If you want to add more elegance to your all-inclusive Caribbean vacation, then how about taking a horseback ride along the beach?
Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic
It doesn’t really get much better than Casa de Campo when it comes to horseback riding. Even Genghis Khan would have been happy here, if only there was room for his horde. Casa de Campo has its own equestrian center, and it’s one of the largest — and best — in the Caribbean. Experts are available to teach you various riding styles; if you’re brave, you can even learn how to jump and do rodeo stunts. Or, if you feel like acting all upper-class for a day or two, you can try your hand at horse polo (or you can swallow your pride and try donkey polo, which sounds much more fun to me). Trail rides include trots across the cattle ranch and rides through herds of water buffalo. If you choose the Casa de Campo Inclusive Experience, you’ll have unlimited horse riding for the duration of your stay.
Couples Tower Isle, Jamaica
Located on 19 acres of beachfront — and with an additional private island — Couples Tower Isle is a great place for exploring. But why walk when you can ride? The resort uses contractors for its horseback riding, but they are both established local operators on the north coast of Jamaica (close to Tower Isle, which is in Ocho Rios). Hooves Jamaica is a family-owned company specializing in horseback excursions. It offers scenic beach rides that pass through tropical rainforest, historic sites and then down to the beach, where you can ride through the water on horseback (up to four feet deep). A second local operator, Chukka, offers bareback rides into the sea, which you can combine with zip-lining if you need an extra shot of adrenaline.
Half Moon, Jamaica
Half Moon is perfect for riders of all ages and abilities, including total novices. The resort has its own equestrian center with onsite instructors, and almost 30 years of experience. Private lessons are available, including jumping, polo and dressage. Scenic beach rides provide plenty of romance, while the “Surf & Turf” excursion lets you swim with your horse in the ocean. For children of six and under, there’s the pony park, where the littluns can make friends with rabbits, goats and donkeys — and, of course, learn how to ride on the ponies.
Anthony’s Key Resort, Honduras
Anthony’s Key Resort is located on the Caribbean island of Roatán, some 40 miles off the north coast of Honduras (to which Roatán belongs). The resort is a paradise for adventurous vacationers who want to get away from the Caribbean’s larger all-inclusives. It’s a hotspot for swimming with dolphins, as well as serious scuba diving. You can also go horseback riding along the beaches of Sandy Bay, passing through the small beach town before galloping along the white sand. Horse riding at Anthony’s Key is aimed more at first-time riders and anyone who hasn’t ridden for a long time. The ride is more about the scenery and spending time with the horses and the local guides — and trotting through the surf with a serene smile on your face.
Hanna Stables, Belize
OK, this one is probably for serious horse riders only. Hanna Stables is 50 miles from the nearest beach on Belize’s Caribbean coast, which might be a deal-breaker for some. But if you’re still reading… This all-inclusive eco-lodge is one of the oldest horseback riding establishments in Belize. Guests can use the lodge’s 15 horses to ride to the popular Mayan ruins of Xunantunich; the less crowded ruins of El Pilar; the as yet unexcavated ruins of Actun Kan; and the hilltop site of Cahal Pech (read more about all-inclusives for history buffs here). On the way, you’ll ride through spectacular scenery, guided by the lodge’s own experienced staff. You can also spend time exploring the 400-acre San Lorenzo Organic Farm. So if you’d rather hear the gentle clip-clop clip-clop of a horse than the roar of a jet ski, then Hanna Stables might be just the place for you.