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Top 3 Best Horseback Riding Tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica

a group of people standing watching the sunset on horses at Equus Monteverde

Best Horseback Riding Tours in Monteverde

Several companies offer horseback riding tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica. If you search on the web for “best horseback riding tour in Monteverde,” you come across several ads from those companies saying that their horseback riding tour is the best, but if they all say they are the best, then who really is?

Since this is one of the most frequently asked questions I get, I dove deep into the topic to help bring light to this question so that other fellow travelers can have a more objective view of the manner.

I went on seven horseback riding tours in Monteverde and cherry-picked my top three options for you. I also analyzed over 500 online customer reviews to add more context and compiled my observations on this article. Let’s dive in: 

The following are the horseback riding tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica: 

  • Horse Trek Monteverde
  • Martin Horses Monteverde
  • Equus Monteverde

Keep scrolling for more information as I break down the pros and cons of each Monteverde horseback riding tour company to determine which one is best for you: 

Horse Trek Monteverde: Best For Experienced Riders

a group of people riding on the back of a horse at Horse Trek Horseback Riding Tour

Horse Trek Monteverde takes place at a local farm nearby Santa Elena, located approximately 20 minutes away from Monteverde. The terrain in this site is very rough. However, Horse Trek Monteverde features the strongest and healthiest horses in Monteverde, so the landscape is no big task.

Still, I would argue that Horse Trek Monteverde is for experienced riders only based on the roughness of the terrain you will need to cross during the tour. I would not recommend it for people with little to no experience in horseback riding. Neither would I recommend it to families with kids.

The Horse Trek Monteverde tour starts at the top of the farm, and then you begin to make your way to the bottom of the property descending approximately 400 meters to reach the river.

During the summer, the tour usually (but not always) includes a short walk along the river before you head back to the top, going around the farm. Depending on the group’s experience level, there can also be some trotting/galloping (this is the only horseback riding tour in Monteverde that features galloping). 

Horse Trek Monteverde Summary:

  • Duration: 2.5 Hours.
  • Tour Times: 8 am, 11 am, and 3 pm.
  • Prices: Kids (10-11): $40, Adults: $60.
  • Minimum Age Required: 10 Years Old.
  • Recommended for experienced riders.
  • Reservation Required.
  • Get Your Tickets Here.

Martin Horse Tour: Best For Inexperienced Riders

a group of people riding on the back of a horse at Martin Horse Tour Monteverde

Named after his founder, Martin Horse Tour is situated in Santa Elena, about 5 minutes away from Monteverde, on a cattle farm with a small forest set aside for conservation. This place, considered a hidden gem, is the least touristy destination for a horseback riding tour in Monteverde, Costa Rica.

Martin Horse Tour is a small family business that focuses on just two schedules, every day from 9 am to 11 am and from 4 pm to 6 pm, and only with groups of no more than eight people. The family is passionate about their farm, and they have a beautiful trail that goes around the property in a big loop that takes about 2 hours on a horse. The course is pretty easy to manage, and their horses are the calmest in the area, making it an excellent option for people with little to no horseback riding experience.

Having done this tour (as well as many others in the area) with my 7-year-old daughter, I can safely say the Martin Horse Tour is arguably the most appropriate for kids. However, the minimum age to participate is seven.

Martin Horse Tour Summary:

  • Duration: 2 Hours.
  • Tour Times: 9 am and 4 pm.
  • Prices: Kids (7-11): $30, Adults: $55.
  • Minimum Age Required: 7 Years Old.
  • Recommended for inexperienced riders.
  • Reservation Required.
  • Get Your Tickets Here.

Equus Monteverde: Best Value For Money

a group of people standing watching the sunset on horses at Equus Monteverde

Situated in Cebadilla, a small town on the outskirts of Monteverde, about 15 minutes from Santa Elena, Equus Monteverde is a true hidden gem. This local sugarcane-producing farm has some of the most amazing panoramic views in the area, overlooking three volcanoes and all the Costa Rican’s northwest. 

The Equus Monteverde tour is more than a horseback riding tour but is a farm experience. The experience combines a 2-hour horseback ride and a 30-minute sugarcane production tour, making it an excellent value-for-money experience. That’s why Equus Monteverde is the horseback riding tour I include in my customer’s vacation packages, and I lost count of the number of times I heard from a customer that this was one of their major Costa Rican highlights. 

Equus Monteverde is a well-rounded option that suits both experienced and inexperienced riders, but what makes this tour stand out is the local feel you get going around the farm through cattle and going into the small factory where they produce sugar out of sugarcane. They even prepare typical homemade snacks for you.

I recommend Equus Monteverde to those who’d like to experience a more authentic farm tour beyond a horseback riding experience.

Equus Monteverde Summary:

  • Duration: 2.5 Hours.
  • Includes a Sugarcane Tour.
  • Tour Times: 8 am, 11 am, and 3 pm.
  • Prices: Kids (7-11): $41, Adults: $50.
  • Minimum Age Required: 7 Years Old.
  • Reservation Required.
  • Get Your Tickets Here.

Reviews Comparison: Horse Trek vs. Martin Horses vs. Equus Monteverde

The following is a quick quality comparison arranged in descending order according to customer ratings from Google and TripAdvisor historical data up to May 2022:

 

Reviews on Google
Tour Company Score Reviews
Equus Monteverde 4.8 167
Horse Trek 4.8 49
Martin Horses 4.7 74

 

Reviews on TripAdvisor
Tour Company Score Reviews
Horse Trek 5 477
Martin Horses 5 282
Equus Monteverde 5 99

Customer Experience Take Away Points

Horse Trek was the first horseback riding tour company established in Monteverde in the early 1,990s. As a result, it has much more reviews on TripAdvisor when compared to the Martin Horses (which was added to TripAdvisor much later, in 2015) and Equus (added in 2017). This can explain why there is an exponential difference in the number of reviews of the first two tours compared to the last.

While the three tour companies have an average of 5 bubbles, Equus Monteverde is the only one with zero “Terrible” reviews, while Horse Trek and Martin Horses have a few and a handful, respectively. However, this could be a natural result based on the overall number of reviews each one has.

After reading over 1,000 reviews, I noticed three trends:

Most positive reviews on Horse Trek talk about Marvin: Marvin Anchia is Horse Trek Tour Company’s Founder and Owner. He is quite a character, prevalent in Monteverde, and regarded as one of the most renowned cowboys in Costa Rica. I’ve known Marvin for about a decade, and I love him and his horses. No doubt he has the best ones in Monteverde.

However, it’s safe to say he’s swamped managing the business, training his horses, and taking care of his ranch, so he’s not actually on the field guiding tours as often as you’d like. He was my guide when I did the tour, but he knew I would write this article, and he wanted to lead it himself instead of sending one of his guides with us (which happens 90% of the time).

Some experienced riders book Horse Trek expecting Marvin to guide them, only to get discouraged after finding out he can’t guide them. His staff is excellent, but the experience with him is much more special. He knows a lot about horses and shares his knowledge with you along the trip (if you’re lucky to have him as your guide…).

Most positive reviews on Martin Horse Tour highlight the small forest on the property: As mentioned above, the small trail that goes through a forest at Martin Horses is quite a highlight. There aren’t many horseback riding tours around the country where you go through a forest as pristine and beautiful as what they have at Martin’s.

That was the highlight of my trip, and it seems as though I am far from being the only one who noticed this beautiful part of the tour at Martin Horses.

Most positive reviews on Equus Monteverde highlight the Equus Farm as a hidden gem: The Equus Monteverde Farm has a fantastic location. Pair this with the “local” feel of going through their farm and then visiting their sugarcane factory, and you will probably end up amazed, as most travelers report via online reviews.

By now, you should have a pretty good idea of which tour company is best for you but as a final step, let’s take a look at pricing: 

Price Comparison: Horse Trek vs. Martin Horses vs. Equus Monteverde

 

Horseback Riding Price Comparison
Tour Company Adults Kids
Equus Monteverde $50 $41
Horse Trek $60 $40
Martin Horses $55 $30

The above prices are pre-tax, and they do not include a tip for your tour guide, which is optional (I usually tip between $5 -for an average tour guide- and $20 -for exceptional service).

Please note you can drive to the meeting point of the above locations, or you can have them pick you up, in which case Equus Monteverde and Horse Trek include the transport both ways with the above prices, while Martin Horses have a $10 fee per person.

As a final note about transportation, I would recommend adding the ride if you’re planning to do the Horse Trek tour because the location is a bit remote, usually accessible to 4×4 cars most of the year.

On the other hand, if you can drive to Martin Horses or Equus Monteverde, I encourage you to do it. There is no need to add transportation for those two as they are both easy to reach. Adding lift usually means you have long waiting times as they have to pick up / drop off other customers along the way. Driving is more efficient, and it can help you save up to 30 minutes.

Final Thoughts on Horse Trek, Martin Horses, and Equus Monteverde

I want to thank Horse Trek Monteverde. I had a blast galloping towards the end of the tour. Their horses are the strongest in Monteverde, and the challenging course going down to the river and then making our way back up to the top was extremely fun.

Next, I’d like to thank Martin Horse Tour. The trail was so easy and smooth. I relaxed and enjoyed the views while my horse went on autopilot. I especially loved the small forest on their property. That part of the tour was a beautiful highlight for me.

Finally, I’d like to thank Equus Monteverde. I was amazed by the fantastic panoramic views of their farm. I also enjoyed the “farm feel,” riding across open fields with cattle and then going into the sugarcane factory. The homemade snacks were terrific. 

I sincerely enjoyed my horseback riding experiences with these three tour operators. Their staff was highly courteous and service-oriented, and the experiences were all memorable in one way or another. 

To recap, I’d recommend Horse Trek for those looking for a more challenging horseback riding experience, Martin Horses for a more relaxed, easy-going ride, and Equus for those looking for a farm/local experience beyond a horseback ride. 

Here ends my comparison of the best horseback riding tours in Monteverde, Costa Rica. I hope this information was valuable to you and it helps you decide which tour company is best for your specific needs.

About the Author

Daniel Lalinde holding a mountain bikeDaniel Lalinde

I am the founder of Monteverde Tours Online. I live in Monteverde, and I love nature, adventure, and Mountain Biking. My partner and I love spending time outdoors and dining out in Monteverde. We have more than 30 years of combined experience in the area, and there is no park, no coffee shop, and no restaurant we haven’t tried at least once!

We love helping visitors and connecting them with the different tours and activities to have a memorable experience in Monteverde.

If you need help planning things to do in the area, send us a message, and we will happily assist you! 

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