Experience The Equestrian “Good Life” at Costa Rica’s Hacienda Alta Gracia
There is a phrase in Costa Rica which can serve as hello, good bye or the answer to how are you? “Pura Vida.” The “pure life” or “good life” is an accurate reflection of the local vibe of this small, peaceful, eco-diverse land. Happiness is not measured in square feet or stock portfolios but in a back yard garden filled with vegetables, banana plants, amaryllis, and a small but proud dog.
A Treat For The Eyes and The Soul
The Hacienda Alta Gracia in Pérez Zeledón is in the Southern Region of Costa Rica overlooking the picture perfect Valle del General, creating a world of luxury in a traditional agricultural area. Set on 350 hectares, the resort includes verdant foot hills, panoramic forest views, and clouds so close you feel you could reach up and touch them. Brick pathways are set throughout the resort where you are squired around via golf carts. The 50 suites and casitas dot the hillside, carefully arranged to create individual privacy while maximizing views.
This is the first Auberge Resorts Collection in Central America and the level of service is first rate with an extremely warm staff and General Manager JP Alfonso and Marketing Manager Pam Jara who are hands on to create memorable experiences.
It’s all about the view from the stunning infinity edge pool, restaurants with outside terraces, and even the expansive spa which has a mansion-like indoor pool. And if you want the birds’ eye view special Ultra Light flights take off from the resort’s private air strip. This is a place for sure to explore inner peace and a private yoga lesson or Auberge Head to Toe massage treatment are a great way to start.
The restaurants Ambar and El Bistro focus on fresh local food and you can travel on an excursion with the Executive Chef to the local market to see his creative juices flow.
The Equestrian Adventure
Lush, green paddocks line the hillsides where horses relax and graze, some with new foals from the center’s breeding program. Twenty eight immaculate stalls surround a scenic watering pool, and a large indoor ring is flanked by an entertaining space and outdoor patio. Riding is in the Costa Rican tradition of western saddles which are made by local artisans in Pérez Zeledón. The stables even have two delivery rooms, and a surgery and recovery room. The equestrian program includes 48 horses of different breeds: Costa Rican, Spanish, Peruvian, American Quarter Mile, and Ibero-American
Erick Madrigal, an engaging guide of the equestrian program states, “At Hacienda Alta Gracia, we are so glad and happy to say that we have a passion for horses. We not only take care of them but also create an emotional relationship with each horse since they have different personal traits. Horses have really nice skills that we as human beings should learn.”
Keeping the horses safe, healthy and clean is of utmost importance with regular vet and farrier visits. The stables are cleaned four times daily and as much as possible the horses enjoy being outside in the pastures, free and happy.
Erick says of their program for guests, “Our private trails are located in three different cattle farms. Moreover, we go out of the property to visit Don Nery´s farm, where you can see the sugar cane process and another incredible tour to Cedral, where one can learn all the process of coffee, even better, drinking a pure cup of coffee made by local people.”
Travel tips: The “dry season” is December to April and is recommended. The main airports to fly into are either San Jose or Liberia in Costa Rica. Sansa Airlines is the local airline which flies to San Isidro which is about a half hour drive to the resort (note only flies on certain days) or you can charter your own private plane (3 seats) to land at the resort on its own air strip. The car drive from San Jose is about 4 hours on small windy roads and not optimal. If you are making the trip to Costa Rica it is well worth also exploring either the Pacific or Caribbean Coast. Quepos on the Pacific is lovely and a short private airplane ride from the resort.