If you’re not traveling to Cancun for the sun, sea, and sand, chances are, you’re visiting for the nightlife. This small slice of the Yucatan Peninsula is a popular party spot, with clubs and bars drawing hedonistic vacationers in droves. And while venues like Senor Frog’s, Congo Bongo, and Mandala beckon visitors on the strip, there are also plenty of clubs and bars to be found in Cancun’s hotels for those who like a little action right on their doorstep. From nightclubs to speakeasies, here are 12 of the best nightclubs and bars in Cancun -- both in and out of hotels.
1. Coco Bongo
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If you like your clubs to offer more than just music and dancing, then Coco Bongo is the place for you. A night at Cancun’s most famous club can include anything from live trapeze acts and foam cannons to lasers and live bands, making the venue more like a daily festival than a regular nightclub. Be prepared to pay a high entry price, but the fee includes unlimited domestic drinks from 10:30 p.m. to 3:30 a.m.
One of the hottest spots in Cancun, Mandala adopts the same approach to hospitality as many of the hotels and clubs in area, with an open bar included in the price of a ticket. If you want to bag a table, get in early because nights at the Indian-themed club are always rammed. The club is a little more intimate than the likes of Coco Bongo and The City, and evenings are more focused on the music.
3. The City
As the name suggests, this mega club has a capacity that gives small stadiums a run for their money. Regularly packed during spring break and the summer, The City attracts big-name artists and DJs from the U.S. and beyond to entertain the crowds alongside other live floor acts. It’s a top spot to party in Cancun, thanks to the nearly spiritual experience of dancing with 5,000 people in tandem.
4. Senor Frog’s
Senor Frog’s is all about fun. The see-and-be-seen clubs with bottle service and sparklers are a foreign concept at this anything-goes bar, which sits in the heart of the party zone. Picture yard-long drinks, foam parties, live authentic Latin bands, and a good-vibes-only appeal.
5. La Vaquita
A reasonable cover charge that includes an open bar keeps La Vaquita packed on most nights. The open facade of the club is something different, tempting in waves of people that cruise the street outside. The quirky cow-print interior and go-go dancers also lure in visitors. Hip-hop and reggae are the genres of choice here, and the lively crowd makes the relatively intimate venue one of the best places to party in Cancun.
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Like La Vaquita, Congo’s layout allows you to peek inside before you decide to pay to party, but pay you will. Congo opens earlier than the larger clubs on the strip, so it can either be a pre-party spot or an all-night hangout, depending on what you’re after. Either way, you can expect a fun night of confetti canons, go-go dancers, and a blend of EDM and Latin music that pleases the mix of tourists and locals who make up the crowd.
Aside from its swim-up bars, the Hard Rock Hotel Cancun has other boozy options to compete with the clubs that surround it in the Hotel Zone. The Smash Bar, the hotel’s signature rock-themed bar, is popular with guests keen on letting loose and enjoying the all-inclusive drinks. Bigger events can overshadow the Smash Bar, with DJs and live entertainment rocking the outdoor pool.
The Grand Oasis Cancun is something of a party hotel, and guests tend to make the most of the all-inclusive package, drinking throughout the day before ending up in the hotel’s famous Coyote Loco bar. Karaoke nights and live bands provide nightly fun for guests who choose to stay on resort. Foam parties, Holi events (basically a wild afternoon of throwing colored powder), and live performances also take place at the Grand Oasis Beach Club, providing plenty of pre-Coyote Loco entertainment.
Formerly ME Cancun, with a stellar nightlife scene courtesy of the famous Rose Bar, Melody Maker keeps up some of the old property’s traditions as a party hot spot. Located on a beautiful stretch of the Hotel Zone, the grand, all-inclusive resort is home to a beach club that hosts regular DJ sessions. When international DJs like Tiesto and David Guetta aren’t in town and rocking the indoor/outdoor beach club, the excellent year-round Delirio Day Club gets guests in the party mood until the sun sets.
Hidden behind a fake bookcase in The Grand at Moon Palace, The Library is an unusual bar for Cancun. Although speakeasies aren’t typically found in the Mexican city, the bar’s incongruous appearance is part of the surprise. Plus, who can resist the drama of disappearing through a secret library door and stepping into a glamorous space? Handcrafted cocktails from the Prohibition-era and beyond make up the menu at the bar, which claims to be the region’s first adults-only speakeasy.
At the Paradisus Cancun, two bars vie for the top spot. While cocktails in the cool, Asian-inspired Avenue Bar appeal to plenty of guests, the swanky, sexy Red Lounge club is where it’s at after dark. Typical of the Melia brand, the style at the adults-only Red Lounge presents a mix of quirky elements and luxury touches, creating a club experience that’s enough to tempt guests away from the revelry of the strip.
Many of Cancun’s hotel bars are all about the “free” all-inclusive booze and wild parties. At D-Lounge in The Ritz-Carlton, Cancun, an elegant setting delivers a relaxed vibe in which to sample the bar’s huge range of tequila. Views of the beach and pool can also be had from the bar, which is lined with high stools where you can watch the skilled bartenders work. The nightly entertainment is another reason to visit.
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