Ever since Costa Rica witnessed a tourist boom in the early 1990s, the construction of golf courses has increased rapidly. Many reputed golf architects have lent their expertise in creating some top quality courses over the years. Today Costa Rica is considered to be among the popular golfing destinations in the world. Here are five of the best golf courses in Costa Rica.
Melia Cariari Golf Course
Located near the Juan Santamaria International Airport, this championship golf course is a private member club only.Designed by George Fazio and his nephew, Tom Fazio in the 1970s, this golf course remained the only 18-hole course in the whole of Central America for about 20 years. The tree-lined undulating fairways are a distinct feature of the course and it has played host to many big golfing events such as the Central and South American Open. It also features many amateur tournaments that draw the best talent from not just the Americas, but also Europe and the Caribbean. Although it is only open for play to its limited membership, it may be possible for certain hotels to acquire some tee time for their guests.
Garra de Leon Golf Course
Designed by internationally renowned golf course architect, Robert Trent Jones II, the Garra de Leon Golf Course is an ocean course that sits in a beautiful valley at the edge of the Pacific Ocean. The luxurious course has vast rolling greens and sweeping fairways and is surrounded by some of the best views in the world. It took more than four years to build and the attention to detail that went into creating the course is quite apparent. It used the natural setting to maximum advantage and a round of golf here is bound to be an adventurous and interesting experience.
Covering an expanse of 4500 acres along Costa Rica’s north pacific coast, Hacienda Pinilla was created in what used to be a cattle ranch for over 40 years. It retains this distinct ranch-like setting and sports a rustic, yet sophisticated layout. Designed by Mike Young who is the architect behind many impressive golf courses in the United States, this championship golf course is lined with ancient native trees that have long been the home of various species of birds and animals. There are different challenges to be experienced in each round. There are two distinct sides to the course; the ocean side with three holes that overlook the ocean and the ranch side, which also experiences ocean breezes that can vary from gentle to fierce.
La Iguana Golf Course
Playing on the Los Suenos golf course can be termed as an ecological experience because of the rich vegetation, native wildlife and lush natural beauty of its surroundings. The par 72 course, which sits in a tropical rainforest, has been designed by Ted Robinson Jr. The course features wide fairways and an interesting mix of long and short holes. During play, one can even catch glimpses of the monkeys and tropical birds in the surrounding rainforest. Some of the approach shots are played against the backdrop of the rainforest and it is common for golfers to stop for a while to take in the vibrant scenery.
Valle del Sol Golf Course
Golf course architect, Tracy May, re-designed the course at Valle del Sol in the Central Valley region of Costa Rica. It is the first and only course in this region that is open to the public, and also has the largest golf academy in the country. Stretching across 7011 yards, the 18-hole course is designed to be challenging, yet fair under all kinds of weather conditions. However play can be especially difficult in the presence of the strong mountain winds. Nearly every hole involves little lakes and streams as the course has fifteen lakes that are connected through streams. The par 3 15th hole may be especially challenging for golfers as it needs to be hit over nearly 100 yards of extreme rough. The cascading hills and old trees provide a beautiful setting for the golf experience. Towards the north of the golf course, there are the Barva, Poas and Irazu volcanoes while the south overlooks the mountain ranges of San Jose.