Cancún is a city in southeast Mexico on the northeast coast of the Yucatán Peninsula in the Mexican state of Quintana Roo. It is a significant tourist destination in Mexico and the seat of the municipality of Benito Juárez. The city is on the Caribbean Sea and is one of Mexico’s easternmost points.
It is therefore a summer tourist and party hotspot. It has a hell of alot of places to party and other more cultural activites to do on a nightout. This guide will help you find an ideal place for you and your friends to go on a night out in Cancun.
Resting on the northeast corner of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun was built on a site selected as the ideal spot for new tourist development by the Mexican federal government. It is composed of 21 kilometers of pristine white beaches shaped like a number “7”, home of the Mayan archaeological wonders, turquoise seas, a bountiful underwater world, and world-class vacation amenities. It is still considered the gateway to the Mayan World (El Mundo Maya).
The city of Cancun is divided into two sections: the Hotel Zone Island with the destination’s beaches and resorts, and the Downtown Cancun where the locals live. Most tourists spend their entire vacation in the Hotel Zone, but more adventurous tourists know that Downtown Cancun has it’s own inviting attractions. Some parts of Downtown Cancun have seen significant changes over the past few years with beautiful new buildings and unique scenery, and other areas like the famous Market 28 haven’t changed a bit. Located a quick bus ride from the beach, Downtown Cancun has great shopping, a fun community atmosphere, and some of the city’s best bars and restaurants and nightlife attractions. If you want to see the side of Cancun that the locals know, then hop on a city bus and explore the charms of Downtown city.
Here in this article, we will provide all the necessary information related to nightlife features of Cancun, including a comprehensive list of the best destinations. You will find all the tools and necessary information here to organize your holidays in Cancun the most complete way to make your journey a beautiful experience.
The Nightlife of Cancun
If you are thinking of traveling to Mexico and you are a fairly adventurous type of person, then consider Cancun. Boisterous nightlife attractions, extreme sports, and exotic beaches are what have made Cancun such a popular tourist destination. Located in the Yucatan Peninsula, the city is facing the Caribbean Sea and it is divided into two areas: a more traditional downtown one, and a more modern, beachfront one i.e. The Hotel Zone. Audacious water parks, stunning archaeological sites, exciting cruise tours, Mayan eco-parks, epic dance clubs, and more await the curious visitors. Nighttime activities are as fascinating as the daytime ones, so read on to see which are the best things to do at night when in Cancun:
Cancun Hotel Zone
The Cancun hotel zone is almost entirely built around the tourist industry. It abounds with all-inclusive resort hotels. Stay there if you don’t mind spending your vacation with many other tourists. Most tourists are primarily from English-speaking North America and there are also many tourists from Europe, but many tourists also come to Cancun from the rest of Mexico.
Just a few miles from Cancun’s hotel zone is El Centro, otherwise known as downtown Cancun. Unlike the hotel zone, one can experience “real Mexico” in downtown Cancun, and see how the locals live. Sadly, many tourists only ever venture into downtown Cancun when they need to make a pilgrimage to Walmart, but they don’t bother staying to see anything else. When you visit Cancun, leave the Hotel Zone and trek downtown to see what the real Cancun is like.
Take a Floating Tour
Nothing is more relaxing, fun and romantic than taking a floating tour around the Hotel Zone and the Nichupte Lagoon. There are many options to choose from: romantic ships, New Orleans-style boats, and Mexican traditional parties on Xochimilco barges. Go with your friends or loved one, take some drinks, and enjoy the breeze and the beautiful view of the coast; a great way to start your night out.
Snorkeling is one of the most popular things to do in Cancun and one of the best things to do in Cabo San Lucas, as it is in many places around the world with beautiful water and reefs. Cancun is home to one of the largest reefs in the world, the Great Mayan Reef. The reef stretches over 1,000 kilometers from the Yucatan Peninsula to Belize and Honduras. One of the best sites for tourists to experience this underwater world is just at the end of Cancun’s Hotel Zone in an area known as Punta Nizuc. Punta Nizuc is a calm and quiet location that has an array of coral, fish and a few underwear sculptures from Cancun’s underwater museum, MUSA. Bring an underwater camera to make sure you can capture the action under the sea.
Have an Adventure in the Jungle
This is a different way to spend a night in Cancun: no bars, no discos, but an exciting adventure in the Mayan jungle. Take a night-time trip to Xplor Cancun Park and experience the adventure park in a whole new way by the light of the stars, the moon, and the occasional fiery torch. Here, you can live the fantasy of an expedition through the jungle by flying in a tirolesa, swimming in a river, driving through caves and paddling in an underground river.
Go Zip Lining
Ziplining is one of the most favorite activities in Cancun. If you are looking for more thrilling things to do in Cancun then you absolutely have to go zip lining. Selvatica is an adventure theme park where they offer 4 different zip lines in one package. On their Extreme Canopy tour, you will soar above the jungle, splash into cenotes, fly like Superman, and experience the rollercoaster of zip lines on their Tanzania Zipline. There are a total of 10 different zip line circuits, so you are guaranteed to have a blast.
Watch a Pirate Show
Let the pirates welcome you aboard the Jolly Roger ship. There is a restaurant where pirates sing and play games; after dinner, a pirate battle will commence, with the sound of cannons and grenades. We recommend you take a sweater with you in case the breeze gets cold, and wear flat shoes.
Explore the Cenotes
Not only is Cancun famous for its underground rivers but it is also famous for its incredible Cenotes. Cenotes are underground caverns that are formed after limestone caves in leaving a giant hole in the earth. This hole typically leads to a pool that in most cases has beautiful aqua-colored water. Swimming, snorkeling, walking and scuba diving in cenotes is one of the things to do in Cancun that is enjoyed both by tourists and locals. Ik Kil is one of the most popular cenotes for swimming and is located near Chichen Itza and Valladolid. Another popular one is near Valladolid named Cenote Zaci.
Party at the Pool Side
If you have not had enough of a Mandala club and it also happens to be Tuesday, then head towards the infamous Mandala Beach Club for more party time. This is one of the top-ranked pool parties in Cancun, thus try to look impressive and don’t forget your fabulous bathing suit. If you book this tour, you will skip the line and walk your way to the open bar for, guess what, unlimited drinks. Options here are getting lazy in one of the club’s pools, dancing to the live DJ’s sounds, relaxing at the jacuzzi, or even entering a bikini contest, oh, and of course, drinking.
Mercado 28 is a large, maze-like flea market that has an abundance of handicrafts, pottery, t-shirt & souvenir shops, and Mexican restaurants. Bargaining is expected in the shops and salespeople are normally very aggressive, but there are some good deals to be found if you are willing to haggle and overlook the pushiness of the sales staff. In the center of the market, there are many small restaurants that serve seafood and authentic Mexican food. The quality of food at the food stands has declined greatly, in recent years, but a good, reasonably priced, seafood meal can still be had at El Cejas.
Best Bars in Cancun
Cancun is the most visited vacation destination in Mexico, and one of the most popular in the world. People visit from all over the globe to experience Cancun’s turquoise blue Caribbean waters, white sand beaches and unparalleled nightlife, dining, and shopping experience. There is no shortage of bars in the Hotel Zone, but downtown Cancun also boasts many unique bar/restaurants that serve up live music and/or a DJ, beer, wine and cocktails, and delicious local food, all at more economical prices than in the Hotel Zone. So, if you have had a long day out experiencing the city’s wonderful attractions and other things to do, you probably deserve a drink to satisfy your thirst, so check out our recommendations here for the best options available in the Cancun City and they are ready to make you happy and kill your liquor desire:
Part of the stylish ME Cancún Hotel, the Rose Bar is a romantic lounge venue with soft lighting and chic indoor decor. A more tranquil alternative to other venues in the area, it is still animated at weekends, and on Fridays and Saturdays, there is live entertainment from musical groups and DJs. Ladies night promotions are often advertised here, and the selection of champagne is vast and tempting.
For tourists searching for a top drinking spot off the beaten track, Toro Rojo has a lot to offer. Located downtown, a few minutes walk from Cancún’s Hotel Zone, the bar boasts a wide variety of beer and original mixed drinks. There is great food available here too, some of their most popular meals being the ceviche, or the steak and chicken burrito. After a day perusing Market 28 or one of the many other parks and shopping centers in the area, Toro Rojo is the ideal place to unwind with an ice-cold beer.
The Black Pub
The last thing one would expect to find in the middle of Mexico is an English-style alehouse, and yet The Black Pub is exactly that. This venue is a top spot for local musicians to perform in both English and Spanish, and customers can catch up on all sports games with the range of channels available. The pub is an interesting blend of both English and Spanish culture, with menu items such as the Big Ben, (a ham, bacon, and pepperoni pizza), side by side with chili cheese nachos. And of course, no English pub would be complete without draught beer, of which there is plenty to choose from here.
Fusion, one of Playa del Carmen’s oldest and best-loved beach bars, has an indoor restaurant area, but it is most famous for its outdoor lounge, right on the sand, under palm trees, and hard by the Caribbean. Fusion’s central location in the busiest part of the downtown area makes it ideal for enjoying a day under a palapa’s shade, or a night out on the town with live music and fire shows. The menu offers a variety of international cuisine, so you can find almost anything you’re craving, whether it’s tacos, Argentine empanadas, or classic pub grub à la burgers and wings.
La Bodeguita del Medio
A branch of a popular restaurant in Cuba which was founded in 1942, La Bodeguita del Medio is small, simple and a hit with anyone who visits. The bar is a special draw with lively waiters pushing signature mojitos along free salsa lessons on Mondays and Wednesdays. Graffiti is encouraged so that you can “leave your mark” before moving on to the buzzing dance floor.
Carlos ‘n’ Charlie’s
An institution throughout Mexico since the 1970s, this lively bar is especially popular with tourists. A non-stop party atmosphere includes waiters who spontaneously start singing or acting out in comical skits and instant conga lines. Menu items range from American to tacos and other Mexican fares. Drink offerings include basics such as beer, tequila, and wine but can become “interesting” with the likes of the “Poison Kiss,” a potent blend of vodka, gin, brandy, red wine and amaretto mixed with orange and lemon juices.
A local favorite, Bar La Ranita (Little Frog) is attached to the Hotel Rana Cansada (Tired Frog) and has been around since 1984. The ambiance is laid back, but the prices are affordable and the margaritas pack a powerful punch.
Los Arcos sits on downtown’s Avenida Yaxchilán, a street known for its dive bar scene. Decked in colorful Mexican style with a terrace overlooking the street, this is one of Cancún’s oldest and most iconic bars, with late-night live bands playing classic Mexican rock and a lengthy menu of beer, booze and bar food. Order un litro de cerveza for yourself and a plate of cheese-smothered nachos for the table, then settle in for a night of people-watching and music.
Amarula Con Acento Tropical
Identified from the street only by a doorway and a neon sign, Amarula blends dark and sultry style with the architectural details of an old Cancún house. Climb the curved stairway to the chic bar area and an outdoor patio for drinks under the open sky. The cocktail menu far outshines the food at Amarula: the signature drinks live up to the bar’s name (‘with a tropical twist’), using classic Mexican ingredients like jamaica (hibiscus flower), regional fruits and chili peppers for surprisingly refreshing flavors that leave locals nostalgic and travelers intrigued.
Las de Guanatos
The exterior of Cancún’s bullring is surrounded by many laid-back bars that fill up on Friday and Saturday nights, but the most well-known is Las de Guanatos. This indoor-outdoor space has earned fame over the years for its massive one-liter micheladas, a Mexican drink made with beer, lime juice, sauces and more, depending on what you order, usually rimmed with sweet-and-spicy chili powder. For a midnight snack, try the torta ahogada, a classic torta sandwich drowned in gravy – but maybe ask for the spicy sauce on the side.
Best Bar Restaurants in Cancun
Cancun is a gastronomic delight for foodies and anyone else who enjoys a delicious meal. Countless restaurants serving all types of cuisine can be found in the famed Hotel Zone and in downtown Cancun. Surprisingly, there are only a few oceanfront restaurants in the HoZo (Hotel Zone) that are not located in a resort, but you will find an abundance of fine, waterfront eateries overlooking Nichupte Lagoon, which provides a spectacular view of Cancun’s unparalleled sunsets. In addition to many seafood restaurants and steakhouses, you will also find eateries that specialize in Mexican, Italian, Thai, Indian, French and Yucatecan cuisine.
Whether you are a fan of choice seafood or you are looking for something more robust in your dining, these eateries will be sure to grace your plate with the best that Cancun has to offer. Here we have come up with some of the best and premium restaurants available in Cancun so you don’t find yourself in the hassle of looking for:
Las de Guanatos
Downtown Cancún’s bullring is surrounded by local dives and restaurants, making the area a top nightlife destination for locals. Las de Guanatos is the most popular spot, famed for massive one-liter micheladas-beer mixed with varying ingredients like Worcestershire sauce, lime juice, or even shrimp, plus salt or chili powder on the rim. An extensive menu features Mexican and American pub grub, but it’s also one of the only places in the city where you can find Guadalajara-style tortas ahogadas: shredded pork sandwiches topped with onions and smothered in sauces ranging from mild to super spicy. The terrace fills on weekends, thanks to a buzzy vibe and live outdoor music.
La Fonda del Zancudo
Atmospheric dining in an old abandoned house, serving gorgeous, Mediterranean-inspired dishes using fresh, local, organic ingredients, some grown onsite in their tiny garden. Standout dishes include their rich tuna tartare, baked figs and empanadas, along with their refreshing cucumber martini and sangria. Seating is in an open courtyard surrounded by crumbling stucco walls with dramatic vines climbing up the sides and fairy lights strung through the trees. Reservations are not required for small groups, but larger tables may want to reach out with prior booking.
Contemporary, French cuisine in an elegant setting with rich flavors, exquisite presentation, and fantastic wines. The sophisticated menu changes seasonally, taking inspiration from locally-sourced produce and fine meat cuts, though certain popular items appear regularly, like the brie salad, lamb chops, and chocolate soufflé. The restaurant is helmed by the amiable and talented Chef Sal Luna, who makes sure to personally greet all guests he’s cooking for and to answer any questions or make suggestions, even going off-menu. Table service is always warm, attentive, and personal. Les Cepages is located in Downtown and is open for lunch and dinner.
Serving an exclusive 12-course tasting meal, Le Chique at the Azul Sensatori Hotel by Karisma, which has a beautiful oceanfront location, offers an intimate and unique dining experience. Headed by El Bulli-trained Chef Jonatan Gomez-Luna, the award-winning menu at Le Chique delivers creative flavors and cutting edge presentation, making it one of the top haute cuisine dining destinations in Cancún.
Punta Bonita at the stunning Rosewood Mayakoba resort is the perfect way to relax while enjoying the succulent flavors of a truly refined Mexican meal. Some of their most highly recommended dishes include the fresh soft shell crab sandwich, and the Caribbean lobster tacos with smoked chipotle mayonnaise, avocado, and black beans, all of which comes artfully prepared. Pair your selection of Mexican tapas with one of Punta Bonita’s signature margaritas. Don’t miss their taco night, an excellent way to indulge in the extensive taco selection while taking in their sublime oceanfront ambiance and views.
Alux Restaurant takes haute cuisine to its subterranean depths. Diners descend down a flight of stairs to enter into an open chamber which has been described by past patrons as like entering another world. This truly one-of-a-kind Playa del Carmen restaurant makes its home in a cave, where, in addition to superb service, candlelit tables, and fine gourmet food, diners are surrounded by stalactites and stalagmites overhead and along the cave walls, making this an unforgettable dining experience.
Best Nightclub in Cancun
Cancun is a vacation destination that boasts world-class resorts and dining, wide white sand beaches and the aqua blue Caribbean Sea, but Cancun may be best known for its outstanding and often outrageous nightlife attractions. And the party don’t stop ’til the sun comes up. It all started when college students discovered this tropical paradise and turned it into one of the world’s top Spring Break spots some 30 years ago, but Cancun’s nightspots rock all year long and all ages are welcome to join the party.
Cancun’s many nightclubs, including the wildly popular Coco Bongo, The City, and Mandala, may have long lines of people waiting to get inside, but the party is worth the wait. Many night clubs and some bars sell open bar bracelets which allow you to pay one price to enter the club and drink all night. Reserving a table in the VIP section of a club and purchasing bottles of liquor is an excellent option but it is substantially more expensive than the open bar alternative. Check out our recommendations here, grab a group of friends or special someone and explore Cancun’s glamorous nightlife activities going on at the optimum best night clubs:
The City Cancun
Indeed it is the place where people from around the world meet on Friday night to enjoy a night full of party and fun! “The City” is one of Cancun’s most famous nightclubs, not just because it is the biggest and most prestigious club in Latin America, but because of its light show, its powerful audio and sound system and CO2 downloads, which accompany the DJ´s beat with perfection. More than 6000 people have sung and danced to the hits of the artist and international DJ who have performed on its stage. Every year during the Spring break in Cancun thousands of students crams this place, as no other club can compare to The City. If you are one of those who have already followed the call to party at this club, you will surely keep the memory of this night in your heart and to live Cancun´s nightlife at its fullest visiting The City is enough.
Cancun’s most famous night club, Coco Bongo, has been featured on many travel programs. Throughout the evening, a variety of performers put on shows. On any given evening at the club, Beetlejuice makes an appearance, Spiderman flies through the air, acrobats perform high above the crowd and a Michael Jackson impersonator lip-syncs MJ’s classic songs. The bartenders and wait staff even take the stage to sing and dance throughout the night. When you feel your feet start to move, don’t bother looking for the dance floor because there is not one. People just dance wherever they can find a little space.
This beautiful medium-sized club is one of the most popular nightclubs in Cancun and is located right between The City and Coco Bongo in the Party Zone. The Indian-inspired decor, which features rich, vibrant colors & lush fabrics instantly informs you that you are in an upscale lounge, rather than a hokey run-of-the-mill nightclub. Mandala feels like the nicest, most ornate VIP room you have ever seen, only it’s an entire club. The fact that the front of the club is entirely open to the street adds to the ambiance. This is one of Cancun’s hippest and hottest clubs and it’s been extremely popular since it opened.
With its 13 branches in the United States, Mexico and the Caribbean, Señor Frogs is already a tradition in its own right. Wednesdays bring a classic foam party with electronic music, house and hip hop to set the mood. This is the perfect place to have a good time and meet new people.
The place to party – after the party. Antique opens at 11pm but they recommend you arrive after 12.30am and the music won’t stop till 5.30. With a capacity of 250 people, Antique calls itself the most ‘exclusive and secure’ nightclub in Cancún. If you are cool enough to make it through the doors on the weekend (they are only open Thursday, Friday and Saturday), expect a crowd that is slightly more elevated than elsewhere. No body shots or wet T-shirt contests here.
An enormous disco ball and pole-dancing platforms set the stage for this laser-lit disco. The iconic Cancun hotspot hosts some of the destination’s best bikini contests and theme-parties throughout the year, especially during the Spring Break season. If you want to dance with no inhibitions, Dady’O club is the place to let loose.
Even with a 1,800-person capacity, this open-air club is packed with people every single night! Live bands (rock and roll; salsa), a cheap open bar, and bar-top conga lines encourage a late night of margarita-sipping and dancing. Between sets, take in the energy of the main Party Center strip. Get to Congo early if you want a table.
One of Cancun’s newer nightclubs, La Vaquita (meaning “The Little Cow”) has quickly become a favorite among vacationers and locals alike. This small and laid-back nightclub has a fun, casual vibe – made slightly more exotic with its signature cow theme (red, black, and cow print interior; liter-sized drinks in cow-print cups).
Grand Mambo Café
Grand Mambo Cafe could become your number one and go-to spot to dance Salsa, Merengue and Bachata in Cancun. Located downtown in Plaza Hong Kong, Mambo Cafe features live music Wednesday through Saturday. Open bar is available on Thursdays. If you’re celebrating a birthday and make a reservation on a Friday, they will give you a free bottle of rum, vodka or tequila if you have your generous friends who are willing to pay covers. On Saturdays if you reserve a table for 15 people you’ll get a free bottle of Captain Morgan or Smirnoff. Bottle service will get you a front row seat right next to the dance floor. There is live music every night and the party doesn’t end until about 4 am.
Every year millions of people visit Cancun in order to experience its unparalleled nightlife, and Palazzo doesn’t disappoint. Formerly Bulldog and before that Christine, the club underwent a complete, glamorous makeover. Dance all night or sip your drink while people watching. You’ll spot lots of pretty people, which include both tourists and locals. With theme nights, world-renowned guest DJs, stripper poles (and stripper pole contests) and both open bar and bottle service available, this is a very popular spot to hold bachelorette parties. Palazzo is what Cancun nightlife dreams are made of.
Nebrina Gin & Cocina
It’s a great bar and restaurant in downtown Cancún that specializes in gin cocktails and Mediterranean cuisine. A restaurant popular with locals, Nebrina has a wide variety of gin cocktails and a casual-but-trendy atmosphere. DJs frequently play in the evenings, and the location on Ruta Nader makes it a great launching point for bar-hopping in the area. You can enjoy here from 6pm to 4am Monday to Saturday.
La Terraza del Vino
An open-air wine bar located near Parque de las Palapas with acoustic guitar entertainment.
When you’re looking for a reprieve from the body-shot scene in the party zone in Cancún, La Terraza del Vino is a low-key, casual, romantic spot that makes for a great date night with good food (the pizza is popular) and a large selection of wines. Go to Parque de las Palapas for sunset and people-watching and then head over here when your stomach starts to rumble.
Let us conclude the topic, here in this article we had a brief introduction of Cancun along with highlighting some of its prominent norms, culture, and nightlife features. We also went through different activities and places to enjoy the nightlife of the region, Musical venues, Bars, Restaurants and Nightclubs as well. Such activities provide a great source of entertainment for tourists and locals as well.
As already elaborated, the nightlife attraction of Cancun is scattered throughout the city. There are several streets / bustling areas of the city where cafes, concert and dance venues, galleries and restaurants offer something special to everyone who loves the culture, shopping and nightlife attraction. There are plenty of pubs & bars throughout the City areas and they are truly satisfying the desire of thirsty visitors where you can enjoy your cocktails with the mesmerizing architectural beauty of the hand-crafted beers and their decors.
You don’t feel any hunger during your trip, that is why we also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the city that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks. You can enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze.
And lastly, we went through comprehensive options of nightclubs of the city that offers great music and fun with some delightfully exotic choices of drinks and cocktail that will delight your overall experience of charming nightlife during your stay at Cancun.
All of the experiences as mentioned above will work together to make your journey to Cancun absolutely a memorable one. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can actually boost your experience and make your trip extremely unforgettable for you.
Video To Watch To Discover
What time do clubs shut in Cancun?
It also follows the most popular timings for nightclubs in Cancun – 10 pm to 5 am.
What should I wear to Cancun nightlife?
The dress code is smart casual, but as long as you’re not turning up in flip flops or sportswear the bouncers are quite easy going. They call themselves the craziest club in Cancun, which is a moniker that takes some living up to, but they aren’t that far off achieving it.