It’s almost 8 a.m. on the main street of Tamarindo. The sun’s rays barely filter through the gaps that remain between the restaurants, hotels and shops of this district of Santa Cruz.
We ask ourselves if a forest really still remains so close to the center of Tamarindo and we have come to Tamarindo Ecoadventure to find out after reading their slogan, “Who says you have to leave Tamarindo to enjoy the mix of adventure and culture?” The desire to ride horseback also brought us here.
The place is about three minutes from the city center, just past luxury houses with swimming pools typical of this coastal town. When we enter the gate, we are welcomed by Lizbeth Cerdas, a warm Santa Cruz resident, co-owner of this 90 hectares (about 220 acres) of land. She proudly takes us to La Tayuya, a pavillion-restaurant that was built six months ago as part of the tourist center.
As Santa Cruz residents, we have joy in our blood and that is what we want to offer our visitors: what we eat, how we rejoice and what we like to be,” Lizbeth tells us.
That’s why they created this pavillion decorated with dried corn husks, grinding stones and baskets. The smell of tortillas and drip coffee prepared by the cook, Vilma Rosales, envelops us for a few minutes. It smells like a wood fire, Guanacastecan home cooking.
Lizbeth also has in mind linking this tourist center with artisans from the province. They are making small rustic booths where they can exhibit and sell their art.
And very close to the booths, at the foot of an imposing 100-year-old cedar, they built benches and a platform to fill the space with folk dances, parrandera music and masquerades during the cultural afternoons.
Lizbeth and her son Owen Cerdas say that this is the only place for sightseeing in the Tamarindo forest. As far as the Internet allows us to check, what they say is true.
After drinking drip coffee with handmade tortillas, the perfect fuel to start the ride, we went to meet the horses that were going to take us to a viewpoint.
Before starting, the team asks us if we have experience riding. They assign us a horse based on our level of experience.
When I told them that this was my first time, they immediately knew that Capuchino was the one for me. He is a quiet, mature horse with a shiny cinnamon coat.
For four kilometers, we rode along some perfectly defined paths, other sections that were stony, muddy, dirt and even small streams. At times, the treetops were so high that we couldn’t even feel the sun’s rays.
At other times, yellow flowers and chan plants with refreshing scents abounded. The sound of the forest mixes with birds singing and monkeys howling.
Along the way, Huber Alvarado, our guide, explains how to cushion the trot so that we won’t wake up in pain the next day. The technique involves bringing the feet forward and putting slight pressure on the stirrups, as if we were trying to stand up in them.
The majority of the terrain is rather flat and only gets steep as we approach the viewpoint.
Once we are up there, about 60 meters (200 feet) above sea level, we see part of the Santa Cruz coast. The forest is at our feet and the intense green of the grove blends with the blue of the sea.
Here, above, the scenery makes us forget about bustling Tamarindo, full of people, cars, parties and shops. There is a green area that refuses to die in this Santa Cruz district.