Costa Rica has a stunning tropical climate year-round, which makes it the perfect location for beautiful rounds of golf. Thankfully, the country has a wide variety of amazing golf courses that are well worth the play.
If you’ve recently moved to the area, we’ve put together an expat’s guide to the best golf courses in Costa Rica in 2022. While we highly recommend playing as many different ones as you can before choosing a home course, these are the ones we’d pick above any others!
Grab your clubs, and your best golf gloves, and rev up the golf cart, because these courses are as fun as they are challenging!
Hacienda Pinilla, Guanacaste
Hacienda Pinilla is a public golf course, so you can arrive there any time for a round. It’s a lovely course that winds around the natural landscape, creating a spectacular playing experience.
This course is surprisingly environmentally friendly, one of just 3 courses in Costa Rica to be a certified Audubon Sanctuary. Situated along the coast, the views are spectacular.
At 7,274 yards, it’s one of the longest courses in the country and known to be one of the most challenging. But beginners golfers need not worry, as there are plenty of tee boxes to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone.
You can choose between a 9 or 18-hole round, and they also have twilight golf. The course itself is tricky, with wide fairways but strategically-placed sand traps, trees, and curvy slopes.
Some memorable holes include the 10th, which features a tricky dogleg and an unexpected drop-off, and the two ocean-view holes, 15 and 16.
Reserva Conchal, Guanacaste
While this course is for resort guests only, it’s absolutely worth staying a night and getting out on those fairways.
The par-71, 7,000+ yard championship course is a certified Audubon Sanctuary, one of just 3 in the country. You have a chance of seeing a variety of wildlife as you play!
But don’t let the warm weather and stunning views distract you. The course is challenging, featuring water hazards in the shape of lakes, rivers, and lagoons, as well as a total of 63 bunkers strategically scattered about the course.
Spacious fairways are lined with forest, so choose a forgiving driver to avoid losing balls in the trees. The greens are lightning-fast and on any given day there’s a blustering wind blowing which will make it even more challenging.
The course ends with a bang. The 17th hole is a memorable par-3 with a water carry, and the closing hole is a par-5 that features a water hazard which makes it an exciting risk/reward kind of hole.
Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo, Guanacaste
Ranked as the top golf course in the country, the Four Seasons Peninsula Papagayo is finally open to the public and not just resort guests! It’s absolutely worth a visit and should be on every golfer’s bucket list of courses to play.
You’ll be mesmerized by the picturesque views. Settled on top of a spectacular plateau, the course is a beautiful scene filled with wildlife and it does a good job of preserving the integrity of the habitat around it. It’s built right into the jungle terrain and offers an exciting game with challenging elevation changes.
An amazing 14 out of the 18 holes here have views of the ocean, so you’ll need to concentrate if you want to make a good score!
As well as the constant presence of the ocean, multiple holes contain water hazards like creeks running across the course or deep pools that swallow wayward balls.
The signature hole is the 6th, named “El Bajo”. The hole is 438 yards from an elevated tee, and the views are the best on the course.
Valle del Sol, San José
Located in the central highlands of Costa Rica, this 18-hole golf course is situated inside a residential area that’s home to many expats.
It’s open to the public, so anyone can enjoy the play here. However, if you become a member here, you’ll also get access to certain other semi-private courses throughout the country.
With 5 tee positions, golfers of all skill levels can play comfortably. Experienced golfers will enjoy the challenge brought on by strategically-placed bunkers and water hazards on all but 2 of the holes. However, beginners should find it to be exciting as well, and not so difficult that it ruins the fun.
You’ll be able to see three different volcanoes as you make your way through the course, surrounded by mountain ranges.
La Iguana Golf Course Los Sueños Marriott, Playa Herradura
This beautiful 18-hole golf course is the epitome of the Costa Rican landscape, with the ocean on one side and the tropical rainforest on the other. The course itself features native flora and fauna, with over 150 species of animals and birds being spotted.
Expats who want a truly native experience will love this course. The holes are very well spaced out, with no views of adjacent holes to distract you.
It’s a challenging course. The signature 4th hole, known as “El Tucan”, is 545 yards long and features a dogleg and a water hazard that runs from tee to green and cuts the fairway in half.
If you play here and love it so much that you want to come back often, you can download the La Iguana app, which allows you to book tee times online, view live leaderboards, check the GPS yardage on any hole, and keep track of your stats.
Why Golf In Costa Rica?
Golf may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Costa Rica, especially as an expat who’s settling in. However, there’s no denying that Costa Rica is a fantastic spot to swing your clubs.
- Perpetually lovely weather
- Spectacular ocean and mountain views
- Golf courses to rival the top USA courses
Our expat’s guide to the best golf courses in Costa Rica will not only provide you with a list of amazing courses to while away your free hours on, but it should help you to take a closer step to find your perfect home course.
But the beauty of golf is that even if you do have a home base, spectacular courses await around just about every corner. No matter where you are, your level of golfing skill, or how much time you have to play, there’s a course nearby for you.
Take advantage of that tropical climate and swing your clubs on the nearest (or not so near) course to you! It’s never a waste of time to be out on the course, surrounded by nature, enjoying your sport.
About the Author
Jordan Fuller is a retired golfer and has had the good fortune to play on stunning courses across the world. When he’s not improving his own game or mentoring other golfers, he’s researching and writing for his own website, Golf Influence.
Photo by TallyPic on Depositphotos