Experience the High Life at Hacienda Pinilla

Houston Lifestyles and Homes

September 01, 2009

Just mention the name “Costa Rica” and images of lush green tropical mountains backing white sandy beaches are evoked. Centuries ago, friendly natives of this area presented explorers with gifts of gold. As a result, this land bridge between North and South America became aptly known as Costa Rica or “rich coast.” Today, visitors still find a wealth of forests to explore, beaches to comb, volcanoes to climb and rivers to raft, plus a treasure trove of flora and fauna to discover.

Costa Rica is home to 5 percent of all the Earth’s plant and animal species, though it only covers .01 percent of the Earth’s landmass (about the size of West Virginia). It has more types of birds and butterflies than the entire United States. Plus, new species are still being discovered every day in this country ’s fertile and abundant habitats.

Costa Rica has been democratic for over 100 years. Literacy rates are among the world’s highest and there is no army in this country, so this attitude creates an atmosphere of trust that makes Costa Rica a very safe place to travel. Plus, it ’s easy to get to. Visitors can conveniently fly into the Liberia International Airport and easily drive anywhere in the country.

About an hour from the airport is the Guanacaste Peninsula in northwest Costa Rica. Situated on the Pacific Ocean, this is one of the fastest growing areas and home to what many consider the best residential project in Costa Rica: Hacienda Pinilla, a 4,500-acre exclusive beach resort and gated residential community situated within a dry tropical forest and a vast wildlife refuge. For more than 100 years, the rolling coastal landscape served as a working cattle ranch, owned and operated by the same family for three decades. Love for nature, a desire for privacy and tranquility, along with a simple and traditional approach to life are common traits among visitors and residents of Hacienda Pinilla.

Few places encourage interaction with nature like Hacienda Pinilla. The property boasts lakes, lagoons, breath-taking beaches, and features an array of animals including toucans, frogs, iguanas, turtles and monkeys, which can be encountered on any of the 10 miles of picturesque natural trails throughout the property.

With three miles of pristine shoreline, Hacienda Pinilla boasts six separate and beautiful Guanacaste beaches: Playa Mansita, Playa Bonita, Playa Robalo, Playa Bajo Granda, Playa Avellanas and the Blue Flag-awarded Playa Langosta, a certification of the beauty and purity of the water and the superior services that are offered at this beach. Playa Mansita and Playa Robalo each have small areas of rocky shoreline, observable most readily at low tide. Of all the beaches, Playa Langosta is the widest and longest, with beautiful sand and nice waves. Playas Mansita, Robalo and Avellanas sit next to open meadows.

On any of these beaches, guests and owners have a wide range of options to enjoy. Water sports include snorkeling, sport fishing, kayaking and surfing. Additionally, the Hacienda boasts a handsome stable of horses adjacent to the beach. You are welcome to tour the shoreline by horse or perhaps ride along the banks of one of the rivers or through the pastures to explore the amazing landscape of Hacienda Pinilla on horseback.

Visitors to Hacienda Pinilla are also close to many of the natural wonders of Costa Rica ’s wildlife refuges and national parks. Consider taking a day trip to the Arenal Volcano (considered one of the world ’s most active) or the Baldi Hot Springs (complete with 10 hot pools with different temperatures that are fed by individual springs). The Spirogyra Butterfly Garden is a popular attraction that is close by. This botanical garden is full of native hummingbirds and butterflies. For the more adventuress, try the Rainforest Aerial Tram Day Tour or white water rafting. Either of these options will give an altogether different perspective of Costa Rica.

Soon to open, the Avellanas Beach Club, which consists of three levels: the first with a reception area, small shop, kid ’s club and spacious open air restaurant and bar. Also on this level is an infinity pool, which appears to meet the sea, and a variety of other areas, including a children ’s section, spa, gardens, sun decks and beach area. The upper level of the Beach Club is a gymnasium, conference room, smaller meeting room and lounge with a spectacular ocean view. The lower level of the Beach Club includes locker rooms and massage rooms.

Perhaps the centerpiece of the property, though, is the golf course. Masterminded by Mike Young —who has designed some of the best courses in the world—this 6,800-meter course offers some of the best golf anywhere. Young’s distinctive taste for details allowed him to design a course where each hole harmonizes with the slopes and the profile of the landscape. Each game will be different based on the constant risk-and-reward situations inherent in this course, monkeys being one of them. Even the trees provide beautiful obstacles. Stop by The El Corral Turn House Pro Shop and find a great restaurant along with the necessary equipment. At the pro shop, you can also reserve time on the resort ’s tennis courts. Lessons are available, as well as equipment rental.

Lodging options abound at Hacienda Pinilla. If hotel vacationing is your style, then check out the La Posada Hotel. La Posada offers 60 rooms surrounded by exotic landscaping and tropical gardens. Monkeys and colorful birds make themselves at home in the gorgeous fauna and foliage and will greet you each morning with their cheerful chatter and singing. The colonial-style architecture is warm and welcoming, and the hotel provides an abundance of services including a restaurant, bar, laundry service, swimming pool, volleyball court, mountain bikes and Direct TV service. Standard and deluxe rooms are available, as well as master suites and casitas, with prices ranging from $175-$495/night during the peak season. Off season rates (May-Dec.) range from $120-$300/night. For reservations, call 011-506-2681-4318.

You can also rest at one of three beach houses available for rent: Casa Matapalo, Casa El Ensueno and Casa Farolindo. If golf is your passion, consider Casa de Golf where you ’ll be housed in one of eight suites overlooking the course. You can also make reservations at the J.W. Marriott Resort. 1-888-236-2427

Prime Guanacaste homesites, houses or villas—built according to International Standards—are available for purchase, so you may also want to consider owning one of the Spanish-colonial villas within the Hacienda as a place of residency or a second home. Residents can choose locations by the ocean or golf course with prices ranging from $200,000-$1.5 million. At Villas Palma Real, owners enjoy exceptional amenities in addition to all of the natural features inherent in the property. This community features a swimming pool, barbecue area, fitness room and facilities for all recreational activities, as well as privileged usage of Hacienda Pinilla ’s two tennis courts and championship golf course. More master-planned residential communities are also in the works.

Hacienda Pinilla is a gem inside the already precious jewel that is Costa Rica. By simply observing the laws of nature, this extensive real estate project that includes lowlands and mountains, beaches, lakes, rivers and forests within its 4,500 acres, Hacienda Pinilla sets itself above the rest. Inhabitants blend in perfect harmony with their surroundings. Find tranquility, openness and serenity whether you choose to own a home or villa or just want to vacation in a pristine, natural setting.

For real estate info, call 011-506-2680-3000

"For architect Mike Young, a veteran of the Georgia golf scene and also busy in Central America, this could be his much-deserved breakthrough course. Long Shadow combines two styles, with a front nine through wooded riverfront land and a back nine that is discernibly more open and heathlands in style, with a bolder, more scattered approach to bunkering. Unity in the composition comes by virtue of the rough-hewn fescues and native grasses that frame the holes. "