A few years ago it seemed people outside of Washington, Arizona or Florida couldn’t spell Pikclbhal, (couldn’t resist…sorry!), and now Pickleball is everywhere, and supporting it is this altogether amazing growth industry. Proof? You know for a fact that your sport has arrived when folks start doing tours and promoting tourism around it, right? And you probably have seen that, today, pickleball tourism is everywhere. We think a very nice article written pickleball travel, researched and composed by Atlantic Pickleball nearly a year ago (June, 2014), is still a appropriate place to start if you have interest in traveling anywhere at all and want to play pickleball while you go. That article talks about home-sharing, pickleball tours, destinations, and more.
But of those, tours have seemingly increased exponentially since that article was written, Many new tour hosts have also entered the field and others have increased their offerings. This year, if you’d like to go to Spain to play pickleball, for instance, you could choose from the Viva Spain tours or our buddy Prem Carnot’s (aka: The Pickleball Guru)’s new guided tour to Madrid. And there could be others. Is Spain it, you ask? Of course not, silly rabbit. Audrey Phillips, the acknowledged queen of the BIG pickleball tours, is doing her high-quality thing once again with what looks to be a rocking tour to Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic.
However, we know that you travel junkies are always looking for the next thrill, both big AND little. So here’s something brand-new and entirely intimate, a series of eight-guest-maximum tours to Costa Rica! (Yeah, we’ve gotta first give homage to Queen Audrey, who ran a very well-regarded Costa Rica tour for 112 of her closest pickleball friends in 2012.) Difference is, these tours are small by design to keep them up-close and personal, and they are run by professional photographer and experienced tour guide Tony Horpel, also, with with Celeste, the USAPA Pickleball Ambassadors to that small but lush Republic.
As we’ve said many times we sell nothing and take no money for these recommendations and since it’s brand-new we can’t give you any client feedback about them. But from what we’ve seen and heard thus far their other tours are very nicely done. You can look here for client reviews. The fact that the tour is twelve days also seems good to us; it should allow for a lot of truly hands-on experience in Costa Rica, as well as, we’d imagine, the opportunity to customize the tour slightly to your own needs.
Negatives we see? Well, maybe the pickleball itself, right? With only eight people going, and with pickleball being an emerging sport in Costa Rica, probably the local competition will be limited. And, we’d suppose, that there would also be a limit to how much outdoor ball you can play given that there are limited venues (and a fair amount of humidity, LOL!). That is, if you are a big outdoor fan as we are. Opinions vary on outdoor vs. indoor. However, Tony is aware of these issues (if they are issues at all) and if what you are looking for is a smaller, “family-like” setting with a couple of who have a tremendous sense of place, who are in love with pickleball and overall seem like great fun, we’d suggest you give one of these tours a look. We can imagine this would be ideal if four friendly couples just wanted to book one of these tours completely! If AJ could ever make a friend or two, maybe we could do that sometime!