The 7 Best Costa Rica Horseback Riding Tours [2022 Reviews]

Enjoying sightseeing by horse, we look at the top horseback riding tours in Costa Rica

Horseback Riding is a great way to see Costa Rica, from the beaches to the volcanoes, from the countryside to the jungle. You can spend time with your family or you can even plan romantic time alone as a couple with just your horses and a guide.

Horseback Riding is a lot of fun, even for beginners. Even if you have never been on a horse, don’t let that stop you. When you add the tropical splendor of Costa Rica to the excitement of riding a horse, you have a great combination!

So… get to reading and when you are done, get to planning your next vacation. You will want to hop on the next plane to Costa Rica and enjoy a horseback riding trek through the beautiful terrain of the tropical landscapes.

Best Horseback Riding Tours in Costa Rica

 Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano RiverHorseback Riding and Waterfalls from Manuel AntonioScenic Horseback-Riding Tour from San Juan
editors choice
Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano RiverHorseback Riding and Waterfalls from Manuel AntonioScenic Horseback-Riding Tour from San Juan
Departure Point:Hotel pickup and drop-offHotel pickup and drop-off (Manuel Antonio & Quepos hotels)Hotel pickup and drop-off in San Juan
Departure Time:Variety AvailableVariety AvailableVariety Available
Duration:3 hours5 hours3.5 hours
Includes:English speaking naturalist guide, transportation, all necessary riding gear
English speaking guide, transportation, gear for riding, lunch, visit Tocori Private Ecological Reserve, swim in a waterfall fed natural pool
Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding

Quick Answer: The 7 Best Horseback Riding Tours in Costa Rica

    1. Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano River
    2. Horseback Riding and Waterfalls from Manuel Antonio
    3. Scenic Horseback-Riding Tour from San Juan
    4. Jaco Beach Costa Rica Horseback Riding
    5. Horseback Riding Jungle and Beach in Playa Flamingo
    6. Arenal Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall
    7. Monteverde Cloud Forest Horseback Riding

Costa Rica Horseback Riding Tour Reviews

#1 Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano River

Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano River

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: English speaking naturalist guide, transportation, all necessary riding gear

This 3 hour riding tour starts off on a private farm just outside of La Fortuna. You will then head off through the lush rainforest to the Arenal Volcano. On the way to the volcano your nature guide will point out the natural fauna and wildlife.

You cross streams and ride along the banks of a river where you will see howler monkeys and a wide variety of tropical birds.

As you break out of the rainforest you get to see the Arenal Volcano, one of the more active volcanoes on the planet and is often smoking. This tour requires no prior riding experience as the horses are well trained and children over 4 are welcome.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#2 Horseback Riding and Waterfalls from Manuel Antonio

Horseback Riding and Waterfalls from Manuel Antonio

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 5 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off (Manuel Antonio & Quepos hotels)
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding, lunch, visit Tocori Private Ecological Reserve, swim in a waterfall fed natural pool

On this full day horseback riding tour you will get to ride into a tropical rainforest to see two beautiful waterfalls. When you stop at the second waterfall you will have the opportunity to go for a swim in the waterfall fed pool.

On the way to the waterfalls you will ride through the Tocori Private Ecological Reserve and enjoy the lush  vegetation and jungle animals like howler monkeys, spider monkeys and a wide variety of tropical birds.

When you finish your tour, you will enjoy local fresh fruits and a homemade traditional Costa Rican tropical drinks.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#3 Scenic Horseback-Riding Tour from San Juan

Scenic Horseback-Riding Tour from San Juan

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
  • Departure: Hotel pickup and drop-off in San Juan
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding

If you are staying in San Juan this is the perfect horse riding tour for you. After a short ride to the private ranch you will receive some basic horse riding instructions.

Then you will set off through the natural rugged countryside and see a combination of lush vegetation and spectacular vista views. Be sure to keep an eye out for howler monkeys along with herons and iguanas.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#4 Jaco Beach Costa Rica Horseback Riding

Jaco Beach Costa Rica Horseback Riding

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Departure: La Nación 69, La Nación 69, Barrio La Nación, select hotel pickup locations
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding, ride along beach trails

On this 3 hour horseback tour you will be riding along beach trails where you will enjoy spectacular views! Your knowledgeable guide will then take you in the surrounding hills that overlook the beach that will give you incredible views of the Pacific Ocean.

All along the way you will see deer, howler monkeys, spider monkeys and a wide variety of birds. No prior horseback riding experience is necessary.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#5 Horseback Riding Jungle and Beach in Playa Flamingo

Horseback Riding Jungle and Beach in Playa Flamingo

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup offered
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding, ride through jungle trails & sandy beaches

If you like a variety of riding environments, this is the tour for you. You will get to ride along the sandy beaches of Playa Flamingo. Then your guide will take you for a ride through the rainforest jungle.

Along the way you’ll likely see large iguanas, howler monkeys, green parrots and many types of tropical birds. The ride is family friendly and easy to schedule with multiple trips each day.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#6 Arenal Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall

Arenal Horseback Riding to La Fortuna Waterfall

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 4 hours
  • Departure: Arenal Mundo Aventura Park, La Fortuna, Select hotel pickup offered
  • Departure Time: Variety Available
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding, waterfall swim, visit to the Maleku village

The Arenal Volcano is one of the most spectacular areas in Costa Rica and this horseback riding tour will have you riding through it. If you are lucky the volcano will be smoking adding to its mystique.

As you ride through the lush rainforest along the banks of a river you will ride by the Pino Blanco Waterfall. Then you will continue to the famous La Fortuna Waterfalls. Here you will take a break and have a swim in the natural pool at the base of the falls.

The tour will then continue where you will stop at the Maleku Indian cultural rescue center where you will learn about the indigenous people.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


#7 Monteverde Cloud Forest Horseback Riding

Monteverde Cloud Forest Horseback Riding

Tour Highlights:

  • Duration: 2 hours
  • Departure: Hotel pickup offered
  • Departure Time: 8:00 am, 11:00 am, 3:00pm
  • Includes: Professional English speaking guide, transportation, necessary gear for riding, snacks

On this amazing tour you will take a two hour horseback ride with a local guide who will lead you through private trails that traverse the Monteverde Cloud Forest region.

You have the option of three different times with each having its advantages. The early morning tour is perfect for bird watching, the mid morning has the clearest views with the afternoon tour you will get some spectacular sunset views.

You will have all the time you need to take fantastic photos of native plants, wildlife and panoramic mountain views.

The cloud forest’s micro climate is cool and refreshing. You’ll be glad that you experienced this unique and bio diverse section of Costa Rica.

For tour prices, transportation and availability:


Planning Your Horseback Riding Trip in Costa Rica

best horseback riding tours in costa rica

Where to Go Horseback Riding in Costa Rica

When you think of romantic horseback riding trips you often think of couples each riding a horse along the foamy surf of a beach at sunset. You can do that in Costa Rica as they have some of the best beaches to ride.

The Beaches

You can go to Hermosa Beach in Jaco, which is one of the most famous in the country. There’s also Tamarindo Beach or those in Manuel Antonio National Park. Any beach you visit will be beautiful any time of day, however sunset offers the most fantastic views.

The Volcanos

One of the many reasons why people visit Costa Rica is to see the volcanoes. One of the most famous is Arenal Volano but there are many others, such as Poas Volcano and Rincon de la Vieja Volcano.

Guides can take you along trails to see dormant volcanoes that have shaped the beautiful landscape of the island. The magnificent beauty of these structures created by Mother Nature is not to be missed on a trip to Costa Rica.

The Rainforests

If you’d like to see greenery, you can either see the lush countryside with farms and meadows or you can visit the forests and jungles. Either way you will find yourself mesmerized by the exquisiteness of the landscape. Monteverde Cloud Forest is a very popular destination for those who want to see the stunning greenery of tropical Costa Rica.

If you plan on taking a trip that is longer than just one day, or you plan on going out on more than one trip, you may be able to see more than one of these types of landscapes, or perhaps all four. Just make sure to bring a camera and keep a steady hand while on your horse!

When to Visit Costa Rica For Horseback Riding

The peak tourist season is from December to April. This is for a very good reason. The rest of the year is very wet and rainy. You may be able to pick up cheap airfare and hotel rates during the rainy season but you take a chance at not being able to see the sights you want.

This may be because of poor visibility or the areas might be closed altogether. You might get lucky and catch a break with good weather, however. It is advisable to go during the dry season though so you know that you will enjoy your trip.

If you are looking for the right time of day to go horseback riding in Costa Rica, it all depends on where you are riding. For beach riding, sunrise and sunset give you the best sights and are very romantic.

A great way of trying horse back riding is combining it with a yoga retreat!

If you are riding through the jungle and forests, you need as much daylight as possible since the trees will already be blocking light. Riding at night is not advisable. Horses can get scared by noises in the dark and you don’t want to be riding one if they get spooked.

If you are taking a multi-day trek to see many areas of Costa Rica, you will be camping out or staying in pre-determined and set up sites at night.

The horses will be tied up or will stay in stables that are arranged at these areas so that you can ride during the day. Be prepared with the proper clothing for tropical weather during both day and night for longer treks.

Horseback Riding 101 in Costa Rica

Planning is essential if you want to have a good experience horseback riding trip in Costa Rica. You must know where to go to see the sights. You need to know when to go to enjoy the best weather.

Plus, it is important to know the basics of riding if you are a beginner. This guide will give you all the information to get you started on planning your horseback riding trip in Costa Rica. Plus give you helpful tips about horseback riding so you can enjoy the sights.

Whether you are riding in Costa Rica or anywhere else, it is important to know basic horseback riding techniques so that both you and your horse are comfortable. A proper fitting helmet is absolutely vital so that you are protected if you fall of the horse.

A good tour company will provide you with a proper helmet so that you are safe. Usually free of charge or for a nominal fee. To keep your feet in the stirrups, boots definitely help, so be prepared with proper footwear.

When sitting in the saddle, you want to sit deep. This means sitting back and not forward against the reins. When you sit deeper in the saddle, your horse will be more comfortable as well. You want to be comfortable because you will be using your legs to help steer the horse in the direction you need it to go. Relax your seat and legs as much as possible. Sit up straight.

Your arms should be relaxed so that the horse can feel the slight movements you make on the reins. Even though it may not feel like a slight movement in the reins would be noticeable, the horse will feel it and respond.

You will use pushes on the reins instead of pulls. This means pushing left slightly to go right and pushing right slightly to go left.

Your instructor, before leaving with your horse on your trek, will have to show you how to properly speed your horse. Horses have four gaits:

  • Walk
  • Jog
  • Lope
  • Gallop

These are listed from slowest to fastest. Be sure to only go as fast as you feel comfortable with your horse. If you are a beginner, you may only feel comfortable at a walk. Most horseback riding treks will go at a walking pace so you can see the sights, but you may want to enjoy a faster pace if you are on the beach or in an open countryside.

Video: Basic horse back riding techniques.

Horse Riding: How To Start

Tips for Horseback Riding in Costa Rica

This first tip might sound a little odd and it might feel a little odd as well. This is especially because beginners will probably feel more comfortable keeping both hands on the reins at first.

However, because you will be making only slight movements, it is advisable to use your non-dominant hand on the reins. You will have a lighter touch with your non-dominant hand.

Plus, this way your dominant hand is free to use a camera, reach for food in your backpack without dismounting, etc.

Many horses are trained to move left or right or even speed up or slow down with noises made by the rider. This is in addition to movements on the reins and by the legs.

If this is the case, the instructor will let you know what they are – they are usually the same depending on English or Western riding, such as saying “Whoa” to stop.

If you are a beginner, make sure you have the instructor spend as much time with you as you need to feel completely comfortable with the horse.

You should know all the movements you need to know with your seat, your legs, and the reins. You should know noises and calls. You should know how to mount and dismount as well because you will most likely have to along your trek at least a couple of times.

You should practice this several times with the instructor and the horse you will be riding so both you and the horse are comfortable with it.

If you have a problem stopping your horse, remember that three actions go into every stop. You must:

  • Give the “Whoa” call
  • Pull back on the reins
  • Sit deeper in the saddle

All of these three actions must take place simultaneously in order for the horse to understand that you want to stop. If you do these correctly, the horse will stop the way you intend for them to every time.

Remember that above all else, you must relax! The horse will pick up on any tension you have and they will be tense as well. When they are tense they will be more likely to be spooked by odd noises.

Because Costa Rica is tropical there are a lot of things that can spook a horse so you want your horse to be as relaxed as possible. Plus, if you are relaxed, you will enjoy the scenery around you much, much more.

There is no better way to enjoy the lush, beautiful landscapes of Costa Rica than by horseback. It is completely natural to feel the give and sway of the horse beneath you as you take in the sights and sounds around you.

Just make sure to take plenty of pictures to show the friends and family that weren’t able to enjoy the wonderful trip with you! Chances are they will want to join you on your next trip, because you will definitely want to come back.


I hope this guide was helpful for finding the best horse back riding in Costa Rica to suite your experience level. If you want to comment or recommend a riding tour I didn’t include, please use my contact form to get in touch. Have fun and be safe out there!

 

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Horseback Riding Tour by the Arenal Volcano River is our top pick for the best tour

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