Puerto Vallarta horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo, Las Palmas, Mexico

Puerto Vallarta horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo, Las Palmas, Mexico

Horseback Riding Vacation, Rancho Capomo, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Remember when Mary Poppins rides through the park on a Merry-Go-Round carousel horse with Bert, the Chimney Sweep? It is a magical horseback riding vacation with chirping birds, sunny skies and colorful butterflies.

Swim at El Salto Waterfall during a horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Swim at El Salto Waterfall during a horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

El Salto Waterfall in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

Imagine my surprise when I found myself having a Julie Andrews moment at Rancho Capomo, in Las Palmas, Mexico.  It was after leaving the beautiful El Salto waterfall that I noticed a patch of yellow color, fluttering in the sky. As the horses approached, we were accompanied by butterflies, dancing and diving alongside us. I was grinning and giggling like a child on a sugar high, only this was a pure natural outdoor-moment high.

This was my first time to Puerto Vallarta and I wanted to go horseback riding. I had been recommended to Rancho Capomo as a scenic horseback ride and I was not disappointed. Two Canadians, a California couple and a Puerto Vallarta local joined me on one of the best horseback riding vacations I have experienced.

Nancy crossing Las Palmas River on Zarape - magical horseback riding vacation

Nancy crossing Las Palmas River on Zarape – a magical Puerto Vallarta, Mexico horseback riding vacation

Creek walking horseback riding vacation

Now don’t think that you’ll be galloping your horse along a sandy beach on this Puerto Vallarta horseback riding vacation. Instead, think of this trail ride as a scenic and authentic Mexican experience and you won’t be disappointed.

Las Palmas horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo

Our horseback riding vacation began 40 minutes North of Puerto Vallarta in the small village of Las Palmas, population 14,000. While this is a sleepy little Mexican town, the movie Beverly Hills Chihuahua was filmed in Las Palmas, and Movie Star Antonio Banderas has a home on the outskirts of town. During my visit, we passed by humble road stands offering homemade foods and locals congregated on the steps of the church. Upon arrival at Ranch Capomo we were offered a fresh cup of Cafe de Olla – Mexican coffee – the beans were picked on the ranch that morning. After coffee, we were matched to our horses and taken on a three hour horseback ride, including time for a stop at El Salto Falls – a 10 minute hike each way to El Salto Falls.

What to pack for a horseback riding vacation

My horseback riding companions were dressed for a trip to the beach; wearing bathing suits underneath shorts and t-shirts. One beginning rider actually wore flip flop sandals to Rancho Capomo.  The website did suggest  we wear our bathing suits under our clothing for our stop to swim at El Salto Falls.  I recommend equestrians wear long pants and closed toed shoes when horseback riding. I confess that I was not wearing proper riding boots, as I travel carry-on baggage and the humid climate didn’t warrant cowboy boots with a heel for any of my activities.  I actually wore Kigo footwear, which was perfect for this particular horseback riding vacation, as we crossed Las Palmas River multiple times. My Ariat riding boots would have been water logged had I worn them on this trail ride.

You might see cows along Las Palmas River during your horseback riding vacation

You might see cows along Las Palmas River during your horseback riding vacation

What to expect horseback riding at Rancho Capomo

We had a three to one vaccarro (Spanish word for cowboy) horseback guide ratio. I don’t know if that ratio is typical on all Rancho Capomo horseback riding vacations, but our guides were friendly, helpful and spoke proficient English. The guide at the end of our horseback string rode astride a donkey, and he was armed with a machete. He cleaned up limbs and branches hanging from the lush rainforest of the Sierra Madre while we rode along on horseback. I smiled every time I heard the zing of his machete slicing through thick vegetation. Along with the vacas (Spanish word for cows) we passed beside the river, our magical horseback riding vacation was morphing from an animated Mary Poppins to an Indiana Jones action movie!

Pavo Rreal dances on your horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo

Pavo Rreal dances on your horseback riding vacation at Rancho Capomo

Rancho Capomo horseback holiday continues

After our return to Rancho Capomo, we enjoyed a wonderful homemade lunch from the staff.  Make sure you bring some Mexican pesos to tip the restaurant staff, as they are a gracious crew willing to please and proud of their homemade chips, salsa and guacamole made fresh on the premises.  They also offer two types of meats and queso fresco on homemade, piping hot tortillas. Qué bueno, qué bueno!

If you are visiting Puerto Vallarta on a cruise ship or coming to Rancho Capomo in the evening, you’ll be able to see Pavo Rreal, a horse that dances! Ravo Rreal is a beautiful white Azteca horse who performs some evenings with Ranch Capomo Owner Juan Ponce’s nephew on horseback. I didn’t see the evening performance, but I read many positive reviews online.

The cost of this six hour horseback riding vacation – including transportation from Puerto Vallarta hotels to Las Palmas AND the lunch was $67.50 at the time of my visit in August of 2011. Check the website for details. Have you been on a horseback riding vacation in Puerto Vallarta? What are your favorite things to do in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico?

If You Go:

Rancho Capomo via Puerto Vallarta Tours

Las Palmas, Puerto Vallarta, Mexico

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I was a guest of Rancho Capomo.