Horseback riding in Nicaragua

If you had asked me any time in the last couple of years what word I associated with San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua—I’d have said surfing. With waves on my mind, the region was the highlight of the surf trip I was planning with my husband. Sure, I wanted to see more of the country. Right after I finished surfing.

But a recent trip to Nicaragua convinced me that I needed to expand my San Juan del Sur vocabulary.

A short distance from town, Rancho Chilamate is the place to go for an unforgettable horseback-riding experience. My group took off from the ranch, passed through a local village, down back roads, up across a ridgeline and through a dry tropical forest where napping howler monkeys dripped from tree branches. Finally, we reached Escamequita beach and lagoon—perfectly empty of people.

The best moment of the ride, though, happened after getting to the beach. No, not surfing.  The few of us who wanted to were able to gallop on our horses back and forth across the beach at low tide. That was enough to remind me why I was so horse-crazy when I was a kid.

Half- and full-day rides are available, and include Western boots and hats, an English-speaking trail boss, and photos from your ride. To top it off, a portion of funds from each ride goes to Rancho Chilamate’s community development fund.

Yes, I’m still planning that surf trip, but I think I can definitely make time for more horseback riding at Rancho Chilamate.

I was a guest of the Instituto Nicaragüense de Turismo during my time in Nicaragua.

Photo courtesy of Rancho Chilamate

Posted by | Comments (8)  | March 31, 2011
Category: Adventure Travel, Central America

8 Responses to “Horseback riding in Nicaragua”

  1. Sara Gabrakirstos Says:

    Wow that sounds wonderful!! It must be an experience like no other to be able to ride a horse on the beach!! My dream. Actually my dream is to ride a Spanish bred dapple-gray horse in Andalusia! A friend of mine just returned from her week long trip in Nicaragua and while her pictures illustrate that she and her friends had quite the adventure, I don’t think she had the chance to go horseback riding. But maybe she didn’t even think of it like you said! Riding a horse though, although I have never done it, must make you feel maybe for a second as though you were in another time period?? I don’t know, I just imagine that’s what it would feel like. You know before bikes or automobiles haha. I am going to copy your itinerary when I go to Nicaragua and chill at Rancho Chilamate…on the beach…on a horse on the beach!

  2. GypsyGirl Says:

    Sounds like a blast, Jill. My friends own a big ranch on the Pacific, down in Costa Rica and I just love riding horses in the sand and surf. Do they put molasses on the dirt roads in Nicaragua to keep the dust down? (they do in Costa Rica) It always made me laugh to picture my horses licking the roads. The reason is, most commercial horse grain is sweetened with molasses, so many horses have grown a sweet tooth for the taste. But in many developing countries the animals have never had such grain, so they wouldn’t associate it with food.

  3. Jeanna Says:

    Horses are always an amazing time. Something about getting back to nature atop of one is just an amazing feeling. I would definitely not pass up the horses!

  4. BLuE Says:

    Run Jill Run!
    So glad you were able to join us for a ride. Loved the big smile it brought to your face. With permission I will share your blog. You’re good!
    abrazos from Nicaragua
    Cowgirl Blue


    wow,wow, wow. am glad to be off today and have found information in this blog. loving it. to your information nicaragua is my mother land. i owe a visit soon after 26 years in exile. this is the only thing i had in mind. to ride a horse on the beach. what a dream. thank you.

  6. Horseback Riding Review: BootsnAll Travel Network - Rancho Chilamate Says:

    […] Posted by Jill K. Robinson March 31, 2011 […]

  7. Horseback Riding - Some Background On Your Favorite Activity Says:

    […] best horseback riding in New Mexico (really!)Horseback riding in Nicaragua body.custom-background { background-image: […]

  8. DEK Says:

    It’s nice to hear that there are pleasant things in Nicaragua these days. I was there during the Sandinismo period and no one seemed to be enjoying themselves. The only travelers going there in those days were political pilgrims who may have been upbeat, but much too serious to be enjoying themselves, certainly not with anything as decadent as galloping unproductively through the surf.