Golfing in Puerto Vallarta is great, and you can’t beat the scenery. We took a look at our favorite 5 courses.
1. Pacifico Golf Course: For golfers, Mexico rocks, and nowhere more so than at the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita. The Pacifico Golf Course at Punta Mita, designed by Jack Nicklaus, was recently named the number one course in the world by the golf-savvy readers of Conde Nast Traveler. Though its pricey and primarily reserved for guests of the hotel and members of the club, you can play it if you’re willing to part with serious money. Is it worth it? That’s your call. With 18 holes spread out over 200 acres along the beautiful shores of Bahia Banderas, the course is utterly spectacular, but perhaps most spectacular, or at least most unusual, of all is Hole 3B, aka “The Tail of the Whale,” the world’s only natural island green. There are a few distractions on this gorgeous course, not least of which are the whales leaping out of the waters of Bahia Banderas, in full view from the 8 holes that border the ocean and bay.
2. Bahia: The Four Seasons Golf Club offers a second Nicklaus-designed course, called Bahia, with undulating fairways and putting greens, panoramic views of the bay, and one hole on the beach just a few yards away from El Faro, one of the most renowned surfing waves in Mexico. Sink your putt then watch some dude get tubed in one of Faro’s epic barrels. Like the adjacent Pacifico course, this one is pricey but spectacular, and well worth it if you can afford it.
3. Vista Vallarta: Another challenging and beautiful Jack Nicklaus-designed course is the Vista Vallarta, located “inland” about three miles from the international airport. Open since April 2001, this course’s high elevation provides golfers with world class golf along with breathtaking views of Puerto Vallarta, Marina Vallarta and Banderas Bay as well. The course’s 18 challenging holes are situated amidst grassy hillsides, dense forests of palm and giant ficus trees, and natural creeks and arroyos. And there are other course at Marina Vallarta, Nuevo Vallarta, and elsewhere around Bahia Banderas.
4. Flamingos: But for a real Mexican golf round, try the Flamingos course by Bucerias, 30 minutes north of Vallarta off Highway 200, Mexico’s answer to the Pacific Coast Highway. The course is no less challenging than the more “upscale” courses in the area, but it’s a little less pricey, and, well, people say it feels more “Mexican” than the other courses. The cervezas at the 19th hole are cheaper and colder, maybe. You’ll have to try it yourself.
5. San Pancho: Finally, and this has yet to be confirmed—the private, nine-hole executive course in San Pancho, just three miles north of Sayulita on Highway 200—has recently been opened to the public, and is not at all expensive. One friend who played it said it was the most beautiful golf course he’d ever seen. Golfers, this is definitely worth investigating.
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