We had planned to rush through Costa Rica – it was touristy and expensive we were told. But stories of beautiful beaches on the less developed Caribbean Coast convinced us to make a stop at Puerto Viejo. It was only just over the border from Panama and we’d be passing through anyway. Somehow we got stuck and a quick stop turned into 12 days – judging from the amount of expats here this happens a lot.
One of the perks of being an equestrian intern in rural Costa Rica was taking advantage of the local connections. A neighbouring family invited us to visit their trapiche or sugar cane mill, and it was a fascinating experience.
The trapiche is very much a family run affair, and with 13 children in the family there are plenty of people to help out. We entered the barn to the cloying smell of boiling sugar and to oppressive heat and smoke from the sugar cane juice bubbling away. We were shown around to find out more about how sugar is made.
We spent the first half of April volunteering as equestrian interns in the middle of nowhere in Costa Rica. We loved the blissfully quiet location and got to enjoy the country’s gorgeous countryside as well as learning lots about riding and horse care.
During our stay as equestrian interns in rural Costa Rica we had the opportunity to visit a local family’s Trapiche or sugar cane mill. The juice is extracted from sugar cane and then boiled up in a series of different pots. It’s steamy, hot and the air is thick with the sugary sweet smell.
The opportunity to ride in a Costa Rican cabalgata wasn’t something I could turn down. I was nervous though. I didn’t know quite what to expect: would it be a huge parade of horses through the town, or a gallop in the countryside with the local cowboys?