In the north of Costa Rica is the ranching region of Guanacaste, where the breeding of the  Costa Rican Criollo horse is both a passion and a long-standing tradition of the area. This is a centre based stay where both riders and non-riders will enjoy the relaxed environment on the 50 acre family-owned ranch, an oasis of giant tropical trees and dry forest flora and fauna and a short distance from the beach. Wake to monkeys calling from the trees and horses in the pastures.

Additionally, from November to July, guests are offered the opportunity to join groups of local riders and enjoy a traditional fiesta including a colourful horse parade and a reception for riders, including music, food, dancing and prizes; this is a real highlight of the holiday and not to be missed. Accommodation is in delightfully presented, self-contained apartments, all ensuite, with a boutique feel to them. Many of the much-loved horses were bred on the ranch.

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Day 1
Arrive at Liberia Airport (LIR) and transfer to the ranch located just minutes from the beautiful Pacific beaches of Guanancaste. Afternoon ranch orientation and a Criollo horse demonstration followed by a short ride through Rancho Cartagena and the back roads to the village of Portegolpe, stopping off for a cold drink at a local cantina before returning to the ranch at sunset (time allowing). Dinner at the ranch or local restaurant with the hosts. Itinerary depends on arrival times.

Day 2
After breakfast the ride leaves for the small town of Tempate along the same old Spanish Trail that the Conquistadors used, riding along large haciendas and through the beautiful Guanacaste countryside.  Look out for monkeys, tropical birds and the tropical vegetation on this back-country trail. Stop off for cold drinks in the old ranching town of Tempate before continuing over the coastal hills on the old Spanish Trail.  Arrive at the beach for lunch at a beach restaurant.  After lunch return to the ranch for a dip in the pool and relax before dinner at the ranch.  In the afternoon there is a Natural Horsemanship lesson option.

Day 3
After breakfast riders are taken to the Hacienda Roble for a cowboy experience.  Ride around the large working cattle ranch exploring the wetlands and with its variety of birds and crocodiles with your wildlife guide.  The adventurous may want to try the canopy zip line tour.  After lunch at the ranch riders continue through the gorgeous ranch country to the small village of Lorena for an evening meal at a popular cantina stop, Return to the ranch at sunset.

Day 4
Start the day with a cup of coffee and a pre-breakfast ride along the oxcart trails, passing through wooded countryside, ranches and small villages typical of the region. Look for the Howler monkeys as the ride passes the colourful town of Portegolpe on the way back to the ranch for a Tico breakfast cooked over lena firewood. The rest of the day is free for guests to go to the beach or choose one of the other tours available. Riders will then be picked up by arrangement.

Day 5
After breakfast the resident trainer will give a demonstration on Natural Horsemanship, training one of the young horses. Later in the morning the horses are loaded onto the truck and transported to the small village of Garita. Todays ride is along the backroads and through giant trees of the dry tropical forest reserve. Stop off at Peurto Viejo for a cold drink, before continuing to the beautiful white sandy beaches of Peurto Viejo, Conchal and Brasilito where riders and horses can enjoy the ocean and long beach rides.  Take a walk or a swim before lunch/dinner. Times today depend on tides.

Day 6
After breakfast riding today depends on departure times.  Transfer to the airport or the next destination.

Fiesta Season (November 20-May 1)
In the evening guests have the option to attend one of the colorful local fiestas to see the famous bull riding and cowboys showing off their lasso skills while sampling local food and drinks. Participate or watch Tope horse parades and fiestas available most Sundays during the fiesta season. Minimum 2 riders Maximum weight 215lbs.  Days may vary depending on arrival times, fiestas and weather. Add days with an additional all day ride or overnight at the beach, optional trips to Arenal Volcano, Monteverde Cloud forest, Granada Nicaragua, National Parks, or Natural Horsemanship Training.

Optional Extra's:

  • Granada, Nicaragua – 2 day/1 night with guided tour to Nicaragua featuring Catalina, Masaya Market, an active volcano and the beautifully restored colonial town of Granada on Lake Nicaragua. City Tour and accomodations at an historic colonial hotel.
  • Monteverde Cloud Forest and Santa Elena – add 2-3 nights in Monteverde of the most famous cloud forests in the world. Perfect for birdwatching, guided hikes, hummingbird experience, and choice of horseback riding tours.
  • Other overnight tours or stays at Arenal Volcano, Flamingo Beach, Tamarindo Beach or a variety of mountain or volcano lodges.

Please note: All itineraries are given for your guidance only and it may be altered on the ground and in accordance with the prevailing conditions by the organising team.

Horses & Riding

All the horses are wellcared for and trained with most being 'gaited', offering an exceptionally smooth ride. They have a noble character and are very willing and forward-going, ranging between 14hh and 16hh. The riding style is relaxed with neck-reining and light contact at all times The riding pace is varied; walk, trot, and canter based on riders experience and desires. On this ride you will cover country roads, back trails, beaches and coastal mountains. Your guides are bilingual, naturalists, and professional trained. Additional lessons and training are available by arrangement

Rider requirements

Riders must have a secure seat at walk trot and canter and be comfortable riding over varied terrain. You can expect to ride for 2-5 hrs a day. There is a mounting block available at the ranch and help can be given out on trail, no walking beside horses is required although some experience over steep/rough terrain is needed. An adventurous nature is recommended to enjoy the exciting riding and spectacular sights.
Minimum riding age 7 years.
Weight limit: 200lb for beginner riders, 215lb by arrangement for experienced riders

Weight Limit

The weight limit for this ride is 200 lb/91 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.

Accommodations on the ranch is in a private cabins or 'casitas', or beach hotel for extended beach rides. These rooms have Queen, double and single beds with high quality linens, private verandah, storage space, garden porch, outside bar with wifi. They all enjoy Ranch and forest views. There is a splash pool for a refreshing dip after a ride, and you will be able to relax in the peaceful surroundings with a host of natural sounds such as birds and monkeys.

Breakfasts are delicious and plentiful offering an array of fresh fruits and vegetables, free range eggs and various cold meats. Sample menu: Full ranch breakfast daily with many fresh tropical fruits and juices, home made breads, free range eggs as you wish, breakfast meats, oatmeal, special French toast, typical Costa Rican breakfast, yoghurt, or other special dishes.

Other meals offer a choice of salads, pastas, fresh fish, chicken or shrimp and rice, or others by arrangement. Some meal will be taken out at local restaurants – riders order from menu. Coffee, tea and juices are available all day. Wine, spirits and sodas are available for purchase.

Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.

Documents - Visa and Consulate Info

Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip.

NB: Be sure to check the COVID status of the country you plan to visit including entry procedures and requirements while travelling.

Passport and Visa requirements can change regularly depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country.

There’s a departure tax due when leaving the country by air. Most airlines include this in ticket prices; a few have still not done so. Check with your airline or travel company whether you need to pay this separately. If so you can pay by cash or credit/debit card in dollars or local colones.

Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate should you need a visa.

In the UK the British Foreign Office gives advice:

In the US:

In Canada:

Climate Summary

This part of Costa Rica has 3 distinct seasons - the dry season December to the end of April (no rain), the Green season (occasional rains May through September (usually no problems for riding) and the rainy season, late September to mid November (heavy rains, but depends on the year).

Climate Chart


At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance.

COVID: Be sure to check the latest COVID regulations for travelling in any country you visit.

Health authorities have classified Colombia as having a risk of Zika virus transmission.

Dengue fever, malaria and yellow fever are present throughout the country, although the coastal and southern states with lower altitudes are the most affected, especially during or shortly after the rainy season between April and November. You should take steps to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes.

Cases of Chikungunya virus have been confirmed in Colombia.

Tap water is safe to drink only in Bogota. You should drink only bottled water and avoid ice in drinks.

Please refer to your country’s latest health guideline for travel in Costa Rica and contact your own GP for up to date advice on vaccinations and prophylaxis prior to travel.

Health (ride specific)

Please take along sun cream and anti-allergy medicine for possible insect bites.

Riders should not have health concerns that limit their riding and must be aware that this a tropical country with higher temperatures than they may be accustomed to.

Bring personal medications, other needs available at pharmacies near by


In Costa Rica the supply voltage is 120V. If the appliance or its power supply are not dual voltage rated, the single voltage appliance will have to be used alongside a voltage transformer or converter to allow the appliance to work safely and properly (unless the appliance operates at 120V).

Film and Camera Equipment

Wifi is available in the main house or garden porch. A computer is also available for email or Skype for international calls or video calls. Some phones work in country, check with carriers. Don’t forget you camera and battery charger or extra batteries.

Packing List

Comfortable light weight riding clothes and casual wear, closed shoes, long trousers, light rain/wind proof gear are needed in rainy season, mosquito repellant, sunscreen, hat, and camera and battery charger. Some sizes of riding helmets are available (not compulsory if over 17). Binoculars are handy, guide books are available.


This is a 6 day/5 night programme available November to September with any day start dates. No departures in October.

Departure Dates

On request all year round (except October)

No single supplement is charged if the rider is willing to share with someone of the same sex, and a sharer can be found.

No of   
Riding days Product item description £
20236d/5n4double pp1,325
20236d/5n4non-rider double pp1,129
20236d/5n4child under 12 riding, sharing with an adult1,129
No of   
Riding days Product item description
20236d/5n4double pp1,495
20236d/5n4non-rider double pp1,269
20236d/5n4child under 12 riding, sharing with an adult1,269
No of   
Riding days Product item description $
20236d/5n4double pp1,599
20236d/5n4non-rider double pp1,359
20236d/5n4child under 12 riding, sharing with an adult1,359
No of   
Riding days Product item description SEK
20236d/5n4double pp16,809
20236d/5n4non-rider double pp14,289
20236d/5n4child under 12 riding, sharing with an adult14,289
Recommended Reading

Costa Rica Birds - Raymond Leung Costa Rica - A Journey through nature - Adrian Hepworth Costa Rica Culture and Traditions - Jack Donnelly Costa Rica - History, Travel and Tourism - Samuel Ash

Other Activities

Full day tour to Granada, Nicaragua, Arenal Volcano and hotsprings, and 1/2 - 2 day Yoga/Spa Experience, as well as add on days. Immerse yourself in the beautiful nature and wildlife of Costa Rica by hiking, enjoying island cruises, bird watching and rain forest tours to name but just a few activities. More activities which can be booked on site include: yoga, spa, National Park tours, Turtles Tour, Canopy Tours, rafting, Zip-Line Tour, kayaking, sport fishing, sailing, crocodile and mangrove swamp tours.


This area of Costa Rica is the dry tropical forest ecosystem and contains rich biodiversity of tropical plants, birds, butterflies, insects and mammals. The ranch is an oasis of large tropical trees and lush pastures with tropical birds and howler monkeys in the trees. The ranch is located just 15 minutes from the Pacific ocean and an hour and a half from the spectacular volcanic mountain range with its own set of interesting wild life and vegetation.
Costa Rica's climate and geography are great for supporting a wide variety of wildlife. Sometimes known as the "biological crossroads" of the world, Costa Rica's inhabitants are made up of more than 500,000 species of animal.
Ecotourism is one of Costa Rica’s primary economic resources, and the country's butterflies add a lot to that. They bring life to rainforests, not only with the diversity in colour, but with the magnificence of the flowers that they help pollinate.

Birds of Costa Rica
Although Costa Rica is a small country, it is in the birdrich neotropical region, and has a huge number of species for its area. 894 bird species have been recorded in the country (including Cocos Island), with seven endemics. 19 species are globally threatened. Costa Rica's national bird is the ubiquitous Clay-colored Robin.

Some common butterflies and moths in Costa Rica include:
Thoas Swallowtail
Marpesia berania
Dotocopa laure
Banded Peacock
Zebra longwing
Morpho butterfly
Green Page Moth

Other Information

Costa Rica is a tranquil haven of democracy – known as the ‘Switzerland of Central America’. It has no army, excellent hospitals, well-educated people and a great respect for human rights. This little country, roughly the size of Scotland, has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. There is a great deal to explore in Costa Rica; from active volcanoes to palm-fringed beaches. Twelve percent of the land has been set aside as national reserves to protect the astonishing number of plants, birds, reptiles, insects and mammals.

Ticos, as the Costa Ricans are known, are a friendly, helpful and tolerant people. They favor moderation, and therefore have managed to avoid the political fanaticism of their neighbors.

Manuel Antonio National Park
With the establishment of Manuel Antonio National Park in 1972, the people of Costa Rica decided to preserve, for future generations, one of the most beautiful and bio-diverse areas in the world. Although it is the country's smallest national park, the stunning beauty and diversity of wildlife in its 683 hectares is unequaled. Manuel Antonio contains a charming combination of rain forest, beaches and coral reefs. The beaches are the most beautiful in the country, lined with lush forest, and the snorkeling is excellent. The forest is home for sloths, iguanas, the rare and adorable squirrel monkeys and millions of colorful little crabs. And the trail that winds around Punta Catedral offers some spectacular views.

Santa Elena Cloud Forest Reserve
Santa Elena Reserve is one of the first community managed reserves in the country. With the help of Youth Challenge International, a Canadian Non-profit Organization, the Costa Rican government, and the Santa Elena Community, the Reserve officially opened in March 1992. The philosophy of the Reserve is unique in that long term sustainability is not only a concern of the Reserve, but of the community as a whole. Proceeds from entrance fees, guided tours and the souvenir shop are either reinvested in the management of the reserve or are channeled to a local high school to help upgrade technology, and fund courses in environmental education, biology, agriculture, languages and tourism. In using the Reserve as a natural classroom, students and teachers harness an unlimited educational resource that can be used for anything from studying tropical plant ecology to leading tours. Conservation efforts in the area are concentrating on establishing forest corridors radiating from the central conservation area down to lower altitudes as many of the forest fauna, such as the Resplendent Quetzal, American Pumas, Jaguars, Ocelots, and Red Brocket Deer require large territories in which to forage and breed.

Other Country Information

Costa Rica is a tranquil haven of democracy – known as the ‘Switzerland of Central America’. It has no army, excellent hospitals, well-educated people and a great respect for human rights. In 1948 Costa Rica was the first country in the modern world to abolish its army. In that tradition, efforts to establish the University for Peace began at the United Nations under the leadership of the President of Costa Rica, Rodrigo Carazo.

This little country, roughly the size of Scotland, has an incredible diversity of flora and fauna. There is a great deal to explore in Costa Rica; from active volcanoes to palm-fringed beaches. Twelve percent of the land has been set aside as national reserves to protect the astonishing number of plants, birds, reptiles, insects and mammals.

Ticos, as the Costa Ricans are known, are a friendly, helpful and tolerant people. They favour moderation, and therefore have managed to avoid the political fanaticism of their neighbors.

Costa Rica is six hours behind GMT and they use the metric weights and measures system, so kilometres and kilograms instead of miles and pounds. There is approximately 1.6 kilometres in a mile and 2.2 pounds in a kilogram.

Travel Summary

Meeting-point (getting there):
Liberia Airport (LIR)
2023: Private transfers to and from Liberia - $65 for 1-2 people; $75 for 3-4. From San Jose (SJO) $225, Tamarindo or area hotels $30. Payable on site.
Flight Guide:
London - Liberia return from £630 pp
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