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Costa Rica Ranch & Beach

Overview

With an exceptional getaway located less than an hours drive from the famous white sand beaches of Guanacaste, your hosts specialise in small group private tours, offering exceptional hospitality and fabulous riding opportunities. Kay is a wildlife artist with a PhD in Biology and Ecology and her h…

Highlights

  • Criollo horses trained in Natural Horsemanship
  • Spacious private casitas with all facilities
  • Located just minutes from white sandy beaches
  • Includes a mixture of ridden and non-ridden activities.
  • Small and personal riding groups.

Essential Facts

  • 1 itinerary available
  • Max 5 riders per group (8 in camp)
  • Average of 2 - 3 hours riding per day
  • Weight limit: 200 lbs / 14st 4lbs / 90 kg (experienced, well balanced riders who are slightly over this limit may also be accepted - please ask).
    more info

Description

With an exceptional getaway located less than an hours drive from the famous white sand beaches of Guanacaste, your hosts specialise in small group private tours, offering exceptional hospitality and fabulous riding opportunities. Kay is a wildlife artist with a PhD in Biology and Ecology and her husband is a Zotecnista (farm vet) born and raised in Guanacaste. They have developed their finca into one of the finest horse ranches in the area, breeding and training their own horses using Natural Horsemanship techniques.

The horses are chosen for their noble temperament and comfortable gait, the Criollo horses here are used for cattle ranching, rodeo, pleasure riding, fiestas and low-level dressage. Most of the horses were born on the ranch and they have an active breeding programme using their handsome paint stallions.

The ranch is located in an oasis of large Guanacaste trees and is surrounded by green pastures. This central location takes advantage of Guanacaste's famous tourist attractions and is a haven for wildlife, especially howler monkeys and tropical birds. Your hosts can take you to visit and play in the local seasonal fiestas and truly involve you in authentic culture. Visit the nearby national park and its resident volcano, ride along the pretty beaches and experience the traditional sabanero cowboy culture of Guanacaste! This destination is suitable for non-riders as well as riders.

Whether you stay at the ranch or the beach, you will experience a taste of Guanacaste's traditional horse culture, learn about Natural Horsemanship, and enjoy riding comfortable Spanish Criollo horses. It is possible to arrange extension trips to the Volcano of Arenal or additional beach extensions for water sports.

From the end of November to the end of July it is Fiesta time in Costa Rica. Every weekend traditional small-town fiestas feature bull riding, traditional foods and dance. Cattle farming is a major industry in Costa Rica and with this comes the standard rituals associated with every ranch and ranger, rodeos or Topes. Tope's (Rodeos) are very common in the Guanacaste region where the largest cattle farms in the country are located. Almost every small town hosts Rodeos in the summer months between February and April. Among the events are, the always popular Bull Riding Shows, calf-roping, horse manoeuvring, as well as herding and milking competitions. Here is where you will meet true Sabaneros (cowboys). You may also encounter Cimarrona bands, which are traditional country bands.

Please note that October is monsoon season in this region of Costa Rica so our hosts prefer not to run any riding trips during this period.

Besides the programmes below we can also arrange tailored packages where you can mix riding with a variety of other activities in the local area.

Horses & Riding

Tack

The tack used is predominantly western, with some English or trail saddles available if requested. The horses are mostly ridden in western bridles with curb bits or bitless rawhide bosal nosebands.

Horses

The horses are mostly homebred Criollo, with some paint and Spanish influences. They are all trained using natural horsemanship techniques which makes them good-natured, friendly and easy to handle.

Riding

There is 1 itinerary:

  • Ranches, Mountains and Pacific Beaches is a based ride

Ages

16+ - younger riders may be accepted provided they are experienced and happy to ride a horse. There are no ponies available.

Health

A fair level of fitness and general good health are advised. For those who are worried about their fitness level for riding, a tailored programme with fewer riding hours can be organised for you.

Weight

200 lbs / 14st 4lbs / 90 kg (experienced, well balanced riders who are slightly over this limit may also be accepted - please ask).

Food & Accommodation

Food

Full ranch breakfast, lunch and most dinners are served on the garden porch or by the poolside. The daily breakfast menu includes an array of fresh tropical fruits, cereal, eggs (from the ranch), meats, pancakes and fresh-baked bread. Most lunches are at typical restaurants on the rides. Dinners are at the ranch or at local restaurants.

Most traditional dishes in Costa Rica consist of rice and beans with other ingredients like chicken or fish and different sorts of vegetables included. As ingredients are simple, this mean that eating in Costa Rica is fairly inexpensive.

For lunch, you may enjoy Casados (beans, rice) served with an accompaniment of meat or fish and a salad, fried plantains, white cheese and corn tortilla.

There is no typical meal for dinner, but a typical main dish in Costa Rica is arroz con pollo (rice with chicken) which can be served with different vegetables from the area like camote, chayote and yuca. Seafood is also common thanks to the country’s proximity to both the Pacific and Caribbean oceans.

Special dietary requirements such as vegetarians can be catered for with a variety of menu options.

Accommodation

The accommodation is in spacious private casitas with queen beds, air conditioning, fridge, microwave, coffee maker, DVD and open sky shower in private bathroom. High speed internet and WIFI is available. Nights can also be added at beach or mountain accommodations.

All accommodations have access to the splash pool, bar and maid service. Cool off in the splash pool after your ride or sip a cold drink while you watch the horses from the porch rockers.

NOTE: There are several dogs (some rescues) on the premises.

Itineraries

Ranches, Mountains and Pacific Beaches Standard accommodation.

Other Activities

There are a lot of activities to engage in while you are in this beautiful part of Costa Rica. Guanacaste is all about beautiful beaches and pleasant weather. The place has a lot to offer to travellers by way of wonderful natural scenery and exciting water sports.

You can try your hand at water rafting in the many rivers that flow through the region. You can also try kayaking both in the river and the ocean. The Lake Arenal in Costa Rica has been ranked as one of the best wind surfing spots. You can enjoy the beach breaks, river mouth breaks, point breaks and reef breaks. Rafting is one of the best things to do in Guanacaste.

Guanacaste is also a great spot to go fishing. You will find some of the best waters and it is an excellent place for inshore fishing. Some of the common game fishes are: wahoo, tuna, mahi-mahi, sailfish, roosterfish and many more.

The area is also great to indulge in snorkeling or scuba diving. There is a beautiful marine life to see. The warm water supports a wide variety of flora and fauna. You can dive into the tranquil blue waters of the sea and view the exotic aquatic life.

One of the most important things to do in Guanacaste is visit the many parks and wildlife sanctuaries in the region such as the Rincon de la Vieja Park. You can go hiking here and travel through its landscape covered with waterfalls, volcanic craters, geysers and a lake.

Bird watching is also popular in the area, you can try to sight the quetzal, the colorful local bird. Besides this, there are a number of other exotic birds in the forests of the region.

The Arenal Volcano National Park is definitely worth a visit, famous for its fireworks at night.

Travel

Your hosts are happy to help arrange transport from both Tamarindo (closest) or Liberia airports or hotels at an extra charge. For those who cannot find flights to these locations or would prefer not to fly, a road transfer service from San Jose is also available (at extra cost). However, if you choose this option then please note that the drive is long and the roads are not always the most comfortable.

Transfers from local airports or hotels are not included in the cost of your stay and will need to be paid for directly on arrival. Please contact us for a quote.

Testimonials

Patricia B., May 9, 2023

The holiday completely met my expectations. It provided a balance of riding opportunities, Costa Rican experiences and relaxation. Favourite memory? The early morning views across the ranch, just as the sun was riding, surrounded by horses quietly grazing, bird song and the magnificent trees and flowers that grew in abundance. A sight to restore the soul.


Josie H., March 14, 2023

It was amazing! The horses were great and the ranch/landscape was beautiful. I also learned a lot from my hosts about natural horsemanship and the history of horses in Costa Rica. Esteban was great - so nice and very knowledgeable. I loved watching him work with the horses. Favourite memory? Galloping on the beach!


Suzanne & Shawn, March 19, 2020

So Relaxing, I felt so spoiled. Kay & Estaban are two very special people. Our room was huge, loved the outdoor shower. Meals were delicious, some were made at the ranch other at local restaurants. the horses were lovely - very responsive, they were so well cared for.


Gerry & Chris G., Feb. 13, 2018

Relaxing - after a hectic week travelling around Costa Rica. Welcoming - at all times, plenty of good food and drink available. Surrounded by horses and horse knowledge. Varied - Lots of visits/activities, such as; watching bull riding, rode Criollo horses, zip line and visited the monkey rescue (and other animals). We were very comfortable and had lots of space in the "casa"; always welcome to gather and sit in the main house - which was lovely. Meals provided all home cooked and delicious (many local recipes). Estaban (guide) was great at all times - horse knowledge amazing and being local to the area very knowledgeable about the local culture and way of life. (Favourite memories?) Estaban's horse knowledge and skills, plus demonstrations of natural horsemanship (on 3 afternoons). Also, riding on the beach - lovely views and the horses (and riders) were so content and happy.


Amanda S., Feb. 9, 2018

Absolutely fabulous from start to finish. Great horses, great accommodation, great food, nothing too much trouble. Outstanding food especially breakfast - pancakes, omelettes, fruit, yoghurt, English muffins, eggs, etc. different every day. Other meals - great selection. Top class saddles and kit, horses very well cared for and fabulous temperaments. (Guides?) Excellent, Esteban has such a passion for horses and is so keen to involve people in natural horsemanship. Loved riding with him. (Favourite memory?) Beach ride and open-air bathroom. Bull riding trip, Criollo horses, zip lining! and watching Esteban mount a young horse for the first time.


Itinerary & Pricing

Day 1

Riding: No riding.

Arrive to Liberia Airport (LIR) or Tamarindo Regional Airport, your hosts can help to organise transport to the ranch, located just minutes from the beautiful Pacific beaches of Guanacaste. 

Accommodation is provided in modest, yet comfortable air-conditioned casitas onsite or in a private villa close-by if the ranch rooms are booked. 

Provided you arrive in good time, in the late afternoon, there may be an opportunity to have a Ranch Orientation and a Criollo Horse Demonstration and a short introduction to riding the beautiful Spanish Criollo horses of Costa Rica, known for their noble temperament and smooth ride. Dinner at the ranch or a local restaurant. NB: The itinerary depends on arrival times.

Day 2

Riding: 2 - 4 hours

After a tasty Costa Rican breakfast, you will have a private lesson to become comfortable on your horse, using Natural Horsemanship Training in the ring. After lunch, when it is cooler, you will leave for the colourful town of Cartagena riding the Old Spanish Trail to this historic village. Your will ride on along the old oxcart trails and learn the history and culture of this Guanacaste town. We will then load up the horses in a truck while guests enjoy dinner at El Roble, a favourite cantina/restaurant.

Day 3

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast today, we will take you on one of our popular Seasonal rides exploring a large cattle ranch with spectacular wetlands with an option for a canopy/zip line; our Tico Trails Ride, a colourful pueblo tour through typical villages; or mount your horses for a ride through beautiful ranch country and a small village to one of our most popular cantina stops, Chilito’s, in the small town of El Llano, sample their famous fried chicken and chips a real “Taste of Guanacaste” riding home at sunset.

Day 4

Riding: No riding.

Today, you will have an early breakfast before you are picked up for a private tour of the Tenerio Volcano where you can visit the spectacular Rio Celeste waterfall. Here is one of your best opportunities to see sloths in the wild. Choose from a variety of hikes through the rainforest and visit the sloths before lunch at a local restaurant. Dinner will be back at the ranch this evening.

Day 5

Riding: 3 hours

After breakfast, visit Monkey Park Rescue Center to see all the local wildlife at the rescue centre, or take a lesson, our trainer will introduce you to ways to improve your riding or Centered Riding. After lunch in the afternoon when it is cooler, you will leave for the cattle town of Tempate. Beautiful views of large working Haciendas and the historic village where you will stop for a cold drink and dinner at a local cantina. Look for monkeys, tropical birds and dry tropical flora and fauna on this back country trail.

Day 6

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast, you will be picked up for your half day trip to Palo Verde National Park Tempisque river tour, looking for monkeys, crocks, water birds and other wildlife from your covered motor launch. An experienced guide will show you the wonders of the tropical river ecosystem followed by a typical family style lunch. Before dinner our trainer will work with young horses using Natural Horsemanship training, you are also free to spend the afternoon at the beach before a sunset dinner.

*Please note dinner is not included today.
* Please note that other tour options in Palo Verde are available.

Day 7

Riding: 2 - 3 hours

After breakfast today you will help to load your horses onto the truck and head for the beach! Saddle up your horses, and enjoy riding along the beautiful white sand of these beautiful pacific beaches of Puerto Viejo, Conchal and Brasilito. There will be time to play in the water and take photos when you reach the beach end. Take a swim or walk on the beach before a picnic lunch or dinner at the beach.

* Riding times will be dependent on the low tide today, so you may ride in the early morning or the late afternoon.

Day 8

Riding: No riding.

After breakfast take your last photos before you return to the airport or your next destination. 

Depending on your flight time, there may be an option for a final horse activity before you set off today.

** Although this is an example of a week-long itinerary, we are also able to tailor-make shorter and longer stays, from 3 - 14 nights, for our guests. Please do get in touch to discuss your requirements with us and we will be happy to put together a tailored itinerary for your stay.

Experience Beginner / Intermediate / Experienced

Recommended for riders who can walk, trot and canter, but the itinerary can be tailored to accommodate less experienced riders too.

Minimum group size 1
Maximum group size 5
Accommodation for up to 8.
Departure windows

At any time during: Feb. 17, 2024 - Sept. 17, 2024  (Mid September through to Mid November is rainy and generally recommended to be avoided, but please contact us to discuss a stay in this period if interested.)

Pricing

2024
Per person sharing
£1910 $2380 €2230
Included 7 nights accommodation in shared twin/double rooms, meals except for dinner on one night (available locally at extra cost), horse riding activities and local visits as detailed and according to seasonal availability.
Not included Flights, transfer from/to Tamarindo or Liberia airports, travel insurance, dinner one evening, drinks, additional activities, tips & other personal expenses.

Extras

2024 - Liberia Airport Transfer $70
Paid locally
Liberia airport transfer, each way, per car. Price is approximate and can fluctuate with fuel prices.
2024 - San Jose Airport Transfer $250
Paid locally
San Jose airport transfer, each way, per car. Price is approximate and can fluctuate with fuel prices.
Note: All programmes and itineraries are weather dependent; in the face of adverse, or unexpected, weather conditions reasonable attempts will be made to provide equivalent riding. All programmes are accurate at the time of writing. However, the team may adapt or modify details, whilst aiming to provide a similar experience.