Discover Baja California on Horseback

Guest post by K.C. Dermody, who has traveled to nearly all 50 states and over 20 different countries, including visits to Ireland at least once a year. Her goal is to impart what she has learned from her travel experiences to others, and to inspire more people to get out and truly explore, rather than spending their holidays in a lounge chair by the pool. 

Discover Baja California on Horseback

Written by: K.C. Dermody 

It’s not just the American West that offers unforgettable horseback riding excursions and dude ranch vacations — head further south and you’ll discover spectacular Wild West terrain in Baja California, Mexico.

When many people hear “Baja” they automatically think of Cabo San Lucas, located at the southern tip of the peninsula, and days spent partying on the beach, but this peninsula offers so much more. The diverse terrain includes everything from cactus-filled desert and soaring mountains with natural hot springs and waterfalls, to gloriously empty golden stretches of sand edged by crashing waves and powdery white-sand beaches framed by crystal-clear, calm turquoise waters.

Whether you’re looking to ride for a couple hours, a full day, or a vacation focused on being on the back of a horse, you’ll find it here — and it’s a wonderful way to discover the best of Baja.

Los Cabos

Courtesy Cuadra San Francisco @LosCabosHorses
If you plan to spend most of your time experiencing the famous restaurants, bars and clubs in Cabo but want to enjoy a horseback riding adventure too, your best bet is to sign up for a trip with an outfitter like Cuadra San Francisco. This local, highly reputable, family-owned business offers scenic rides through the desert and on the beach. You can choose rides on one or the other, or both. The horses are well taken care of and trained, ideal for everyone from beginners to experts, children as well as adults. Riding on the pristine, white beaches of Cabo Real is sure to be a magical experience, but the ride through the desert canyon brings the chance to marvel at unique animals and plants that make this region different from anywhere else on the planet.

Todos Santos

Todos Santos main beach by K.C. Dermody
An easy hour’s drive from Cabo, Todos Santos is an especially charming colonial town that’s been named a Pueblo Magico, or “magical town,” for its importance as a cultural landmark. It’s a focal point for art, with many outstanding galleries, and also offers a remarkable foodie scene with endless restaurants serving mouthwatering Baja fare with lots of fresh seafood and organic produce.

It’s an artsy desert oasis, tucked among palm trees and ancient mango orchards, and offers one of the most unspoiled stretches of sand along the coast — 70 miles of virtually empty beach that makes it ideal for horseback riding excursions. There are rides from the beginner to advanced, guided by expert naturalists who can share their local knowledge with you. As this is a smaller community, there are also opportunities that aren’t as well advertised — if you want something especially unique and authentic, you might want to check with the locals via the Todos Santos Newsfeed on Facebook for the best insider advice.

Los Barriles

Courtesy of Baja's Awesome Beach Rides @awesomebeachrides
Just 40 minutes from Cabo on the east cape, Los Barriles is an especially picturesque fishing village without the tourist traps or crowds. There are a couple of great options here. With Horseback Rides by Betto, Alberto “Betto” Costa offers guided tours that include trips to the area’s famous waterfalls where you can even swim under the cascades that spill off granite cliffs. You’ll visit gorgeous white-sand beaches and other remote locations as well.

If you want to play Mexican cowboy or cowgirl, Baja’s Awesome Beach Rides is based here and features an extensive menu of options, including “Cowboy for a Day.” You’ll be able to help feed, groom and tack up your own horse, then enjoy a long ride out on the beach, into the arroyo and up into the hills. You can even learn the skill of rope throwing here and a picnic lunch under shady trees is included as well.


The beach at Balandre by K.C. Dermody
A small mountain town along the Sea of Cortez in the Sierra de la Giganta, Loreto is one of the oldest settlements in Baja and one of the most beautiful. Look forward to an authentic Mexican feel with colorful traditions, stunning beaches and glistening azure bays perfect for swimming, snorkeling and kayaking. On land there are miles of trails to explore on horseback, allowing riders to experience both historical sites and breathtaking scenery.

This is an ideal spot for a multi-day adventure. Saddling South offers pack trips that begin from the moment you arrive at the airport. You’ll discover secluded oasis areas with springs, creeks and pools nestled in the rugged canyons and visit working ranches where you’ll meet locals who use old-style methods for tanning hides and weaving horsehair ropes. When its citrus season, you can ride through orchards and gather the local oranges for an especially refreshing treat. Of course, you’ll be able to fuel your rides with delicious Baja cuisine throughout, including homemade tortillas, tamales and machaca tacos that are popular for trail food.

Riding on the beach at Todos Santos