Destinations: San Carlos, Las Catalinas
Duration: 8 days
*Price Range: $$$
*Rates inclusive of full vacation experience – hotels, tours, domestic transfers, and tax (excluding international airfare). Actual price based on length of travel, number of travelers/rooms, seasonal rates (high, low, peak), number of tour activities, and mode of domestic transportation.
$$$: At or under $1,200 per person.
$$$: $1,200 – $1,800 per person.
$$$: $1,800+ per person
Fly into Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO)* where one of our local airport representatives will meet you before immigration holding a sign with your name on it. They will guide you through an expedited immigration process and to baggage claim. Outside the airport you’ll find your private transfer that will be waiting to help you with your luggage. Drive north just over two hours to the charming town of San Carlos. Check into your villa at Centaura and head down to the stables to become better acquainted with the horses. There are over 25 horses ranging in size from 12 to 16 hands as well as a tack room stocked with Spanish, Western, and Costa Rican MccLellan saddles (no English saddles) in a range of sizes. Find the best fit horse and saddle before enjoying a home-cooked Costa Rican meal in your villa.
*If possible, arrange your arrival on a Thursday, Friday, or Saturday so you’re able to experience riding in a traditional Topé, Rodeo, or Cabalgata on Sunday.
Start out riding around the farm pasture to become comfortable with your horse. When you’re ready, venture out on mountain trails, passing through fruit plantations and small villages. You’ll cross through lush landscapes and deep rivers where you can swim on horseback. Stop at a local cantina for a hearty Costa Rican lunch before continuing your ride in the afternoon. Head back at any time to enjoy the pool or ride until sunset.
Choose your destination – cloud forest, rainforest, hot springs, volcanoes, and waterfalls – on the same horse or try a different one. Ride for a full day or half day. Use the other half day to switch up the ride and get muddy on ATVs or mountain bikes.
On any Sunday between November and April, make the most of your horseback riding experience at Centaura by taking part in a local festival! Be a part of the ritual that celebrates horse and rider by participating in a local Topé, Rodeo, or Cabalgata. This truly is a unique, once-in-a-lifetime experience! Otherwise, take a hot air balloon ride to witness aerial views of Arenal Volcano and its surrounding rainforest.
Head to the heart of horse ranching country in the northwest province of Guanacaste. Here, the tropical dry forest provides ideal ranching conditions where “cowboy” traditions are still widely seen and practiced. Check into your villa at Las Catalinas and explore the beachtown streets or head to the pool at the beach club.
After a delicious, early morning breakfast prepared for you in your villa by your “house mom”, head to the Haras del Mar Equestrian Center in Santa Cruz to be fitted with an appropriate horse and saddle. After gearing up for the ride, spend the rest of the day exploring the backcountry “wild west” of Guanacaste. Stop at a local soda for a typical casado lunch and a cantina for a refreshing Imperial cerveza.
Free day to enjoy the beach and pool at Las Catalinas or enjoy another day of riding with Haras del Mar. Ride on the beach in the ocean waves or enjoy a scenic ride to panoramic ocean views.
Take a private ground transfer to Liberia (LIR) for your international flight home.
- Swim with your horse through rivers lined with tropical rainforest
- Experience why Centaura is CNN Travel’s “15 World’s Great Horse Treks”
- Ride in a local Topé, Rodeo, or Cabalgata festival
- See Arenal Volcano from above on a hot air balloon ride
- Gallop through ocean waves at sunset in the “wild west” of Guanacaste
Best for: Family, Couple, Group
Bucket list experiences: equestrian, volcano, rainforest, cloud forest, tope, cabalgata, rodeo, hot air balloon, waterfalls, beach
Accommodations & Location:
- Centaura, San Carlos
- Las Catalinas, Las Catalinas
Every Central America Vacation itinerary includes 24/7 in-country support. We’re here with you every step of the way to insure the best experience possible, from the initial planning stages to the moment you’re on your flight home!