Cancún Nightlife: A Guide to the Best Clubs and Live Music

Cancún’s most popular nightclubs are within walking distance of each other in the Zona Hotelera, at Punta Cancún. The Zona Hotelera also has some great lounge bars. Downtown, meanwhile, has nightclubs specializing in Latin music, and the city’s best live music, theater, and movies.

 

 

Nightclubs

Nightclubs in Punta Cancún charge US$55-80 admission with open bar included. The clubs open every day, from around 10pm until 4am or later. Special events, like ladies night or bikini parties, vary by the day, club, and season; check the clubs’ websites or Facebook pages for the latest info and deals, or ask the concierge at your hotel.

 

Punta Cancún

 

Coco Bongo (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9, tel. 998/883-2373, 10pm-4am daily) is a spectacular club featuring live rock and salsa bands, flying acrobats, and Rihanna, Michael Jackson, and KISS impersonators. Movie clips are also projected onto huge screens.

 

The City (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9, tel. 998/848-8385) is a megaclub with four levels and a total capacity of 6,000 (and allegedly the world’s biggest disco ball). Be sure to take a whirl on the movable dance floor, which descends from the 3rd floor to the center of the club below.

 

Palazzo (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 9, tel. 998/848-8380) books big-name DJs and draws raucous crowds. Recently updated, the interior has a sleek Vegas-like look, huge chandeliers, and a VIP section.

 

Mandala (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 9, tel. 998/848-8380) is an upscale club with indoor and outdoor areas for partying. There’s plenty of VIP seating in case you want to splurge on a private table (and better service).

 

Dady-O (Blvd. Kukulcán Km 9.5, tel. 998/883-3333) is, well, the daddy of Cancún’s nightclubs, with seven different “environments,” including laser shows, swimsuit contests, and theme parties on several different levels.

 

Bars and Live Music

Several of the major nightclubs in the Zona Hotelera feature live rock music and even big-name concerts, most notably Palazzo and CocoBongo, while the lounges and bars tend toward DJs or recorded music. Downtown, you’ll find smaller venues featuring more intimate live music, whether jazz, solo guitarists, or trios.

 

 

Congo Bar (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9.5, tel. 998/883-0653) is about as lively as a bar can get without being called a club. Music is upbeat and drinks are plentiful. A conga line inevitably forms at some point (or points) and usually heads out the door and onto the street for a quick spin.

Dady Rock (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 9.5, tel. 998/883-3333) is technically a restaurant and bar, so it opens as early as 6pm and doesn’t have a dance floor. Nevertheless, driving rock music, sometimes live, soon has partiers dancing every place possible, including on tables and the bar.

Old standbys Carlos n’ Charlie’s (Forum by the Sea, Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 8.5, tel. 998/883-4468) and Señor Frog’s (Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 14.2, tel. 998/193-1701) both open at noon for meals and stay open until 3am for drinking, dancing, and general mayhem.

El Pabilo (Hotel Xbalamqué, Av. Yaxchilán 31, tel. 998/892-4553, 6pm-midnight Mon.-Sat.) is a small, artsy café with great live music on the weekends, including Cuban, fusion jazz, classical guitar, and flamenco. Music usually starts around 9pm; a moderate cover (US$5-9) is sometimes charged.

There also are rotating art exhibits. It’s a good place to chill with friends and get a sense of the local art/music/cultural scene.”

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