Beach Holidays

Best nightlife in Cancun, Mexico – Guide for nightclubs, bars & live music

Best nightlife in Cancun, Mexico

Cancun wasn’t always a holiday destination popular for its nightlife. In fact, it wasn’t even a holiday destination to start with. Before Cancun became the go-to holiday destination for both all inclusive luxury holidays and cheap holidays it was just a fishing town.

After the 1970s, its location and its pristine white sand beaches couldn’t stay hidden from young people looking for a break. Especially American youngsters who wanted a cheap getaway for their spring breaks. Soon enough word spread and folks from Europe, Australia etc started landing in droves to the best beach nightlife destination in the world.

If you are trying to figure out the best nightlife in Cancun, Mexico you have come to the right place. We will be your Cancun guide for nightclubs, bars & live music.

As you may be aware, city of Cancun is divided into two parts. The Downtown area consists of the markets and cantinas (cantinas mean canteens in Spanish) and the Hotel zone has restaurants, shopping malls and night clubs.

During the day, the city of Cancun is all about long white sand beaches but in the night it changes completely and becomes one big nightclub. In the night Cancun becomes what it is best known for – an outrageous nightlife loving city. It is one long party after the other, every night.

Recommended Reading: What is the best time to visit Cancun

Nightlife in Cancun, Mexico

As mentioned earlier, Cancun owes its popularity to the college students who landed on its shores and turned it into one of the World’s best spring break destinations. Cancun nightlife has only become better and better with each passing day. Or should we say, night!

In fact, this legendary nightlife of Cancun has ensured long lines outside the pubs every night. There are more than 25 amazing night clubs in Cancun and yet these lines don’t seem to disappear. To get inside, you may have to opt between what is known as the ‘Open Bar’ ticket or the ‘Bottle Service’.

What is Open Bar

Guide to nightlife in Cancun
You can also seek suggestions from fellow travellers on nightlife in Cancun, Mexico. The more people to guide you, the better your Cancun holiday will be!

If you go for an ‘Open Bar’, you pay once and get free drinks till you are out (or 3.30 am, whichever is earlier). Open bars are mostly on domestic alcohol (rum, vodka, tequila, gin, and whiskey), beer and any cocktails which can be made with these. Under this package you don’t get premium alcohol or energy drinks.

However, some night clubs have an upgraded version of Open Bar packages, where the Cancun tourist can get premium alcohol such as Herradura Blanco y reposado (Tequila), Ketle One (Vodka), Johnny Walker Red Label and Black label (Whiskey/Scotch), Jack Daniels (Whiskey/Bourbon) etc. These special Open Bar packages are costlier – almost double the price. For instance, the regular Open Bar ticket in Coco Bongo cost approximately $80 while the Gold Member’s VIP Open Bar ticket costs $150.

What is Bottle Service

Bigger groups tend to opt for ‘Bottle Service’ where one books a VIP table and then buys bottles of liquor as and when needed. Do note that ‘Bottle Service’ ends up being expensive than ‘Open Bar’ tickets.

A word of advice – do plan and arrange for your trip back to your hotel before you start on your nightlife in Cancun.

Recommended Reading: What to pack for a holiday in Cancun, Mexico

Best nightclubs in Cancun, Mexico

1. Cocobongo

Cancun Nightlife in Coco Bongo
Image: Villapalmarcancun.com

Cocobongo is situated in the middle of Hotel Zone and comes highly recommended by every tourist who has painted the town red during their Cancun holiday. Most youngsters on a vacationed here ensures their Cancun nightlife includes at least one night in Cocobongo.

Known for its spectacular, wild shows this nightclub is a must visit. The shows include golden oldies from the 70s and 80s mixed by the DJs. If you love circus and acrobatic demonstrations, you will not feel at home in this nightclub.

Check out this video for an idea of what to expect at Cocobongo, every night.

Capacity: 1500
Dress Code:  Very Casual
Open Bar:  Yes $65/145 USD
Recommended Nights:  Any night

2. Dady ‘O

Cancun Nightlife in Dady O
Image: Mandalatickets.com

This is perhaps one of the oldest clubs in Cancun. Dady’O was inaugurated more than 25 years back and continues to pull in thousands of party lovers night after night. Almost all nights the master of the ceremony hosts bikini contests, open bar promos, theme parties etc. Some of the best DJs from all over the region keep the dance floors going at Dady’O.

Music played is mostly electro, dance, techno and pop. Thanks to events such as wet T-shirt contests, bikini contests, or search for the best male body this nightlife destination is most popular amongst the youngsters.

Capacity:  1000
Dress Code:  Casual Dressing
Open Bar:  Yes $60 USD
Recommended Nights:  Thur -Fri – Sat

3. Mandala Disco

Nightlife in Cancun at Mandala Disco
Image: Mandalanightclub.com

One of Cancun’s hottest nightclubs, this party destination is situated in the middle of the Club Zone. Every aspect of Mandala Disco is inspired by India, and you just can’t miss it. The front of the club is visible from the street which acts as an advertisement for those on the road and pulls them in. The favorite music of this Cancun nightlife destination is House.

Capacity:  900
Dress Code:  Casual Dressing
Open Bar:  Yes $60 USD
Recommended Nights:  Mon & Thur

4. The City Nightclub

Nightlife in Cancun at City Night Club
Image: Cancunalltours.com

This Cancun nightclub hosts more than 5000 party goers every night and yet there is a line outside to get in. This massive scale of partying reflects Cancun nightlife in its truest sense. Performers such as Snoop Dog, 50 Cent, Akon, Flo Rida etc. perform here at regular intervals. The favorite music at this nightclub is mostly Top 40 and Electro.

Capacity:  5000
Dress Code:  Casual Dressing
Open Bar:  Yes $65 USD
Recommended Nights:  Fridays

5. Palazzo Nightclub

Cancun Nightlife in Palazzo Night Club
Image: Visitroo.com

Before it became Palazzo, this night club was called Bulldog and before that it was called Christine. The change in name hasn’t affected its popularity as a popular nighttime hangout in Cancun. In fact, over the years, Palazzo has come up to speed with the other top nightclubs in this beach resort town.

This club regularly hosts stripper poles and stripper pole contests, which are a major attraction amongst bar hoppers. The music of choice here is Electro/Top 40.

Capacity:  900
Dress Code:  Casual Dressing
Open Bar:  Yes $60 USD
Recommended Nights:  Wed and Sat

6. Mandala beach Club

Nightlife in Cancun at Mandala Beach Club
Image: Cancunspringbreaktravel.com

If you believe pool parties are much better than regular clubs, you should head out to Mandala beach Club. This beach club hosts the best pool parties in the whole of Cancun and it doesn’t always have to be in the night. If you are thinking of paying them a visit here, do plan because this club is open only once or twice in a week. The favorite music of this club is yet again, ‘House.’

Capacity:  1500
Dress Code:  Beach wear
Open Bar:  Yes $65 USD
Recommended Nights:  Tuesdays

Recommended reading: Learn about Cancun before booking flight tickets

Pub crawling in Cancun (also known as Cuncrawl)

For those of us who love pub hopping, Cancun is a great destination because everything is nearby and you don’t waste much time travelling between the nightclubs. In fact, they have a nice name for pub-hopping in Cancun and it is called ‘Cuncrawl.’

Most often than not, it is a group of youngsters who want to indulge in pub hopping and that is why there are many pub crawl tours available in the city of Cancun. These pub crawl tours and both fixed itineraries or customizable itineraries depending on the experience the group is looking for.

You can be a bunch of corporate delegates in Cancun for your sales conference, or a group of friends, or bachelors, bachelorettes…or just plain couples…these pub crawl tours offer you a night to remember.

Once you have selected your pub crawl tour package and made the payment, the guide takes over your nightlife. The guide ensures you don’t have to stand in line, and get VIP entry into the nightclubs. They also ensure you get the best service inside the pub (which includes the open bar for as much as you can drink).

The transport between the nightclub hopping is provided by the tour company and at the end of the night, you get dropped at your hotel. Sometimes the drop back at the hotel is charged extra, so please check with travel agent facilitating the pub crawl.

How to get deal on all inclusive luxury holiday packages

Some of the best tour operators who provide pub crawling packages are – CunCrawl, Party Rockers Cancun, After Dark Events and Entertainment, The Madness Tour, and Cancun Vibes. Amongst these tour operators, we highly recommend Cuncrawl Tour for we believe that they can provide you the best nightlife experience in Cancun.

Cuncrawl has been the #1 Tripadvisor.com nightlife attraction in Cancun for 5 years in a row, which is the best compliment for any tour company.

Cuncrawl’s schedule of night pubs

Monday: Congo Bar, La Vaquita, Mandala Disco.
Tuesday: Congo Bar, Mandala Disco, Mandala Beach pool party
Wednesday: La Vaquita, Sr. Frogs foam party, Palazzo Nightclub
Thursday: La Vaquita, Mandala Disco, Dady’o bikini contest
Friday: La Vaquita, Dady’o, The City Nightclub
Saturday: Congo Bar, Mandala Disco, Palazzo Nightclub
Sunday: Congo Bar, Sr. Frogs Glow party, Mandala Disco

Cancun nightlife for music and dance lovers

If you love going to nightclubs for their music and dance we suggest you carefully choose your nightclub in Cancun. It is believed that Cancun has something for everyone, but only if you know where to find it. Cancun nightlife means fun and entertainment and different nightclubs have their own specialties.

Some are dance clubs, some plain simple bars, some offer outlandish shows while some have music bands – so you must make your choice according to your taste in music and your dance needs.

One thing is for sure, every nightclub in Cancun will try to spice up your nightlife by offering special effects, laser and other state-of-the-art light shows.

Popular dance or disco bars in Cancun

1) CocoBongo
2) The City Discotheque
3) Congo Bar
4) Last Night Bachelorette Party
5) H Roof
6) Christine’s
7) Tropicana Latin Night Club

Best hookah bar in Cancun

If you love your Hookah when you are out for some nighlife, look no further than Hookah Cancun, a small nightclub situated right next to Cocobongo. This is also the best wine bar in this beach town. The other hookah bars in Cancun which you can try for your nightout parties are – Rose Bar, Bar Dante, and Royal Plazza.

Best Karaoke bar in Cancun

If you tend to get drunk and grab the karaoke mike, you may want to try the nightclub called Canta Canta, in Plaza HongKong. There is also the small nightclub called Four Elements in Hotel Xbalamque. At Four Elements all you have to do is order some delicious alitas with drinks and pick up the karaoke mic whenever you feel like singing.

Acoustic Piano Bar and Karaoke located in front of Plaza las Americas at Plaza Solare is another Karaoke bar you must try out. Do call and book in advance because this nightclub fills up fast. If you love to drink while the piano plays in the background and singers belt out songs, this is the place to beat.

Another good option for Karaoke loving families to spice up their nightlife in Cancun is the club called Showtime. You can dress up in colorful wigs and hats and belt your favourite songs at this club. However, if you don’t want to travel much but want a karaoke nightclub right in the hotel zone, look no further than Pancho & Willys. If you love classical, rock music and a little bit of dancing alone with your Karaoke, this is the place to be.

Best cigar bar in Cancun

Hookah bar in Cancun also doubles up as a cigar bar. Besides Hookah Cancun, there is one more nightclub known for its cigar collection – the La Casa del Habano nightclub. If you have friends back home who love cigars, you can even buy them as gifts.

Best gay/ lesbian bars in Cancun

Cancun is one of the best places for gay travelers and its nightlife reflects the same. There are a good number of gay bars but the best three are:

Picante Bar: Situated at El Centro – Plaza Gallerias, Av. Tulum 20, Cancun, Picante Bar is the oldest LGBTQ bar in Cancun. Every night seems like a celebration at Picante. Every night is a wild party with a lot of drag shows and strippers.

11:11 Club: Is the latest gay bar in Cancun. It is situated at El Centro – Avenida Tulum SM22 M5 Lotes 33 y 35, Cancun (near the popular Karamba Bar, which is now closed).  If you’re gay or a lesbian and want to hang out, dance, or relax 11:11 Club comes highly recommended.

Club 69: This is a little far out at 5th Ave, Playa del Carmen so will involve an hour’s travel from Cancun. As the name suggests, the club is anything but subtle.

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