Complete Guide To Horseback Riding in Costa Rica

woman doing horseback riding costa rica
Horseback riding in Costa Rica is one of the most rewarding things to do in the country and the best way to enjoy the green scenery it has to offer.

Horseback riding and Costa Rica have a strong bond as the country has a rich tradition of horsemanship. You can explore countryside beaches, mountains, volcanos, and jungles on horseback.

Horseback excursions also provide an eco-friendly way to discover the country’s rich biodiversity, a trait Costa Rica is globally renowned for. You can go on a horseback riding tour in Costa Rica in any part of the country, even in San Jose, if you want to!

Tours vary from half-day excursions to multi-day, multi-terrain adventures. You can tell what you want, and they’ll make sure you get it!

There are a huge ton of things to do in Costa Rica! In this guide, I’ll highlight the best areas in Costa Rica for horseback riding, the cost of excursions, the best time to go, and licensing requirements.

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Why Choose Costa Rica For Horseback Riding?

Selecting Costa Rica for horseback riding is a decision loaded with overwhelming benefits. The country is politically stable, safe, and has a solid eco-tourism infrastructure. In Central America, Costa Rica has a higher proportion of dedicated national parks. It’s almost unparalleled.

In terms of biodiversity, monkeys, tree frogs, lizards, butterflies, orchids, and a bunch of captivating flora and fauna call this place home. Likewise, for US travelers, accessibility is a non-issue due to numerous short flights and an absence of jet lag.

The Ticos, as local folks, are renowned for their friendly and welcoming nature. You’ll be introduced to the horses used for the ride, primarily the Criollo and Paso Costarricense, the gaited horse of Costa Rica, a blend of an Andalusian and a Peruvian Paso.

Costa Rica can be explored via numerous modes like rental cars, ATVs, hiking, and rafting. However, horseback riding offers an unparalleled encounter with the diverse landscape, teeming wildlife, and pristine cloud forests.

This unique experience is sure to captivate every visitor, affirming Costa Rica as an exemplary destination for horseback riding.

woman on a horse next to horses with a car and small shack behind
You can find several horseback riding tours in different areas, each of them offering something unique and worth checking out.

Top Regions For Horseback Riding In Costa Rica

1. Arenal Volcano

Arenal Volcano region stands as a majestic backdrop for horseback riding. Here, riders can traverse paths that offer breathtaking views of hanging bridges, lakes, and one of the most active volcanoes in the world.

The trails wind through lush rainforests and open fields. Riding around Lake Arenal adds to the serenity, with the tranquil waters reflecting the imposing volcano.

After booking the tour, you’ll get professional guidance, which will undoubtedly be very clear and detailed. Besides, you’ll also get security equipment and water bottles.

Arenal Volcano in costa rica
The Arenal and La Fortuna areas are among the most popular spots to try a horseback riding adventure through the forest.

2. Jaco Beach, Costa Rica

Jaco Beach, located on the Pacific Coast, is known for its lively atmosphere and stunning ocean views. Horseback riding here is a unique blend of beach and jungle experiences. Riders can gallop along the sandy shores, feeling the ocean breeze, or delve into the nearby rainforests for a more secluded adventure.

The area’s rich biodiversity, including scarlet macaws and white-faced monkeys, adds to the allure. Jaco’s proximity to San Jose makes it an accessible choice for those looking for a quick equestrian getaway.

3. Rincon de la Vieja

Rincon de la Vieja, nestled in the northwestern part of Costa Rica, offers a rugged, volcanic landscape that’s ideal for adventurous riders.

The region is famous for its national park, home to the active Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

Horseback riding here involves navigating through dry tropical forests and encountering geological wonders like fumaroles and hot springs.

The area’s unique flora and fauna, including the elusive quetzal, create a sense of wonder and discovery.

horseback riding in costa rica during sunset
If you want to enjoy a sunset horseback riding experience, then, Jaco Beach is the best option. You’ll join a guide and set on a scenic ride on the shore of the beach.

4. Guanacaste Beach Areas

Here, you’ll get a chance to join the Sabanero (cowboy) culture and explore the vast open plains. In the Rincon de la Vieja area, horseback trips will take you to hot springs, waterfalls, and bubbling mud pits along with the Sabanero ranches.

5. Northern Pacific and Nicoya Peninsula

All the beach towns have horseback trips available. Hop on a horse in Tamarindo, Playa Flamingo, Montezuma, or at any other beach.

Tours will take you through surrounding hills and waterfalls and get you to the beach just in time to see a great sunset.

6. Central Pacific

Along with fun beach trips through Manuel Antonio and Jaco, you can take many off-the-beaten-track paths through rainforests and surrounding hills, discovering hidden waterfalls and natural springs.

These adventure tours in Costa Rica are for everyone and every level.

7.Monterverde and Arenal

Mountainous trips to Monteverde include crossing rivers, swooping down into valleys, and making it in time to a scenic overlook to catch the sun going down over the Gulf of Nicoya.

In La Fortuna, take a trip to La Fortuna Waterfall and Volcano Arenal. How about doing something different?

Instead of hopping on a shuttle bus to Monteverde from La Fortuna (Arenal) or vice versa, get on the back of a horse for a full-day excursion.

Your bags will be waiting for you on the other side at your destination.

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8. South Caribbean

Horseback riders can explore the lush rainforests and pristine beaches like those in Cahuita and Puerto Viejo. The trails here often lead to hidden waterfalls and secluded coves.

The area’s diverse wildlife, including sloths and toucans, adds an extra thrill. Riding along the coastline, with the Caribbean Sea as a backdrop, is a highlight.

horseback riding arenal costa rica
You can find several scenic spots during your horseback riding tour in Costa Rica, make sure to prepare a camera and take many shots!

9. Centaura Farm

Centaura Farm is nestled in the heart of Costa Rica, and this farm is not just about riding; it’s about connecting with nature and the horses.

The trails here are diverse, ranging from mountain paths to gentle rides through the countryside. Centaura’s approach to horseback riding focuses on the bond between rider and horse, offering a more personalized and immersive experience.

This farm is ideal for those looking to understand and appreciate the equestrian lifestyle deeply.

Cost Of Horseback Riding Tours In Costa Rica

When it comes to horseback riding tours in Costa Rica, the cost depends upon the location, time, and the specific tour package you choose.

At Arenal Volcanos, the average cost for a two-hour ride is around $69 per person, while in Jaco Beach, it can go up to $70. For longer tours and specialized packages, you may have to pay some extra bucks.

At Rincon de la Vieja, tours start at $75 for a full-day experience that includes lunch and access to the national park. In Guanacaste Beach Areas, the prices can range from $50 to $100, depending on the duration and included activities.

hiking path while horseback riding in costa rica
The best way to enjoy the serenity and tranquility of a rainforest is on a horse, it completely changes the experience of exploring and is a must-do.

Best Time For Horseback Riding In Costa Rica

While horseback riding is available throughout the year in Costa Rica, when it comes to the best time, the dry season from December to April is ideal.

The trails are easier to navigate during this time, and you’ll have clear views of the landscapes. Besides, the horseback riding tours are available for a whole day in some places, yet I recommend you go just after dawn or just before sunset, as this is the best time to get the most out of your horseback riding tour.

Insider Facts

– Be prepared: If you are coming for a family vacation in Costa Rica and plan on going horseback riding, have long pants and boots or sneakers just in case it rains. Wear a hat for the extra sunny days and bring plenty of water.
– Watch out for tour operators offering rock-bottom prices: they often use horses that are old, overworked, and underfed.

Looking for More Inspiration?

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Last Updated on December 14, 2023

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