It’s 9:45 in the morning and I’m already starting to perspire. Maybe because the temperature is creeping toward 90 degrees and the humidity is approaching that same number. Or it could be that I’m staring at a small flag 178 yards away surrounded by 5-foot deep, sandy bunkers.
The par 5, fourth hole at Reserva Conchal Golf Club in the Guanacaste province of Costa Rica has me thinking: 5 or 6 iron? A slight fade to avoid the tall, luscious, swaying trees should put my ball solidly on deck. Too much club could carry my new, logoed Top Flite right into the Pacific Ocean.
This moment ends up being the toughest decision of my five-day stay at Reserva Conchal, a 2300-acre planned community in the northern Pacific coast of this beautiful country. After all, there is not much to think about when exploring parts of this Central American paradise, hiking through a wildlife refuge or taking a cool dip in the blue, coastal water.
I unpack my bags in a three-bedroom condo overlooking the third fairway of the sprawling golf course. The Bougainvillea Condominiums are spacious with a two-level dining and living room just off the fully appointed kitchen. A utility room with washer and dryer made me feel at home knowing I will put those to use with my swim and golf gear during my stay.
Throughout my stay I was reminded by the friendly staff that Reserva Conchal is more than just a residential community with resort-style amenities such as a beach club and spa. The developer makes it a point to be as eco-friendly as possible. Sustainability is a way of life here. Ownership embraces this philosophy by focusing on three pillars that form the business plan: economic, social and environmental development. Plastic wear is not found anywhere in the communal areas which explained the use of paper straws in the ice-cold drinks served at the bars and restaurants.
A hard hat walk-through of the Aromo Townhomes—self-contained, two-story units—offered a peek inside what will soon be contemporary three- and four-bedroom residences complete with their own pools. These start at $629,000 and should be finished by fall. Just above the townhomes is a groomed patch of dirt marked with stakes and construction tape. This will be an exclusive enclave of five ocean view home sites.
Costa Rica is a popular place to both vacation and live due partly to its easy-to-reach location. It is a short three-hour flight from my hometown of Houston and accessible from all parts of the world via nonstop flights from airport hubs nearby.
Reserva Conchal offers so many options of living styles it will probably take some time to decide which one is right for you. My suggestion would be to be visit and stay for a while at the all-inclusive Westin Golf Resort & Spa in the heart of the development. Guests have the use of the same golf course that challenged me along with its own pools and 10 restaurants and bars. Try the sushi and catch a few games on TV in the sports-themed Pura Vida bar.
Or perhaps go later this year after the grand opening of W Costa Rica. This hotel will surely be a world-class destination for vacationing jet setters with luxurious suites, grand lobbies and ultra-private beachfront units. Between golf, hiking, or a relaxing day at the spa, the on-site staff will share all the options that Reserva Conchal offers for primary living or a perfect second home where Central American escapism will pervade your thoughts when not in Costa Rica.
Your biggest decision then will not be whether to use a 5 or 6 iron on that approach shot at the Robert Trent Jones II designed course, but rather whether to build on a lot, move into a spec home or choose what subdivision within this massive planned community is right for you.
But if you are faced with my similar decision during your time here, go with the 6 iron and drop that ball softly on the right side of the green. Birdie.