El Rancho Barrio Dorcas

El Rancho Barrio Dorcas, Roatan: Address, Phone Number, El Rancho Barrio Dorcas Reviews: 4.5/5

El Rancho Barrio Dorcas
Horseback Riding Tours
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Horseback riding tours
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1-2 hours
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87 reviews
Very good

Houston, TX5 contributions
Was on a Royal Caribbean Cruise and we decided that we would go Horseback Riding in Roatan. i found El Rancho online, and read the reviews and decided to give it a go. It was great, we rode Trigger and Gerald. our guide Sharkey was great. he took us throught the jungle and trails thru his land where he grew up...it was raining a bit so we didn't go up the big hill in the woods. we also went thru town and made our way to West End Beach. Nothing to complain about...everything about the ride was A+, the ride was close to 2hrs.
Written September 30, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chris B
Ann Arbor, MI127 contributions
We found El Rancho on tripadvisor and decided this is how we wanted to spend our time on Roatan during our cruise stop. We started e-mailing with the owner and got everything setup with her ahead of time including the taxi/guide for the day. Everything was well explained to us and went exactly as planned. Shirkie got us all setup when we arrive at the ranch, and Alessandro took us on a great ride along the beach. We have ridden horses about 2 other times and had no issues with these horses during our 90 minute ride. We had the taxi/guide for the rest of the day to shop and see some beautiful spots on the island. Our family of 5 (youngest 11) loved it!
Written May 3, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Mel L
Orlando, FL40 contributions
This is the third cruise my husband and I have taken. We are completely over cruise excursions and decided to book our own activities. I booked horseback riding and beach time at West Bay with El Rancho Barrio Dorcas. From Mahogany Bay, we had to walk over a steep hill and found a ton of independent tour guides; we were greeted by our guide who already had another couple in his compact four door vehicle. My husband and I are journalists so we always have a million questions about each place we visit; our guide was awesome in answering all our queries. We were dropped at the side of the road near a slopped pasture full of horses. There were four other people joining us on our ride. As we saddled up I noted that the horses were really healthy (which is always my main concern when riding in a foreign country, Shirkie seems to take good care of them). Isla Roatan is really hilly and of course there are no sidewalks so our ride was on the side of the road for a portion of the time. We rode through the country, saw mango, banana trees etc. We then rode through West End on sandy roads and then along the small beach area. This is where things got sticky. Some of the horses were young and when our guide instructed us to walk our horses into the water on the beach, one of the horses in front of us wouldn't budge. The guide told the woman riding the horse to gently kick his belly to get him going, when she did the horse bucked her off of him and into the water. The lady was ok and got back on the horse but it was scary. The ride continued back onto the main road where we rode alongside cars and trucks. We were almost back at the ranch when the guide's horse started to act up in the middle of the road; the guy almost got hit by a bus trying to wrangle his horse back into line. That being said, you are dealing with animals and animals have a mind of their own sometimes. We were picked up at the ranch and taken to West Bay beach. This place was awesome. We had a little lunch there; ceviche, Port Royal beer, Barena beer and Salva Vida beer. We then walked down the beach almost to the end where the cruise people were spending the day. The water is crystal clear. We brought our snorkel stuff and jumped right in. It was the best snorkeling I have ever experienced right off the beach. There are a ton of fish, lots of coral and a huge drop off where you can see fish swimming in the deeper water.
We saw much more of the island doing our own thing than going with a cruise excursion and we helped the local economy by giving business to the locals instead of the cruise ship. I would totally book R.B.D again!
Written August 29, 2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Washington DC, DC1 contribution
My friend and I went on a sunset beach ride. I am a very unexperienced rider and made this very clear to our guide, Shirkie. Long story short, we ended up in a really bad area of Roatan, behind Anthony's Key, where Shirkie met up with friends and had a beer while my friend and I (two 20 year old blonde girls) sat there VERY uncomfortably. After we finally got back on our way, my horse was evidently mad that we stopped and started galloping off. I was screaming and crying and asking for help while Shirkie paid no attention. My friend had to catch up with me and tell me how to regain control of the horse. Needless to say, I felt very unsafe for a majority of this ride.
Written October 11, 2013
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Crystal C
Fort Myers, FL15 contributions
Once off of our cruise ship we found our driver right away, after that everything went down hill from there. We arrived at the stables and the horses were not ready and the two guides that were there did not speak a lick of English. About 10 minutes after we arrived, our guide, Shirkie showed up completely hammered!!!! He was stuttering and constantly repeating himself. Although my gut was telling me to get the heck out of there, I knew how disappointed my daughter would have been as she loves horseback riding. Once we were finally on the horses we started out on a very busy road which made me very nervous not only for mom and daughter but also for the two dogs following along running off any dogs that could spook the horses all while avoiding the cars. About five or so minutes into the ride Shirkie says something to one of the other guides, leading us, in Spanish and the next thing we know we are straight up galloping with NO WARNING! First of all I cannot believe none of us fell off of our horse, second of all, all I heard from behind is my mother screaming STOP in a way I have never heard before, as it turns out she injured her back from the jolt of taking off. Once the horses were finally under control I wanted to turn around and be done, my mom said no, she will be fine as long as the horses walked. We finally made it to the beach without any other incidents. Once we got to a certain spot on the beach Shirkie jumped off of his horse while the other two "guides" stayed on theirs, so he could take a picture for us. Sure, a nice gesture, but would certainly NOT make up for what had already transpired. After taking the pictures we then started walking again with one of the guides, while Shirkie tried to get back on his horse. We got about a half a mile away and saw his horse running towards us without him! Although comical at that moment I then realized how irresponsible and intoxicated he had to be. I insisted that we go back immediately and we did. When we where getting close to the stables I told him I needed to walk the rest of the way as my back was starting to bother me, he insisted that I would be fine. At this point I was beyond mad and told him I was getting off of the horse, and I did. He then got off of his and started walking with me which made me very uncomfortable, luckily my mom and daughter kept stopping their horses to keep an eye on me. As we were coming around the last bend, before the stables, he said, I'm going to my house, it's right here. Do you want to come into my house and I can give you a message? I told him absolutely NOT! I have never been so disgusted by a human in my life! Thank God he just walked away! I would not recommend this company to anyone! Disturbing is the best way to describe our experience!
Written November 6, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

new york5 contributions
Be careful with this place, make sure if you go that you do not get "Sharkey" as your guide. He is very rude and condescending, he's also the owner so you have no recourse if you do end up with him and have a terrible experience, like we did.
My family went for a horseback ride today, expecting a beach ride and what we ended up with was 90% muddy streets with traffic and 10% beach and random residential back roads. The worst part wasn't the not as advertised route, it was the guide's attitude. When it was explained that we'd never been riding before, he didn't bother to thoughtfully explain how to direct the horses, and when I had some trouble getting mine to do what I thought I had been instructed to command her to do he was incredibly rude. I was at least 10 feet back from him and he was calling our directions to me that were quite garbled and when I asked him to repeat it because I couldn't understand what he was saying he sniped at me that he "was speaking English". I should have stopped the ride then but did not, as it was our son's 9th birthday and he really wanted to ride a horse that day. I let it continue and it was more of the same throughout the entire ride, my horse wouldn't follow commands, he would yell something condescending in my general direction, most of it unintelligible. Finally I just got off and walked the rest of the way back. It wasn't worth it to try to risk my life and the life of the horse, trying to dodge motorcycles and cabs.
So, when you call to book this place, please tell RoseMarie you would strongly prefer a different guide, one with a whole lot more patience.
Written June 23, 2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Portland, Oregon1 contribution
On December 11, 2008, my family took a horseback tour of West End on the island of Roaton in Honduras. This was a one day shot, as we were on a Carnival Cruise.

To the best of my knowledge, this tour cannot currently be booked through any cruise line. However, that should not discourage you from booking this excursion. All of the various horseback tours we saw through the cruise line had limitations on age. However, after contacting Roosmarie through email, she assured me that they would take very good care of our entire family, including our 4 and 5 year old girls.

We booked their "Cruise Special" and were given an email response verifying the cost and the instructions for getting to the tour. Surprisingly, there was no deposit. Our instructions were to go to a small building just outside the port entrance and meet Conway there at 8:30. We arrived a little early and were met by several people that were selling tours. All we had to do was mention that we were waiting for Conway and they left us alone. As a matter of fact, several of them pointed out Conway to us when he arrived promptly at 8:30.

Conway was kind and talkative, pointing out several interesting things during the 20 minute drive to the ranch. Upon arriving at the ranch, we were met by Shirkie (the tour guide) and Roosmarie. They got us mounted on some very calm ponies and we were off. Our 5 year old was on "Rain" which Shirkie led using a guide rope. Our 4 year old rode with my wife (at no extra charge, by the way) and my teenager and I had our own horses.

The horses were very calm and easy to control,even for a complete newbie like myself. The only problem I had was the tendency to stop for the occasional tasty looking bunch of grass, but after one bite, he would take back off again.

The tour went right through the quaint little town of West End and along the beach. It also included some inland trails here and there. It was VERY enjoyable and none of us felt uncomfortable.

When the tour ended, Conway took us to Foster's. A nice little beach resort. That could have been more fun, but due to the windy day, we stayed only a short time and then were taken back to the ship.

All-in-all, a very fun excursion.

I also want to note that it appeared that Shirkie can design the tour for other ability levels. For us, we had kids and no experience, everything was kept to a gentle walk. The group after us was two women with some experience and Shirkie lead them out at a canter.
Written December 17, 2008
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Worth, UK122 contributions
We had a wonderful horse riding tour in Roatan along the beach, away from all the busy cruise port. My husband has only sat on a horse once before and felt quite safe and comfortable. Our guide was very knowledgeable/interesting about Honduras and the people. We were the only 2 on the ride and the guide and his helper took lots of photos for us. One of our best tours ever! . We are in our early 60s. Well organised and good information ( pre-trip )
Written March 19, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Matt S
Yorktown Heights, NY2 contributions
Best. Excursion. EVARRRRRRRR!!!! Roosemarie gave us great directions, so we found the ranch right away and got a couple of young, healthy looking, well groomed horses. I got one named Trigger, and I found out why he was named that later. He was very well trained, responded quickly to my commands and he loved to gallop, and so do I so we were a perfect match! Shirkie was a great guide, he was fluent in English so communication was a non-issue, and he gave us details and information and history about the place as we walked along the trail. A short trip on the road led us to a trail through the rainforest and out to the beach. Off in the distance you could see people playing with dolphins, jumping out of the water and twirling around. It was relatively unpopulated, and the view was breathtaking. Something about being on the back of a horse with the woman you love, walking down the beach, kicking up the crystal clear water was just incredibly surreal. The whole time, we were kept company by two beautiful, well trained dogs... they were a nice addition to the family.

We were able to walk, trot, cantor, and gallop at our own pace. At first, we were single file until we got to the path where we spread out a bit. On the beach, I could feel Trigger getting excited when the others started to trot a bit, so we let loose! Trigger and I galloped full speed down the beach, wind in my hair, sun on my back! What an amazing animal, one I will never forget! The tour guides were so laid back, they didn't mind that I let Trigger stretch his legs a bit. Trigger and I stopped to grab some salad on the side of the path, and waited there, legs in the crystal clear water, while the rest of the group caught up. There were only 6 of us total, which was great because it was much more intimate. Keyla asked us for our phones, and took a bunch of pictures of us on the beach. What a sweet, sweet young girl.

A quick note: If you have never ridden a horse before, you cannot blame the operators for your own ignorance and inexperience. Typically, you take lessons starting with the most basic riding course before you sign up to go horseback riding in the rainforest on a tropical island. Also, if you have no idea what you're doing, then you'll be holding up the rest of the group, and you're a liability to yourself and everyone else around you. If you don't know how or cannot control the animal, then you shouldn't be here, period. You should certainly not blame the owners or operators of this business for your own shortfalls, including physical limitations. If you're out of shape, elderly or otherwise unfit to ride, and you decide to ride anyway and you get hurt because you can't make it through a 45 minute walk on a horse with a few trots here and there, then not only a fool, but you're irresponsible and need to re-evaluate your excursion choices.

Many of the people who are going on this excursion are coming from a cruise from the US. Keep in mind, you're not in Beverly Hills. You're not in Las Vegas, or New York City. Their standard of living is completely different than ours. Try to understand their culture, their way of life, and don't take everything so seriously. You will be safe on this horseback ride, as you are with competent, skilled and knowledgeable tour guides, and above all, you will enjoy yourself, guaranteed.

When I come back to Honduras, I most certainly will be booking again with this company for another horseback ride. I couldn't have asked for a better experience... Beautiful scenery, rainforest, beach, backroad trails, local children playing and running around, fresh coconut water, dolphins in crystal clear water, and some sweet Honduran rain that cools you off and refreshes the soul - Shirke, Keyla and especially Trigger have a place in my heart.
Written November 29, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Chicago, IL18 contributions
Everything we asked for we got and more! Three out of 8 wanted to ride while the others wanted snorkeling. Dixon Tours Driver Corvin waited for us as we ported. Dropped three for riding in which Shirkee was an unbelievable guide into the mangroves and beach at many points. He had so many stories to tell and all so wonderful. The rest went to two different spots on the island and were delighted at the food and beaches. The riders met up later and Corvin stayed and made sure all were happily attended to. And then made sure we were back to our port promptly. Just an absolutely wonderful day!
Written August 8, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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