Autotour: Golf in Costa Rica

Play golf in front of a gorgeous tropical backdrop! 
Enjoy Costa Rica's stunning nature and get to know the country's most beautiful golf courses and highlights, such as the Arenal Volcano and the
Monteverde Cloud Forest. You will not have to worry about non-golfers accompanying you: On their own or accompanied by local, English-speaking guides they can explore Costa Rica's attractions while you spend the day on the green.

Day 1: Arrival in San José

Upon arrival at the airport in San José, you will be expected after the passport control by a representative of CANATUR who guides you through baggage claim and customs to the airport exit. Here, your English-speaking guide from ARA Tours is already waiting for you. During the drive to the city hotel, you will be provided with all necessary information about your trip.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: None

Day 2: San José – Valle del Sol Golf Course / San José– Los Sueños

Your rental car will be delivered after breakfast, you need a credit card (Visa, Mastercard, American Express or Diner´s Cub) and your valid national driving license. Then you drive to the 18-hole championship golf course Valle del Sol, located in the heart of the Central Valley. This beautiful facility planned by Tracy May (7,011 yards/72 Par) offers plenty of variety. The first nine holes are surrounded by very old, beautiful trees, and the area of the ‘backnine’ is open and spacious. The 15 lakes are home to over 20 species of birds and other animals – but at the same time represent water hazards and thus exciting challenges for the golfer. The wind conditions have a great impact on the game as well. The place is very well-maintained and even during the rainy season in very good condition. During the round, you will always be able to enjoy beautiful views of the volcanic chain of the Central Valley.

Alternative program for non-golfers:
For the non-golfers, the morning is at your leisure. You can drive to the close city centre and go for a walk on your own. We recommend a visit to the Gold or the National Museum (closed on Mondays).

In the afternoon, your journey continues down to the Pacific Coast where you will arrive at the magnificent Los Sueños Marina. The afternoon is at leisure. Enjoy the great resort and the beach right in front of the hotel!

Included fees/tours:
Golfers: Green fee at Valle del Sol and golf cart
Non-golfers: None
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 3: La Iguana Golf Course / Los Sueños – Guacalillo Mangroves

The La Iguana Golf Course (72 Par/6,698 Yards), designed by Ted Robinson Junior, lies surrounded by tropical jungle in the immediate vicinity of the Los Sueños Marriot Resort. Here, the round of golf becomes a natural and exciting experience! Screaming scarlet macaw parrots often fly across the fairways, while iguanas, monkeys and toucans watch your swing. The demanding golf course challenges the player in many ways: The architecture provides both open fairways with views towards the Pacific Ocean and the marina, as well as tight, tree-lined fairways for a very precise game. A good monitoring and estimating of the ball’s rolling path is always required. The course is in immaculate condition. All golf carts are equipped with GPS and indicate the distance to each hole very precisely.

Alternative program for non-golfers:
Today, we reserved a boat tour to the mangroves of Guacalillo for you. With your rental car, you drive to the close meeting point (about 30 minutes drive). Here, a relaxing and quiet boat tour through the wide mangroves of the coastal area waits for you. From time to time, caimans, racoons, iguanas, as well as the colourful scarlet macaws can be spotted. You refresh yourself with tropical fruits and a fruit juice. Afterwards, drive back to your hotel.

Included fees/tours:
Golfers: Green fee at La Iguana and golf cart
Non-golfers: Guacalillo Mangrove Tour (seat-in, no guide)
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 4: Los Sueños - La Fortuna

The morning is at leisure. We recommend you driving south for about 1 hour to visit the world-famous Manuel Antonio National Park (entrance fee not included). Enjoy the lush vegetation and beautiful beaches as well as the many animals inhabiting this protected area. Plan to get up and arrive at the park early since the animals are a lot livelier in the cool morning hours.
In the early afternoon, you will continue to drive to La Fortuna, a small town at the foot of the impressive Arenal Volcano.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 5: La Fortuna – Cultour - Monteverde

After breakfast, you will visit the more than 150 years old farm La Casona Rio Fortuna, located close to the village of Sonafluca, so small that you won´t even find it on a map. Here you will experience the typical, rural Costa Rican life. On the farm, a variety of fruit trees grow and different vegetables and spices are cultivated. You will learn how to prepare the typical tortillas and can taste them together with a nice cup of coffee. After a walk around the farm, you will board a trailer pulled by a tractor and visit a typical family at their home. You will see plantations of pineapple, macadamia trees and papaya plants and then visit a local school, where the children will show you typical dances and teach you about the Costa Rican schooling system. With this visit, you support not only the school itself but also other non-profitable projects of the town. During holidays the school is closed, in this case, you will see the typical dances at La Casona. Finally, you will enjoy a hearty lunch at the farmhouse.
In the afternoon you will continue your trip and drive around Lake Arenal via Nuevo Arenal to Tilarán. Lake Arenal is an artificial lake idyllically embedded in the surrounding area. Its hydropower plant generates about 50% of the daily nationwide consumption. After Tilarán, the drive will become adventurous: following a dirt street along a hill crest for about 35 km will bring you to the town of Santa Elena and the Monteverde area, located at around 1.400m above sea level. Due to the location, it can get quite chilly in the afternoon or at night, so be prepared and bring a jacket or sweater.

Included fees/tours: Cultour with lunch (seat-in with English-speaking local guide)
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch

Day 6: Monteverde Hanging Bridges - Night walk

This day will begin with a visit to the cloud forest. This type of forest can only be found at altitudes up from 1´400m above sea level and is characterised by extraordinary biodiversity. Several hundred types of trees and plants can be found here, as well as more than 350 species of birds. Of course, not all of them can be seen at once, but you will spot several of them and with a bit of luck even the legendary “Bird of the Mayan Gods”, the Quetzal. To experience this paradise up close and the best way possible, you will visit the Selvatura Hanging bridges. These are easily accessible and set up high above the ground, thus giving you a unique view of the canopy of the rainforest. A great part of this area is still virgin jungle and this bird´s-eye view is perfect to take pictures of this dense and wild green. Your local English-speaking guide will give you all important information.
Late in the afternoon, you will start for another adventure. Many species of wildlife are active only at night and the sounds of the rainforest are even more impressive in the dark. This is an experience that should not be missed. On this, about 2hr long hike, your local English-speaking guide will safely lead you through the rainforest and give you interesting facts about the flora and fauna. 

Included fees/tours: Selvatura Hanging Bridges (seat-in with English-speaking guide) & Night Walk (private with English-speaking guide)
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 7: Monteverde – Tambor/Playa Quizales

In the morning you will visit the Don Juan Coffee plantation and take an informative tour, which will teach you about the history of this special seed and gives you the opportunity to taste the coffee of the Monteverde region. After the tour, you will leave this area of the country and drive via the Panamerican Highway to Puntarenas to board the public ferry that brings you in about 1.5hrs to the other side of the Gulf of Nicoya. From there it’s another 40min drive to get to your hotel on the beach.

Included fees/tours: Don Juan coffee tour (seat-in with English-speaking guide), ferry Puntarenas - Paquera
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 8: Tambor/Playa Quizales – Golf Course Los Delfines 

It is just a 20 minutes drive from the hotel to the well-maintained 9-hole golf course Los Delfines (6,374 Yards/72 par for 18 holes). The mature trees and landscaped lakes attract many birds and other wildlife. There is also a good chance to spot scarlet macaw parrots, toucans, howler monkeys, iguanas during the round of golf. Trees, lakes and lush tropical vegetation are also a challenge for the golfer, who has to play very precisely on this course, which is in excellent condition.

Alternative program for non-golfers:
For the non-golfers, we recommend a visit of the adventurous and tropical Curú Reserve (not included). With a little luck, you can see a variety of native animals here, walk on the narrow trails that wind through the tropical dry forest, enjoy magical views of rocks over to the islands or splash around in the warm waters of the Pacific Ocean at one of the small sandy coves.

Included fees/tours:
Golfers: Green fee at Los Delfines and golf cart
Non-golfers: None
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 9: Tambor/Playa Quizales – Paquera – Jicaral – Nicoya – Tamarindo - Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course

The journey continues along the magical peninsula, through small villages, passes interesting coastlines and unpaved roads. We recommend you to stop for lunch at one of the small local restaurants in order to taste the delicious national dish called ‘Casado’. In the afternoon, you will arrive at your hotel, 2km from the lively little town of Tamarindo. The wide and sandy bay is just a short foot walk away from the hotel (8-10 minutes) and offers the wonderful opportunity to take nice strolls at any time of the day.
In the afternoon, a short 20-minute drive will take you to Hacienda Pinilla, located on the coast south of Tamarindo.
The golf course at Hacienda Pinilla (7,300 Yards / 72 Par) was designed by Mike Young. It is a true gem, which does not only meet international standards but has also recently received an award for its environmentally friendly concept. Wide and partly lined with lush vegetation, the fairways let players live out their golf variations. Particular challenges are given by the wind conditions here, especially between December and March. You enjoy the spectacular views of the Pacific. One of the greens lies right on the beach and needs to be played against the surf. It is breathtaking! This well-maintained course will really inspire your senses.
It is the perfect place to demonstrate your golfing skills this afternoon. The green fee is included for you from 2pm onwards.

Alternative program for non-golfers:
The afternoon is at your leisure. Tamarindo´s main beach is located about 500m from the hotel and can be reached by walking down a nature path. In town, you will find a variety of Souvenir shops, Restaurants and Bars. There is also the possibility to book one of the many tours, for example, horseback riding on the beach or surf lessons.

Included fees/tours:
Golfers: Green fee at Hacienda Pinilla, Twilight after 2.00 pm and golf cart
Non-golfers: None
Included meals: Breakfast

Day 10: Golfing at the Reserva Conchal – Playa Concha / Rincón de la Vieja Nationa Park 

Reserva Conchal and the Garra de Leon Golf Course (71 Par / 6‘6956 yards) are a 20-minute drive north from Tamarindo. It was designed by Robert Trent Jones II and impresses with its natural beauty. The championship course offers plenty of challenges for all levels, as the different tee areas were cleverly placed. The different wind conditions and a few water hazards require a corresponding strategic game. From the slightly rolling hills, you can catch some great views onto the ocean, and see iguanas as well as many bird species close by from time to time. This golf course promises an excellent golfing experience on a well-tended site.

Alternative program for non-golfers:
In the morning you will be picked up by a local English-speaking guide and together with other clients drive up north towards the Rincón de la Vieja volcano. The slopes of this mighty volcano are covered by dense vegetation and the whole area is declared as a national park. In addition to the diverse flora and fauna, the main highlights are the volcanic phenomena that can be seen and smelled in form of bubbling mud pools, steaming fumaroles and sulphurous hot water streams. Later transfer back to your hotel.

Included fees/tours:
Golfers: Green fee at Reserva Conchal Golf Course and golf cart
Non-golfers: Rincón de la Vieja National Park with lunch (seat-in with English-speaking guide)
Included meals: Breakfast, lunch for non-golfers

Day 11: Tamarindo – San José

This morning you will drive back to the Central Valley directly to the office of the car rental agency close to the airport in San José. After having dropped off the rental car you will be taken to the terminal by a representative of the rental agency.

Important information: 
The option of driving directly from Tamarindo to the airport of San Jose is only possible for flights leaving the country in the late afternoon. We always recommend spending the last night in a hotel in either San Jose or Alajuela. Please note that ARA does not assume any financial or other liability if you miss your international flight. In case you have to leave your hotel very early please let us know when making your reservation, we will then book a breakfast box to go for you at no additional charge.

Included fees/tours: None
Included meals: Breakfast