Updated: Aug 7
A secluded, white-sand beach that stretches on for miles, palm trees swaying at the edge of the jungle, an aquamarine sea that reaches for the horizon and a gentle tradewind blowing through your hair. Sounds dreamy, right? That’s the image most people have in their mind’s eye when they’re imagining themselves riding horseback in a tropical destination - but how do we bring that to life without bringing your own steed along?
Thankfully, the top horseback-riding destinations in the Caribbean (and beyond) have realized your dream and made it a crystal-clear reality with well-cared-for horses, all the gear you’ll need, expert guides and, naturally, postcard-perfect settings. Think beyond the beach, too - there are incredible forested areas and jungles to explore, as well as trails leading to higher elevations in the mountains where you can access fabulous views that few visitors ever see.
Here are our favorite three sun-splashed places to go horseback riding in the Caribbean (plus two bonus spots!).
In the Dominican Republic, horseback riding takes you deep into Samaná’s coconut palm-studded hillsides and across lush castle ranches in Puerto Plata. In Constanza, take a guided horseback ride in gorgeous valleys and to remote villages, through pine forests and to El Divino Niño Monument. In Jarabacoa, see for yourself just how intrinsic horseback riding is to mountain life. Trot up to waterfalls such as Salta Baiguate and Salto de Jimenoa, or gallop through plantations and wind along countryside pathways. Visit the renowned Casa de Campo equestrian center in La Romana, where guides are ready to take everyone from beginning riders to equine experts out on the cattle ranch trails. Finally, consider a journey through thick forest to El Limon waterfall, spotting colorful island flora and fauna along the way.
If it’s not enough just to ride a horse along the beach, how about swimming with a horse? Topping many visitors’ bucket lists, getting in the water on horseback is a quintessential Jamaica experience. Expect to be in the water for about 10 to 15 minutes, switching between walking in deep water and short bursts of swimming. You probably won’t ride the same horse to the beach that you’ll ride in the water - most stables keep different horses for each type of experience. Wherever you ride in Jamaica, you’ll be able to experience the nature around you, with local guides pointing out the red mangrove trees and wildlife and explaining how it’s all interconnected within the island’s ecosystem. Whether you’re staying in Montego Bay, Ocho Rios or Negril, there are ample opportunities for equine exploring along the beaches and through the island’s interior.
Saddle up for an intriguing ride through the hills of Aruba’s Arikok National Park, seeing the Natural Pool, riding along Daimari Beach and spotting Moro (or “Little Aruba”), an Aruba-shaped rock jutting out of the ocean in front of the Boca Keto and Boca Fluit beaches. Set off from Rancho Daimari, a former cocoa plantation that sits along the North Coast with no roads or traffic of any kind to snarl up your experience. Or, ride along the beaches at the North-East coast, including the Hidden Valley, Hidden Lagoon, Gold Mill ruins, Shark Bay and Budui Beach. Private horseback tours can take you to Fisherman’s Hut & Beach and Indian Hill, for a little something special. Combining the natural landscapes of the island and its white-sand beaches, Aruba horseback riding tours are some of the best in the Caribbean.
Bonus Spot: Los Cabos
Astride a well-trained horse in Los Cabos, follow an expert cowboy guide through the magnificent Cape Region, with the ocean as your beautiful backdrop. Keep an eye out for quails, road runners, coyotes, wild horses and rabbits as you wind through canyons and alongside eye-catching rock formations. Take a private, guided trail ride along the beach in Cabo Real or a two-hour canyon ride in the Arroyo San Carlos. Hooked? Take a horseback riding lesson, appropriate for beginners to experts, adults to children, at various stables around Cabo.
Bonus Spot: Hawaii
One of the most idyllic ways to experience the variety of Hawaiian landscapes is on horseback. Ride up and down Oahu’s North Shore in Waialua - or, take a polo lesson! Ride by moonlight at night, or just before the sun goes down on a romantic sunset ride. Or head out from Halaiwa into the gorgeous Waimea Valley. On the Big Island, explore an 11,000-acre working cattle ranch on Kohala Mountain in Waimea, or travel through the lush tropical Waipio Valley along jungle trails and past freshwater streams, taro fields and waterfalls. Maui offers romantic rides along the beach in West Maui at day’s end, excursions into the Launiupoko Valley with views of Molokai, Lanai and Lahaina Town, and ventures high on Haleakala’s slope overlooking the Central Valley. And finally, what better way to explore an island that’s all about its glorious natural landscapes than astride a majestic horse. In Kauai, ride through a wildlife refuge on the north shore near Kamookoa Ridge, or visit and swim at Silver Falls.
If you’re among the many who dream of horseback riding through a lush emerald valley or a sugary beach - or even swimming with those same beautiful creatures - let’s chat. This is just a sampling of the many horseback riding opportunities in the Caribbean, Los Cabos and Hawaii. We’ll work together to find the ideal experience for you.