The Most Charming Golf Courses in Cancun & the Riviera Maya

by Paul Joseph  |  Published December 29, 2022

Stretching about 75 miles from the high-rise bustle of Cancun down to the far quieter village of Tulum, the Riviera Maya is home to several excellent golf courses.

(Photo: El Camaleón Mayakoba)

Nearly all of the 15 golf courses on the Riviera Maya are perched along the main highway, Route 307, that runs between Cancun and Tulum. But despite the hum of traffic nearby, the courses also back onto some stunning scenery. If you’re a keen golfer and are coming to this part of Mexico, you may want to check out our list below of the most charming courses the area has to offer.

El Camaleón Mayakoba

One of the world’s most famous golf courses, El Camaleón Mayakoba is a Greg Norman design that hosts the prestigious PGA Tour’s OHL Classic each November. It’s everything you would expect from a top resort course – boasting immaculate conditions, 18 memorable holes, and stunning scenery. Winding under a forest canopy and through the tropical landscape, the course delivers ever-changing challenges and alluring vistas, with fairways lined with sand dunes and mangroves, distinctive hazards such as cenotes (subterranean caves) and crystal-clear lagoons, and greens perched on the edge of the Caribbean Sea.

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Riviera Maya Golf Club

(Photo: Riviera Maya Golf Club)

A regular presence on lists of Mexico’s best golf courses, this Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed Championship Course, located about 15 miles north of Tulum, winds through more than 200 acres of lush Mayan jungle, with natural lakes and cenotes adding to the scenic landscape. Jones carefully carved the golf course from the deepest part of a limestone quarry, spreading the fairways across treacherous jungle growth that – together with the ocean winds – makes for challenging playing conditions. There’s also a 300-yard driving range and a gorgeous clubhouse offering a restaurant and bar.

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Iberostar Playa Paraiso Golf Club

It may lack quite the same picture-postcard gulf vistas as its El Camaleón counterpart, but this course sure makes up for it in playability. Boasting huge undulations in both its fairways and greens, the course, situated within the grounds of the  upscale Iberostar hotel just south of Cancun, is a masterclass in visual diversity, delivering a feast for the eyes for all golfers who play here. Delicately carved from Mayan jungle, the layout was designed by P.B. Dye, who incorporated several of his signature features including extreme vertical movement and hazards like a rock riverbed. The course is open to both hotel guests and visitors.

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El Tinto Golf Course

(Photo: El Tinto Golf Course)

A 15-minute drive from downtown Cancun, this Nick Price-designed course features fairways carved from the area’s natural mangrove vegetation, with special care taken to protect the native flora and fauna. The routing of two returning nines is arranged so that each hole is only revealed upon arrival, offering a round of golf in almost total seclusion. There are also 84 strategically placed bunkers, and 6 beautiful lakes, and with the coastline just a couple of kilometres away, Caribbean Sea breezes add another natural element for golfers here to contend with here.

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Grand Coral Golf Riviera Maya

Both brilliantly playable and intertwined with the natural environment, Grand Coral is truly a work of golfing art. Home to a tree-lined parkland layout, the beautiful course just two minutes south of Playa del Carmen occupies a charming woodland setting, perched a few hundred yards back from the shoreline of the Caribbean sea. Another Nick Price design, it presents challenging golf for players of all abilities, combined with state-of-the-art technology, first-class facilities and excellent personalised service.

Solidaridad, Playa del Carmen