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“Hold on to your saddle!”
Review of Rancho Notorious

Rancho Notorious
Book In Advance
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$68.00*
and up
Aruba Horseback Riding Tour to Hidden Lagoon
Ranked #10 of 30 Outdoor Activities in Noord
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: 2-3 hours
Owner description: Experts since 1978 in horse management, classes, competitions and tours Explore the beauty of Aruba on an adventurous Horseback riding tour!Ride Horseback through Aruba's natural wonders and enjoy breathtaking sights on your way. At Rancho Notorious , we specialize in small personalized tours with friendly, attentive, multi-lingual CERTIFIED guides with your safety and enjoyment in mind. All skill levels welcome. Explore breathtaking sights and natural wonders such as California Lighthouse, Alto Vista Chapel, scenic countryside, Malmok Beach or gallop along the northeast coast through sand dunes. We have Helmets available, English and western tack. Morning, afternoon and sunset 1,2 and 3 hour tours.Something for evryone, wether your experienced or a novice rider. Children are more than welcome. We are Fully licensed and insured. Mountain bikers walhalla !! guided by a certified cycling coach. KNWU. from beginners to expert riders. 350km of trails for different skill levels. you may bring your own click pedals/shoes and helmet. Specializing in small groups on the ATV 4wheeler tours. very personalized full of information about the Island. Great machines. single and double machines available.
Tampa, Florida
Level Contributor
21 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Hold on to your saddle!”
Reviewed April 3, 2013

Rancho Notorious is a nice ranch. It was fun and western looking with Roosters crowing and baby chicks skittering about.
Stephen picked my group up from the Westin. 5 of us total from the 40's down to age 12. We opted for a 2 hour ride because I wanted to be able to gallop.
Horses were chosen for us mostly based on experience. Shannon was our tour guide leader, but Stephen came along too. We ended up with 7 in our group. (plus the 2 guides)
The day was somewhat cloudy, so the heat wasn't too bad, and we took the early 9 am guided tour.
I realize that the horses are of a different breed in Aruba, but what with the rocky terrain and small frame of the horse, I felt like my horse was struggling to stay up right. It was unnerving. (I am not a large woman). So we walk and walk and walk, and it's all desert and cactus. Which is fine, as this is the terrain, but kinda boring and very Arizona like.
Thank goodness for Shannon as she was very personable and easy to talk with. But I'm not sure if the people in the back could even remotely hear her. Hopefully Stephen was talking with them.
Loved when we came upon all of the "wishing rocks" because my friends had not seen any yet, and it's a cool and unique part of Aruba. Also the turquoise waters crashing along the cliffs was amazing.
I finally asked about galloping the horses and Shannon seemed very reluctant to allow it, but the entire group was wanting to do it, and it was TO gallop that I chose that tour.
So Stephen takes 4 of the 7 of us to gallop the horses in the sand, "so it's easier on the horses joints" and we take off. Now, I am not talking a trot here people, (which is what my 22 year old daughter expected) it was a full out canter. Which I personally LOVE and had about 5 full minutes of bliss until my friends 16 year old daughters horse lost it's saddle! We are full out running and that saddle just slips down the side of the horse dropping said daughter in the sand. Thankfully she was unhurt and laughed it off, but her horse was freaking out and spooking the other horses. My daughters horse then starts rearing up as she holds on for dear life. She did a great job controlling her horse, and granted I was laughing, but she had been scared.
The "broken" saddle was dumped in a bush, the horses were rested in a shaded area. The people of the group dismounted to give the horses a break and our guide Shannon left. We thought she went to get a new saddle, but no. I think she had another tour to take out.
It's blazing hot and although I did bring a water bottle, it's now dry. We really could have used more water, or had it provided for a two hour trip like that.
Stephen ended up riding the horse with the missing saddle back to the ranch bareback, and the 16 year old took his stallion. Which she handled very well, I might add.
I liked the ranch and Shannon and Stephen, but I thought the "broken" saddle or "slipped" saddle incident wasn't handled very well. No one was hurt, we laughed a little, but it could have turned out very differently and I felt some concern or apology was in order.
Would I recommend Rancho Notorious? Yes, but maybe not a 2 hour ride, and maybe it's best not to gallop at this place.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
2 Thank Superglb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
Galien, Michigan
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Excellent horse ride outing, Great scenery and nice hosts.”
Reviewed March 30, 2013

Enjoyed this outing very much, and finally got to see the Natural Pool, any other beauty on this backside of Aruba.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank beemer49113
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Washington DC, District of Columbia
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Poor Value/Terrible Trail”
Reviewed March 26, 2013

I went with my wife and two children. We have taken horse rides several times before in various locations so had some sense of what to expect. The horses appeared very thin and ragged. Several were jumpy -- the most skittish was being ridden by the tour guide, which made it hard for her to stop or assist the other riders when necessary, and that set the tone for the rest of the animals. The trail we followed was completely inappropriate. We crossed several busy roads, where the guide tried to slow down traffic with hand gestures while on her horse, with mixed results. Most of the rest of the time was spent going through dingy back streets and alleys. Absolutely no charm or anything of interest to see here. The destination was a thin slice of beach next to the busiest north/south road (nothing like the pictures in the advertising). We had to cross this road and then ride along it for a good while, on a strip between a stone wall and the road that was about a meter wide, with cars roaring past. My wife was riding the "calmest" horse but it got spooked by a truck and jumped the stone wall, causing her to fall off. Given the circumstances, I don't blame the horse--it should not have been taken that close to a busy road. I can't believe they charged $500 for this. I hope some of the money goes to care for the horses.

Visited March 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Waldo9595
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RanchoNotorious, Manager at Rancho Notorious, responded to this review, March 27, 2013
Waldo,

Sorry to hear hear your experience was not what was to be expected we do strive to give the guest the best experience as possible. Our top priority is the safety of guests then the care for our horses. They are very well maintained and the breed of horse is a paso fino which I am sure you are not used to the smaller build of the breed. As for the beach ride we are in the center of the island and the only ranch able to access the beach. This is an experienced rider trail for this very reason because to get to the beach we have to cross through neighborhoods and streets that line the coast. After we assisted your wife and son your family decided to end the tour which we take to the scenic side of the island on the northeast coast which our other riders continued on. Again i am sorry for your bad experience. Wish you all the best and your safe travels.

Management
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Marathon
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
“Poor service/equipment - tour 6 horseback ride”
Reviewed March 24, 2013

Unbelievable poor experience. We took tour 6 with our friends. My friends horse was missing a shoe on front hoof. We were in a full gallop and his horse went down - throwing him from his horse. My husband was behind and his horse swerved to miss the fallen horse and my husband's horse went down. My friend was given a ride back to hotel in van. We had to take his horse back to ranch - didn't get full ride - my friend got full refund -we got nothing. Week after we got back - my husband week do doctor - was still having pain - here he found he had broken a rib. Notified ranch and they still refused to refund money from ride. I realize there is a risk, but they don't know how to treat people fairly. We incurred medical expenses and only requested ride refund like my friend got. But they refused. Would suggest this to my worst enemy.

Visited February 2013
Helpful?
4 Thank Sandy J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
RanchoNotorious, Manager at Rancho Notorious, responded to this review, March 27, 2013
Sandra,

Sorry for your experience your safety is our number one concern. We do live on an island and have the best equipment we can obtain and it is all safe for our guests and horses. Horseback riding is a sport and horses do trip full gallop is at the guests discretion. Our guides do accomodate the guests the best they can. We can not offer refunds after our guests leave the island and then claim weeks later. We use the insurance for this to make sure the guests are fully protected to be taken care of if needed. We have made sure you have all information to suit your needs in this situation. Again I am sorry for your experience and wish you all the best.

Management
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
6 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Loved It”
Reviewed March 20, 2013 via mobile

My husband and I took the one hour tour for first-timers and had a blast. Steven was a great guide and the horses were well groomed and just the right temperament for beginners. Ricardo, Steve and Shannon were all super friendly and you could tell that they love horses and the Ranch. Definitely recommended for all ages and riding abilities. Thanks for a great start off to our Aruba vacation.

Helpful?
Thank morrjan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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