The Riviera Maya is one of Mexico's preeminent coastal playgrounds. On your next evening out, swing by a sandy beach bar, whether it's a low-key palapa or a decadent dance-all-night club.
This blue-chip luxury resort on Maroma Beach—a secluded stretch of powdery white sand mixed with fine pink coral—is home to a sophisticated beachside bar and restaurant that feels a world away from the wild scenes in Cancun and Playa del Carmen. With over 100 varieties of top-shelf tequila, Freddy’s is the place to really earn an appreciation for Mexico’s iconic spirit. There are six types of ceviche available daily, prepared tableside, and the service is top-notch.
The casual but chic sand-between-the-toes atmosphere of the Luv Tulum boutique hotel is carried through to its oceanfront bar and lounge. Nosh on artisanal tacos or fresh grilled fish while watching the sunset. It's an idyllic way to spend a romantic Saturday night.
Touted as one of Playa’s most romantic beachfront venues, Fusion is a laid-back bar with palapas and tables right on the sand. The menu takes a global tour through Italy, the Middle East and the U.S.—the burger gets good reviews—along with Mexican staples like fajitas and enchiladas. At dusk, the mood is enhanced by live reggae music and hurricane lanterns glowing on every table.
This beach club is where all the Playa’s beautiful people go to play. Mamita's sits on a stretch of sand studded with chic white daybeds. The scene can be wild after sundown, with DJs, dancing, and drinking margaritas ‘til dawn. Daytime, meanwhile, is all about staking out a prime sun lounge position beneath a palm tree, ordering up some sushi, and watching the passing parade of tan bodies.
This friendly, family-run hotel has been luring guests since 1985 thanks to its warm service and great location along the beachfront in Tulum. Its open-air, palapa-style restaurant serves delicious Mexican dishes with an international spin, like the lobster tail flambeed with tequila and the tuna salad with poblano chiles. The breakfast menu features mouth-watering traditional dishes like Huevos Motulenos and Chilaquiles. Tables are right on the sand and have gorgeous views of the sea, making it a big hit with couples.
Akumal is a small resort town situated between Playa del Carmen and Cancun; it's perfect for those wanting to kick back in a fun setting that’s less of a non-stop party scene than its more high-profile neighbors. Many visitors come to see the turtles for which the area is famous (Akumal means “place of the turtles” in Maya), and the eco-friendly theme is carried through at many of the town’s hotels and restaurants, including the popular La Buena Vida, on Half Moon Bay. Sand floors, swings at the bar, and Day of the Dead skeletons are all part of the whimsical vibe. There’s also an inventive cocktail list and happy hour every evening.
Every hotel worth its salt along the Cancun Hotel Zone has a beach or pool bar of some sort, but this five-star mega-resort goes one step further. Its beachfront pool has a swim-up bar and multiple jacuzzi seating areas with tables that are perfect for drinking with friends.
Na Balam, meaning “house of the jaguar” in Maya, is a chic, laid-back boutique hotel on lovely Isla Mujeres, a small island northeast of Cancun. The hotel's hopping Oceanus Beach Club offers a wide range of tequila, freshly squeezed fruit juices, and simple Mexican dishes. There’s also live music on the weekends.
Enjoy live music every single evening at Zenzi Beach Club, a chill spot in Playa del Carmen that boasts good music, free salsa and samba lessons, live sports on the big screens in the bar, and an all-you-can-eat barbecue on Sundays.
Some beach clubs in Riviera Maya can cost a fortune to enter, but Lido Beach Club is a budget-friendly option that's still an ideal place to sunbathe, dine, and booze it up. Guests rave about the friendly, attentive service—meaning you won't have to chase anyone down for a margarita. The vibe isn't quite as party-hard as some of the other bars in the area, but live bands and DJs bring a lively atmosphere that's still tons of fun.
For a VIP experience, head to Coralina Daylight Club, arguably the most exclusive—and expensive—beach club in Riviera Maya. The vibe is much like a Vegas pool party with dancers, bottles of Champagne, and blasting music. Though there are tables and loungers on the beach, the hotspot is definitely near the pool.