Coto de Caza is a gate guarded private community located in South Orange County, California. The population was 13,057 at the 2000 census.
Coto is a suburban planned community of about 4,000 homes, and one of Orange County's oldest and most expensive planned communities. The project began in 1970 when it was envisioned as a hunting lodge and later completed in 2000.
Around town there are two 18-hole goof courses, two club houses, one considered the "old club" and the other the "new club." The new club has facilities between the golf courses and the tennis club. The old club, located in the residential area known as "the Village," once held tennis guru and teacher Vic Braden, but after its numerous changes in ownership the club has become less attractive. The old club was also the home location for the Coto de Caza Youth Swim Team.
Coto General Store and Merry Hill School are private businesses. Residents shop five minutes away in Rancho Santa Margarita or ten to twenty minutes away in Mission Viejo. Most students in Coto de Caza reside in the Capistrano Unified School District and attend Wagonwheel, Las Flores Middle School, Ladera Ranch Middle School, RSM Intermediate (not part of Capistrano Unified), Tesoro High School, Newhart Middle School, Capistrano High School, and Santa Margarita Catholic High School (not part of Capistrano Unified). But the list goes on.
The community has some condos and townhomes. The most prestigious part is Los Ranchos Estates, the most exclusive community, the most rural, and where prices are the highest. The majority of the community is tract homes and semi-custom homes, with collections of customs on the outskirts off the main streets. The community is a good value in that large homes with land can be purchased in Coto for less than a similar home in the more coastal and developed areas. Coto is located twenty minutes from the Interstate 5 and five minutes from the 241 tollroad to Irvine and then Riverside County.
"Coto de Caza" is Spanish for "Reserve of Hunt" and implies that the reserve is private.