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Costa Rica golf courses

Our Favorite Costa Rica Golf Courses for 2023

We take a look at some of our favorite Costa Rica golf courses to check out this year (with honorable mention to some other top courses in Central America).

Costa Rica is famous for its beaches, rainforests, and indigenous culture. Travelers and tourists come to the region to surf, hike, birdwatch, and fish. But in recent years, as tourism has matured and evolved, Central America has become home to some of the best golf courses in the Western Hemisphere.

The top courses in Central America use nature to craft layouts to dazzle and captivate golfers of all ages.

Here’s a list of our favorite Costa Rica golf courses to enjoy in 2023. We’ve also added some other great courses elsewhere in Central America, in Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Panama.

Costa Rica golf courses:

The Ocean Course at Peninsula Papagayo, Papagayo

This Arnold Palmer signature course sits on the Papagayo Peninsula in Guanacaste, surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. It offers golfers some of the best views from any course anywhere in the world.

Recognized as one of the top 100 golf courses outside the United States, the Ocean Course is a masterpiece. This is the course that brings professional-level golf to Central America.

If you are up for the challenge at the Ocean Course, warm up and prepare or the first tee with their elite practice facilities. And don’t forget to take a photo when you’re on the 5th!

La Iguana Golf Course at Los Sueños, Playa Herradura

You’ll find this 18-hole, Ted Robinson-designed course at Los Sueños on Costa Rica’s Central Pacific coast.

La Iguana Golf Course is another layout that enhances the lush surrounding rainforest and offers a stunning golf experience to test the skill-set of even the most polished golfer.

At La Iguana, you’ll be pulling out your phone at each hole to take pictures of one of the most scenic golf courses in Costa Rica and Central America.

Running close to 6,700 yards, La Iguana covets the golfer who can hit the ball long and straight but should impress players of all skill levels.

Reserva Conchal Golf Course, Playa Conchal

Another splendid oceanside golf course in Costa Rica is at Reserva Conchal in Guanacaste. This Robert Trent Jones-designed course thrills with picturesque vistas and its appealing layout.

Some golf writers have called Reserva Conchal a masterpiece. Once you stand on the first tee, you’ll immediately realize why the course gets so much deserved praise.

The best hole at Reserva Conchal is the 17th. This is a long par-3 that requires a tee shot over water from an elevated tee box with a spectacular view of the beach below.

Hacienda Pinilla Golf Club, Guanacaste

What’s great about the Hacienda Pinilla course is how secluded it feels while you play. As you walk the pristine fairways, you’ll notice how peaceful the course is.

The winds can wreak havoc from time to time, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from playing this incredible golf course. Most golfers love the backdrop of the nearby mountains and can play a round in less than three hours when the course isn’t busy.

Club Cariari, Belén (San Jose)

Spectacular golf awaits you at Club Cariari in San Jose, Costa Rica’s capital city.

Although the course plays a little tougher than many, Club Cariari will blow you away with its gorgeous surroundings. With most fairways lined with native trees, you can also drink in spectacular views of the mountains that surround San Jose’s Central Valley.

Do your pushups before your round because Cariari is on the long side. That only adds to the engaging layout certain to delight you, though!

Another one of many first-rate Costa Rica gold courses, Club Cariari provides a wonderful playing experience.

Valle del Sol, Santa Ana (San Jose)

West of Costa Rica’s capital of San Jose, Valle del Sol is another top Central Valley golf course, open to the public every day.

The 18 holes at Valle del Sol, designed by Tracy May, offer stunning mountain and volcano views, with lakes and water features all over.

Valle del Sol is home to Costa Rica’s largest golf academy, with instruction programs for all ages and levels.

There’s no doubt that playing golf enhances any kind of lifestyle. This is something only true golfers – whatever their ability on the course – understand. So add to that the pure lifestyle boost you’ll receive from simply living in Costa Rica in the first place… Costa Rica + golf = wow! That’s some equation, that is!

If you’re a golfer interested in moving to Costa Rica, you could even make golf part of your job, by helping other golfers come and experience the courses listed above. You could become a Costa Rica travel consultant with a golf speciality! That’s gotta be something worth thinking about, right?

Other Central American golf courses:

Costa Rica has the lion’s share of golf courses in Central America but it’s certainly possible to spoil a good walk elsewhere in the region. Here’s some of our favorite golf courses in the rest of Central America:

The Roaring River Golf Course, Belmopan, Belize

The Roaring River Golf Course is an affordable 9-hole layout near Belmopan, Belize’s capital. It’s the only golf course in Belize, accessible from all over this tiny country.

Roaring River isn’t particularly long – the entire 18-hole experience runs a little under 4,000 yards. But don’t let that deter you from seeking this little gem the next time you’re in Belize.

Cut from the native forests around Belmopan, Roaring River delivers an enjoyable day on the links. With elevated greens and a healthy amount of bunkers, a day here offers you the charm of Belize combined with some exhilarating golf.

Mayan Golf Club, Villa Nueva, Guatemala

Dating back to 1918, the Mayan Golf Club is home to Central America’s oldest golf course. In Villa Nueva, this 18-hole piece of history is close to both Guatemala City and Antigua.

The Mayan is a gorgeous course offering plenty of breathtaking views of the nearby Lake Amatitlan and two volcanos.

Guiding the course is a design that challenges the golfer to keep the ball in the fairway due to the neighboring vegetation. The Mayan also has one of our favorite finishing holes in Central America, a double dog-leg par-5 that is an undeniable blast to play.

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The Black Pearl Golf Course, Roatan, Honduras

One of the most beautiful courses in the region is on the island of Roatan, Honduras at the Pristine Bay Resort.

Designed by world-renowned golf architect, Pete Dye, every single one of the Black Pearl Golf Course’s 18 holes is a true pleasure.

Dye, famous for his island green at the 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass in Florida, has brought his signature design to the Black Pearl. At the 11th hole, you’ll find an island green challenge that will enchant golfers of all ages.

With marvelous amenities, the Black Pearl is a dream for anyone looking for five-star golf in Central America.

Club de Golf de Panama, Panama City, Panama

Built in 1922, the Club de Golf de Panama is the best golf course in Panama. An annual stop for professional golf tours, Club de Golf is another layout that takes advantage of the natural environment.

As you play the Club de Golf, you’ll marvel at how the course carves through towering trees, creating a natural barrier for each fairway.

The best hole on the course is the 17th, a short downhill par-3 that demands an accurate tee shot for a chance at a birdie.

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Buenaventura Golf Club, Santa Clara, Panama

Designed by the legendary Jack Nicklaus, the Buenaventura Golf Club is a one-of-a-kind golfing paradise. This course by the ocean, less than two hours out of Panama City, uses water features to create challenges that will have golfers raving about how much fun they’re having.

The final hole is strikingly beautiful as the par-4 18th gives you a close-up of the water as you try to shape your drive and your second shot to a narrow green.

Each course on our list is an ideal locale for enjoying the best of what this region can offer in golfing experiences

From incorporating the natural terrain to providing first-rate accommodations, these courses go above and beyond to provide exceptional moments you won’t soon forget.

Always an oasis for great golf, Central America has many courses worth making the centerpiece of your next golfing vacation.

Jordan Fuller is a golf enthusiast and blogger from Omaha, Nebraska who plays golf all over the world while simultaneously running his Golf Influence blog. 

Jordan Fuller

Jordan Fuller

Jordan Fuller is a golf enthusiast and blogger from Omaha, Nebraska who plays golf all over the world. Ever since he was a kid, he has dedicated his life to golf and loves helping other enthusiasts in improving their play.