The Dominican Republic is well known for its white sandy beaches, towering palm trees, fascinating history, vibrant culture and adventure tourism. Here we offer a real riders itinerary, a point to point trail, not too strenuous but with some fantastic riding, swimming with your horses in crystal clear waters and beach riding. En route you’ll stay in a combination of small hotels or local Dominican home stays.
You’ll have a chance to experience the best of this exotic location: tropical surroundings with sugar cane fields, mango and coconut plantations, clear waterfalls, the local coco loco rum based drink, cuisine like freshly grilled fish, octopus or shrimp on the beach, local merengue dancing, canters through rice fields, bananas, cacao, and coffee plantations, a boat ride up river and a special meal with a local family.
Discover a new way of life and a different culture on this unmissable adventure.
Please Note: The opinions expressed in these reviews are the author's and do not necessarily reflect the views of Unicorn Trails Ltd. These reviews are "directly from the horses mouth" and unedited. Unicorn Trails may make additional comments for clarification clearly identified in red.
Review received from JS of Hartley Wintney on 14/11/2018
Arrival in Dominican Republic and transfer to your hotel in Bavaro. There is time to relax and have a swim at the hotel before the welcome meeting and group dinner.
Drive to the horse ranch for the first days riding (4-5 hours).
Here you will start the adventure with an introduction to the horses. You will meet your guide who will accompany you while you are riding. The ranch is located in the countryside, and you will enjoy the reality of the countryside, sugar cane fields, as far as the eye can see, mangos, coconut trees, and tropical vegetation. The first ride is 4 hours long and takes you into the Yonu mountains, giving you the chance to really get to know your horse. In the afternoon there is time to swim in the river, sunbathe and relax before returning to the hotel in Bavaro for overnight.
Towards the mountains (5-6 hours of riding).
You will begin the day with breakfast followed by a car journey to get back to where you left the horses overnight. Today the surrounding countryside for the morning ride is covered in rolling orchards, mango and sugar cane plantations, and coconut palms. In the afternoon you will ride along long stretches of white sandy beach from Lavacama to Laguna Limon. Leave the horses and travel to overnight accommodation.
El Cedro (4-5 hours of riding).
Today there will breath taking views across miles of untamed jungle wilderness. You will ride out once again inland along the small valley trails towards the village called El Cedro and the impressive waterfall of the same name. The overnight stay is at a typical family farm, where guests will have the opportunity to meet the family and really get to know them. The dinner will be a special feast made by your hosts.
Playa Esmeralda (5-6 hours of riding).
Today is a full day of riding on powdery-white sandy beaches. There is a long deserted stretch perfect for galloping, this is truly one of the finest beaches in the Caribbean. You can swim with the horses in the sea and during lunch you will have time to sunbathe. After a long and exciting day you will arrive at a small charming hotel for dinner and an overnight stay.
Beach riding (6-7 hours of riding).
Riding on the pristine beaches is addictive and today you will have the chance for more long gallops along the sand back to Lavacama. The group can spread out across the sand and really allow their horses to gallop. Today gives you everything you have ever dreamed of about beach riding! Late in the afternoon you will prepare for another ride along the beaches, with the setting sun as a back drop as the sky turns red over the horizon.
Riding in the mountains (4-5hours of riding).
Today you will ride back into the hills and stop for lunch next to a river with a small waterfall, where you will be able to have a swim. Return to the airport in Bavaro for the final night.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your flight home.
For the longer itinerary the first week is as above and continues on as follows:
Ride on the Samana Peninsula, ride in the evening sun.
Transfer to the Samaná Peninsula is one of the most beautiful regions of the Dominican Republic and one of the best kept secrets of the island. Samaná is the most important city in the region and has committed itself from the outset to individual tourism and away from mass tourism. The peninsula is 1399 km² , than many of the small islands in the Caribbean. In this ecological paradise, there is plenty to see, for example, the world's largest coconut plantation.
Today we enjoy a ride in the evening sun.
Day ride to Playa Rincon.
Half day ride to Playa Madame, afternoon free.
Ferry ride from Sabana de la Mar to the hotel Caño Hondo in the rainforest. The magazine Forbes chose this hotel in National Park as one of the ten most beautiful destinations in the world for ecotourism. The National Park Los Haitises with its mangrove swamps, islets, caves us lush vegetation is a very special experience. It lies on a calcareous plateau which is overgrown with creepers. The high humidity promotes the growth of lush vegetation that offers a habitat to about 100 different bird species. At Caño Hondo various outdoor activities on land or boat are available (not included), e.g. guided hikes, boat ride across the mangrove swamps to caves with rock paintings and the Humpback Whale in the Bay of Samaná.
Drive from Caño Hondo to Punta Cana, visit the small village of Miches or a small ranch where we see how coffee and cocoa are produced.
Transfer to the airport after breakfast for your flight home.
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.
The horses used for the tour are primarily Dominican Republic Criollo and some crosses, a breed that is exceptionally rugged, well mannered and responsive. The horses are well suited to the trails of their area. The Criollo horses often have smooth trots that are traditionally ridden sitting and not rising. There are 2 western saddles for the larger horses and the rest use wintec English style saddles. The horses are Western trained and so respond to neck reining and shifts in weight. The pace varies from walking in steeper and hiller bits to as wanted on the wide open beaches. The horses are good natured and capable with an excellent work ethic.
Riders should be comfortable spending between 3 and 5 hours a day in the saddle. The pace varies from steady in the hillier parts to opportunities for fast canters and gallops on the beach. Riders must be over 12 years of age and be capable of controlling a horse at a walk, trot and canter.
The weight limit for this ride is 209 lb/95 kg, please enquire if you are an experienced rider exceeding this weight.
The accommodation is in small hotels and guest houses with character and great settings. Most nights are en-suite but some nights there are shared facillities. Most nights are at a good hotel in Bavaro, please be aware it is a 40min drive to the horses from here. There is the option in the middle of the ride to stay at another hotel in Laguna Limon which is much closer to the horses. This hotel is in a more rural location and close to the beach but is also more basic than the hotel in Bavaro. This ride is not a gastronomic experience but generally the food is plentiful and wholesome, full board is included. A typical breakfast will include tea coffee, toast, fried eggs, fruits, juice Lunches are light and delicious, and often a combination of rice, meat, salads and fruit. Care is taken to offer traditional meals from local produce. A typical dinner would be freshly caught grilled fish with mixed vegetables followed by dulce (something sweet).
Vegetarian or other dietary requirements can be accommodated with advanced notice. Please contact Unicorn Trails with requests.
Please note that it is your responsibility to ensure you have the correct documentation in place for your trip. If Visa’s are required the requirements can change from year to year depending on diplomatic relations. Please request information from the appropriate Consulate in your home country. Unicorn Trails will assist with any questions you have or supply any necessary supporting documents as required by the consulate on request.
All visitors require a tourist card, which can be obtained before travel from the Embassy of the Dominican Republic , or on arrival at the airport at a cost of US$10 or equivalent. Tourist cards are initially valid for a 30-day stay but can be extended locally by paying for an extension when departing the country.
Visitors should ensure they have a valid passport for twice the length of the duration of their stay.
If you would like to get your visa in advance you can go to the Dominican Republic Embassy:
Embassy of the Dominican Republic
139 Inverness Terrace
London W2 6JF
Except in the central mountains, temperatures don’t vary much in the Dominican Republic, averaging a summery 81ºF (28ºC) to 87ºF (31ºC) in most places for much of the year. Tropical humidity can make the temperatures feel higher, though sea breezes help mitigate the effect. The rainy season is May to October, though in Samaná and on the north coast it can last until December. August and September constitute hurricane season.
At Unicorn Trails, the health and safety of our customers is of paramount importance. While cases of the Zika Virus remain predominantly in Brazil and Ecuador, there have been reports of cases in Mexico, Barbados, Dominican Republic, Jamaica and Cape Verde.
Whilst the symptoms of the Zika Virus are usually mild, customers are recommended to take the strict insect bite avoidance measures. This is particularly relevant if you are pregnant, planning to become pregnant, suffer from a severe, chronic medical condition, or have a medical condition that weakens your immune system.
Customers due to travel to the affected areas should monitor the World Health Organisation website for further updates and advice.
Customers planning to become pregnant should discuss travel plans with a healthcare provider to assess the risk of infection and receive advice on mosquito bite avoidance measures.
Customers who are already pregnant should inform their obstetrician or midwife if they have recently travelled to a country where Zika is known to occur.
You should be aware that Dominican medical facilities, especially near the border with Haiti, have been under extreme pressure since the earthquake on 12 January.
You should seek medical advice before travelling to Dominican Republic and ensure that all appropriate vaccinations are up-to-date. For further information on vaccination requirements, health outbreaks and general disease protection and prevention you should visit the websites of the NaTHNaC and NHS Scotland's Fit For Travel or call NHS Direct on 0845 46 47.
Private medical facilities in Dominican Republic offer reasonable to very good standards of services. However, other than primary care in public hospitals the public health service is not deemed to be adequate so you need fully comprehensive travel insurance in case you need to be medically evacuated in an emergency. Dentistry is adequate. A good range of across the counter medicines is available, including some normally only available on prescription in the UK (usually generic brands).
Malaria is present within the Dominican Republic and there have been occasional outbreaks, mainly in the border regions with Haiti. Rabies is also present, with 95 cases of the disease being reported in animals in 2008, and 381 cases in 2009.
Dengue Fever is common to Latin America and the Caribbean and can occur throughout the year. There has been a marked increase in the number of reported cases of dengue in the Dominican Republic, including a number of deaths. The highest number of cases in the Dominican Republic usually occurs in the hot season from May to November. Dengue Fever is a viral disease spread to humans by mosquitoes. Protective measures against mosquito bites are recommended. There is no vaccine to prevent Dengue Fever, which has severe flu-like symptoms and can sometimes be fatal (Dengue Haemorrhagic Fever). If you do fall ill you should seek immediate medical advice.
Electricity runs at 110 volts at 60 hertz (cycles), which is also the standard for the United States and North America. Outlets will also come in the standard U.S. two and three pin plugs. Travelers coming from Europe or the Pacific will need to bring voltage converters and plug adapters in order to be able to use their appliances.
Riding trousers - jeans or breeches
Riding boots or sneakers (need to have a heel and be comfortable for hiking)
Hard hat (recommended)
Riding hat with brim
Half chaps (optional)
Lipbalm with sunscreen
Camera, underwater camera a real plus for the crystal waters!
T-shirts and shorts
Lightweight long sleeved shirts
Sweater or sweatshirt
Informal wear for evenings
Plastic bag for wet clothing
Copy of passport
Additional passport photos
Wearing a waist pouch is a handy method for keeping items such as camera and lipbalm readily accessible.
It is recommended that you bring clothing that will air dry very quickly.
*Riders may want to bring two swimming suits as they often opt to wear the swimming suit under the riding clothes each day.
Laundry can be done along the way for a reasonable fee.
This programme is available as 8 days/7 nights with 6 days riding or 13 days/12 nights with 9 days riding on set dates. Additional dates available on request for groups of two or more.
2019: 2 Feb; 9 Mar; 6, 27 Apr; 25 May, 13 Jun; 31 Aug; 28 Sept; 26, Oct, 30 Nov.
Other dates on request for 2 or more riders, open all year except 12 Dec - 4 Jan.
|Riding days||Product item description||£|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,519|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||single supplement||139|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 1-2 riders||95|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 3 riders||67|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||double pp||2,659|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||single supplement||169|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||supplement for less than 4 riders||165|
|Riding days||Product item description||€|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,665|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||single supplement||155|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 1-2 riders||105|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 3 riders||73|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||double pp||2,909|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||single supplement||189|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||supplement for less than 4 riders||179|
|Riding days||Product item description||$|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||1,945|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||single supplement||179|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 1-2 riders||125|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 3 riders||86|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||double pp||3,405|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||single supplement||219|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||supplement for less than 4 riders||209|
|Riding days||Product item description||SEK|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||double pp||18,075|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||single supplement||1,665|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 1-2 riders||1,129|
|2019 8 days||8d/7n||6||supplement pp for groups of 3 riders||795|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||double pp||31,639|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||single supplement||2,035|
|2019 13 days||13d/12n||9||supplement for less than 4 riders||1,925|
There is a fantastic variety of other activites on offer in Dominican Republic you may want to stay and take advantage of. Our host will help you with maps and suggestions during free time at the end of the ride. Soem of the opportunites include
A visit to Cabarete, Snorkling in Sosua, shopping in Puerto Plata is very popular, fishing, visit Laguna Gri Gri in rio San Juan, a day in a Catamaran. All these activites are not included in the ride price.