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



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 30 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. Many 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. 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.


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Carlos n' Charlie's


Carlos n' Charlie's provides party seekers with an ideal atmosphere to enjoy a night out in Cancun. Live bands and DJs pound out music, 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. Order guacamole and they'll make it at your table. Be sure to let them know if it's your birthday. Join the waiters when they jump on the dance floor to lead a group dance. Learn how to dance Salsa to a live band on Tuesdays and Friday nights.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: There is never a dull moment at Carlos n' Charlie's and they have live music 2 nights a week.

Kristin's expert tip: Carlos n' Charlie's has live Salsa on Tuesdays and Fridays.

Read more about Carlos n' Charlie's →


Grand Mambo Cafe


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 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Grand Mambo Cafe is the biggest, best spot to dance Salsa, Merengue and Bachata in Cancun.

Kristin's expert tip: Doors open at 9:30 pm but the live music doesn't start until after midnight.

Read more about Grand Mambo Cafe →


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Hotel Zone
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 a very popular trend in Cancun. You can also find La Vaquita in Playa del Carmen and Puerto Vallarta.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: La Vaquita serves "litros" (liters) and features a "Let's Get Ridiculous" theme night.

Kristin's expert tip: If you're looking for a crazy night try their #RidiculousParty where anything goes.

Read more about La Vaquita →


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Zona Hotelera
Senor Frogs
Photo courtesy of Kristin Busse


The name Senor Frog's is synonymous with fun. This 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. Around 9 pm this family-friendly restaurant turns bar/nightclub. 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 a party. They feature a glow party, foam party, reggae night, and have a Latin night with a live band.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Senor Frogs never disappoints and is now located in the heart of the Party Center.

Kristin's expert tip: If you are on vacation with your kids but you still want to visit Senor Frogs, go for dinner.

Read more about Senor Frogs →


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Zona Hotelera
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 air and confetti. Grab a balloon and join the conga line at Conga.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Congo's small open-air venue is great because you can also see what's going on outside in Cancun's Party Zone.

Susan's expert tip: The large nightclubs don't open until at least 10:30 pm. If you want to start the party before then, Congo is a great place to do so.

Read more about Congo Bar →


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Zona Hotelera
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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Dady'O is a Cancun nightlife institution and is still going strong after almost 30 years.

Susan's expert tip: To avoid waiting in the long line to enter the club by going with the entertainment staff from your hotel.

Read more about Dady'O →


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Hotel Zone
Palazzo


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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Palazzo is Cancun's most glamorous nightclub and the interior is beautiful.

Kristin's expert tip: Wednesday nights Palazzo features an electric party with dancers dressed in neon suits.

Read more about Palazzo →


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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 powerful sound system and 650 square feet of video screens.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: The City often features celebrity DJs and well-known musical acts.

Susan's expert tip: If you plan to attend a concert or special event at this club arrive before they open and wait in line. The club can accommodate over 5,000 people so there will be incredibly long lines if you arrive after the club has already opened.

Read more about The City →


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Zona Hotelera


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 isn't one. People just dance wherever they can find a little space.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Coco Bongo has everything, music, drinks, confetti, balloons and live performances.

Susan's expert tip: This club gets very crowded so get a table in one of the areas off the main floor to avoid the crowds.

Read more about Coco Bongo →


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Zona Hotelera
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. 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.

Recommended for Best Nightlife because: Mandala's open ambiance provides a different experience than big stadium-like clubs.

Susan's expert tip: This is a nice alternative to the larger nightclubs.

Read more about Mandala →


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Meet 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....  More About Kristin

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