If your idea of the perfect vacation has to include golf, then the many beautiful Costa Rica golf courses have got you covered. Guanacaste, Costa Rica is rapidly becoming a world-class golf destination. Many golfers adore Costa Rica for its picturesque courses that double as a nature walk. Mark Twain said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Not in Costa Rica!
Some of the top-rated golf courses in Costa Rica are in Guanacaste. Specifically, there are 3 championship courses within one hour of Playas del Coco, Playa Hermosa and the Papagayo Peninsula.
I have played all three and have to say my favorite is the Arnold Palmer course; however, I have scored better on the Hacienda Pinilla course.
This area is ideally suited for the game of golf. Not only is it summer year-round, but the courses treat the player to the best of Costa Rica’s flora and fauna. The fairways are framed by the mountains and lined with rainforest. Wildlife occasionally distracts your tee shot, and tropical birds cross your ball’s flight path.
The Arnold Palmer Golf Course at Papagayo Peninsula’s prestigious Four Seasons resort ranks in the top 20 courses in the world according the Travel and Leisure, and it places among Golf Digest’s “Best 100 Courses Outside the United States.”
Positioned on the Papagayo Peninsula’s high plateau and overlooking Bahia Culebra, almost all the holes have breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. You will enjoy cool, prevailing breezes as you make your way through the 125 acres of undulating fairways with large, contoured greens.
If your golf isn’t up to par, at least enjoy the trip around the course which is a certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
Tee times can be purchased by non-guests when available. It costs $230 to play 18 holes and includes use of the practice range, a cart, and water. Clubs and golf shoes are available for rent. The greens fee drops to $165 after 12:30 pm.
The Garra de Leon golf course on the grounds of the luxurious Westin Playa Conchal is the oldest of Guanacaste’s championship courses, designed by Trent Jones II and inaugurated in 1996. This course is an almost 7,000-yard paradise that winds its way from the ocean’s edge up into the hills of an old teak ranch and then delivers you back to the sea again. The par 71 course is relaxing and fun for golfers of all levels.
It was the first of all the Costa Rica golf courses to be certified by Audubon International for the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary Program for its environmentally friendly efforts, providing an “eco-golf” experience.
The fairways wander through native forest and around lagoons, along the beach and over ravines, everywhere distracting the player with panoramic views of the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean.
Golf at this Playa Conchal course costs $180 for 18 holes with a cart, and there are discounts for tee times later in the afternoon. Six-month and one-year memberships can be purchased for those planning to make Guanacaste their home.
The Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course at JW Marriott was designed by well-known architect Mike Young. It is a 7,200-yard course spread over a rolling coastal landscape. To some it reminds them of the famed links courses in Scotland, without the foul weather! The layout conforms to the natural contours of the land, weaving through the tropical forest and along the shores of the Pacific. This par 72 course gives golfers an exceptional and immaculately maintained place to enjoy a round with family and friends.
The Hacienda Pinilla course has also been named an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for its preservation of the ecological balance through design and maintenance. It costs $150 to play here, and the price includes a cart and use of the practice facilities. Residents of Costa Rica pay $85 for 18 holes and an extra $20 to use a cart. A month-long pass costs $300. Year passes are also available.
Rumor has it that there are a few more more Costa Rica golf courses in the works for Guanacaste. So golfing a different course each day of the week may not be too far in the future!
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