Horseback Riding in Costa Rica

Rainforest Adventure


This stationary itinerary lets you enjoy miles of riding on nature, rural and coastal trails. Learn about the local fauna and flora with your knowledgeable equestrian guide but also enjoy the non-riding activities built into this itinerary to show you some of the variety Costa Rica has to offer; ocean kayaking, snorkeling, a canopy tour, nature hikes, visits to local communities and a crocodile boat safari. The Rainforest Adventure has something to offer for everyone and is a great choice for a family getaway.

Accommodations are at Cerro Lodge which is an environmentally friendly project located on a farm in Tarcoles 10 minutes from Carara National Park and about a 30 minute drive from Maravilla where the horses are staying. This small lodge offers six bungalows with large private bathrooms and its own indoor garden, swimming pool and dining area surrounded by trees and palms and panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean, mangrove forests and Carara National Park – one of the most important refuges for the Scarlet Macaw.

The food on the ride is varied and delicious. There is an excellent selection of fresh vegetables, beef, chicken, salads, soups, rice and beans. Lunches will be in a café, a picnic with sandwiches or maybe a barbecue. Breakfasts often consist of fresh fruits and juices, bread or muffins, along with eggs and cereal and the famous Costa Rican coffee. Gallo pinto is a traditional breakfast dish that must be sampled. It is made with black beans and rice, seasoned with onions, sweet peppers and fresh coriander and is typically accompanied by scrambled eggs, cheese, sour cream and hot tortillas.

  • Overview:
    The horses used for the tour are primarily Costa Rican Criollo, a breed that is exceptionally rugged, well-mannered and responsive. The horses are well suited to the trails of their area. The Criollo horses often have a smooth trot that is traditionally ridden sitting rather than posting. The saddles used are Modified McClellan and Western. Both open and covered stirrups are used. The majority of the horses are ridden in a “Jaquima with a bozal” – a type of bit-less bridle made or rope or leather. The horses are trained to neck rein.
  • Horse Breeds:
    Criollo, Criollo crosses
  • Trip Pace:
    Slow to moderate, to suit riders
  • Tack:
    Modified McClellan, some Western
  • Weight limit:
    210 lbs

Ocean Kayaking and Snorkeling:
Enjoy the short drive to Playa Agujas near Jaco Beach for a brief introduction and demonstration. Paddle to Playa Limoncito, a nearby beach where excellent snorkeling is available. A picnic lunch is served on the beach. The sheltered cove and nearby coral
reef let you view a variety of marine life. Continue exploring by kayak or relax on the beach before going back to Playa Agujas. The schedule depends on sea tides.

Crocodile Boat Safari:
This two-hour boat ride explores the Tarcoles River, home of one of the largest colonies of crocodiles in Costa Rica. The area where the river merges with Guacalillo estuary is one of the best locations to see endangered birds such as the Mangrove Cuckoo, Mangrove Hummingbird, Mangrove Vireo and the Panama Flycatcher among others. Also commonly encountered are water birds such as Pelicans, Boat-billed Herons, Spoon-billed Egrets and Cattle Egrets. This activity will be scheduled depending on sea tides as a high tide is required.

Aerial Tram Tour:
This is one of the most unique Costa Rica excursions featuring 18 gondolas each including one bilingual naturalist guide for a tour to the canopy and the rich ecosystem of the rain forest. A visit to the Heliconias Gallery, Medicinal and Aromatic Plant Garden and Snake Exhibition is also included.

San Jose

Trip Itinerary

Day 1

Arrival San José
You will be met at the San José International Airport and transferred to your hotel. Dinner is on your own tonight.

Day 2

Cien Fuegos Eco Ranch & Stables
Morning transfer to Cien Fuegos Eco Ranch and Stables, located along the Trinidad River in the Dry Central Pacific Region with a stop by Orotina Town Center. Upon arrival you will be introduced to your horse, the ranch and its facilities, as well as the guides. Your familiarization ride will take you to the Hacienda La Maravilla, riding along rolling hills and meadows into the Gallery Forest alongside Cuarros River – an excellent spot for wildlife encounters. Cross the river following a country lane while passing farmland and rural homes. Arrive at Maravilla in time for lunch. Then an afternoon hike. Dinner at Maravilla and overnight at Cerro Lodge, your accommodations for the next five nights.

Day 3

Machuca River basin
Today’s ride will take you to the Machuca River basin, passing Cascajal village. Ride into the area where the river canyon broadens onto the plains. Heading towards the Jesus Maria River, explore the plains and the forested valleys along the Machuca River Canyon where the land is very fertile and most commonly used to cultivate melons. Finish the ride at a local hacienda and transfer to Maravilla for lunch.

Day 4

Maravilla – non-riding
After a leisurely breakfast explore the Tarcoles River by boat. This river is home to one of the largest colonies of crocodiles in Costa Rica, with specimens up to 10-23 feet in length. In the afternoon visit the Aerial Tran and the Zipline Canopy tour.

Day 5

Rural communities
Today explore the center of the local communities and meet with the people who have hosted your stay during the week. Pass through Santa Rita village, then travel along old railroad tracks, now overgrown and arrive at La Ceiba town where you will stop for a short break and refreshments. Return for lunch to Maravilla.

Day 6

Pacific Coast
Today’s final ride takes you on a splendid journey, following a route which was first used by the Spaniards as they began exploring and settling along the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica nearly 500 years ago. Ride through river valleys, jungle and gallery forest before following the rural road to Tivives Crag which before a land slide into the sea was known as Port of Landecho. From here you have unforgettable views of the Pacific. Riding time about 5 hours. Return to the hacienda.

Day 7

Playa Agujas – non-riding
Today is a non-riding day. Enjoy the warm waters of the Central Pacific with ocean kayaking and snorkeling at Playa Agujas.
Afternoon transfer to San Jose for your final overnight. Farewell dinner at a local restaurant at your own expense.

Day 8

After breakfast transfer to the San Jose International airport for your departure.

Itinerary Addendum

This itinerary is flexible and may be changed at your guide's discretion based on weather or other unforeseen circumstances.

Trip Map

Trip Dates & Pricing

Dates will be scheduled upon request with 2 or more riders.

Pricing & Options

  • Base Price
  • $1,995

  • Non-rider Rate
  • $1,480

  • Single Supplement
  • $495

Additional Pricing Information:
Ride price is set, guaranteed and final at the time deposit is paid.  

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Contact Biggi Hayes

I cannot say enough good things about the Rainforest Adventure. The hosts were both wonderful - knowledgeable, friendly, fun and competent. They were always alert to riders and horses and the horses were amazing - well trained, responsive and fun! We loved every minute of it - from waking in the morning to setting down at night under the mosquito nets, it was the perfect balance of fun and relaxation. I would highly recommend this ride!

Maggie Driano, 2010