8 Best Beach Bars on Mexico's Riviera Maya

An aerial view of the Riviera Maya
••• Matteo Colombo / Getty Images

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.

  • 01 of 08

    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 get an appreciation for Mexico’s iconic spirit. There are six types of ceviche available daily, prepared tableside, and the service is top-notch.

  • 02 of 08

    The sand-between-the-toes casual chic 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 chill Saturday night.

  • 03 of 08

    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.

  • 04 of 08

    This beach club is where all the Playa’s beautiful people go to play on Mamita, 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.

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    This friendly, family-run hotel has been luring guests since 1985 thanks to its warm service and great location along the beachfront in Tulum. The 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.

  • 06 of 08

    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.

  • 07 of 08

    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 to drink with friends.

  • 08 of 08

    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.