I highly recommend Alberto and his horses. The horses are well cared for, well trained, super calm, strong and sure footed. I've rarely seen better horses available for trail rides. This ride could be challenging for some, and that's exactly what made it fun for us. You'll want to wear jeans and boots that cover your ankles. We just wore shoes, because we didn't want to pack boots for our trip. Regular shoes work, but are not ideal. If you want to swim at the waterfall, you'll want to either wear a swimsuit under your clothes or pack one. You'll also want towels, and something dry to change into if you don't want to soak your jeans with a wet swimsuit on the way back. There is no support vehicle, you need to carry everything yourself, so a backpack is highly recommended.
Alberto's horse tours will take you from the town of La Fortuna to the waterfall. You may also visit the waterfall by driving to the parking lot of the waterfall, or going on an ATV tour or taking another horse riding tour. Personally, I'm really glad that we took Alberto's horses.
We had Alberto himself as our guide and he and his dog took great care of us.
We contacted Alberto's horses via the email listed on Trip Advisor. We were told to be behind the church in La Fortuna at 1:30 pm. We were there early, and when we didn't see anything that referred to "Alberto's Horse Tours" behind the church, we asked at one of the tour companies behind the church. They directed us down the road (with back of church on your left), across the bridge and down the road a little bit more. They told us there would be signs on the right side of the road when we'd reached Alberto's horses. Since we had a car, we drove there and found the place. There were a couple of vans there at the stable. So we're not sure if we had just stayed behind the church if they would have picked us up there, or they expected us to find our way on our own. We never asked. But no one else reviewing on Trip Advisor has noted problems connecting with Alberto's Horses, so I'm assuming finding the way works for everyone.
We were charged $130 for 2 people in November of 2012. We signed a release form, and were offered helmets. Our horses were already saddled and ready to go. We traversed several fields, including one with Brahman cattle with several calves that were curious and playful around the horses. After the easy field crossings where Alberto expertly opened and closed gates, we traversed down steep muddy banks, forded a rocky shallow stream a few times, and up steep muddy banks on the other side. We then followed a paved road to the waterfall. We parked the horses with an attendant, and walked the rest of the way to the falls. Signed a waiver there, and then walked into the park. Alberto came with us. At the top of the trail there are rest rooms that include a shower. There is also a tourist shop where you can buy souvenirs, snacks and drinks. We walked down the trail (someone else wrote 400 steps, that seems about right). Swam in the cold pool, dried off, hiked back up the 1000 steps (ok, it just seems like there are more on the way up). At the top again, we changed into dry clothes. We walked to our horses, and then rode back the way we came to Alberto's. I think our total trip was a little over 3 hours.
If you are not conditioned to riding horses, this will wear you out and leave you sore. The terrain is certainly more difficult than most tourist trail rides, and Alberto will let you run with the horses in the fields if you are comfortable. Of course, he will keep the pace to a walk / trot if that is as fast as your comfort level will allow (as it was for us).
We're really happy we took this tour and would highly recommend it to those that enjoy horseback riding.
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