It is no secret that both Cancun and the Riviera Maya are among the top tourist destinations in all of Mexico. In fact, Cancun and Riviera Maya received 3 Travvy Awards in 2019, which recognizes destinations that make travel a pleasure. Cancun and Riviera Maya won the gold for Best Culinary Destination, Best Luxury Destination, and Best Honeymoon Destination, making it most coveted places when considering trips for all types of travelers, whether it be couples, friends, or families.
In fact, according to the most recent official information from the Ministry of Tourism (SEDETUR), Cancun receives a total of 4.8 million tourists every year, traveling mainly from Houston, Chicago, Toronto, Los Angeles and New York, given the plethora of attractions this wonderful destination offers. From an immense variety of beaches to multiple cultural activities, such as walks to the Chichen Itza pyramid, the different museums, planetarium, plus the interactive aquarium, Cancun offers all kinds of fun, both day and night, to tourists of every walk of life.
Many of those who are drawn to Cancun and the Riviera Maya come for the incredible nightlife that is singular to this magical destination. Cancun captivates you not only for its natural beauty, but for its diverse and exciting nightlife; there is something for all tastes and all ages, from night excursions, elegant dinners, discos, and much, much more. At every step and turn of your journey, Hilton Hotels is there with you to ensure you have the best experience, but you can also do your own research to figure out what it is you’re in the mood for once nightfall hits. In Cancun, you have the Hampton Hill Hilton, and in Riviera Maya, you have the Hilton Playa del Carmen (all-inclusive) and The Fives Downtown Hotel & Residences. For those looking for a bit more fun at sunset, we have selected the best nighttime spots that should not be missed during your stay.
Since Cancun has been touted as the Best Culinary Destination, your night must begin with a stop one of the area’s very best restaurants. After a long day at the beach, the best evening will combine a great meal complemented with a dose of culture. Make sure you visit some (if not all) of these restaurants:
- La Parrilla Mexican Grill, located within the Hotel Zone, it is described as the place “tastes like Mexico,” and where you can also enjoy a good Mexican party with entertainment provided by mariachis.
- La Habichuela, located in the heart of Cancun, is a classic restaurant and pays homage to the Mayan culture and offers a great variety of seafood and meat delicacies.
- Labná, located in the heart of the city, serves authentic cuisine from the Yucatan Peninsula.
- Tempo offers gourmet food created by well-known chef Martin Berasategui.
- DuMexique , located in the center of Cancun, combines French cuisine with pre-Hispanic Mexican fare.
- In addition,Joyà is the show from Cirque Du Soleil to have an ongoing presence in Mexico, incorporating its history and heritage, which you can enjoy at Vidante Riviera Maya. The dinner and show combination seeks to be an “experience of the senses” and tells the story of an alchemist and his granddaughter, who embark on an adventure to reveal the secrets of life.
If you have an adventurous spirit, once the sun goes down, one of the best things to do is head over to Xplor Fuego Park by Xcaret, which offers visitors the chance to fly by the light of the moon via ziplines, drive amphibious vehicles through the Mayan jungle, row rafts between caverns and explore other marvels of the underground world. Aquaworld offers you the opportunity to dive at night in the Manchones reef, located between Cancun and Isla Mujeres, where you can catch glimpses of octopus, lobsters and moray eels. On the other hand, there are also adventures that require less physical effort that have been awarded by TripAdvisor, like watching a battle on board the pirate ship Jolly Roger in The Curse of the Golden Fleece, go aboard a moonlight romantic cruise with Columbus Dinner Cruise, which departs at 8:30pm and features an exquisite surf and turf dinner as well as an open bar.
You can find nighttime excursions to Chichen Itza starting at 8pm, and which last about 45 minutes. Chichén Itzá, which translates to “the mouth of the water sorcerers’ well,” is located in the municipality of Tinum, approximately 2 hours from Cancun, and occupies an area of 10 km2. The pyramid was once a city and ceremonial center of the Mayan civilization. Since 1988, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the Temple of Kukulcán was recognized as one of the seven wonders of the world, so it is a unique experience to visit at night.
You can also start your night at La Isla Shopping Center Cancun Shopping Village, where we recommend you watch the sunset, and then visit the Wax Museum of Cancun, which is open every day until 10pm and you can take photos with more than 100 national and international personalities, such as Bruce Willis, Pancho Villa and, even, Mother Teresa of Calcutta.
Also, if shopping is your thing, your nights in the Riviera Maya should include a visit to Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue, a pedestrian street filled with shops, handicrafts, art galleries, cafes, jewelry stores and restaurants, and open until almost midnight. Take for instance Jellyfish, a lovely little shop that sells lamps made of natural materials from the Yucatan Peninsula and give off the most beautiful light at night. The “fifth” as its inhabitants call it, starts at the Fiscal dock, and we can’t fail to mention that there you can find endless nightclubs, bars and parties.
If you think laughter is the best way to end your day, the Comedy Cancun Club is where standup comedy originated in Cancun and Riviera Maya, and features some of the area’s very best acts. You can also see different professional comedians at various establishments throughout the city, such as Las de Guanatos La Luna every Wednesday or at Mambo Café.
Don’t forget to enjoy the trajineras parties offered by several companies, such as Xoximilco. The trajinerais a type of boat with a flat bottom made with planks and waterproofed with tar (petroleum gum). The trajinera is analogous to the Colombian chiva or the Venetian gondola, is typical of Mexican culture and used to transport merchandise and tourists. Generally, you will find people touring canals in these boats, adorned with flowers, where rancheras are sung, tequila is poured and traditional dishes are served. They are so common that even Pablo Neruda speaks of them in his epic book, Confieso que he vivido (“I confess what I have lived”).
But if what you love is to dance the night away, this city of the Yucatan Peninsula is famous for its dazzling, modern and eclectic nightclubs. The discotheques preferred by tourists feature an open bar, located within the Hotel Zone and include:
- The City is said to be the biggest in all of Latin America, with a capacity for 6,000 people and has welcomed countless famous artists and DJs over the years, like J Balvin and Piso 21.
- Then there’s of course Coco Bongo, which is also one of the largest in Cancun, and not only features the best music but also a sensational acrobatic performance and a host of impersonators, like Spider Man and performances by Michael Jackson look-alikes.
- Dady’O has a reputation for the being the hottest nightclub in the continent, and the hub for bathing suit competitions, theme parties and special effects.
- Recognized for its memorable yards of beer and cocktails, Señor Frogs also offers foam parties every Wednesday and colorful neon painting on Sundays.
- Its Asian-inspired style and the chance to dance outdoors all night make Mandala one of the best clubs.
- Paul Van Dyk and Marshmellow, among others, have passed through Palazzo, which combines temptation with great music and themed parties on given nights of the week.
- Others worthy of a special mention include La Vaquita, with its black and white décor and open air spaces, and Gran Mambo Café, where you can dance salsa, bachata and merengue.
We can’t forget to highlight the fact that since they are located in the same area, you are able to visit several nightclubs on the same night so that you can choose your favorite!
You can trust that the Hilton team strives to fill both your days and nights with the best memories and make your stay idyllic no matter what the reason for your trip. With so many things to do, your nights will undoubtedly be memorable when you visit Cancun and the Riviera Maya, and with the very best nightlife to choose from, it’s no wonder why.