Horses are an important part of Costa Rican culture and history, which is not surprising in a country with such a great agricultural tradition. You will often see horses galloping along the beaches and the local cowboys—sabaneros—riding their horses on the roads.
Horses and horsemanship are celebrated every year in the national and local Topes—the large parades that take place all around the country. The sabaneros take to the road in a grand procession, riding the best of their dancing horses with pride. Our local tope takes place in Cobano every year in February (if you are here during that time it is definitely worth going to see; you will experience a real Costa Rican fiesta!).
Another way to get a taste of the equestrian culture of Costa Rica is to saddle up and take a horse tour, which is exactly what I did recently with friends during my rainy season holiday.
It was a perfect afternoon, full of adventure and spectacular scenery. We started out on the beach of Manzanillo (four miles North of Santa Teresa), galloping along the stretch of white sand with dramatic rain clouds gathering in the sky above. We then turned inland into the Caletas Ario Nature Reserve, following a trail that was bordered by farmland and forest. We were lucky enough to spot monkeys, a snake, and a beautiful white ibis, before wading through the Rio Ario.
The water was high after all the rainstorms in September, but the horses did not flinch one bit. Once on the other side, we tied up our horses and drank a refreshing bottle of Imperial beer at the Salon La Perla India. We were the only customers, but couldn’t stay long, as sunset was approaching. We saddled up again and made our way back, galloping through the rain until we reached the beach. I think it might have been the most beautiful gallop I have ever experienced!
If you want to become a tica cowgirl for an afternoon, see some beautiful Costa Rican landscapes and wildlife, and discover some of the local culture, just let us know! We can organize it all for you at surf camp.