Day Trip Series: Horseback Riding in Paradise

Whether it’s your first trip to Shaka or your fourth, you will not want to leave Playa Hermosa without experiencing the magic of Ario Tours horseback riding.

Ario prides themselves on giving guests an experience of Costa Rica the way it used to be. Hacienda Ario is a family owned ranch that expands over 4,700 acres of remote jungle, rolling hills and coastal waterfront. Their stables are nestled in the heart of the Nicoya Peninsula on the Pacific Coast, which is about a 25-minute drive from Shaka. (Tip: Your Shaka social host can set up both the horse tour and taxi for you to and from the Ario stables!)

Upon arrival, their friendly team of bilingual sabaneros (or cowboys) will graciously greet you and ask you your level of experience with horseback riding. Never ridden a horse before? No problem! They have over 100 horses and pair experience level with the horse's temperament.

Once everyone is settled onto their horse, your cowboy (aka tour guide) will give you a short lesson on how to ride so that you feel confident and connected to your majestic steed before setting out. The cowboy will ride with you ensuring both safety and fun for the duration of the tour.

The first hour of trail riding typically runs through Ario’s lush private jungle, where it's usually common to see many howler monkeys and their babies nestled into the trees. Your cowboy will teach you all about the local flora, fauna, and the Ario land which is a bonus for any history nerds out there!

It is not uncommon for your cowboy to get off their horse and cut down some fresh passionfruit for everyone to try. You will get to trek through bogs, pristine rivers and up rolling hills that overlook jungle and Pacific coastline alike. This is the perfect opportunity for your cowboy to take a picture of you and your majestic steed with the stunning backdrop of jungle and deep blue ocean.

After a little photo opportunity, you'll make your way back down through the jungle and start to head towards Ario’s private beach that extends for three miles with nothing but sand and water gracing the coastline.

Here comes the best part: if you're on an afternoon ride, the cowboys time the ride perfectly for you to see the most amazing sunset while riding along their white sandy beach next to the roaring ocean.

If you are a more advanced rider, they'll even let you gallop down the beach while watching the sunset over the water! The explosion of colours in the sky next to the vastness of the blue ocean makes for a breathtaking, once in a lifetime experience.

The last part of the two-hour ride will be riding back to the stable alongside the black silhouettes of palm trees lining the beach as the sun finishes setting.

It is by far one of the most magical experiences Costa Rica has to offer and one that should not be missed! You will walk away with not only breathing taking photos and a full heart but also the memory of seeing all the nature and beauty Costa Rica has to offer away from civilization.

It’s a perfect way to end the day after a morning surf at Shaka or the perfect way to start the day if your surf lesson isn’t until the afternoon. Ario offers both morning and afternoon tour times along with the option of private or group tours depending on what you prefer.

What to bring/wear:

  • Jeans or yoga pants

  • Tennis shoes

  • Bug spray

  • Sunscreen

  • A hat (Optional for those who want to avoid the afternoon sun.)

  • Water

  • Camera/phone (photo ops galore!)