Imagine golfing in some of the world's most spectacular surroundings, amidst lush tropical vegetation, exotic birds such as parrots and toucans, and amazing wildlife including howler monkeys and cotamundi. Ocean side holes, volcano views, and jaw-dropping coastal vistas are common at Costa Rica golf courses. Costa Rica, more traditionally known as a global leader in eco-tourism and surfing, is solidifying its reputation as a legitimate golf destination. Hassle-free tee times and unhurried rounds are the norm, and courses have been created by internationally renowned designers like Tracy May, George Fazio, Robert Trent Jones II, Ted Robinson Jr., and Mike Young. With seven world-class golf courses and more on the way, Costa Rica will satisfy the needs of even the most demanding golfer.
The Guanacaste province is fast becoming the center for golf in Costa Rica. With four signature courses and several more in the planning stages, the area offers some of the most outstanding golf in the tropics. Here are a couple of our Gold Coast favorites:
The oldest Gold Coast golf course is the Garra de Leon at Reserva Conchal. This course is situated under one hour from the International Airport at Liberia, and enjoys a stunning location in a pristine, white sand bay between Tamarindo and Flamingo Beach.
|GARRA DE LEON|
Garra de Leon golf course is a spectacular 18 hole, 6956 yard, Par 71 championship course designed by internationally renowned architect Robert Trent Jones II. According to Trent Jones II, Garra del Leon represents “environmentally sensitive golf at its best.” Although this coastal course presents players with a challenging and unique eco-golf experience, Trent Jones II also created it with the resort player in mind. As a result, fairways are spacious and there are multiple teeing options.
Lakes and ravines embellish the course and put a premium on tee shots and accurate approach shots to spacious, manicured bermuda-grass greens. Meticulous thought went into preserving and enhancing the native dry forest and mangroves during the design and construction of the course. As a result, your Garra del Leon golf experience often includes howler monkey, cotamundi and exotic bird sightings. Moreover, the fabulous coastal location also means panoramic Pacific Ocean and Conchal beach views.
The luxury resort surrounding Garra de Leon is one of the most decadent golf and beach resorts on the entire continent. A five star hotel, the largest free-form pool in Central America, tennis courts, spa and gym are among the amenities that you will encounter at Conchal. After a satisfying 18 holes of golf, take a stroll along the lovely white-sand beach or a relaxing dip in the warm crystal blue ocean. Conchal is within easy access of all the Gold Coast activities, including the future Flamingo Marina site only ten minutes away, fabulous Diving and Sport Fishing off Flamingo Beach and Potrero Bay, and Surfing in and around Tamarindo.
The impressive Hacienda Pinilla golf course is part of a breathtaking 4,500 acre oceanfront golf resort with three miles of pristine beaches, internationally recognized five star hotel, equestrian center, gym, tennis and spa. Hacienda Pinilla is ideally located 15-20 minutes south of Conchal, Potrero and Flamingo Beaches, and 10 minutes south of Tamarindo. Like Reserva Conchal, Hacienda Pinilla is also under one hour from the Liberia International Airport.
Hacienda Pinilla golf course is an 18 hole championship links style course with open fairways and challenging winds. Designed by famous architect Mike Young to conform to the natural contours of the land, this 7,274 yard, Par 72 course is truly masterpiece. It is one of the few courses in the world created to face the ocean, and as a result, its coastal layout offers both exhilarating play and absolutely awe-inspiring views.
Mike Young’s concern for the environment is also evident in the Pinilla design. The course is Audubon Society certified due to its preservation of native Dry Forest species which are reminiscent of the African savannah. Magnificent trees such as Guanacaste, Pichote and Matapalo pepper the course and provide the habitat for a multitude of indigenous species including exotic monkeys, birds, reptiles and deer.
The course’s numerous risk/reward situations offer different challenges each time you play, and the trees not only provide shade and scenic beauty, but also act as natural obstacles. Six sets of tees at every hole as make the course infinitely playable for beginners and experts alike, as do the Tif Eagle Turf greens.
Hacienda Pinilla is also the perfect place to visit, invest or live if you have multiple interests and needs. In addition to its world-class golf course, Pinilla offers some of the best surfing in the country, including the famous Little Hawaii break, calm swimming coves for nervous swimmers and children, nature trails, an equestrian center, tennis courts, gyms, and spa. And the property is minutes from vibrant Tamarindo, with its great restaurants, shopping and nightlife.
Web Site: www.haciendapinilla.com
Phone: (506) 680-7000
One of the newer golf courses on the Gold Coast is the Four Seasons signature golf course at Papagayo Peninsula. Designed by renowned architect Arnold Palmer, this 6788 yard, Par 72 course offers jaw-dropping Hermosa and Panama bay views from fourteen of its eighteen holes. The play is both fair and challenging, with wide, rolling fairways and spacious, contoured greens. Moreover, the Four Seasons course is planted entirely with Paspalum, an eco-conscious choice that tolerates the tropical heat and can be irrigated with salt water.
Phone: (00 800) 6488-6488 / (0800) 919 819
The Central Pacific Coast has a fantastic course at Los Suenos near Jaco Beach. Designed by Ted Robinson Jr., the 6,707 yard, Par 72 course boasts a lush rainforest atmosphere where you can play a challenging game while taking in the incredible natural beauty, tropical vegetation, and exotic wildlife.
Phone: 011 506-630-9000
Fax: 011 506-630-9090
If you plan to visit San Jose in Costa Rica’s Central Valley, there are several golf resorts in close proximity. The Valle del Sol golf course is situated in Santa Ana, a swanky suburb of the capital city. The course is an 18-hole professional, par 72 course that gently slopes for 6,750 yards. This fair yet challenging course was designed by North American architect Tracy May, and is set in garden-like surrounding with small streams and lakes on almost every hole. Valle del Sol also provides wonderful views of the Irazu, Barva and Poas volcanoes to the north, and San Jose’s stately mountain range to the west.
Phone: (506) 282-9222
Fax: (506) 282-9333
The fabulous Cariari golf course, located on the road between Western San Jose and the Juan Santamaria International Airport, was designed in the 1970's by George Fazio. This course was the first 18 hole championship golf course in Costa Rica, and still ranks as one of the best in all of Central America. The 6,590 yard, par 71 course features challenging tree-lined fairways where accuracy is more important than length. Although the course is private to members of the Cariari Golf and Country Club, individuals who purchase real estate at the affiliated Garra del Leon course in Reserva Conchal are able to play Cariari as well.