Grand Coral Golf Course. This 18-hole championship course was designed by Nick Price. Not as busy (or expensive) as neighboring courses at Mayakoba or Playacar, Grand Coral is challenging without being overly intimidating. You'll face a good amount of bunkers and water on the holes. The greens are slow, but the course is well maintained. If you can swing it, opt for the all-inclusive package that covers food and drink. Otherwise green fees cover only the cart, bottled water, and golf tees. Grand Coral Riviera Maya, Carretera 307, Km 294, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, 77710. 984/109–6025. www.grandcoralgolf.com. $175 for 18 holes. 18 holes. 7043 yards. Par 71.
Playacar Golf Club. The 18-hole course at the Playacar Golf Club is considered to be one of the most challenging in the Riviera Maya. There's not a ton of water here, but watch out for sand traps and tricky Hole 14. Signature holes are Hole 13 (342 yards, par 4) and Hole 18 (530 yards, par 5). Included in the green fee is food and drink, which is delivered cart-side every few shots. Plan to lose a few balls during your game as the greens are tight and narrow. The fairways are well manicured and full of wildlife. If it gets too challenging, swing on over to the practice area complete with a driving range and putting green with its own chipping, pitching, and greenside bunker areas. Come after 1 pm for the twilight fee. Paseo Xaman-Ha, near Riu Palace, Playacar, Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo, 77710. 984/873–4990. $180 for 18 holes. 18 holes. 7144 yards. Par 72.
El Camaleón Mayakoba. Designed by the legendary Greg Norman, El Camaleón's 18-hole course is back-dropped by jungle, mangrove, and sea. It is home to Mexico's only PGA tour event—the OHL Classic at Mayakoba, held in November. The layout is exceptional, from the first hole with a cenote in the middle of the fairway to the par 3's on the back with ocean views. Throughout the perfectly manicured course, each hole has a minimum of five tee blocks, so there is distance for every skill level. Holes 7 and 15 skirt the ocean; Hole 17 plays directly between a limestone canal and the Fairmont Mayakoba Resort. Carretera 307, Km 298, Mayakoba, Quintana Roo, 77710. 984/206–3088. www.mayakobagolf.com. $279 for 18 holes. 18 holes. 7024 yards. Par 72.