Monday, April 9, 2012

Horseback riding in Brasilito - Travels in Costa Rica (Part 6)

March 14, 2012
Last night, I haggled for a taxi to Brasilito from Playa Grande - they wanted $30, and I only wanted to pay $20 for the twenty-minute ride. I think I was still sore from being ripped off in San Jose, so when they counter offered with $25 I refused and walked away. I really wanted to go to Brasilito, but I REALLY didn’t want to get ripped off. The woman at the front desk must have called someone else because she knocked on our door five minutes later and told us we had a ride for $20 at 8:00am this morning.
Our “taxi” turns out to be a man driving his beat up truck, so I’m pretty sure it is a friend willing to give us a ride for a little extra money. The reason we’re taking a day trip to Brasilito is to go horseback riding, and our horses are waiting for us near Hotel Brasilito. Jason, a young man - still a boy, really - is our guide. We climb onto our horses and mosey our way to the beach, the horses walking in a follow-the-leader line that is typical of trail rides. I’m not here to walk in a line, though; I’m here to run. I’m quick to share this with Jason, so once we’re on a wide stretch of beach, he starts kissing the air; the squeaky sound signals my horse to quicken its pace. My horse begins to trot, and then he goes faster, and I hold onto his mane with the hand not already holding the reign, lower my body to his neck, and he gets faster still. And we are running, and I am laughing out loud again and again, pure joy bursting out. His strides are long and smooth, and I am just there with him. As we approach the end of the stretch of beach, I ease up, raise my body and pull back on the reigns, reluctantly slow to a walk. Incredible!
In the forest, we see a black howler monkey, and a couple of iguanas speedily get out of our way, but I am yearning for the wide open beach. As soon as the horse’s hooves touch the sand, I am ready to go. And so is he. With little prompting he quickens his gait, lengthens his stride, begins to fly. We are soaring; exhilaration pumps through me. There are people on the beach, so I slow down to pass. But my horse doesn’t want to walk now; exhilaration is pumping through him, too. So before we are beyond the people, he starts running again and we zip behind a girl sitting in the sand, not a foot away. I wonder if she feels the wind against her back as we pass, if she quickly turns her head to see what is there, but I don’t look back. I let my horse have control, let him choose our path. We fly as one. At least until the beach ends; then we have to stop and walk on the path through a resort area. Until more beach! My horse has been waiting like me! But we have to be patient, wait for two cars to pass... and then we fly. He is smooth and strong; I can feel my butt bouncing in the saddle, but I don’t care. When we run, I am so in the moment I can barely recall it. Could I hear the waves? Did I feel the wind? I only clearly remember the feel of the horse, powerful and sleek, and the adrenaline rushing through my blood. When we finish riding, too soon, too soon, my smile is permanent. Over and over I relive the moments of rushing through space, flying like the wind. Already I am sad that this memory, like so many others, will fade. Sad that when I remember it, I won’t be able to capture it fully. I wish I could hold it tight, tuck it safely away, keep it forever. It is hard to hold onto the exact emotions, the specific physical reactions, that make an experience real. But at least I felt it at all. At least I flew at all.

We eat lunch at Soda del Coco, run by incredibly bright and friendly ticos. Their good natures only heighten my already good mood. Afterward, I call Manuel, our “taxi driver,” and we get a ride back to our hotel in Playa Grande.

Hotel Brasilito
I thought about staying here for one night, but decided to stay in Playa Grande for two reasons: It was easier to stay in one place, and I didn’t want to abandon my early morning turtle watch. It looks like a nice hotel, right on the beach with a large outdoor restaurant. Other than the horseback riding, I’m not sure why you’d want to stay in Brasilito, though. The beach doesn’t seem as nice as Playa Grande, but Playa Conchal, a very pretty beach, is within walking distance (and backed by a large resort).

Soda del Coco
One of two sodas on the small street leading to Hotel Brasilito, this is the cheerier-looking of the two. The food is great - I have a plate of fresh fruit, and Nick gets a really tasty burger. I enjoy the staff as much as the food - both are friendly and chat with us. One even poses for a picture.

Horseback Riding
Brasilito Excursions books rides through Hotel Brasilito, so call the hotel at 506.2654.4237 to make arrangements. A one-hour ride costs $25, and a two-hour ride costs $35. We went on the two-hour ride, which included some beach and forest areas. I’m guessing that the one-hour ride would only be on the beach, but I don’t know. We went at 9:00am, thinking to beat the heat, but I forgot how early the sun rises and the day heats up. I would suggest going really early, or else wait until 4:00ish, when it starts to cool off and you can watch the beginning of the sunset. I imagine it would be very pretty to time your ride with the sunset...

1 comment:

  1. Great! You aspire to bare back horse riding. Today I'm going to give you some tips on getting started with this wonderful aspect of horsemanship.

    Horseback Riding Utah