Cancun is world famous not only for its beautiful beaches and fabulous resorts, but also for its exciting nightlife. This reaches a peak during Spring Break season, but you can partake in Cancun’s notorious party scene any night of the year. There are a variety of bars and nightclubs to choose from and the ambiance runs the gamut from laid-back pub style, hyped-up Vegas show, elegant VIP scene, and to multi-level dance floors where you can party hard with literally thousands of other revelers.
The most popular nightclubs are located in a particular area of the Hotel Zone which is often referred to as the “Party Zone.” It starts at Kilometer 9.5 of Boulevard Kukulcan, the main strip that runs along the Hotel Zone. Some of the clubs have a dress code, so before setting off for your evening’s activities, change out of your beachwear. You’ll still want to be comfortable, but no flip flops and no sleeveless tops or tank tops for guys. You should still be comfortable—shorts and t-shirts are just fine for most spots and you can always dress up more if you prefer.
Many of the nightclubs don’t open until 10:30 p.m. and the partying continues until 3 or 4 a.m. The minimum legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, and if you're not far past that age, be sure to take an ID with you. Many of the clubs have an entrance fee that includes open bar or bottle service with reserved seating. You can buy tickets in advance online for a slight discount. Even with your open bar or VIP admission, you'll still need cash to tip your waiters.
A great way to experience Cancun's nightlife is to do a club crawl with Cuncrawl. For just a bit more than what it costs to go to one nightclub, you'll be escorted to three different clubs with drinks included all evening and are guaranteed good time.
Now that you know what to expect, here are some of the best bars and nightclubs for a night out in Cancun:
Not your everyday nightclub, Coco Bongo offers a special experience that you won’t find elsewhere. On any night you can enjoy celebrity impersonators performing musical tributes, amazing acrobatic demonstrations and circus tricks, not to mention soap bubbles, balloons, streamers and more, along with a steady stream of different styles of music that strikes the right cord between trendy and older favorites. All the action is projected on huge video screens, so you don’t have to worry about missing anything. Get there by 10:15 p.m. and get ready for an epic night to remember. The bar closes at 4 a.m.
Mandala Nightclub is attached to the beach club of the same name which functions during the day until 6 p.m. The club has an Asian-inspired decor that feels like an upscale lounge, with one side open to the street. They have theme nights a few nights a week. Monday is the night for a Carnival party and wet t-shirt contest. On Tuesday nights the party takes place at the Mandala Beach Club with a pool party and bikini contest. On Thursday nights the theme is spring break “Gone Wild,” and Saturday nights are time for “Mandala Moments.” They play a mix of musical styles including some electronic, hip hop, reggaeton and pop.
The City hosts the biggest party in Cancun. They’re usually only open on Fridays, unless there’s a special event, so check the schedule on their website to be sure. This huge venue can hold more than 5,000 guests. To attend to all these partygoers, there are nine bars spread over three stories. There is a raised central dance floor where you can strut your stuff to the beat played by the star DJs—they often have big name guests pleasing the crowds with mainly electronic music pumped out of its powerful sound system.
This is a much smaller venue than some of Cancun’s huge nightclubs, but it’s still hopping almost every night of the week, with people dancing or doing the eponymous conga, with balloon in hand. The venue has two sides that are open to the street, so you can check out the vibe before going in. There’s no dance floor to speak of, but people bust a move wherever they are. If you're looking to get the party started early, Congo opens at 8 p.m., so it's a good place to start an evening of club hopping.
Dady O is one of the oldest nightclubs in Cancun, but it’s no less popular than the newer clubs. The decor is reminiscent of a huge cave, with a long tunnel at the entrance and underground atmosphere. They play a variety of musical styles with an emphasis on techno and house music. There are impressive laser shows and special effects to entertain while you dance the night away. Skip the line by purchasing VIP tickets in advance.
With a sleek interior featuring huge chandeliers hanging from the ceiling, Palazzo feels more glamorous than some of the other Cancun nightclubs. The music is mainly EDM interspersed with some reggaeton, Latin music and Top 40 hits. This club is usually open only on Wednesday nights from 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m., with a Glow Extravaganza theme, but during Spring Break, they may open on Saturdays as well.
This club has a unique cow-themed decor and open facade, and a more laid-back ambiance than some of the other nightclubs. They play mostly hip-hop and R&B here, with some Latin music. La Vaquita is open every night except Tuesdays. There is an open bar and VIP seating options. If you’re not planning to drink much, ask for the cover only which does not include drinks. Beverages are served by the liter here, so you won't go thirsty!
For a more casual night out that’s still a bucket of fun, Señor Frog is a good option. Open from midday for lunch, at 9 p.m. the place transforms from family-friendly restaurant to nightclub and they stay open until 3 a.m. for drinking, dancing, and general revelry. They host a foam party every Wednesday with electronic music, house and hip-hop to set the tone.
For a more exclusive and high-end experience, check out HRoof which is located above Harry’s Steakhouse & Raw Bar at Kilometer 14.2 in the Hotel Zone. HRoof has an upscale lounge decor. The music is mainly deep house, with invited DJs such as Lema Roy, King George, Shega and Tom & Collins. Open only on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m., there’s a more strictly enforced dress code here, and it’s best to make a reservation beforehand.