“There are operators of house tours that approach tourists on the beaches or along roads offering horse riding at low, low prices. Tourists, thinking of saving money, accept,” says Katya Bader. “But the horses may be in bad condition, overworked or dehydrated, or they may have sores."
More than 3,000 horse riders gathered punctually at noon on Friday to begin the 3-kilometer course of Costa Rica’s National Horse Parade, or Tope Nacional. It began at Plaza Víquez, just south of San José's central canton.
All along Palmares’ main street, officially known as La Recta, the crowd was like a parted sea of cowboy hats. They flanked the empty avenue in growing anticipation, swigging beer from Pilsen cans, eating skewers of barbequed chicken, and taking selfies in front of waiting horses. So began the Palmares “tope,” or horse parade, on that sunny Thursday.