The World's Best Horseback Riding Vacations
Published on: September 5th, 2017
Last modified: July 28th, 2023
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 Finca Kenia‘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.
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.
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.
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.
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.