Destination Overview: Hacienda Pinilla Travel Guide
Located on the extraordinarily beautiful north-western coast of Costa Rica, under four miles from downtown Tamarindo, Hacienda Pinilla is one of the country’s most exclusive and unique resort communities. Our Hacienda Pinilla travel guide gets your planning started on the right foot.
You’ll love the luxury, amenities and incredible activities contained within Hacienda Pinilla, a 4,500-acre historic ranch property that unrolls over sun-bleached savannah, farm land, tropical forest and golden coastline. Here, you’ll find incredible sunsets and beachfront golfing, a fabulous Beach Club and three of our area’s most spectacular beaches: Playa Avellanas, Playa Langosta, and Playa Mansita.
Hacienda Pinilla Overview:
Location: North-Pacific Costa Rica, aka The Gold Coast
Average Temperature: 75-95º F (23-35º C)
Landscape: Three miles of pristine beaches, plus 4,500 acres of tropical forest, ranch land/savannah, and greenery
Closest Airport: Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR) – about 90 minutes
Top Activities: Swimming, Surfing, Fishing, Kayaking, and Snorkeling, and Resort Amenities, including Golfing, Horseback Riding, Tennis, Mountain Biking, and Hiking
Top Attractions: Beaches, Las Baulas Marine Park (turtle watching), Tamarindo Wildlife Refuge, Catalina Islands (scuba & snorkeling), Nightlife
Great for: Families & Family Reunions, Couples & Honeymooners & Destination Weddings
We Recommend: Swimming and surfing on Playa Avellanas, a sunset at Playa Langosta, and long walks (or horseback rides) down all three beaches. And golfers, you cannot miss a round of oceanfront, through-the-tropical-forest, and over-the-ranch-land golf!
About Hacienda Pinilla:
Hacienda Pinilla is an extraordinary and exclusive resort community located about 3.5 miles south of Tamarindo. This timeless and yet thoroughly modern community was built on historic ranch land and three pristine beaches – somewhere where natural beauty, adventure and Costa Rican heritage come together to ensure an unforgettable vacation.
Indeed, Hacienda Pinilla is a place completely removed from Real Life – a place apart from time, apart from worries, apart from responsibilities, apart from everything but pure enjoyment with your family and friends. This is that rare, tropical retreat to untouched nature, spectacular settings, and Costa Rican legacy along the sparkling blue and shimmering sands of the Pacific Ocean.
It’s also a spectacularly well-equipped destination: 4,500 acres of luxury beach club, spa, swimming pools, horse stables, hiking and mountain biking trails, tennis courts, and Costa Rica’s premier golf course. In other words, an all-in-one destination that steals your heart from the moment you pass through its gates. Our Hacienda Pinilla travel guide will get you started on your planning.
When to Visit:
Generally speaking, Costa Rica is divided into two distinct seasons: the dry season (December-May) and the rainy, or green season (June-November). But in Hacienda Pinilla, seasons work a little differently.
The province of Guanacaste, where Hacienda Pinilla is located, is the driest in Costa Rica. And that means that, even when the rest of the country is rainy, Hacienda Pinilla is often sunny. Or sunnier, at the very least. Even during the height of the rainy season, most days welcome you with hours of blue skies and golden sun.
So, while there is a dry season and a green season, Hacienda Pinilla also has a high-summer and mid-season. Here’s the breakdown:
- Dry Season (Dec through Easter): Sun, sun, sun! And, the highest prices of the year.
- Mid-Season (Easter to mid-June): A great bang for your buck, with lower prices and a great chance of sun.
- Summer Season (mid-June through mid-August): A mid-year peak, with prices just under the true high season.
- Green Season (mid-August through mid-Dec): A daily chance of rain sends prices to their lowest points of the year.
When you visit will, of course, depend on your schedule. But, you should know – and, as our Hacienda Pinilla travel guide will show – there’s something to love about Hacienda Pinilla, every month of the year.
Things to Do in Hacienda Pinilla:
There’s a lot to see here – there’s a reason you’re googling for a Hacienda Pinilla travel guide, right?
Hacienda Pinilla is the definition of a resort community, offering top-quality amenities – and lots of them! With three beaches, an incredible Beach Club, a world-class golf course, a wellness center, horse stables, tennis courts, trails, and multiple dining options, you won’t ever have to step foot outside the community (unless you want to).
Here’s a rundown of the top activities in and around Hacienda Pinilla:
The Hacienda Pinilla Golf Course: One of the top golf courses in Costa Rica, this par-72 course was designed by respected architect Mike Young, to complement and enhance its own natural contours and landscape. The result is an enjoyable course that’s also designated as an Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary for its preservation of ecological balance, wending its way through 7,200 yards of tropical forest, Pacific coastline, and unparalleled views.
The Beach Club: When doing nothing is as much as you want to do, Hacienda Pinilla’s incredible Beach Club, located on Playa Avellanas, delivers with a spectacular beachfront pool, lounge chairs, an ocean-side restaurant, and a new fitness center.
The Wellness Center: Relax, renew and rejuvenate at Hacienda Pinilla’s Wellness Center, which offers a full menu of relaxation and pampering: massage, scrubs, wraps, facials, mani-pedis, and almost any other treatment you can dream up.
Surfing: Hacienda Pinilla’s three beaches (Avellanas, Langosta and Mansitas – see below, under Things to See), and particularly Playa Avellanas, are home to some of Costa Rica’s finest surfing (18’ waves!) and most challenging breaks. Here, there’s a wave to please everyone, from beginner to advanced surfers.
Horseback Riding: If you want to explore the incredible and varied scenery of Hacienda Pinilla’s 4,500 acres, there’s no better way than on horseback. Visit the horse stables and set off on an adventure along beachfront trails, wild savannah, and authentic ranch land.
Ocean Kayaking: For when you want to get out on the ocean sans surfboard, ocean kayaking is a perfect choice. Offering just enough of a challenge to get your heart pumping, but enough relaxation to keep you chill, this is a great activity for families, couples, and singles alike.
Snorkeling: Grab your gear and head out into waves; the ocean floor off Hacienda Pinilla’s beaches offer great snorkeling conditions and sightings of tropical fish, rays, and even the occasional reef shark.
Tennis: Get your game on in paradise at Hacienda Pinilla’s Tennis Center. Two courts and top-quality surfaces welcome you to a match – which you can play with the resort’s tennis pro, Jaylen Brennan, who has 25+ years of experience and the PTR and USPTA certifications to match.
Mountain Biking: Hacienda Pinilla recently carved out two new mountain bike paths: one for beginners and one for experienced riders after a challenge. Mountain bike rentals are available.
JW Marriott Kids Club: Hacienda Pinilla is also home to Costa Rica’s only JW Marriott, which offers a child-pleasing Kids’ Club to entertain your little ones while you enjoy Playa Mansita, the spa, and restaurants.
Sports Fishing: Though not a resort-specific activity, daily sport-fishing charters depart from Hacienda Pinilla. We hook you up with the BEST boat and the BEST crew ever! We can also arrange the typical Costa Rican panga fishing boat, for the authentic Costa Rican fishing experience.
For more things to do around Hacienda Pinilla, including catamaran sailing, canopy-zipline tours, and scuba diving, please see our Tamarindo travel guide.
Note: We always recommend pre-booking all your activities, transportation, chef services, etc. before you arrive, so you don’t spend your vacation… well, planning your vacation. If you’d like any help, our in-house concierge, Cristina (send her an email), can recommend perfect activities for your group – and book them on your behalf, absolutely free!
Things to See in Hacienda Pinilla:
A Hacienda Pinilla vacation is more about the do than the see: this is a resort that encourages you to get active and to enjoy your surrounds through doing. That said, the resort is also home to three of our area’s most beautiful beaches – perfect for when you want to do nothing at all:
Playa Avellanas: Widely regarded as one of the top-10 beaches in Central America, sparkling Playa Avellanas – often referred to as “Little Hawaii” – is a surfer’s paradise, with swells that can crest 18 feet in best conditions. More than just a surfing beach, however, Playa Avellanas is also known for its clean and beautiful sands, exotic shells, and seclusion – a trifecta that tempts travels to visit. And return. And then, return again.
Playa Langosta: Native Guanacaste trees hug Playa Langosta, a Blue Flag beach ranked worldwide as one of the planet’s most beautiful, and also certified for its superior ecological sensitivity, environmental stability, and cleanliness.
Playa Mansita: One of the loveliest strips of sand in Costa Rica, Playa Mansita is a treasure trove of soft sands and rocky outcroppings – perfect for strolling during low tide. Playa Mansita is also home to Costa Rica’s only JW Marriott.
For more things to see around Hacienda Pinilla, including scuba diving the Catalina islands, turtle-watching at Las Baulas National Marine Park, and Tamarindo nightlife, please see our Tamarindo travel guide.
Dining in Hacienda Pinilla:
Hacienda Pinilla is home to two resort restaurants, in addition to exclusive access to the JW Marriott’s diverse restaurants and bars:
Avellanas Restaurant at the Beach Club: This oceanfront dining locale offers two dining options: casual poolside dining on burgers, paninis, and fries; and Avellanas, a sophisticated, open-air restaurant offering tropical fusion cuisine in a sea-breezy ambiance. On Friday and Saturday evenings, Avellanas offers fine dining options.
Hoyo 19 Bar and Grill: The casual environment of this chilled-out grill complements the golf course views and casual menu. It’s the perfect choice for an evening cocktail, pre-golf fuel up, or post-tennis snack.
The JW Marriott also offers Azul Pool Bar (casual poolside restaurant with a great cocktail menu), Azul Grill (oceanfront restaurant with a Mediterranean lunch menu and Italian cuisine in the evenings), Azul Terrace (sunset bar & cocktails), Nau Lobby Bar (sushi, hamburgers, and live music), Mansita Restaurant (a Costa Rican twist on international dishes), Sabanero Steakhouse (traditional steak house dining experience), Tamarine (Asian-Fusion fare; reservations required), and Wave and Cream (café, ice cream parlor, and deli).
Where to Stay in Hacienda Pinilla:
We admit – we’re biased! The best where, for us, will always be a vacation rental. But, in the case of Hacienda Pinilla, this is also the only option: if you want to stay within the resort, you must stay at a beautiful Hacienda Pinilla vacation rental.
The options here are diverse, ranging from cozy two-bedroom casitas to practically palatial 8-bedroom villas. A vacation rental at Hacienda Pinilla offers the freedom of your own place to spread out – private pools and bubbling Jacuzzis, beachfront sunsets and fine furnishings. You’ll have access to all the resort’s amenities, as well as our free concierge services – all the extras you’d expect of a five-star hotel, including full vacation planning, babysitter services, private chefs, and much more.
Getting There & Around:
When it comes to airport transportation, we believe in striking a balance of convenience and zero stress. And with that in mind, the best way to get to Hacienda Pinilla via airport shuttle.
Why? To begin, there’s no stress and no worries; your driver is waiting for you upon arrival, so you’ll never have to negotiate (in Spanish!) at the taxi line, take a shuttle to pick up your rental car, negotiate Costa Rican roads after a late arrival, or wait (sometimes for hours) for a shared shuttle into town.
What’s more, when you’re staying at Hacienda Pinilla, we’re happy to arrange a golf cart for in-resort transportation. We can also have your rental car delivered to your rental home, so you can enjoy the ease of private airport transportation, with the freedom of your own car throughout your vacation. Private drivers are also available for daily or weekly hire.
And that, friends, wraps up our Hacienda Pinilla travel guide. If there’s anything, in particular, that you’d like to know, please post a comment or get in touch!