Horseback Riding in the Dominican Republic

mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019 ยท 6 min read

One of my absolute favorite things about Caribbean vacations is the excursions. Although it can be kind of annoying to be bombarded by salespeople inviting you to go on a tour with them, once you've decided on an excursion and arrived at the designated location, the rest is relaxing and enjoyable. Most excursion guides have thought ahead so they can take care of all your needs - that frees you to just have fun! Read on to learn about the 2 Hour Horseback Excursion in Punta Cana.

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The Beginning

When you book an excursion, there is a lot you are not told. For example, no one told us that we would be picked up in an open air tour bus with nothing in the way of a suspension system. We weren't told that we would be packed like sardines into this bus for the entirety of the 40 minute ride to the stable. Lest I sound like I am complaining, let me clarify. It was fun. I enjoyed the wind in my hair and the camaraderie that develops when packed in close quarters with compete strangers - many of whom don't share a language. I enjoyed the sun in my eyes and holding onto my hat to keep it from flying off and down the highway.

But still, they could have at least mentioned it.

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The Horses

By the time we arrived at the stable, we were down to only 4 participants. The rest of the bus load had been dropped off at a different location to ride dune buggies. Stepping off the bus, we were greeted by an enthusiastic guide who directed us to a small stall where we were to wait while he had us all sign waivers, don helmets, and listen to his safety instructions.

Being tourists, we dawdled... a lot.

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We stopped to take pictures of everything! I needed the palm trees, and the horse locked in his stall, and the building itself and more palm trees... you get the idea. I'm sure our guide had seen it all before. He did a decent job of masking his impatience.

Finally we were each assigned to a horse. I asked the name of my sable mare as I swung into the saddle.

"Burro," was the response.

Hmm...that means donkey, I thought as I asked the guide to repeat it a few times.

Yep, I rode a horse named Donkey.

Finally, we were all mounted. The other couple who had joined us seemed to have some difficulty in getting on their horses, but soon we were heading off into the Dominican jungle.

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The Jungle

All along the trail were Dominican cows. I'm not sure of the breed, but they had kind of floppy ears and looked very soft and fuzzy. As we ambled along, our guide nickered to our horses in an attempt to get them to speed up. It worked kind of well, but only as long as the guide was making noises at them. These horses were obviously not interested in getting anywhere fast.

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Dominicans must be big fans of recycling. At multiple points along the way were huge piles of recyclable materials. They seemed quite out of place in the middle of an otherwise agricultural landscape. It made me wonder if this is the end destination of the recycled materials on the island, or if this is just one more stopping point on their journey.

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Civilization

We found the Center of the Internet! I never would have guessed that it was in the middle of Hispaniola! Dominicans have a unique sense of humor - at other points we found little souvenir shops labeled 'Dominican Costco' and 'Dominican Wal-Mart.'

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Our guide said that this was going to be a hotel, but the builders ran out of money before it could be completed. It was quite close to the beach. I'm thinking it would be a great fixer upper. Anybody want to go in on it with me?

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On the other end of the spectrum is this Dominican house. As we trotted by, we saw locals in the backyard preparing a meal over an open fire. There were babies running around naked and chickens clucking. It was sad in a way to see the level of poverty as I rode by on a rented horse. It looked like a lot of work, especially compared to my pampered meal service at the all-inclusive resort. I definitely questioned my choices regarding luxury expenses.

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The Beach

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Here's another thing they don't tell you. You're going to stop at one of the most beautiful beaches on the entire planet. We parked our horses in a shady grove nearby, ditched our helmets, and walked down a sandy path to the bluest waters. The beach was not crowded with chairs and umbrellas. It was perfect.

I was the only person in our little group who happened to be wearing a swimsuit, so I quickly stripped down and jumped in. After the sweaty heat of the ride, the water was the most refreshing way to spend the 10 minutes our guide had allotted. The sand was silky under my toes and the waves crashed over my head as I bobbed in the ocean. I felt bad for the others - they waited and chatted in the heat of the day - missing out on all this perfect ocean.

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Back to the Beginning

We stopped once for a quick sales pitch at a little stop coincidentally placed along the path. They sold Dominican coffee, cigars, trinkets, and the ever popular mama juana, a local drink said to be good for what ails you. Our guide encouraged us to partake of the free samples and we walked away having purchased a jar of cocoa nibs.

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The return journey traced the same route as we had taken in. We passed back through the village, the Center of the Internet, and the piles of recycling. We saw the same velvety cows chilling in the fields. The big difference? This time our bums were all quite sore from 2 full hours of a horse that isn't quite trotting.

We finally dismounted and I took the opportunity for a selfie with my horse Burro. While I had a great time, I don't think I'll do the 2 Hour Horseback Excursion again.

Drop a line in the comments with your favorite excursion. What should I check out next time? Oh yeah, and hit me up if you feel like traveling. I'm happy to help you book your next vacation.

Happy Travels!

Jennifer

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Oh yeah, all photos are mine and used with my permission. Thanks!


Written by:
mattifer

We are two travel loving entrepreneurs, living and loving life to the fullest.


When somewhere exotic and tropical, I find I try and settle upon the package that balances the most safety (I have discovered lawlessness in some places!) and culture immersion. Often, the best way for this is to find one that has excursions like this.

Awesome adventure!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

I have missed feelings on the cultural immersion. While I love to see it, I also start to feel like a tresspasser, or like I'm somehow taking advantage of the poverty. It's tough to explain.

Anyway, I try to balance caution and adventure too... but I tend to err on the side of adventure. ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜Š


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Same. And same!!


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clayrawlings
Clay @clayrawlingsFebruary 2019

My wife and I are going there this summer. Any recommendations?


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

Yes! Have you already booked your lodging?

What kind of entertainment are you looking for?

I love the Dominican and have been to several places and done many excursions, so I'm happy to help you get the perfect vacation.


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clayrawlings
Clay @clayrawlingsFebruary 2019

We were looking at the all inclusives. We like outdoor activities like scuba diving, white water rafting, etc. I also plan on eating seafood and drinking exotic drinks. Also the local beer, whatever that is. I loved your horseback riding. We did it in Aruba many years ago and it was great.


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

They drink El Presidente down there. I'm not a beer drinker, but it seems to be popular.

Have you already selected a resort? If you are staying in Punta Cana I'd recommend Chic. It's an adults only resort with a high level of service. They have a mermaid pool! You get a lot of bang for the buck there, even though it's not the cheapest resort. Go for the upgrade if it's in your budget. You'll get a butler too!

As for excursions, scuba is always fun... but make sure you book an excursion that is not several hours away. They often don't tell you about the travel time when you book, and they vastly underestimate it too.

One of my favorite things is the snorkeling in a cenote. I'll have a blog post about it soon!

If you would like help with travel arrangements, I'm a travel agent. I'd be happy to assist you further. Message me on discord, or email me at [email protected]

By the way, have you been kite surfing? That's one of the best adrenaline rushes available in the area, but it's not something you'll find around Punta Cana. Head to Cabarete for that adventure.


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I love to take horseback excursions as well. We did one while in Belize last year

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@crypt-skip's horse was named Goldie - wonder how they came up with that? lol.


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Yeah my hoarse kept speeding up when I wanted him to slow down. My hoarse thought he was in the Kentucky Derby lol


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rwedegis
rwedegis @rwedegisFebruary 2019

What an awesome way to spend the day! Wonderful photos! It's great that only a small group did the ride. I did a ride in Jamaica once there were about 25 people in the group. Part of it was a bareback ride in the ocean. It was not quite the romantic rides that they show in the commercials! I felt sorry for the horses. Them seemed to be hot and over worked!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

Yes, I was glad we had such a small group. The only rough part of a group that size was that the guide asked non stop if we were ok. I kept thinking, "do I look sick or something?" We finally had to ask him not to ask again it had gotten so repetitive.

Otherwise, I was quite glad it was just the 4 of us. ๐Ÿคช๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ˜Ž


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bengy
Bengy @bengyFebruary 2019

Oh wow... that beach! It's like something from a magazine shoot! Anyway, I don't think I've ridden a horse before... it is a long way down to the ground! That said, my daughter has ridden a few ponies and a small horse.... much braver than I am!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

Yes! The beach was magical! I tried to go back a second day but was told the previous night's storm had caused dangerous riptides and it wouldn't be safe to go in the water.


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Horses - amazing)) I adore horses)) once I even had my horse)) But I had to sell it.


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

Awww... I always wanted a horse but never had one. What was your horse's name?


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I'm glad your post uploaded because you do have some stunning shots! I would love to be on that beautiful beach right now. I laughed when you mentioned the mama juana as we tried that when we stayed at a resort in Punta Cana last April. My boyfriend's mom was even suckered into buying some of the bark to bring home and make some herself. We were just glad they let her through customs with it, haha!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

Oh yes, we've got our own jar full of sticks that we will likely never fill. :-) I enjoy the drink though! This trip they weren't quite as proud of it as they have been on other vacations. The first time I went the resort was so proud of their mama juana - every bartender claimed he had the very best and would break out a special bottle from under the bar when they learned how much I like it.


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Gotta love those "special" bottles of local spirits. She actually did make some when we got back and gave us a small bottle. I think she put her own spin on it, but I can't remember exactly how she made it. It wasn't bad, but a little potent to drink much of!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

I keep meaning to make some, but chances are good I won't get around to it.


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porters
porters @portersFebruary 2019

Thanks for sharing a bit of Costa Rica!
Funny they didn't mention the beautiful beach - that could have been a terrific selling point for them.
What was the landscape like?
Was it all agricultural ?
I was expecting to see more jungle type scenes.
I hear you about seeing the poverty while riding by on your luxury rented horse excursion.
Another way you could look at it is your tourist dollars gave some growth to that community.
Looks like you had a wonderful day! Thanks for sharing!


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Thanks for dropping by! I've been away from steemland for a bit - but I'm back now! Here we go with your questions (and it the Dominican Republic, not Costa Rica) :-) :

Most of the DR is forested. I haven't explored it a great deal, but from the air it's certainly tree covered. I haven't seen anything that looks like old growth - certainly no giant oaks or anything of the sort, but the jungle does seem to be thick and healthy.

There are some signs of agriculture happening. I believe sugar cane is popular on the island. I see lots of fresh bananas and of course coconut. They also have lots of cows - Brahmans if I'm not mistaken. I could be mistaken though; I really don't know anything about cows.

And yes - I like the idea of my tourist dollars stimulating the economy, but it's my understanding that the vast majority of the DR is owned by foreigners. I doubt that much of my dollar trickles down to the folks I rode by on my high horse, but I'd like to think that it does. Perhaps one of these days I can help them in some more substantial way. :-)


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Thank you for responding to my questions and sharing more of what you experienced in the Dominican Republic.
Oh, that is sad that so much is owned by foreigners and that the locals will not gain from their natural resources or tourist dollars.
Thanks once again for sharing!


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Horseback riding and swimming in a beautiful beach. That is quite a trip and the beach is not crowded which I love. Did you try some local food? In travels I always think about the food lol.


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

We stayed on a resort, so I don't think the food was authentic at all. We went off the resort a few times, but not for meals. I had some great gelato though!


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What a fantastic post! I love that hotel. I love the riding. Yeah, what a great place. Thank you for taking me there!


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mattifer
Mattifer @mattiferFebruary 2019

You're welcome! I love that you loved it. ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ’œ๐Ÿ˜€


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