Basking in sunshine virtually year-round, the Mayan Riviera is blessed with beautiful beaches and stunningly blue water. All of this makes a perfect setting ‘fore’ lots of golfing. Lush jungle and mangroves also provide a unique backdrop for designers like Jack Nicklaus, Pete Dye, and Robert Trent Jones II when creating these pristine golf courses.
One generalization that can be made about the golf courses in the Riviera Maya is that they are all beautiful, no matter which club you choose to play at. However, along with that, you’ll also pay a healthy green fee. [On average, the cost to play golf in this part of Mexico is somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 – $200 USD per round.]
It’s noteworthy that many courses in the area offer all-inclusive green fees. This means you’ll get unlimited food, drinks, range balls, a cart, etc. This does not apply at every golf course, so it’s a good idea to check in advance if this is an option at the course you plan to play.
All of the golf courses listed here are sprinkled around the highway that stretches from Cancun to Playa del Carmen. Most are at resorts, but you do not have to be staying at the resort in order to golf there.
If you’ve rented a car for your vacation, it’ll be easy to get to any and all of these golf courses. Other transportation options are private shuttles and taxis from your accommodations. All the courses mentioned here are within a 45-minute radius of Playa del Carmen. They are listed in order from the northernmost course moving south.
With wide fairways and few crowds, you can really enjoy your time here. The rates are extremely reasonable. Also, their private transportation fees to and from your accommodations are cheaper than getting a taxi, depending on where you’re staying. There’s a large practice facility and the clubhouse is spectacular. This golf course has changed names a few times; it was formerly called TPC Cancun and before that, Cancun Country Club. It is located near the Cancun International Airport.
Iberostar Playa Paraíso
A high-ranking course in Mexico for many years, this is located between Cancun and Playa del Carmen. Here the Golf Channel filmed “Big Break Mexico” back in January 2013. Course conditions are immaculate and your game will be put to the test! It’s a nice option to play also because it’s generally not crowded. The staff here are very friendly. If you haven’t brought your clubs, there are quality rentals (Callaway and Ping). You won’t get ocean views from this golf course but it’s beautiful nonetheless; with undulating fairways, lush greenery and wildlife sightings.
El Manglar at Vidanta
This is a Jack Nicklaus designed par 3 course. It’s a lot of fun to play, although it’s not as easy as you might expect. The signature hole is uniquely challenging with three traps. With lush jungle surroundings, you’ll see and hear a lot of exotic birds, which adds to the enjoyment of the experience. Go for a twilight round if you’re looking to save money and beat crowds. It’s located at the huge Vidanta Riviera Maya resort between Playa del Carmen and Cancun (across the highway from JOYA by Cirque du Soleil).
El Camaleón at Mayakoba
The annual PGA Tour event [currently the OHL Classic] has been hosted here for the past 10 years. That has brought world-class golfers to this phenomenal course. You absolutely cannot beat the scenery here. There are varied views of mangroves, jungle, fresh waterways, dry cenotes and stunningly blue ocean. You do not have to be staying at the luxurious Mayakoba resort in order to golf El Camaleón, but you do have to be willing to pay. Everything is done in spectacular fashion. The club prides itself on being eco-conscious and providing visitors with a serene, natural experience. This golf course is located just north of Playa del Carmen.
Hard Rock in Playacar
This beautiful golf course has the big advantage of being conveniently located right in Playa del Carmen. The gated community of Playacar Phase II is built around it. It’s a challenging enough track for golfers of every level, with great scenery and wildlife (even the occasional deer). The course is well maintained and generally narrow and tight, so you’ll find yourself playing a lot of long irons or hybrids. If you haven’t brought your own clubs, rentals here aren’t cheap (about $50 US per set). Try and get an early tee time to beat the heat and don’t miss out on breakfast at the clubhouse–it’s good.
Riviera Maya Golf Club at Bahía Príncipe
The Riviera Maya Golf Club is home to 27 holes of pristine golf, designed by Robert Trent Jones II. Like many of the other courses listed, these golf holes wind through the jungle and around natural cenotes and lakes. There is a 7,272 yard, par 72 course that will challenge all skill levels. Or you can choose to play a shorter executive style 9-hole course, if that’s more to your liking. The Bahía Príncipe resort is located close to the city of Tulum, south of Playa del Carmen.
*This list highlights some great golf courses but does not include all of the courses in the area. There are other courses in and around Cancun, one 9-hole course in Puerto Aventuras, along with several others.*