As shown in this photo, Hacienda Pinilla has landscaped grounds and architectural controls that are possible in master-planned communities, when a large area is developed under the control of a developer that has designed everything to be coordinated, unlike towns that grew up at different times with different people constructing different buildings sometimes without regard for the architectural style of the other buildings near them.
Hacienda Pinilla is able to be developed as a master-planned community because a large tract of land -- 4,500 acres -- stayed in the same ownership and can now be developed in a common plan. As its name implies, Hacienda Pinilla was a cattle ranch until it became developed as a resort area. Unlike the rest of Costa Rica, land ownerhip in the northwest region of Costa Rica, called Guanacaste, includes large ranches that trace their origins back to the days of Spanish Colonial land grants.
Guanacaste is drier than the rest of Costa Rica, so that the land is suitable for cattle ranching. Elsewhere in Costa Rica farms are usually small family farms, often growing coffee. The colonial Spanish rulers granted large tracts of land to politically connected families. This is similar to the Spanish Colonial land grants in California, which led to large tracts remaining in common ownership into the 20th century and made possible the Irvine Company holdings that developed much of southern Orange County and the large estate of William Randolph Hearst known as San Simeon.
I will show some additional photos of residences at Hacienda Pinilla in a few days, and then post a question about the pros and cons of these developments.