Horses Travel

Caballos de Costa Rica – Riding in Costa Rica

Another beautiful blue-sky morning in Costa Rica. Life doesn’t get any better than romance, cattle, and horses on the beach for me.

My favorite way to absorb a landscape is on foot, either with my two or via the four of a grass-eating beast. Bob, supportive champ that he is, agreed to accompany me on two Costa Rican horseback rides, one upcountry and the other coastal.


Finca Tres Equis staff, Alfonso and Nicole – February 17, 2024

On our second day in Turrialba, Bob drove the four of us to Finca Tres Equis an hour north of Arte de Plumas, where we met Alfonso, the man I’d been corresponding with, and our tour guide, Nicole. Carrie and Lyle started off on their two-footed hike as we prepared to mount our new four-footed friends.

Camille on Tadea

I dwarfed Tadea, a pony-sized horse of indigenous stock.

Tadea, Mosqueada, Camille, Bob, and little Lluvia
Bob in the yellow bike helmet we were encouraged to wear


Bob rode Mosqueada (fly-bit), a flea-bitten grey mare who refused to leave the barn until the grooms allowed her recently-weaned daughter, Lluvia (rain), to accompany us on the tour.

Once we got started, all went well. We rode with our guide, Nicole, a local lodge owner, and his young daughter, another enthusiastic equestrian.

Costa Rican greens

Photo op at the top of the hill. How many shades of green can you see?


Fino and Brigitte

On our second day in Cahuita, Brigette met us at her ranch just a mile up the road from our hotel.

Riding down the road

Our guide, Raul, took us a short ways down the road to Playa Grande, me on Fino and Bob on Fino’s aunt Fury.

Who needs a saddle?

As a child, Brigitte loved the fictional stallion, Fury, so when her filly was born black, she named her Fury. And, like all grey horses, Fury has grown into her grey coat and is no longer black.

That signature “I’m on a horse!” smirk

Fino was a fine mount, calm enough for relaxing, yet frisky enough to be interesting.

Raul and Sol ahead

As seen through Fury’s ears, Bob watches our guide, Raul, ride up Playa Grande on Fino’s mother, Sol.

The jungle guide

Bob has owned this lightweight jungle guide shirt since 1997, when we lived in Belize, and has had his bright attitude towards life since the ’50s.

Playa Grande
Passing underneath the Tropical almond (Terminalia catappa)

I had nearly cancelled the ride because of the storm, but Brigitte assured me that today would be beautiful and it was perfect.

Prelude to a kiss

Raul suggested we pose for a photo with the Cahuita shoreline behind us. I believe that is the tower beside our hotel growing out of my elbow.

Wedding day, 1994, another prelude

Our faces are older, but we are still as capable of sassy banter as we were on our wedding day.

Un beso

“Un beso,” said Raul as he backed away with Bob’s phone. “Un beso!” Bob wasn’t hearing him, so I said, “He wants us to kiss.” And so we did.

When we had nearly reached the swollen river entering the sea to the north, Raul turned with urgency and led us inland away from an approaching herd of cattle.

You don’t expect horses to spook around cattle, given the number of cowboy movies we’ve all seen, but horses find the idea of an animal that kind of looks like them but moves and sounds different quite unnerving. It takes some time for them to accept the weirdness of their bovine brethren.

Scary bunny man from Sexy Beast

I think most of us humans are equally freaked out by monsters that kinda-sorta resemble humans. If you’ve seen Sexy Beast, you’ll remember the unsettling bunny man from Gal’s nightmares. Imagine seeing a herd of these guys limping up the beach!

Raul and Camille on two very alert horses

We sat a safe distance away and watched the herd with Fino doing his best to be brave.

Back at the ranch, refreshed and a little weary from our two-hour ride, we reluctantly said goodbye to our sweet horses.

By Camille Armantrout

Camille lives with her soul mate Bob in the back woods of central North Carolina where she hikes, gardens, cooks, and writes.

4 replies on “Caballos de Costa Rica – Riding in Costa Rica”

Great pictures, specially the wedding day foto. Looks like you had a great time.

Funny the things you see on the beach like pigs, sheep, goats, kangaroo, monkeys…we’re all fascinated by the ocean and want to experience it!

Didn’t we all come from the sea? What blows my mind is how many of us have never seen an ocean. But that’s only because I grew up on the east coast. There are plenty of natural features I’ve never seen — for example, the Grand Canyon or a really fierce great plains tornado.

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