Cancun's Best Nightclubs: Party till the Sun Comes Up
By Kristin Busse
Cancún Local Expert
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. 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 20 years ago, but Cancun's nightspots rock all year long and all ages are welcome to join the party. In any given club on any given night you’ll find partygoers that range from the age of 18 (legal drinking age in Mexico) to mid-50s and older.
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. Remember, many clubs and some bars will not allow you to buy one drink at a time. Instead they 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. If you want to visit many nightclubs in one evening, consider one of Cancun's bar hopping tours.
Visit Cancun and experience it's unparalleled nightlife firsthand. You're in for the time of your life.
10 Carlos n' Charlie's
Carlos n' Charlie's provides party seekers with an ideal atmosphere to let loose, tilt their heads back and howl at the moon. Live bands and DJs pound out music until the wee hours of the morning, drinks are reasonably priced, and the kitchen does a good job of keeping everyone from becoming too famished from all of the fun and dancing. Keep your eyes open since even the waiters get up on stage every once in a while to share their slapstick talents with the audience. If you're not eating, a cover charge applies. Learn how to dance Salsa on Friday nights. (998-883-4468, 998-883-1862)
Karamba is Cancun's oldest and biggest gay dance club. It recently underwent a huge renovation and its high ceilings give it an airy, open feel. The dance floor is spacious enough to accommodate all your wildest moves. Karamba is located in downtown Cancun on the main drag (no pun intended) Tulum Avenue. Each night has a different focus and features everything from drag shows to karaoke to go-go boys, but two-for-one drink specials are on every night. The club is open 6 days a week (closed Mondays) and each day you're sure to find a mix of men and women, locals and tourists from all over the world. (998-884-0032)
8 La Vaquita
La Vaquita (The Little Cow) is one of Cancun's newest nightclubs. It sits smack in the middle of Cancun's Party Center at kilometer 9 of Boulevard Kukulcan. This casual open-air bar/nightclub is decorated in red, black and of course, cow print. Sexy go-go dancers abound. Visitors can pay a cover charge and purchase individual drinks or go for the open bar option. The club sells "litros" or liters of beer and other drinks, which is very popular in Cancun. You can also find La Vaquita in Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta. (998 883 3333 ext. 13)
7 Senor Frogs
The name Senor Frog's is synonymous with fun. This open-air bar and restaurant has sawdust on the floor so you don't have to worry about your children making a mess. Kids can order "virgin" versions of the famous drinks in yard glasses that people love to take home as souvenirs. Frogs claims to have the "Funniest Family Dinner in Town" and they are currently working on a new version of their Sunday afternoon Kid's Party. The lively staff always makes sure everyone has a blast. Conga lines, balloons, confetti and craziness are the norm here. Senor Frogs know how to throw an ageless party. (998-883-1092)
6 Congo Bar
This small open-air bar is smack in the middle of all the action in Cancun's Party Center and is always full of fun-loving locals and tourists all night long. Since this is a smaller bar rather than a nightclub, the open bar prices are lower than those charged in larger venues. Also, since it's open on two sides, you can see how wild & crazy the party is before you even enter. There isn't really a dance floor to speak of, but that doesn't stop anyone from dancing. Expect go-go dancers, shot girls and every once in awhile, a strong burst of confetti. Grab a balloon and join the conga line. (998 883 0563)
The exterior looks like a huge rock, with DADY'O carved into it. The long hallway that leads to the club entrance looks like an underground tunnel. The inside of the actual club resembles a large cave. There is a dance floor in the center of the room and rows of tables line the walls of the multi-level club. Well-known DJs, celebrities, and bands often perform here, or host special parties. Even though this is one of the oldest clubs in Cancun, there is usually still a long line of people waiting to enter the club. (998-883-3333)
Every year millions of people visit Cancun in order to experience its unparalleled nightlife, and Palazzo, the newest nightclub on the scene, doesn't disappoint. Formerly Bulldog and before that Christine, the club has undergone 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, Palazzo is what Cancun nightlife dreams are made of, and the party doesn't end until the sun rises over the Caribbean. (998 848 8380)
3 The City
This gigantic club claims to be the largest nightclub in Latin America, with a capacity for over 5,000 people. It is most definitely the biggest club in Cancun and it's often packed to the brim during Spring Break and in the summer months. The 3-story club often has performances by internationally known artists like Ludacris, Akon, Flo Rida, 50 Cent, Fergi, Snoop Dogg and celebrity DJs. Like Coco Bongo, The City Cancun also has performances by acrobats and other performers during the evening. They play music of all genres on the 1,000,000 sound system and 650 square feet of video screens. (998-848-8380)
2 Coco Bongo
Cancun's most popular 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-synchs some of 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 isn't one. People just dance wherever they can find a little space. (998-883-5061)
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've ever seen... only it's an entire club, not a VIP room. 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. (998-848-8380)
About Kristin Busse
After vacationing in Mexico many times, Kristin decided to move to Cancun "for a year". That was in 2001. Kristin grew-up in Michigan and studied Communications at Michigan State University. Chicago was her home for the next 9 years. Mexico has been good to Kristin, she became a mother and achieved her lifelong dream to become a professional singer. She loves to explore the area on the weekends with her 5 year old son, and she enjoys sharing her experiences and discoveries with others through writing and social media.
Read more about Kristin Busse here.