With huge Andean mountains, vast plains and Caribbean and Pacific beaches, Colombia has some excellent horse riding destinations. From galloping with Colombian cowboys across the great Eastern Plains to trotting in the surf on paradise Caribbean islands, here are the best trips to take.
The Eastern Plains
The Colombian Eastern Plains are a horse-lover’s dream destination: hundreds of miles of flatlands, punctuated only by herds of cattle, wild animals and birds and giant rivers. The locals are authentic Colombian cowboys, and a horse riding tour in this region is also an excellent way to observe native wildlife at a close distance. You can even learn how to corral cattle from the back of a horse, if you’re feeling adventurous.
In the hills and mountains around San Agustin are hidden hundreds of ancient tombs and statues, many of which are only really accessible by horse; hiking would take days, but on horseback, you can head up to mysterious and beautiful sites like El Purutal, La Pelota and La Chaquira in just one day. Horseback is definitely the best way to experience the ancient wonders of San Agustin, and the scenery is as majestic as the statues.
Tayrona National Park
When exploring the coastal national park of Tayrona, people tend to do so on foot, but it is also possible to travel from beach to beach on horseback. This is an excellent way to explore some of the less-visited trails in the park’s coastal jungles, and a great way to observe more of the incredible fauna and flora of Tayrona at the same time.
Providencia and San Andres
Most people don’t associate riding with the beach or the Caribbean, but these two paradise Colombian islands are also among the coolest spots in the country to go horseback riding; you can hire horses to ride along beaches, trotting in the shallows or galloping through the surf (experts only!). You can also head to South West Bay on Providencia on Saturdays to watch the locals galloping and racing.
The Cocora Valley
Another enduringly popular horseriding trip in Colombia is in the Cocora Valley. Again, while most people choose to hike this trail, many choose to saddle up and head out to explore the mountains trails and dramatic valleys of this coffee region natural wonder from the back of a horse. Riding through the giant wax palms that made the Cocora Valley famous is another unique Colombian experience.
A little further up the Caribbean coast from Tayrona National Park is the little beach town of Buritaca. The company Horseshoe Tours have recently started offering excellent horse riding excursions along the jungle beaches surrounding Buritaca. While horse riding in Tayrona is primarily for getting from A to B in the park, in Buritaca the trips are simply a fun day out riding. With long and short tours, as well as trips catered to your level of comfort on a horse, Buritaca is perhaps the best place for riding on the Caribbean coast.
The little southern Antioquia coffee town of Jardin is famous for its horses, namely the stunning Paso Fino horses which locals trot around the town square every evening. However, even if you don’t have your own horse to show off, Jardin is still an excellent place to do some riding. The best trip is to the Esplendour Cave: a two- to three-hour ride through coffee farms and mountains trails, ending at the breathtaking site of the falls, tumbling through a cave into a hidden pool.