Enjoy Your Best Game of Golf in Puerto Vallarta

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  • Puerto Vallarta has certainly matured from the days when it offered just two golf courses. While those two clubs were very professional, Vallarta was not known as a destination for golfers. But when the EMC World Cup was held at Vista Vallarta in 2002, international attention brought additional investment to the area, and the existing seven local courses grew to nine with another on the way. Now, Vallarta has become a golf destination for professionals the world over.

    In this piece, retired golf professional Joe Johnston, a USGTF-certified instructor who has worked with many, if not all, local golfers at some point, shares his comments on some of the local courses.

    Note that rates were valid at the time of printing and are subject to change. Ask about special rates for juniors, seniors, frequent players or groups. Call ahead for best tee times. Golf lessons are by appointment only. Twilight rates, where listed, usually begin after 2 pm. All rates are listed in US dollars.

  • El Tigre Club de Golf Paradise Village

    18 holes, par 72, 7239 yards
    Blue tee box: 6607 yards, rating 74.5, slope 133
    Designer: Robert Von Hagge Group
    Rates to October 2008: $116, Twilight $80
    www.eltigregolf.com • (322) 297-0773
    Eltigregolf logo 5ab8a237932b05d0839bb76ce2e22bd1356d682afc496310f84a6d418a17d425

    El Tigre was designed on a flat surface. To make the course more interesting, sand and water define the golf holes: 12 holes feature water with three "beach" bunkers. In addition, Hole 1 starts on a shallow green alongside a street, and Hole 18 certainly offers the toughest finish. This course hosts a number of national and international tournaments. Paradise Village created the additional draw of a full-service spa in the club house and a complete sports club nearby.

  • Flamingos Club de Golf

    18 holes, par 72, 6853 yards
    Blue tee box: 6982 yards, rating 72.5, slope 130
    Designer: Percy Clifford, opened 1978, refurbished 2006
    Rates to October 2008: $121, Twilight $77
    www.flamingosgolf.com.mx • (329) 296-5006
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    Although this was the first golf course in the area, the design by Englishman Percy Clifford took total advantage of the natural terrain. Over the years, it fell on hard times, but the recent renovation brought it back to its deserved professional level. Three tee boxes from each hole offer every golfer a truly challenging game. Here you can appreciate wildlife such as crocodiles, turtles, birds and even anteaters during the course of a game. Flamingos hosts a number of local fundraisers and other charity events for the community.

  • Four Seasons Punta Mita Golf Course

    18 holes plus one optional for a total of 19, par 72, 7001 or 7014 yards
    Designer: Jack Nicklaus
    Rates to Dec. 2008: $195 for 18, $120 for nine
    This private course is exclusively available to members and their guests.
    www.fourseasons.com/puntamita/golf.html • (329) 291-6000
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    Note that Course II is scheduled to open before year’s end in 2008. Also a Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, data will be available at a later date. The Four Seasons Punta Mita Golf Course is located on one of the most beautiful spots at the north end of Banderas Bay, with magnificent ocean frontage. It is home to the acclaimed Tail of the Whale, an optional hole on a small islet accessible by an amphibious golf cart during low tides. The Jack Nicklaus Signature Course has been voted "Best Course in the World" by Condé Nast Traveler. While the first course follows the contours of the coastline, the one in development will include lagoons, stunning slopes and the beach just below the El Faro lighthouse. The Condé Nast Traveler 2008 Reader’s Poll also voted the Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita as the world’s most luxurious golf resort. Completed anonymously by guests, this poll is considered to be among the most reliable sources for unbiased ratings of top luxury destinations.

  • Mayan Resorts Golf Course Nuevo Vallarta

    18 holes, par 71, 6936 yards
    Blue tee box: 6197 yards, rating 70.4, slope 122
    Designer: Jim Lipe
    Rates to October 2008: $124
    www.mayanresortsgolf.com • (322) 297-1830
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    Note that during the renovation phase, to be completed mid-year 2009, only nine holes will be available for play at any one time. The Mayan Resorts Golf Course in Nuevo Vallarta is undergoing a major renovation, due for completion in mid-2009. The project is being undertaken by Jack Nicklaus Design for a new look on the professional 18-hole course.

  • Marina Vallarta Club de Golf

    18 holes, par 71, 6701 yards
    Tee box: regular, yardage 6093, rating 70.0, slope 125
    Designer: Joe Finger, opened 1989
    Rates to Oct. 2008: $129, Twilight $98
    www.marinavallartagolf.com • (322) 221-0073
    Marina vallarta golf logo ec80a95aff02f5a815005e5828855a0ee5dba39561347ad9fbf54489b26d298b

    The Marina Vallarta Golf Course was one of the early ones, and continues to be one of the most popular because of its proximity to town, the Maritime Terminal and airport. Its unique feature is that your game includes the added dimension of crocodiles, iguanas, turtles and a wide variety of native birds. Located in what was originally a swamp, water is a characteristic of most of the holes. It’s a challenging course and fun to play.

  • Vista Vallarta Club de Golf

    Two 18-hole courses in one location
    Designer: Tom Weiskopf, opened Nov. 2001: par 72, 6976 yards
    Blue tee box: 6993 yards, rating 71.6, slope 134
    Designer: Jack Nicklaus, opened April 2001: par 72, 7057 yards
    Blue tee box: 7073 yards, rating 71.6, slope 134
    Rates to October 2008: $183, Twilight $129
    www.vistavallartagolf.com • (322) 290-0030
    Vista vallarta golf club logo 1f7b8b97eca54ccd555906b9bc3f25c5f95fd5b268526edb5010dc9a0520e37f

    Vista Vallarta features two distinct designers. Tom Weiskopf retains as much of the original landscape as possible, making modifications only to accommodate the game. The feeling is very natural; the trees are native and the contours follow the curves of the hills. Jack Nicklaus likes to start with a clean slate, so he clears away to create wider greens. In fact, his stadium effect is what made this course function so well for the World Cup and other competitions. It’s a great course to see golf as a spectator. And the spectacular views include the sea on one side and the mountains on the other, a unique feature. Access from the airport or Maritime Terminal is an easy five-minute drive.

    Johnston suggests making a golf getaway to take in the two areas south of Puerto Vallarta: El Tamarindo (www.eltamarindoresort.com/indexen.html) and Isla Navidad (www.islanavidad.com/golf/index.asp), which can be done in a two-night, three-day weekend.

    To complete your Costa Alegre golf getaway, consider staying at the beautiful secluded Mexico Boutique Hotel properties, El Careyes, El Tamarindo or Las Alamandas, located within driving distance of these courses. Visit www.mexicoboutiquehotels.com for further information and reservations.

    It’s important to note that these golf courses use recycled, reclaimed water for irrigation of the broad greens. We believe in living "green." The local branch of the national water conservation organization, SEAPAL, is the only one in Mexico that has received accreditation for 17 years straight.

    Whether you’re a professional, aficionado or even a spectator, do your game a favor and try each of these courses. The variety and breadth is astounding and will make your stay even more enjoyable. In addition, not listed here are the new Gregg Norman-designed course in Litibú, 18 holes at El Tamarindo and 27 holes at Isla Navidad. Your game is bound to improve.

  • Litibu Golf Course

    Designer: Greg Norman
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    Designed by Greg Norman, this challenging 18-hole course has been fully integrated into Litibu. All of the hotels and condominiums in this Riviera Nayarit project including Haixa and La Tranquila Resorts, have been tastefully arranged between and around this spectacular course. With the first nine holes finished at this time, the final nine will soon be completed and this majestic course will be fully operational by the fall of 2008. Watch for further information in the Fall/Winter Edition of this magazine.

Recommended restaurants in Puerto Vallarta

  • Café des Artistes

    Guadalupe Sanchez 740 El Centro 222.3228

    Three distinct environments: Bistro Gourmet for elegance, Wine Bar for intimacy

  • Blouet Cocina de Autor

    The ultimate culinary dream

  • Daiquiri Dick's

    Olas Atlas, El Centro 222.0566

    Beach-side eatery with sophisticated touch, 2008 - Best Margaritas

  • Hacienda San Angel Gourmet

    Miramar 336, El Centro 222.2692

    PV's most elegant retreat Candle-lit garden Roof top terrace

  • Kaiser Maximilian


    European and Austrian dining, New and Old World cuisine Delicious Austrian pastries

  • La Palapa

    Pulpito 103 El Centro 222.5225

    International awards Gourmet cuisine Most romantic, Best Sunset Dining, Best outdoor Dining

  • Le Bistro

    Isla Rio Cuale 16-A 222.0283

    Piano bar atmosphere ask to sit by the river

  • The River Café

    Isla Rio Cuale 223.0788

    Casual but elegant beautiful setting by the river markets along Isla Rio Cuale

  • Thierry's Prime Steakhouse Plaza Peninsula


    Avant-garde with Mexican flair

  • Trio Café-Restaurant Bar

    Town of Guerrero # 264 222.3570

    Award-winning open courtyard eatery

  • Vista Grille

    Pulpito 377 El Centro 222.3570 www.vistagrill.com

    Fine dining contemporary cuisine - spectacular view - magnificent sunsets

  • Blanca Blue

    KM. 7.5Carretera a Barra de Navidad 176.0700 http://www.garzablancapreserve.com/blanca-blue-restaurants/blanca-blue-restaurant

    Elegant and sophisticated dining

  • Barcelona Tapas

    Matamoros & de Octubre, Downtown PV 222.0510

    Appetizer-sized servings of Spanish flavor, bird’s eye view of town and bay

  • Vitea

    Libertad & Malecon 222.8703

    Oceanfront bistro and bar offering contemporary bistro fare

Puerto Vallarta's Beaches

Mexico's beaches are jewels of bright, clear water and soft, white sand. Each beach has its own personality, and each carries its own adventures. From wandering minstrels to delicacy and craft vendors, you can immerse yourself in the fun of bargaining for local art treasures while sipping one of your favorite refreshments, or simply gaze at the calm horizon and dream of days to come.

Bucerias Beach, Conchas Chinas Beach, Estrella Beach, Los Gatos Beach, Los Muertos Beach, Mismaloya Beach, Punta Negra Beach

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Bucerias Beach

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Conchas Chinas Beach

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Conchas Chinas Beach

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Estrella Beach

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Los Gatos Beach

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Los Gatos Beach

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Los Muertos Beach

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Mismaloya Beach

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Punta Negra Beach