Thousands of riders and their equine companions came from different corners of Costa Rica to show off their best riding styles, saddles and outfits.
“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."
Each year in January, Ticos descend on the sleepy coffee town of Palmares, northwest of San José, for the country’s most rowdy fiesta. Palmares hosts a traditional Costa Rican festival with bullfights, horse parades and carnival rides, but also brings in famous international acts and way more beer than is probably necessary.