For the horse lover Horse Trek Monteverde offers a full 8 day, 7 night horseback riding vacation tour. With full six days on horseback experiencing the back country and equestrian culture of Costa Rica. Covering diverse regions and aspects of Costa Rican horse culture, the trip spans Monteverde, Guanacaste and Arenal. Trekkers will see cloud forest, waterfalls, nature reserves, working farms and ranches, wildlife habitats, volcanoes, hot springs and lakes. There’s something for everyone!
Your trip begins with a pick-up in Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose or from Liberia Airport with private transport pre-arranged (included in the package). Depending on your time of arrival you’ll either journey on directly to Monteverde or stay in San Jose at a hotel close to the airport to rest up before setting out first thing in the morning.
Those not yet in Monteverde will spend the morning in transport with the opportunity to see some of the Costa Rican countryside. Travellers who journeyed to Monteverde on Day 1 will have their morning free to explore in Santa Elena or you can let us arrange a canopy tour, guided hike in the cloud forest, zip lining or any one of the other exciting trips available.
Day 2 (afternoon) You will be picked up by Marvin or taxi and taken to our rustic stable to be introduced to the horses, before we head out on our introductory afternoon horseback ride. The afternoon ride is about 3-4 hours and your guide will lead you down quiet back roads and locally used trails giving you a sense of rural Costa Rican life. You’ll pass coffee, banana and sugar plantations and you may even spot a sloth or a toucan.
The horseback riding vacation includes a stop at Horse Trek Monteverde’s home where our own Marvin Anchia will introduce you to some of our young horses in training or a provide a demonstration with Gladiator. Gladiator is Marvin’s locally famous Costa Rican Paso Fino and the partnership between the two is truly remarkable to watch. The Paso is an ancient breed of gaited horse whose ancestors came to the Americas with the conquistadors; their unique gaits made for a smoother ride during long hours in the saddle and the opportunity to see one in person and learn about the unique training methodologies used with this ancient breed is a once in a lifetime experience for most guests.
Once the ride has concluded, we’ll transfer you back to your hotel for an evening’s rest. We use the Hotel Rustic Lodge or Monteverde Villa Lodge in Monteverde unless otherwise specified; the hotels offer comfortable, rustic style accommodation. Both are situated 5 minutes walking distances from the small commercial center of Santa Elena (with its many restaurants, shops and banks), the hotels offer the kind of personal care and attention you can only receive at small, locally owned facilities.
Horse Trek Monteverde’s Eden Falls ride & hike is one of our most popular stand alone tours. This full day horse ride experience combines hiking and riding to take us to a secluded waterfall where we’ll be able to swim in the wash of a 30m waterfall. The ride begins with a 2.5 hour cross country ride to the forest’s edge where we’ll leave the horses to rest in the shade and begin our hike. The first leg of the hike lasts approximately 1.5 hours along sometimes steep and narrow trails to reach the base of the falls. There we’ll enjoy a picnic lunch and swim under the falls.
Having eaten and rested we’ll continue the horseback ride along the looped trail for another hour until we return to the horses and mount up again. Make sure to pause a minute to catch your breath and take in the world class view with the Gulf of Nicoya sparkling in the distance. We’ll proceed by a different route and, if desired, we can make a stop at a local coffee house to enjoy some freshly ground java and listen to hummingbirds whizzing past on the way to your accommodations for the evening; the peaceful Cabinas Belcruz.
Note if you do not want to do this tour (perhaps you do not like hiking!) we can come up with an alternative type of tour for the day.
Cabinas Belcruz is a locally owned Bed and Breakfast style accommodation with views out over the countryside. The owners prepare home cooked fare and will happily share information about local traditions and customs.
This full day excursion takes you down along the Horse Trek Monteverde Ranch’s river where the monkeys call in the trees and the forest feels alive with birdsong. After two and a half hours of horseback riding you’ll arrive at a clearing at the river’s edge where your guide will provide a delicious homemade picnic lunch. Riders are welcome to take a swim in the cool, refreshing waters or sit quietly and spot birds or wildlife. After a midday break we’ll ride on further along the river before turning off and taking a different route back to the ranch and your accommodations.
Back roads and narrow trails off the beaten path will take us from Monteverde through Campos de Oro to Solania. The trails are steep and challenging and we’ll be pausing frequently to rest the horses and take in the views. The trails we use are those used by the local population as they travel from place to place and we’ll pass many on horseback exchanging greetings. At lunch time your guide will lead you to a typical Costa Rican family house where you’ll enjoy an authentic home cooked meal and your guide Marvin will tell you more about the culture and cuisine of the region. The area around Campos de Oro is famous for its coffee and the name likely has more to do with hopeful colonists than any significant gold deposits in the area! Rested, with muscles stretched you’ll mount up for the remaining horse trek to Solania.
Having reached our destination, Solania in Guanacaste province, we’ll make our way to the accommodations pre-arranged on a working cattle ranch. This is where we’ll be staying for 2 days. while we explore the region and see yet another facet of Costa Rican life. The ranch boasts several private villas; they are lovely, large villas with kitchens, cable TV, air conditioning, sitting rooms and garden verandas to enjoy your downtime. The ranch boasts beautiful tropical gardens and features a pool and a jacuzzi tub to soak those tired muscles.
Your guide, Marvin, will lead you on a ride through the country around the ranch. The landscape and types of agriculture of this region are different than what you’d have seen in Monteverde and Marvin will point out differences while explaining some of the factors that create them. Your ride will take you along back roads and down a trail to a waterfall. You’ll have the opportunity to see several local ranches and you’ll likely see some of the area’s famous cowboys going about day to day ranch business.
Your horseback ride starts early and will take you through several nearby villages where you can watch the countryside waking up for the day. After 4 or 5 hours you will reach El Dos. It’s here you’ll say goodbye to the horse who has served you so well over the last few days of exploration. Once you’ve said your goodbyes you’ll climb in the van for the short trip to the shores of Lake Arenal where our boat waits to ferry us across.
The 30 minute boat ride is beautiful with the majestic Arenal Volcano providing a backdrop for the shining lake waters flanked by dense forest. On the other side another car shuttle awaits to take us near La Fortuna where accommodations at a comfortable ecolodge await. You’ll have some time to settle in before the car returns at 6:00pm to transport you to the world famous Arenal Hot Springs where you can soak away any aches from the last few days of adventure.
The morning is free to enjoy any of the optional activities the region offers. We can help you arrange canyoneering, cycling, a tour to explore the volcano, or a half day of white-water rafting as examples. At 1:30 pm your shuttle to San Jose will arrive, or if you’ve made arrangements for a beach extension or alternate transport we’ll have those providers waiting to guide you to your next stop.
Suitable for: Experienced riders ages 15 and up. Riders with a maximum weight of 200 pounds.
Horseback Riding Vacation Includes: 6 days horseback riding, 7 night accommodations, all breakfasts, most lunches and evening meals (except on arrival and departure days and day 2), transport, luggage transfers, entrance fess to the hot springs, services of experienced local guides and all tours contained within the itinerary except those activities described as optional.
Pricing: The tour is $1595 USD per person (with min of 4) or $1695 per person if just 2 or 3 people going with an available single supplement of $250. The trip requires a minimum of two participants and a maximum of 6 to 8.
Dates are flexible, let us know when you would like to start and we will do our best to accommodate you (but we do not normally run our 8 day tours during Sept, Oct, Nov, Dec or January)
Optional Additions: In addition to the optional activities throughout the trip like those in Arenal where you can arrange for special activities, we can also arrange for beach extensions. Please speak to us about any arrangements you would like made for you.
***Please Note*** Riders on this tour must have travel insurance that includes horse riding. Horse trek Monteverde will require your policy number and policy details to be sent to us before you can begin your trek.