The World's Best Horseback Riding Vacations

Travel+Leisure World's Best Awards 2023 logo in white
Written by
Louis Dhont

Published on: September 5th, 2017

Last modified: March 21st, 2024

Many destinations can be traversed on horseback, from lush green coffee plantations to snow-capped volcanoes.

Here are 10 exceptional horseback riding vacations in some of the world's undeniably beautiful places.

Safari on horseback
Solio Lodge, Kenya
Ride through the rainforest
Blancaneaux, Belize
Ride along the beach
Nihi Sumba Island

1) Solio Lodge, Kenya

The 45,000-acre Solio Private Reserve lies between the peaks of the Aberdares Mountains and the slopes of Mount Kenya, with a unique landscape of forest glade, open plain, swamp and lakes. It’s also home to a population of the rare white and black rhino, as well as leopard, cheetah, lion, zebra and giraffe.

Solio Lodge Horseriding Kenya

As the only lodge in the reserve, Solio Lodge is certainly well positioned, and while staying in the luxe individual cottages, guests have the option of seeing the terrain on horseback.

Solio Lodge, Solio Game Reserve, Kenya
Belize Mountain Pine Ridge

2) Mountain Pine Ridge, Belize

In Belize’s Maya mountains, the protected Caribbean forest of Mountain Pine Ridge is rich in flora and fauna. It’s here that you’ll find Blancaneaux, Francis Ford Coppola’s ultra luxe Balinese-style mountain lodge – well positioned, close to Caracol Mayan site and overlooking a small river and waterfall

Horse Riding Blancaneaux Belize

As well as a spa and pool, the resort has stables from which you can arrange sunrise rides through the rainforest, trail rides that take you from pine to rainforest while seeking out hidden waterfalls, and sunset rides to the nearby national park.

Blancaneaux Lodge Belize
Horse racing on the beach, Nihi Sumba Island, Indonesia

3) Nihi Sumba Island, Indonesia

A short flight from Bali, this lesser visited Indonesian island is covered in pristine rainforest and traditional rice paddies, fringed with white sand beaches and dotted with thatched bamboo houses, while the island’s inhabitants still prefer to follow the traditions of their ancestors and resist modern development.


On the remote west coast, Nihi Sumba Luxury Retreat offers even more seclusion with its own private beach, in ultimate luxury and undeniable style. You can explore the surrounding countryside and visit nearby villages on horseback, or canter along the sand of the private beach.

Horse Riding Nihi Sumba Island Eco Resort Indonesia

The best of the rest

4) Turrialba, San Jose

The Turrialba Valley, near Costa Rica’s San Jose, is a wild and verdant volcanic landscape just waiting to be explored. From the grand colonial house and gardens of Casa Turire hotel, guests can set out on horseback to explore the surrounding landscape of coffee plantations and mountainside, sugar and macadamia farms, and Angostura Lake, with a local vaquero to guide the way.

Turrialba Costa Rica

5) Rural Rajasthan, India

Experience the wild setting of this timeless desert riding on fine specimens of the hardy Marwari breed. Immerse yourself in the spiritual wilderness of this rugged desert landscape, looking out for India’s rare and stunning Black Buck as you go. Whether you ride out at sunset, sunrise, or even take a multi-day hack through the wilderness, contemporary desert palace Mihir Garh will set you up in style.

Haunted indian city of Bhangarh

6) Cordoba, Argentina

Ride, western style, through the long grass of the Cordoba hills, passing by rural homesteads, churches and schools, before stopping off at a swimming hole, or learn how to lasso and help the ranch’s gauchos round up their young horses. In the hills close to Cordoba city, Estancia Los Potreros is a an authentic, family-run estancia, taking guests out on trail rides and hosting local and European style dinners with their own label wines.


7) The Garden Route, South Africa

The Garden Route is a picturesque strip of paradise, a coastal stretch of forested mountainside, lagoons, salt lakes and sandy bays, dotted with chocolate-box towns and exotic birdlife. Kurland, a 700-acre private country estate and boutique hotel, is in a sublime location offering horse riding excursions as well as the opportunity to play polo assisted by Kurland’s instructors.

Kurland South Africa Horse Riding

8) Trinidad, Cuba

The vibrant colonial city of Trinidad, with its cobbled streets, pastel-coloured houses and mountainous backdrop, is a charmingly old-world setting from which to set out on a horseback exploration. For a real treat, ride out on one of In Style Farmhouse‘s ten beautiful horses into the surrounding valley past abandoned sugar mills and plantation houses. You’ll pass farm houses, crop fields and plenty of chickens and piglets crossing your path.


9) Taharua Valley, New Zealand

The Taharua Valley enjoys some of the most diverse, beautiful and unspoilt scenery in New Zealand. Trails through Poronui, a remote 16,000 acre high-country property, lead through lush native beech and exotic forests, across Manuka covered hills, open grassland and gentle streams. From an introductory novice right to a multi-day trek, this is a dreamy riding experience for anyone.

Poronui Taharua Valley New Zealand Trekking

10) Otavalo, Ecuador

In the highlands, tucked between snow-capped volcanoes, the town of Otavalo is best known for its traditional Ecuadorian culture and the popular artisans’ market. Hacienda Zuleta is a grand seventeenth century former presidential residence surrounded by 2,000 hectares of pastureland with resident stables, trout farm, cheese production and condor rehabilitation. From the hacienda, you can ride along the winding Andean trails that start from 9,000 feet above sea level.

Horses Zuleta Otavalo Ecuador

11) The Bazaruto Archipelago, Mozambique

With its crystal clear waters and pristine white beaches, this corner of paradise in the balmy Indian Ocean is the perfect place to relax and unwind. To complete the postcard-perfect picture, Azura Benguerra provides tailor-made private trail rides both inland and along the beaches, and is widely regarded as one of the finest beach riding destinations around.


12) The Pantanal, Brazil

The world’s largest wetlands area, Brazil’s Pantanal remains of the most unspoilt and abundant habitats in the world, rich in tropical flora and abundant in wildlife such as macaws, toucans, anteaters, otters and jaguar. In a protected spot, on a stretch of the Rio Negro, you’ll find Barra Mansa lodge, a five-room hotel which is situated on a typical Pantanal farm. Here, guests have the option of taking part in farm activities, such as navigating the wetlands on horseback.

Horse Riding Barra Mansa The Pantanal Brazil

13) Poronui Lodge, New Zealand

This magical wilderness retreat is nestled amongst 16,000 private acres of the beautiful Taharua Valley, making for some truly stunning horse riding trails. To unwind and relax those muscles after your ride, the Stables also contain wonderful modern gym and health club facilities – including steam, sauna, and massage treatment rooms.

Horse riding, Poronui Lodge, Rotorua Taupo, New Zealand

14) Hacienda San Jose, Mexico

Lush green coffee plantations across the Colombian hills are the setting for Hacienda San Jose, an ideal base from which to explore the surrounding countryside on horse back, with the additional option of riding through the characterful town of Salento and between the soaring palms of Valle de Cocora.

Barichara Colombia Horses

Feeling inspired? Talk to one of our experts today and start planning your perfect horseback riding vacation.