Cancun's Best Nightclubs: Party till the Sun Comes Up

Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse
Photo courtesy of PriceTravel pictures
Photo courtesy of Mandala
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
Photo courtesy of Carlos n' Charlies Cancun Facebook

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.

9. Grand Mambo Cafe
Photo courtesy of Grand Mambo Cafe Facebook

Grand Mambo Cafe is the number one 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 10 of your friends pay cover. On Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays if you arrive before 11 pm you'll get free cover and a free drink or 2 x 1 beers. Bottle service will get you a front row seat right next to the dance floor. There is live music every night.

8. La Vaquita
Photo courtesy of La Vaquita Cancun Facebook

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.

7. Senor Frogs
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse

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.

6. Congo Bar
Photo courtesy of PriceTravel pictures

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.

5. Dady'O
Photo courtesy of Dady'O

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.

4. Palazzo
Photo courtesy of Dady'O

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.

3. The City
Photo courtesy of The City Facebook

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.

2. Coco Bongo
Photo courtesy of Coco Bongo Facebook

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.

1. Mandala
Photo courtesy of Mandala

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.