Giddy Up: The Horse Tour with Dave Hopper

Giddy Up: The Horse Tour with Dave Hopper
by Casie Dean
Upon arriving at the pickup location, one is greeted with an earnest smile and hearty handshake from the man himself, Dave Hopper, founder of The House Tour on Isla Cristobal. The boat ride to this adventure takes you directly to Dave’s home on San Cristobal where the trail begins. His wife, Molly, pokes her head out of the kitchen window to send down a warm hello and then goes back to making her soap line; she’s the guru behind Punta Coco Soap (in next month’s issue). Narciso is there as well. He is Dave’s right hand man, not to mention a veterinarian from the local village we will be visiting later. While saddling up Dave begins the horse tutorial. There were 4 well fed, well-mannered horses, all of which Dave took on the responsibility of rehabilitating. Clients of the tour will never guess that almost every horse was suffering from severe malnutrition and neglect not that long ago. With his knowledge and expertise Dave purchased each of them locally and brought them back to life by nourishing their bodies and souls. The Horse Tour now provides a beautiful insight to the jungle on San Cristobal, but it also offers clients a tour of the one of the largest indigenous villages in the archipelago. The village of San Cristobal has a lot to offer those who ride its way; a hot meal (and cold beverage) from the local restaurant, beautifully ornate jewelry and other crafts, and an inside look at the traditions shared by the hard working people who reside there. It’s a journey into an unknown world not to mention a culturally wonderful experience that everyone benefits from. Just a few tips for when you get ready to saddle up: “Ya” is actually universal and when Spanish horses hear this, they will begin to run, and always mount and dismount on the left side of the horse or you may find yourself face first in a pile of manure.


The Bocas Breeze is a digital and print newspaper proudly serving the Bocas del Toro community since 2004; reporting news, advertising local businesses and promoting tourism in Bocas del Toro, Panama.

One Comment

  1. paula labrot Reply

    Oh, this looks like so much fun! When I come back to Bocas, I definitely want to do this…and have another ride in Casie’s golf cart! I miss you, Bocas! Take good care of Dr. Ben for me!

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