In October, the Pinellas International Council held a trade mission to the Cancun-Playa del Carmen-Cozumel area of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. For one week we toured several absolutely gorgeous properties including the Mayakoba resort and Iberostar. There are many wonderful vacation & second home opportunities there. I came across this article about the PGA tour being held at the Mayakoba resort.
MIKE BAILEY, TravelGolf.com Posted 02/23/2011, 9:25 AM EST
Mayakoba-El Camaleon Golf Course hole 7
The par-3 7th at El Camaleon Golf Club (Fairmont Resorts photo Courtesy of Fairmont Mayakoba )
PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico - While much of the golf world this week is focused on the WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship near Tucson, Ariz., the rest of the PGA Tour isn't taking the week off. But they're not exactly toiling either at the Mayakoba Golf Classic on Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula.
The ordinary guys - like rookie sensation Jhonattan Vegas and last week's Northern Trust winner, Aaron Baddeley - get a pretty good deal this week, spending it basking in the Caribbean sun on the Riviera Maya about 40 minutes south of Cancun. They're playing a pretty fair golf course, the five-year-old paspalum-grassed El Camaleon Golf Club, a Greg Norman design that winds its way through natural mangroves with a couple of stops along the ocean.
But more importantly, perhaps, the tournament affords the field an opportunity to bring their families or girlfriends down for a super relaxing vacation.
This 240-acre nature preserve, set among the territory of the ancient Mayan people, is one of a kind. Throughout the Mayakoba Resort (pronounced Myah'kobah locally) are miles of man-made canals, which were dug through the limestone to reveal crystal clear water that harbors a unique ecosystem.
Guests of the Fairmont Mayakoba can take a guided cruise around the resort on beautiful mahogany boats, getting a close-up view of the hundreds of species of birds, fish and iguanas that make their home here. They can also get around the resort riding $1,800 BMW bicycles, which are parked throughout the property for everybody's use, or simply walk along the miles of white sandy beaches.
The Fairmont Mayakoba, where 80 percent of the tour players are staying this week, pampers as well as any stop on the PGA Tour. The staff members, not surprisingly, are eager to please. Accommodations range from luxurious to super luxurious, offering rooms and suites along the lagoons as well as the golf course, with some overlooking the beach, complete with rooftop dip pools. There's a wonderful full-service spa, state-of-the-art fitness center, countless swimming pools, and four exceptional restaurants.
And speaking of dining, tour players and their guests will have to look far and wide to find another resort that matches the AAA five-star Fairmont Mayakoba's culinary delights. With the ocean at its back door, guests can enjoy a variety of fresh ceviches, game fish and tuna, but it doesn't end there. There's New Latin cuisine, outstanding steaks and short ribs, an awesome breakfast buffet featuring fresh tropical fruits and juices, and one of the best clubhouse menus you'll find anywhere at the El Camaleon Golf Club.
In short, missing out on the WGC-Accenture Match Play isn't such a bad deal if you're settling for the Mayakoba Golf Classic and Fairmont Mayakoba Resort. After all, it's the only PGA Tour event in Mexico, so it's no surprise they did it up right.
With great weather, natural beauty, rich history and one of the best beaches in world, the east coast of the Yucatán Peninsula is one of Mexico's most popular destinations. The exciting city of Cancún is at the northern tip of an area known as the Riviera Maya, where the sun, surf and greens meet in very memorable fashion.
Other places WHERE TO PLAY GOLF in the Yucatan Peninsula
El Camaleón Golf Club: Designed by Greg Norman, the site of the PGA TOUR's only Mexican event moves through several landscapes: mangrove forests, beach and limestone canals. These waterways crisscross the entire Mayakoba community (guests use small boats known as lanchitas to navigate the canals), which has several resort properties, including the Fairmont.
Iberostar Playa Paraíso Golf Club: P.B Dye proved he learned a lot about how to shock golfers with his daring, rollicking design carved out of rocks and jungle. There are several features that will grab golfers' attention, from tree in a bunker blocking the 5th green, the 13,000-square-foot putting surface at the 7th to the river of limestone on the uphill 9th, on which the resort, a replica of a Maya pyramid, looms in the background.
Iberostar Resort Playa del Carmen 10-2010
Moon Spa & Golf Club: The first Jack Nicklaus signature design in the area has 27 holes with plenty of water and native vegetation that will grab stray shots. No shot is more intimidating than the tee shot to the island green on the 8th hole of the Lakes nine. The golf is part of a large all-inclusive resort that has more than 2,000 rooms and offers numerous amenities along the beach.
Nearby ACTIVITIES AND ATTRACTIONS
Diving with dolphins: There are several locations in Riviera Maya, but the best is Xel-Ha Park, the largest natural aquarium in the world. Due to the tethered breathing equipment, visitors don't need prior Scuba experience in order to swim with the friendly mammals.
Mayan culture: Vestiges of the Mayan civilization abound in the area. The most impressive are the stepped pyramids like the one at Chichen Itza, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, a global competition named the site as one of the new modern wonders of the world, along with the Great Wall of China and India's Taj Mahal. (Chichen Itza is a powerful & impressive site not to be missed. I spent my birthday there in October.)