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“Fantastic afternoon off the beaten path”
Review of Rancho El Charro

Rancho El Charro
San Jose
Level Contributor
30 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“Fantastic afternoon off the beaten path”
Reviewed August 3, 2013

This really is a once-in-a-lifetime ride. Wonderful 5+ hr trip to pleasant waterfall through gorgeous jungle on sure-footed and gentle horses, with Tomas, a knowledgable and attentive machete-wielding guide. Gorgeous panoramic view of the region from a mountaintop. Nice break at a small but lovely waterfall and a waterhole not really big enough to swim in, but enough to soak our feet and cool off. On the way back we were given a choice of retracing our path up or taking a more direct route down. It WAS a little adrenaline-provoking, but I had full faith in Luna and in Tomas, she didn't lose her footing once, and I was very pleased to be able to ride without the helmet for once. We could have galloped but I didn't want to make the horses work too hard after their very exerting climb. Forged the river several times, had a simple but sufficient lunch (perhaps the most enjoyable beer I've ever had) in a lovely spot overlooking the river filled with local families playing in the water. Many sights the average tourist does not get a chance to see. Highly recommended!!!
They were having Internet problems, and I couldn't submit a reservation request, but I did email Pamela, got a quick reply and a phone call, and they are trying to fix their website as quickly as possible. Email and phone messages always work!
Do remember this is Mexico, not the USA, something promised one day may not be feasible another (like hotel pick-up, promised but not possible due to taxi drivers' union hassles); and, seriously, if you care so much about a yummy breakfast, eat at your hotel before your ride. This is a horse ranch, and the important stuff--the horses, guides, and tours-- are done top notch. Helmets are NOT typically worn in this country, so bring your own, or ask for one of the less adventurous rides. Water is provided. No extra charge for iguanas, flocks of screeching green parrots, or Confetti giving a lovely bow at the end of the day. Muchas gracias a Tomas y Pamela; y a Luna, Confetti, y Patricia la Alta tambien.

Visited August 2013
3 Thank Hockeymom54
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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107 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Cartagena, Colombia
Level Contributor
64 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
“Relaxing, Fun and Real”
Reviewed July 9, 2013

I discovered Rancho El Charro through an offer for half off a 3 hour ride. Upon arrival I was greeted by Ramón, a friendly caballero who set me up with Luna, a small, strong horse perfect for my 5'3" frame. The owner, Pamela, arrived shortly after with a couple taking a different tour, so Ramón and I set out, just the two of us. It was wonderful! Personal service, delightful conversation about the terrain (it helps if you speak Spanish - I do) and easygoing horses. We headed up a steep, rocky trail for a beautiful vista overlooking Vallarta, a breathtaking view of my current home. A careful trek down landed us on a vast road with huge pink stone cliffs on one side and the river on the other, where we rode for a while. (If you are not an experienced rider, this may seem challenging, but trust the horse and the guide and it will all be fine!)

Ramón and I ended the day with Pamela, another caballero and the other riders at KeleKai's Restaurant & Bar: great service and delicious Méxican food in a relaxed and open dining area. Little dogs and neighbors passed by, waving hellos; Pamela has lived in Vallarta for years and is well-liked in the area. I enjoyed the afternoon immensely. If you are searching for a real horseback ride, not too adventurous or Disney-like, but also not boring, Rancho el Charro is an excellent choice.

By the way, I currently live in Puerto Vallarta and prefer economical bus travel to taxis. At first, it was difficult figuring out the bus to Playa Grande, but Pamela contacted me several times to make sure I felt confident about getting to their ranch. If you choose to go by bus, take the green San Esteban bus from Calle Peru (behind Ley in Centro); the ride is about 30 minutes. Go all the way to the end where the buses park, take the foot bridge over the river, turn right and go about 2 blocks. There are taco stands at the end of the line; everyone is friendly and knows the ranch if you need to ask.

Visited July 2013
3 Thank katedana
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Whittier, CA
Level Contributor
67 reviews
13 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Giddy up!”
Reviewed June 21, 2013

Pam is the greatest. We had such a good time with her and her crew that we had to do it again before returning home. Thank you Ramon (our guide).

Visited June 2013
Thank jsandoval562
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California, United States
Level Contributor
41 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
“A Wonderful Ride!”
Reviewed June 6, 2013

The entire experience was great! I haven't been on a horse in over 20 years and Pam chose 'Luna' for me. Luna was sweet and gentle. Our wonderful guide, Ramon, took us on a scenic 3 hour ride that ended with a delicious lunch at the Kelikai restaurant. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves:-) Don't believe any negative reviews on Rancho El Charro!

Visited June 2013
Thank Kimberleigh C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Family goes horseback riding”
Reviewed June 4, 2013

My family went on a 3 hour horseback riding tour. Pamela met us at the cruise ship as planned and brought us to the ranch. We mounted our horses and off we went with Tomas, our guide. They did a great job at matching my 2 boys, ages 8 and 7, with appropriate horses. We walked along the river and around a rock quarry. It was a great first time for the kids, I just wish we could have continued on into the forest a bit more, or to the waterfall.

We stopped on the way back for the included lunch and relaxed a little before being taken badk to town to catch the cruise ship. It was a fun day and the boys loved it.

Visited May 2013
1 Thank Chris L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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