Where to see on-course wildlife on a cancun, Mexico golf vacation

One of the biggest thrills of a Mexico golf vacation is the opportunity to commune with the exotic native wildlife, and you don’t even have to spray your ball out-of-bounds to do it.

When playing in the quickly growing golf destination of Cancun and the Mayan Riviera, the on-course foliage, lagoons, and mangrove swamps are full of certain creatures you would normally only see on The Discovery Channel.

During our recent round at the Moon Palace Golf & Spa Resort, a sign alerted us that we’d likely see some combination of white-tailed deer, Mexican wood turtles, black iguanas, marsh crocodiles, margays (spotted, wild cats) and even boa constrictors while playing golf. 

Of course, there are plenty of salt-water crocodiles, too, so perhaps the rule of golf that supersedes all others when you’re on a Mexico golf vacation is that you don’t reach for a ball in any of the ponds or lakes.

The birds you’ll see on a Mexico golf vacation are astonishing, too. Macaws, flamingos, heron, and others are native to the Mayan Riviera. And, while some may be interested in the food you’re carrying, when it comes to food thievery, no animal takes the cake (or sandwich, as the case may be) more so that a four-legged mammal known as the coatimundi.

Coatimundis (pictured) resemble raccoons with their long, bushy tails and bear-like paws. They act like them, too. When we left our cart to hit a shot on the Jack Nicklaus-designed Moon Palace Golf Club, a coatimundi boldly scampered out from the jungle, into our cart, and made off with our lunch.

We could only watch and laugh as he finished his snack and disappeared back into the thick brush. It was just one more reminder of the wonderfully different feel you’ll experience on a Mexico golf vacation.

FROM $437 (USD)
CANCUN/RIVIERA MAYA, MX | Enjoy 7 nights' accommodations at Andaz Mayakoba Resort and 5 rounds of golf at El Camaleon Mayakoba, Gran Coyote, Iberostar Playa Paraiso, Riviera Cancun.

Craig Better is one of the founding editors of Golf Vacation Insider. In addition to traveling to 15 foreign countries, he has twice traveled across America to play golf courses in all 50 United States. Prior to joining Golf Vacation Insider, Craig was a freelance writer who contributed to GOLF Magazine, Travel + Leisure Golf, Maxim Magazine, USAToday.com, and co-authored Zagat Survey’s book, America’s Top Golf Courses.
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The Moon Palace is an excellent place to stay. The golf course is one of the best south of Florida - can't beat course washrooms made of marble with columns. We have photos of the crocs sun bathing on the waste bunkers. Well worth paying the extra for all inclusive golf

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Where to see on-course wildlife on a cancun, Mexico golf vacation