks like a western style saddle without the horn. The bridle goes around the nose, and there is no metal bit. For this kind of tack you should use western style neck rein signals.

When to Ride

Costa Rica's mild climate makes it the perfect destination for horseback riding anytime during the year.

Where to Ride:

You can ride almost anywhere in Costa Rica, which can be divided into the following regions:

  1. The Northern Pacific is full of cattle and horse ranches and wide open plains, as well as forest trails. It is also home to the beach towns of Tamarindo, Flamingo, and Montezuma, and the Rincón de La Vieja National Park. Trails around the park will lead you to hot springs, waterfalls, or boiling mud pots.

  2. The Central Pacific boasts beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, and coffee plantations for the exploring.

  3. The South Caribbean offers trails that cover beaches and forests.

  4. Monteverde and Arenal are located in the mountainous regions of the central highlands of Costa Rica, where you can explore guava farms, waterfalls, coffee plantations, and the Arenal Volcano.


18 Oct 2010

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