The famed Riviera Maya stretches from Cancun to the Mayan ruins at Tulum. Many of the top Cancun golf courses are conveniently located just off Route 307. Prominent architects and players designed many of these championship layouts: Nicklaus, Norman, Dye, Price, Weiskopf.
Cancun’s tropical weather welcomes vacationing players 12 months a year. Every winter, Cancun International Airport welcomes weather-weary golfers flying in from the north. It’s less than a four-hour flight to Cancun from major gateways like New York, Chicago, Toronto and Denver.
Some courses are fairly open, while dense jungle foliage gobbles up wayward shots at others. In general, minimal elevation changes make Cancun golf courses easy to walk. You’ll often hit your approach shots off of fairly level lies. Average highs are in the low 80s in the winter, and they increase to the low 90s in the summer. Fall travelers should always watch the weather for the possible tropical storm development.
Recommended Cancun Golf Courses
The following list of some of the best Cancun golf courses identifies them by location. They are either in the Zone Hotelera (Hotel Zone), minutes south of Cancun International Airport, or in the Playa del Carmen area.
Cancun Country Club – South of Airport
Land at Cancun’s airport, and you’re only about seven minutes away from the 1st tee at the El Tinto Course at Cancun Country Club. The Nick Price design features five lakes, 84 bunkers and mangroves. At 7,439 yards from the back tees, the El Tinto Course is long but still playable. Step up to the forward tees to shorten the layout to as little as 5,616 yards. The toughest hole on the course is the 483-yard, par-4 5th. It’s part of a demanding four-hole stretch that includes a par 5 (4th hole) more than 600 yards long and a 230-yard par-3 (7th hole).
The greens fee is $180 during the November-April “high season.” Save $50 the rest of the year. Twilight rates apply for play after 11:50 am: $130 during the high season, $70 the rest of the year. Juniors pay $50 during the high season and $40 at other times.
Looking for a deal?
Consider a special all-inclusive hotel rate of $249 that includes a free round of golf.
Puerto Cancun Golf Course – Zone Hotelera
Puerto Cancun Golf Club, designed by British Open champion Tom Weiskopf, opened in 2013. He routed some holes near the canals and others along the Caribbean.
An 183-acre ecological reserve is part of the development. The marina at Puerto Cancun docks as many as 700 boats and yachts up to 130 feet in length. Enjoy water skiing, sailing, windsurfing and paddle boarding are all options. The 120-plus retail spaces at the Marina Town Center include upscale boutiques and shops.
The November-to-April greens fee of $194 drops to $124 during the low season. After 1:30 pm, the high-season twilight rate is $120. It drops to $80 during the low season. Juniors 16 and under pay $50 year-round.
Riviera Cancun Golf Club – South of Airport
The 7,060-yard Riviera Cancun Golf Club opened in 2008. Players must thread their shots around strategically-placed bunkers, lagoons and mangroves. The 541-yard, par-5 14th is a gorgeous hole with ocean views.
The $220 greens fee drops to $130 after 1 p.m. Children under 13 play for just $43. Greens fees include: a shared golf cart, unlimited practice balls, food and beverage. You’ll also get complimentary round-trip transportation to most area hotels. Consider a luxurious Riviera Maya villa that includes a free round of golf at Riviera Cancun and Riviera Maya courses.
El Camaleón Mayakoba – Playa del Carmen
The Cancun golf courses list continues with El Camaleón Mayakoba, a par-72, 7,024-yard course south of Cancun in Playa del Carmen. In designing the course, two-time Open Championship winner Greg Norman left the natural terrain as undisturbed as possible. El Camaleón is the recipient of multiple certifications from Audubon International.
The name of the course points to the chameleon-like way the scenery changes during the round. Players thread their shots around cenotes (limestone sinkholes), winding waterways, mangroves and jungle foliage. Those who grow weary of dodging the myriad hazards still savor the great Caribbean views. For example, the 155-yard 15th hole runs right along the Caribbean. A right-handed slice will land on the beach or in the turquoise Caribbean waters.
The greens fee is at El Camaleón Mayakoba is $299. You’ll save $100 if you’re a guest at the five-diamond resort.
Cancun Golf Club at Pok-Ta-Pok – Zone Hotelera
Cancun Golf Club at Pok-Ta-Pok is the oldest of Cancun golf courses. (Pok-Ta-Pok is a Mayan ball game originating centuries ago.) Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed the 6,750-yard layout in 1976. It’s tucked between the Caribbean and Nichupte Lagoon in Cancun’s Hotel Zone. Here, Mayan history comes to you. Fairways meander around 1,000-year-old sandstone ruins.
The December-April high-season greens fee is $130. It is $95 during the low season. Twilight rates apply after 1 pm: $80 high-season, $75 low-season.
Moon Spa & Golf Club – South of Airport
Near Cancun Country Club, just east of Route 307, is the Moon Spa & Golf Club. The 27-hole Jack Nicklaus Signature layout includes the Dunes, Jungle and Lakes nines. The signature hole is the 8th hole on the Lakes Nine. The 150-yard par-3 plays to an island green. The 337-yard 6th hole on the Jungle Nine is driveable if you can carry it over a large lagoon.
The challenging Jungle/Lake, 7,201-yard layout greets players with beautiful sights that double as hazards. Players negotiate everything from jungles and lagoons to cenotes and mangroves. The Lakes/Dunes 18 is about the same length, although the slope is 138. The Dunes/Jungle combo has a slope of 139.
Prime-time greens fees are $303. The $187 twilight rate includes unlimited golf after 2:30 pm. Juniors pay $71 at all times. Greens fees include a shared golf cart, snacks on the course, food/drink at the clubhouse and transportation to most area hotels.
The 2,031-room Moon Palace Resort offers all-inclusive packages that include unlimited golf. Some of the best ocean views come with 2nd and 3rd-floor rooms close to the lobby.
Revelers enjoy the NOIR Nightclub. There are shows to take in at the Amphitheater. Before or after the show, dine at one of the resort’s 15 restaurants.
Options for Beginners and Higher Handicappers
This is a resort area that caters to players of all skill levels. Cancun’s courses almost always include sets of tees that shorten them by more than 1,000 yards. Just pick a set of tees commensurate with your abilities and enjoy your round.
For example, from the back tees, Playa del Carmen’s Grand Coral Golf Club is a par-71, 7,043-yard test with a substantial 141 slope. While the Nick Price design is a challenge for low-handicappers, it’s also friendly to beginners. They only face one significant forced carry during an 18-hole round.
Another option is to tee it up at Vidanta (formerly El Manglar), a fun 18-hole par-3 course designed by Jack Nicklaus. Accuracy is still important — you’ll find water on eight holes. An island green awaits on the signature 18th.
Saving on Greens Fees at Cancun Golf Courses
Greens fees reflect the fact that this is a popular tourist destination. There are ways to pay less, however:
- Look for “all-inclusive” hotel packages that include golf
- Take advantage of twilight rates. Keep in mind that twilight rates often begin early. For example, at Cancun Country Club it begins before noon
- Play “low season” golf from May 1 to October 31
- Live in the area. Locals often pay far less in greens fees
On land and at sea, endless attractions and activities await visitors.
Xel-Ha Park is the world’s largest open-sea aquarium. You’ll find more than 90 marine species here. Scuba divers and snorkelers enjoy both the sea and the spring-fed waters of the cenotes. Swimming with the dolphins is also popular.
The Yucatan’s numerous sites include Chichen Itza and Tulum. From about 800-1200 AD, Chichen Itza was the political and economic center of the Mayan civilization. Today, some describe Chichen Itza as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World.” The Temple of Kukulcan is a 70-foot-high pyramid. El Caracol is an advanced astronomical observatory. At Tulum, you’ll find the ruins of a Mayan trading port. El Castillo is a temple and fortress sitting high atop a cliff overlooking the sea.
Watersports help make this tropical playground Mexico’s leading tourist destination. Water skiing, parasailing, kayaking and paddle boarding are popular. You’ve got two very different options if you enjoy snorkeling or scuba diving. Explore the coral reefs, or head to one of the cenotes open to exploration.
Aboard a sailboat, enjoy the serenity of sunset sailing accompanied by a glass of fine wine. Deep sea fishing charters give you an opportunity to catch trophy-size fish like Blue Marlin, Sailfish, Tuna and Barracuda. In the shallows, a battle with a Tarpon is unforgettable.
The vast majority of vacationing golfers fly into Cancun International Airport (CUN). Many U.S. airlines offer non-stop service. Delta, American, United, JetBlue, Interjet, Spirit, Frontier, Sun Country and Southwest are examples. Those planning a stay-and-play vacation in Playa del Carmen might fly to the island airport at Cozumel (CZM). A 45-minute ferry ride gets you to the courses on the mainland.
In Cancun, you can usually beckon a taxi with ease. Book a taxi online for reduced rates. Those with rental cars can explore the 100+ miles of attractions strung along the coast from Cancun south. In Cancun itself, parking is sometimes at a premium.