“Wow, this is beautiful,” I thought to myself as we approached the viewpoint. Despite Arenal Volcano hiding behind some clouds, the view was breathtaking. Deep green forest stretched in front of us for miles and miles, a slight mist hung quietly over the top of the trees and birds sang cheerily in the distance.
With a view like this, it was the best way to introduce my family to the rainforests and mountains of Costa Rica.
We stayed there for a few minutes as our guide explained to us the importance of this viewpoint. From here we could see the site of Tabacon old town before it was destroyed by the 1968 eruption of Arenal.
For this reason, the El Silencio Mirador is actually considered in the high risk zone but as Arenal Volcano has stopped erupting, many people hike and horseback ride through this area just like us.
Nudging our hoses along, we made our way through the 555 acre nature reserve surrounded by old growth trees as far as the eye can see. We stopped to observe a Ceiba tree and others, learning about how they are protected since they are very valuable.
Trotting just a hundred feet more, we reached another viewpoint that overlooked the Arenal Volcano National Park as a handful of cows sleepily observed us as we got closer.
There was still so much more to see so we headed back towards the mirador to turn onto another trail that would take us through the reserve.
The Arenal area has always captured our hearts, delighting our eyes with lush forests. Compared to the arid and yellow desert of Guanacaste that we saw for nearly 8 months of the year, being surrounded by all this intense green was certainly a welcome change.
About halfway in, a light sprinkle came down and I turned my head to the sky, licking the raindrops off my lips savoring the cool fresh water. My horse had the same idea, pausing to nibble on some of the dewy grass.
Rain is a precious commodity in Guanacaste since it doesn’t rain much there and it’s one of the things we love most about the Arenal area. It’s hot but gets plenty of rain so the air feels crisp and refreshing. The landscapes are some of my favorite, with primary rainforest everywhere you look.
Who wouldn’t want to horseback ride through all this spectacular scenery?
My parents had never gone horseback riding before and taking them through a nature reserve in the rainforest was, in my opinion the best way for them to try it for the first time.
The beach could have been another option but we’d already visited many beaches and this way, they could connect with nature not just by seeing beautiful scenery but also by riding one of the most majestic animals to roam this earth.
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Tips for Horseback Riding in Arenal
- Wear long pants and closed toed shoes. If you’ve ever been horseback riding before, you’d know there’s a reason why cowboys always wear jeans or long pants!
- You won’t need mosquito repellent because of the fresh weather, there aren’t really any mosquitoes up there
- If you go in rainy season, bring a rain jacket. They did give us a poncho just in case.
- You don’t really need to bring anything in terms of a backpack or food. Our guide brought water and had fruit for us at the end
- You can bring a camera but I don’t recommend a DSLR especially if you’re not comfortable on a horse since sometimes they will break into a trot and you don’t want to be dropping anything. If you bring a camera, make sure it is either waterproof or you have a cover for it if you go in rainy season. If you bring your GoPro, make sure you have the housing case.
- You can go horseback riding in Arenal to different places, not all tours go through the El Silencio Mirador
- Horses know where to go so sit back, relax and enjoy the views
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Thanks to Jacamar Naturalist Tours for a wonderful day!