Saturday, May 16, 2009

Four Seasons Papagayo golf course restaurant

This is my mother-in-law at the Caracol restaurant at the Four Seasons Papagayo golf course. I showed a photo of her next to a monkey not long ago, so I thought I would show her in a more elegant setting. She is a retired elementary school teacher and plays a lot of golf, as she lives in Arizona where golf is a religion. My wife was supposed to fly down the following day, but something arose at work so she cancelled her vacation. I spent a week hosting my mother-in-law, just the two of us, without my wife. (I was actually a very pleasant time, but I just like to act like a martyr about it.)

I previously posted a series of photos of the Four Seasons Papagayo, but did not show this photo of our lunch. We had to call ahead to make reservations, otherwise we would not have been allowed to drive past the gate at the entrance to the Papagayo peninsula.

Even with reservations at the restaurant, we would not have been allowed access to the hotel if we had not called ahead and made a reservation to see the hotel. Visitors are not allowed to drive to the hotel without a reservation. Even with a reservation to see the hotel, they have a staff person escort you around on a little tour, and then it is time for you to leave. This is not a place where you can say that you are going to have a drink in the lobby bar and walk into the hotel to check out the lobby and other amenities. My previous photos of the hotel and golf course can be found under the "Hotel and Resorts" tab on the index.

Just to reach the hotel, you drive on a private road that is 7 km (4 miles) past the entrance gate, and the road is made of "paver bricks" the whole way. The Four Seasons Papagayo is one of a series of hotel developments around the Gulf of Papagayo, which is about a half hour north of Tamarindo. The Papagayo project is somewhat controversial because it has brought such large developments to what was a pristine area.

My own view is that environmentally sensitive development is good for the local economy, provides tax revenue and jobs for Costa Ricans, and helps develop infrastructure for the area, including those of us who own or stay in condos rather than in hotels. For example, a new airport terminal will soon be built at the international airport in nearby Liberia, and that probably would not be happening if it were not for the many hotels and resorts that have been built up and down the coast from Tamarindo.

9 comments:

Sharon said...

A beautiful spot for lunch. All that green in the background. That margarita looks petty good too!

Jarart said...

This is a lovely picture. I see the family resemblance.

brattcat said...

You have a lovely wife and a lovely mother-in-law. I bet she had a terrific time with you.

glenda said...

We had a great time in Costa Rica even though we missed Julie. David was a great guide and host. The Papagayo tour was pretty interesting. We saw wild howler monkeys iguanas and birds up close and personal.

Jacob said...

I had a great relationship with my mother-in-law, too. In fact, she set up our first date so many years ago!

Looks like a beautiful golf course, but I was surprised at the restrictions...is this due to security concerns or more elitist kinds of things?

Julie ScottsdaleDailyPhoto.com said...

this was a gorgeous place to have lunch and the mojitos are fabulous

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Jacob,

The restrictions on access are to maintain the exclusivity of the peninsula. The prices charged for the hotel and for homes and condos at Papagayo are higher than elsewhere, so I think they need to set it apart from the local area. It is very, very, nice, but it has the feel of a big resort in Hawaii because access to it is so separated.

All beaches in Costa Rica are public property, but at Papagayo and a few other places you cannot get to the beaches because they are located within a gated, master-planned area.

Jacob said...

We have much the same situation in many areas of Florida's coastline, too. The beaches are supposed to be public property, but there is de facto segregation because of the way homes and condos are built - you can't get to many beaches!

Dave-CostaRicaDailyPhoto.com said...

Jacob,

We do not have a problem with homes and condos being built in a way that blocks access to the beaches in Costa Rica. It is against the law to build within 200 meters of the high tide line, unless the property is "concession" property from a municipal government or was recorded in land records in the 1970s before the law went into effect banning building by the beach. Even if the property is concession property or was grandfathered before the 1970s law, any building must be set back at least 50 meters from the high tide line.

Our condo is on land that was grandfathered, so we are as close as a building can legally be to the ocean. The beach behind the condo is public, and there are many access points. The beach is not crowded because there are so many beaches and not very many people.

The only places where access to the beach is a problem is where there is a gated, master-planned community that includes a shoreline. The beaches on the shore are public, but the public cannot drive there.

An example would be the Hacienda Pinilla development, just south of us at Playa Langosta. There is a new J.W. Marriott Hotel there. It is located within 5,000 acre master planned development. I can walk there along the beach for miles from our condo. But to drive there would take about 20 minutes and I would have to talk my way through the security guard at the entrance gate to the development.

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