Mayakoba - El Camaleon - Mexico

Fairmont Mayakoba,
Carretera Federal Cancún,
Playa del Carmen Km. 298,
Playa del Carmen Solidaridad,
Quintana Roo,
Riviera Maya 77710,
Mexico


  • +52 984 206 3088


Just like the chameleon from which the course takes its name, this Riviera Maya layout winds its way in two large 9-hole loops through an ever-changing landscape of thick tropical jungle and mangrove forest, with a number of man-made lagoons and canals coming into play on all but three of the holes.

Laid out by the design company of golfing legend Greg Norman, the Mayakoba-El Camaleon course has had several natural subterranean caves (called cenotes) incorporated into the design (there’s one of the ancient caverns in middle of the first fairway, for instance) in a highly imaginative routing that brings a couple of par three holes right to the edge of the Caribbean Sea.

These stunning short holes, tucked in alongside natural dune ridges at the 116-yard 7th and the 155-yard 15th, are the real highlights on the scorecard and they’re played right beside the beach where ever-present sea breezes test the mettle of even the very best of golfers as they stand on the tee.

Organized by the Greg Norman Production Company, the Mayakoba Golf Classic has been hosted by the course since 2007 and in the inaugural event, Fred Funk held off the challenge of 131 other professionals to win the title after a playoff, making him the oldest player to win a PGA Tour event since 1975.

Tom Doak made a point of playing El Cameleon in 2017 and awarded the course a rating of six out of ten. He commented as follows in his Christmas 2017 Confidential Guide update:

“With four luxury resort hotels set along a network of waterways created from ancient caverns, Mayakoba is a spectacular example of an eco-resort, and their golf course does a pretty good job of living up to its end of the bargain. Only a couple of holes utilize the waterways as hazards [due to safety considerations]; both nines work their way from the inland clubhouse through the mangroves and out to the beach and back. The course is less intense than Norman’s usual fare, but still pretty tight off the tee, so you’ll want to bring plenty of golf balls.”

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Reviews for Mayakoba - El Camaleon

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Description: Laid out by the design company of golfing legend Greg Norman, the Mayakoba-El Camaleon course has had several natural subterranean caves incorporated into the design... Rating: 8.1 out of 10 Reviews: 7
TaylorMade
Colin Braithwaite

Mayakoba El Camaleón is a classic resort course. El Camaleon leverages three different environments, limestone canals, mangroves and oceanfront. Interesting, but contrived and squeezed in my opinion. Yes, there are ocean holes, but it is more about showing a little leg than being of substance. The layout has changed since I played it, the first hole was the par five the cave bunker. I believe it is now the 7th hole. The longest par three is only 200 yards but the others are in the 150 yard range and one less than 120 yards. Under the right circumstances most of the par fives can be reachable. You may also find yourself with a water carry over people in kayaks in the canals. Stay focused. There are some good holes and while I encourage you to play, be prepared to spend a lot of $$ and wondering what the heck just happened.

September 29, 2021
6 / 10
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Zach Ferdinand

Outstanding course that winds through mangroves and cenotes of the Yucatan. Was in excellent shape in July 2021 when I played there. Customer service is top level (lime/orange cold towels after the round, free popsicles). Not every crowded so feels like you have the place to yourself. Bizarre that the range balls an amalgamation of practice balls and "found" balls.

Course is long mostly to make up for three par 3s that are under 150yds. Many par 4's over 400yds from the blues. Somewhat forgiving with room to miss on several though any punches of the coral wastelands are not a great feeling. It's not the beastiest course you'll play. Par 5's can be reachable especially with a helping wind (thinking of the dog leg right par 5 16th where you can be hitting 150 in off the tee with an off shore wind). Great vacation golf course where you can be challenged but not killed. Just don't get caught in a off shore storm cuz saw some poor bros trying to putt the par 3 15th with the wind bending the flag stick and whipping sand in their face.

July 20, 2021
9 / 10
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Mark K

In my view the best course in Mexico. Long, challenging, but eminently playable, it is extremely well maintained and its a course that will never get old.

February 14, 2021
9 / 10
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Josh P

Home to the Mayakoba Golf Classic (don't ask the caddies about Matt Kuchar!). A solid test of golf in a beautiful setting, however I found the golf to not be memorable, with a few exceptions. The par 5 opener has the cave (cenote) bunker on the 1st. Of course I managed to hit it in that bunker- it was certainly an interesting shot getting back out of it! There are also a couple of short par 3s right on the beach, although I question if it wasn't for the setting right on the beach, if they would have been that memorable.

March 30, 2020
5 / 10
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Dave Finn
El Camaleon opened in the spring of 2006 and certainly lives up to its’ name. Like the lizard capable of changing colors accordingly to blend in with their surroundings, this course celebrates nature at its finest as it delicately winds through the sensitive jungles and mangrove swamps and alongside magnificent ocean vistas. Mayakoba - El Camaleon Golf Course - Photo by reviewerAnother amazing feature of this Fairmont managed property is the unique nine kilometers of freshwater natural canals that meander throughout the property shuttling guests to and fro in custom-built mahogany gondolas “lanchas”. No wonder Mayakoba has been dubbed “the Venice of the Yucatan”. Picking my favorite hole was definitely a challenge but in the end it was a toss-up between the 7th and the 15th. Both are par 3’s, where the prevailing winds, sea spray and soothing waves will leave a lasting impression, regardless of your score. Greg Norman has been quoted as stating “With three distinct landscapes and a commitment to preserving the delicate ecosystem of the Yucatan, there is uniqueness in every hole” and I couldn’t agree more! For a complete article on El Camaleon and other courses in the Riviera Maya visit http://golftravelandleisure.com/2013/10/18/golf-in-riviera-maya-mexico/
October 17, 2013
10 / 10
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Mike
Its an amazing course with amazing views. The bunkers are fantastic. Played the course in March 2012.
March 14, 2012
10 / 10
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Carl Tushingham
This course has some excellent holes, particularly on the front 9. There is a lot of water to contend with and even a couple of caves to play over. A super run of holes from the 5th to the 10th are the real highlight. It was in excellent condition although the greens were on the slow side. There are couple of weaker holes such as the 2nd and the 11th and the par 3's are all short. Well worth a round on your Mexican holiday itinerary, but it is not cheap!!
July 25, 2011
8 / 10
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Girts
January 29, 2012
I have played El Camaleon in January 2012 and must say that the course was far better than other courses I managed to play (Playa Mujeres, Riviera Cancun, Iberostar Cancun). Superb service, perfect conditions from tee to green, excellent holes seaside holes and perfect nature. What else do you need for perfect golf? The pro also recommended to play Iberostar Playacar and Riviera Maya courses, if you have more time.