Golf in Costa Rica

Golf in Costa Rica 2019-09-09T16:45:43+00:00

Golf did not arrive to Costa Rica until 1940 , when the Costa Rica Country club designed and built a 9-hole course, where only the wealthiest of Costa Ricans were members.  The population of Costa Rica in 1940 was less than 700,000 people.  Though the Country Club is no longer only for the elite, this still remains a members only course.  Thirty years passed before Costa Rica got its second golf course, the 18-hole Cariari Country Club, also a private club.  At the time, the Cariari was considered the best golf course in Central America.

Shortly after the Cariari came Los Reyes, a 9-hole private country club.  By the 1970’s the population had grown to 2 million, but golf still was not that popular, and three private clubs seemed to satisfy the golfing community living here.  At the beginning of the 1990’s tourism here soared as Costa Rica’s eco-friendly reputation was spreading.  Rumors of new courses to come began circulating.  But it wasn’t until 1997, that Valle del Sol finally became Costa Rica’s first 18-hole public golf course.  Soon after the turn of the Millennium, Hacienda Pinilla and Reserva Conchal Resort opened providing us with two well-designed 18-hole courses.

In 2005 Arnold Palmer designed Four Seasons opened with its spectacular layout, as well as the nearby Papagayo Country Club designed by Pete Dye. Two new 9-hole courses opened on the eastern side of San Jose, being the first courses in that area.  How many more will open, hopefully more.  For someone who plays golf here three times a week, there now are some good golfing options, and for tourists coming to Costa Rica, you might want to consider bringing your clubs.

Golf Courses in Costa Rica With Reviews

Reserva Conchal Golf Club

Cabo Velas, Guanacaste

5.0 of 5 stars3 Reviews

“a great course with the friendliest…”03/2010

18-Hole Course

Hotel guests only

113-136 €

Golf Packages from 2744 € for 7 Nights and 5 green fees

Four Seasons Golf Club

Peninsula Papagayo

5.0 of 5 stars2 Reviews

18-Hole Course

Hotel guests only

217 €

Golf Packages from 2744 € for 7 Nights and 5 green fees

La Iguana Golf Course

Herradura

4.0 of 5 stars1 Review

18-Hole Course

Mo-Su

68 €

Golf Packages from 2744 € for 7 Nights and 5 green fees

Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course

Santa Cruz, Guanacaste

3.5 of 5 stars2 Reviews

18-Hole Course

Mo-Su

136 €

Golf Packages from 2744 € for 7 Nights and 5 green fees

Cariari Country Club

Ciudad Cariari

3.3 of 5 stars3 Reviews

“A Very Good Course”08/2013

18-Hole Course

On request

Golf Packages from 2744 € for 7 Nights and 5 green fees

Valle del Sol Golf Course

Santa Ana – Map

4.5 of 5 stars2 Reviews

18-Hole Course

Mo-Su

86 €

This was my home golf course when I lived in the Central Valley.

Los Delfines Golf & Country Club

Playa Tambor – Map

4.0 of 5 stars1 Review

9-Hole Course

Mo-Su

90 €

San Buenas Golf Resort

San Buenaventura – Map

3.0 of 5 stars1 Review

9-Hole San Buenas Course

Mo-Su

Costa Rica Country Club

San Jose – Map

9-Hole Course

Mo-Su

Los Reyes Golf & Country Club

Ciudad-Hacienda, Los Reyes – Map

9-Hole Los Reyes Country Club Course

Mo-Su

Punta Islita Executive Course

San José – Map

9-Hole Par 3 Course

Mo-Su

27 €

Tango Mar Beach, Spa & Golf Resort

Puntarenas – Map

9-Hole Tango Mar Beach Golf Course

Mo-Su

18 €

The beautiful country of Costa Rica draws expats and tourists from around the world who come to enjoy its golden-sand beaches, rainforests teeming with exotic life, and intoxicating culture, summed up by the country’s Pura Vida (“pure life”) attitude.

But if you’re an avid golfer, as I’ve been for over 10 years here in Costa Rica, you have another reason to enjoy this Central American paradise. As Costa Rica has over a dozen courses in operation, you can have a wonderful time golfing here. The incredible sunsets, the howler monkeys roaring overhead as you make your way to the next hole, and tropical birds greeting you at almost every turn all make for a truly exotic golfing experience.

I have played in recreational and national tournaments here in Costa Rica over the years, and it is a wonderful country for the novice and advanced golfer alike. Not only are the conditions of the courses exceptional, but—compared to prices in the States—golf here is a true bargain. Most green fees are well under $100, and if you live here, the rates can be even cheaper.

The larger resort courses located in the northern Guanacaste region are geared for the experienced golfer, and they come with heftier green fees. Courses centered around the capital, San José, are better suited for novice golfers.

I’ve been fortunate enough to play up and down this country. Here are three courses I keep coming back to.

Cariari Country Club

A top-of-the-line golf experience for sure, this place offers a private country club experience at a fraction of the cost—figure green fees of just $60.

Famous celebrities like Bob Hope, John Wayne, and Joe DiMaggio (rumor has it that he brought Marilyn Monroe with him) came to enjoy the wonderful hospitality of Cariari Country Club over the years. In the city of Heredia, around six miles north of San José, the course was once a working coffee plantation. The name Cariari derives from a native word. It refers to the pristine beach region of Puerto Limón, where Christopher Columbus landed in 1502.

Known as Costa Rica’s national course, this semi-private property sits on 53 hectares and has a world-class hotel (DoubleTree) on site. With the 18-hole championship course measuring at 6,577 yards, par 71, this is one of George Fazio’s masterpieces. The course itself is a wonderful journey through massive, tree-lined fairways frequented by wild parrots and monkeys, and with beautiful views of the mountains that surround San José.

Most of the courses have caddies available upon request. They are not mandatory, but they really make a difference if it is your first stroll around this beautiful course. See: Clubcariari.com.

Hacienda Pinilla

Situated in Guanacaste, and minutes from the popular beach town of Tamarindo, this gem is a must-play for any golf enthusiast in Costa Rica.

One of a few hundred courses in the world that is certified by the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary, which encourages golf courses to be environmentally friendly, this 18-hole championship course hosts many national tournaments. It is considered one of the most challenging courses in the country, due to its length. (However, at 7,274 yards and par 72, its five different tee boxes make it a fair game for golfers of all skill levels.)

Entering the property is jaw-dropping, thanks to all the magnificent trees, multicolored flower beds, and exotic wildlife. I really like the water fowl that fly around the course, diving into the lakes to grab fish. The holes themselves, as you go down toward the ocean and view the beautiful coastline, with white-sand stretches and sea otters frolicking in the nearby tidal pools, have names like Oxcart and Sloth Tree.

Try to save the 15th and 16th holes until the evening, when you’ll be treated to the most spectacular displays of orange, yellow, and blue, as the sun sets over the Pacific. Easily one of the best golf settings you can imagine. And for a green fee of $125, it’s a steal. See: Jwguanacastegolf.com.

Parque Valle del Sol

If there is one golf course in Costa Rica that can be called “the locals’ course,” this is it. It’s a great place to mingle with Tico golf enthusiasts and meet expat golfers who also come here.

Lying in Pozos de Santa Ana, a suburb of San José, this 7,011-yard, par-72, 18-hole, championship golf course can be enjoyed by all. Green fees ($67) are modest, and you also have a full-service restaurant. The course is always immaculately manicured, and the greens are amazing. Membership here will also give you access to semi-private courses throughout the country.

Local tournaments are held on Wednesday mornings, and you can test your skill among the other players. There are “get-away” tournaments at other courses, so you can play with your friends at discount prices. Go in and ask about locals’ and twilight rates, as well as maybe getting a quick lesson by teaching professional Mainor Castillo Bolaños, considered one of the top choices in the Central Valley. See: Vallesol.com.

When it comes to relaxation, there’s no better place in the world to take it easy than Costa Rica. Whether you prefer to lounge on the beach or get back to nature in one of the country’s 26 national parks and nature reserves, Costa Rica is quite literally a tropical paradise. While surfing and canopy tours are among the more exciting activities you can enjoy here, Costa Rica has several world-class golf courses where you can work on your backswing amid some of the most stunning scenery on the planet.

An emerging sport

Golfing is probably Costa Rica’s best-kept secret. Most of the country’s courses are less than 10 years old, but make no mistake – these resorts will test your skills. Many of Costa Rica’s top golf resorts were designed by experts, combining challenging play with breathtaking surroundings.

Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course, Guanacaste

This 7,300-yard, 72-par course was designed by Mike Young, who is responsible for some of the most renowned and challenging courses in the U.S. Located in Santa Cruz in Guanacaste, each hole at Hacienda Pinilla was created to take full advantage of the land’s natural contours and the features of the landscape. Boasting a number of deceptively challenging holes and tricky sand traps, a round of golf at Hacienda Pinilla is a must for serious golfers.

La Iguana Golf Course, Puntarenas

Located in the heart of the rainforest in Puntarenas, La Iguana offers some of the most breathtaking scenery of any course in Costa Rica. It’s inside the Los Suenos Resort.  This 18-hole, 72-par championship course was designed by Ted Robinson, providing golfers with a spectacular blend of rugged rainforest and ocean views. More than 150 species of bird inhabit the forest that surrounds the course, and some players have even reported having balls stolen by the playful monkeys that make their home in the trees that line the fairway!

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Tim

About 

Tim Schmidt is an Entrepreneur who helps companies grow their online business. A firm believer in creating great content, he founded AllWorld.com to empower world travelers. You can also find his work published at the Huffington Post, Social Media Today, and many other online journals. His latest claim to fame is having his footage of feeding giant crocodiles in Costa Rica featured on Animal Planet. Visit his official site to learn more about him.

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