Horse back riding, Costa Rica


Horse back riding in the shadow of Arenal Volcano

On the trail

On the trail

We arrived in Costa Rica after a long day of travel; two boat rides from Ambergris Caye to San Pedro then to Belize City followed by two flights, one to San Salvador where we switched planes to fly to San Jose, Costa Rica.  Our driver met us around 4 PM and took us three and a half hours north to Arenal Paraiso, a lodge in a national park with a view of Arenal volcano from our patio.

Our first morning in Costa Rica, we took a horse back ride through the jungle, crossing creeks, across pastures, passing rural settlements, and making our way up a steep hill for a view of Mirador Falls.

We spent our first hour  riding through beautiful jungle terrain, our guide, Eric, opening  gates to let us through pastures and onto dirt roads and back onto jungle trails.  It was exciting, the scenery constantly changing as we rode up a mountain with a look over several valleys.

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Crossing a small bridge in the jungle

Muddy trail

Muddy trail

Heading into the jungle

Heading into the jungle

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Is this what retired life is all about?

Our trusty guide, Eric

Our trusty guide, Eric

We crossed small, rocky creeks where our horses navigated over rocks and through the mud.  Pretty tough animals, they knew the trails well.  One horse threw a shoe after clattering over fields of rocks.

Rocky creeks and steep trails

It was tricky, taking photos while holding the reins in one hand, the saddle horn in the other.  But I didn’t drop the camera in the creek.  Close once, but I grabbed the strap and didn’t drop the reins.

Coming down a steep bank to a creek, Bettina from Zurich in the lead

Coming down a steep bank to a creek, Bettina from Zurich in the lead

Ready to cross the rocky creek

Ready to cross the rocky creek

Clattering over rocks on the other side of the creek

Clattering over rocks on the other side of the creek

Mirador Falls

Our destination was Mirador Falls in a national Park.  We rested the horses for an hour and walked to a small nature center.  After paying a fee, we crossed a wooden bridge over a steep ravine.  After viewing the falls from a bridge, we began the descent down a steep trail, some steps rocks, others cement blocks, twisting and turning, hanging onto branches and ropes along the trail.  A bit treacherous in spots, making 180 degree turns and climbing down a dozen steep steps.  The climb down took about 20 minutes, returning up was twice as long.

Distant view of Mirador Falls

Distant view of Mirador Falls

Base of Mirador Falls

Base of Mirador Falls

Mirador pool was chilly!

Mirador pool was chilly!

Toucans in the trees

Glimpse the yellow-breasted, yellow-billed toucan just below the center  resting on a branch.  See him?

Glimpse the yellow-breasted, yellow-billed toucan just below the center resting on a branch. See him?

Our guide, Eric, stopped us when were coming down the steep hill from Mirador falls.  He’d heard a toucans in the trees and pointed out two of them hiding in the branches.  We took a couple of pictures, thrilled at our first view of toucans in the wild.  He was a noisy fellow, chattering to a buddy on a branch higher in the tree.

Riding down the mountain

The trail down the mountain was a little easier.  Plus we got to see valleys in all directions.  Beautiful views, warm weather, and the gentle clip-clopping of the horses trotting across the rocks or occasional stretch of asphalt.

A real horsewoman after two hours on the trail

A real horsewoman after two hours on the trail

Resting along the trail

Resting along the trail

Don't scare the horses!

Don’t scare the horses!

Back at the corral

After crossing through pastures and rocky creek beds, we approached the corral.  The horses knew they were coming home where they’d have fresh hay, water, and a night rest in the stable before the next riders showed up the next morning. It was a wonderful way to enjoy Costa Rica on our first full day after our tortuous trip from Belize.  And there’s more fun coming!

Returning to the coral, Clair from Nashville ahead, base of Arenal volcano shrouded in clouds

Returning to the coral, Clair from Nashville ahead, base of Arenal volcano shrouded in clouds

Thanks for getting us back safely, Eric

Thanks for getting us back safely, Eric

Next: Arenal Volcano

* * * * *

In addition to this travel blog, I write international thrillers, mysteries, and suspense novels.

I’m currently writing a thriller series based in Milan featuring the anti-terrorism police, DIGOS, as they pursue domestic and international terrorists.  I travel to Milan every summer for research, to see my Italian and American friends, and to work with my researcher and translator.

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One response to “Horse back riding, Costa Rica

  1. What a fun time!!! You both look like you are really enjoying this day. And the romantic kissssssssssssssssss……wowiezowie! Thx for sharing. Off to Las Vegas with a couple nurse friends tomorrow for Sue’s 60th b’day. Be back Fri nite. Little R and R :) Not my cup of tea but she wanted to go so off we go…….

    ________________________________

    Like

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