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Posted by Oliver Weickardt on 2018-07-30
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Best Golf Courses Near Cancun & Playa Del Carmen

Moon Palace Golf Club

Moon Palace Golf

Jack Nicklaus had already opened many signature courses in Mexico when Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort Cancun opened in 2003, but all of them were on the Pacific coast in Los Cabos, Puerto Vallarta, or Punta Mita. The opening of Moon Palace in Cancun brought easier access to a Nicklaus course in a luxury resort for golfers coming from the eastern US and it also introduced a golf destination with different landscapes, different beaches, and different waters. Caribbean beaches are famous for their white sands and turquoise waters, while the landscape is flat and is home to many mangroves and cenotes. Moreover, the Riviera Maya is not one place but rather a compact region with myriad attractions and activities along its 80-mile stretch of coast. Cancun is one of the easiest and cheapest destinations to get to from the Eastern US and Moon Palace is just ten minutes from Cancun International Airport; it could hardly be easier.

Another distinctive characteristic of Moon Palace is the sheer luxury and great value for money of its all-inclusive packages. You could stay elsewhere and go to Moon Palace to play golf for the day, but it works out much more expensive when you take everything into account. Moon Palace has over two thousand luxury accommodations and a mind-boggling array of luxury facilities, services, and activities to keep you busy in the most beautiful of surroundings. Situated on 2000 feet of Caribbean beach, Moon Palace has fifteen restaurants, twelve bars, pools, Jacuzzis, tennis courts, basketball courts, and lots more. Convenient for everything, yet separate from other resorts, Moon Palace is an ideal golf vacation destination. The golf club offers an incredible range of practice facilities and instruction, too numerous to mention here, but suffice to say it is the most complete that I have ever seen.

The course itself is certainly no pushover, but the facilities mean that this is perhaps the best course for those starting out or looking to improve their skills in a short space of time. Another factor to take into account is that this is flat terrain with fairways hidden among lush tropical forest, making each hole feel secluded. The flat terrain means the course is friendlier than courses in mountainous settings, but there are still plenty of challenging water hazards, bloody-minded bunkers, and waste areas. If you’re looking for all-inclusive luxury in a beautiful location with superb golf, then you can’t go far wrong at Moon Palace.

Cozumel Country Golf Course

Cozumel Country Club Golf Course

Cozumel is an island lying just off the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico. It is located in the Caribbean Sea and sits opposite Playa del Carmen, just eleven miles away on the Mayan Riviera. The most direct way to get to Cozumel is to fly into the island’s international airport. Another option is to fly to Cancun, take a short trip to Playa del Carmen, and from there take a short ferry ride across to the island. The final way to get there is to take a cruise which stops at Cozumel, though you’ll probably only get to spend one day there. Cozumel has many attractions, but for golfers, the main draw is the Nicklaus design golf course at the Cozumel Country Club. Set amidst the dense tropical forest, this 18-hole, par-72, 6,734-yard course is a favorite with golfers of all ages and levels and hosted a major Celebrity Golf Tournament in June 2013.

This user-friendly course incorporates four sets of tees and offers a special short course ‘Fastee’ option for beginners, juniors, and seniors. For more experienced golfers there are plenty of mangroves, wetlands, trees, water hazards, and significant carries to keep you on your toes. In fact, one of the main goals of the designers was to create a course adaptable to all levels, and they have succeeded admirably. For being on an island there is a distinct lack of ocean views due to the course being a bit inland and the low-lying terrain being surrounded by dense forest. The upside is that each fairway and green is secluded and peaceful and there are marvelous flora and fauna all around. In fact, the club has done such a great job at preserving and respecting the natural environment that in 2006 it became the first course in Mexico to be designated a Certified Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.

The Cozumel Country Club is home to iguanas, crocodiles, raccoons, and blue crabs. One minor complaint many golfers have here is that they lose a lot of balls due to the dense vegetation flanking the fairways, and since crocs live in some of the water features trying to retrieve your ball from anywhere wet is a big no-no. The best way to go is to purchase an all-inclusive option at a nearby hotel, such as the Playa Azul Golf & Beach Hotel, and get all your golf free, except for cart rental. Don’t forget to take a day off the greens to explore this beautiful island or to check out the world-class scuba diving.

Villa Patron

from $ US 1.400 /Night
Chic and contemporary; this luxurious villa looks out over the lagoon to Cancun's energetic hotel strip. El Patron [more]
Chic and contemporary; this luxurious villa looks out over the lagoon to Cancun's energetic hotel strip. El Patron [more]

Villa Sol y Luna

from $ US 786 /night
Villa Sol y Luna boasts a total of ten bedrooms; seven in the main house and three in the guesthouse and can accomm [more]
Villa Sol y Luna boasts a total of ten bedrooms; seven in the main house and three in the guesthouse and can accomm [more]
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Villa Tortuga Secreto

from $ US 400 /night
Villa Tortuga is a charming beachfront vacation rental villa in Playa del Secreto on the beautiful shores of the Ri [more]
Villa Tortuga is a charming beachfront vacation rental villa in Playa del Secreto on the beautiful shores of the Ri [more]

El Manglar Golf Courses

El Manglar Golf Course Riviera Maya

More commonly known as El Manglar, this Jack Nicklaus design course on the Riviera Maya is about forty minutes south of Cancun and twenty minutes north of Playa del Carmen and is situated on the beautiful Mexican Caribbean coast. Opened in 2003, El Manglar is the only par-3, 18-hole golf course in the region (par 54 in total). It is a challenging executive course and is probably the most difficult of its par in Mexico. On the other hand, with a low overall par, it takes less time to complete the course, which, if golf is not the only thing on your mind, is a good thing. You’ll have more time to enjoy the many attractions and activities on the Mayan Riviera, including the Great Mayan Reef for snorkeling, the spectacular Xcaret eco theme and archeological park, and a wide array of water sports.

The excellent location also leaves you a stone’s throw from all the attractions of Cancun, Playa del Carmen, Cozumel, Tulum, and several Mayan archeological sites. Getting back to the golf, the fairways at El Manglar are flanked by lush tropical vegetation and the course allows you glimpses of the turquoise waters of the Caribbean along the way. Ten holes have water hazards and sand traps abound, with the silky white sand (similar to that on the beach) contrasting dramatically with the verdant greens and fairways. The greens are designed so that the breezes coming off the sea will always work against you, meaning that this relatively low par course is no picnic.

Hole 7 is pretty tough with the prevailing winds and three sand traps, hole 17 is protected by a lake, two lateral sand traps, and one right on the green, while the 18th hole is on an island in a lake with an entry trap, meaning you have to land perfectly or not at all. As you would expect, El Manglar clubhouse features excellent practice and rental facilities, first-class instruction, and snacks and beverages. Luxury accommodations are close at hand at the Grand Luxxe Riviera Maya, which is integrated into the same beautiful resort, along with excellent services and amenities, spa, fitness center, restaurants, shopping, pools, the beach, and lots of land and water activities. On top of all that, there’s the aforementioned golf – not a bad combination for sun-loving, golf-loving, luxury-loving, beach-loving travelers with some time on their hands.

Riviera Cancun Golf Club

Riviera Cancun Jack Nicklaus Signature Golf Course

Cancun is the gateway to the Riviera Maya. A fabulous destination in itself, with excellent services and gorgeous white sand beaches and turquoise waters, Cancun is also close to all the beautiful beaches and marvelous attractions of the Riviera Maya, passing through Playa del Carmen down to Tulum. Just five minutes from Cancun International Airport, the Riviera Cancun golf course has to be one of the most convenient to get to in the whole of Mexico. And, being such a tourist hub, Cancun is an easy place to get to with so many direct flights at reasonable prices, making the whole experience of stepping up to tee off almost effortless. But if convenience were the only consideration then any truly keen golfer would make the effort to move on to another course, of which there are plenty in this part of the world. But Riviera Cancun is a beautiful course set in gorgeous natural surroundings and offers a perfect blend of rugged and manicured terrain. Lovely undulating fairways flanked by mangroves, forests of indigenous palm trees, and a few Caribbean views make this a great setting.

The natural contours of the terrain have been preserved to enhance the natural beauty and to ensure that this course is a decent challenge for any golfer, who over the eighteen holes has to take on lakes, dunes, and wetlands. The views from the clubhouse are spectacular and the services and facilities are luxurious, including an excellent restaurant and bar, practice range, practice greens, golf shop with rentals, and a sauna and spa for relaxing after a hard day out on the greens. Riviera Cancun is a very tranquil place to play golf, partly because of its secluded natural surroundings and partly because it never feels crowded. The course is only about three years old and that may explain why it has been kept a bit of a secret (which is a good thing!), but also it started off with a popular all-inclusive package that was discontinued when it changed hands, making it less of a deal and a tad more exclusive that it once was. So you’re paying a few more bucks than before if you want to take advantage of all the services but, all in all, the tranquility and exclusivity in such a beautiful setting make it worth it.

Name of Reviewed Item: Best Golf Courses Near Cancun & Playa Del Carmen Rating Value: 5 Image: https://villaexperience.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/riviera-cancun-golf-club.jpg Review Author:Review Date:
Villa Experience founder is German born but loves all thing Mexico! He has lived in the country since 2003 and has experienced Mexico´s premier destinations at first hand. His favorite destinations are the Yucatan Peninsula, Baja California Sur, and Puerto Vallarta.

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