Playa Del Carmen Nightlife
…like Frank Sinatra, it starts late here…
I’ll start with a confession.
When I first thought about making a website I was going to call it “Around Playa Del Carmen In 80 Nights.”
I was going to go on 80 different nights out and write about them.
But I kept trying to type when I was viciously hungover, and certain things always filled the screen –
Like the following:
- “What the hell happened last night?”
- “Why did we get another bottle?”
- “Was I really naked?”
Playa Del Carmen offers some of the best nightlife in Mexico, if not the western side of the world.
There’s something for everyone, and it’s very cheap.
I’ve learned from my mistakes.
So instead of writing about Playa Del Carmen nightlife when I’m hungover, I’m taking the laptop with me so I can write about Playa Del Carmen nightlife as it happens.
I’ll set the scene: it’s 3pm, the sun is shining, I’m sitting at a beach bar, and so our night begins….
The Playa Del Carmen Nightlife Scene
You might have watched programs like “Girls Gone Wild” or some other cable TV alternative that shows ridiculously drunk teenagers getting their boobs out.
Playa Del Carmen doesn’t have the “party till you puke” vibe that you see on these programs.
Essentially, the it’s a bit more sophisticated than that.
As I write this, I’m sipping on a Dulce de Tequila, enjoying the charming surroundings of this sandy beach.
Don’t worry, nightlife does get very exciting.
It’s just not that cheesy.
If you really want party till you puke then Cancun is less than one hour away.
Playa Del Carmen offers lots of different scenes.
Whether you’re into beach bars, all night clubs, Mexican tequila bars, or expat sports bars you’ll find it here.
You can explore a different vibe every night you’re here.
Playa Del Carmen Nightlife Is Cheap
Let’s get down to the important facts.
How much money is it going to cost?
Playa Del Carmen is very cheap when it comes to partying.
Because of the intense competition between bars, clubs, restaurants, and resorts, the costs are kept down.
Lots of places offer specials and happy hours, meaning that you can always have a good time for very little money.
For example, this cocktail in my hand cost just $2.50.
So I bought one for the nice looking Italian woman across the bar.
She downed it and then left without even saying hello; I think my bloodshot eyes scared her!
Some of these specials are much more like happy nights than happy hours.
For example, El Far Bar on the beach does 2 x 1 drinks from 5pm until 2am.
And Tequila Barrel’s happy hour starts at 11am!
So when you come to Playa Del Carmen, where can you go?
Playa Del Carmen Bars
Seeing as I’m sitting in a beach bar, let’s start with the eclectic bars on offer.
If you wanted to visit them all, then you would need several months in Playa Del Carmen.
Of course there are these bars along the beach.
They give some great views of girls in bikinis, which is why I spend most of my time here.
There’s also nothing more synonymous with paradise than drinking a cocktail with your feet in the sand.
Now I’m taking a step away from the beach to 5th Ave and the surrounding streets.
All along here you’ll find some cool bars.
I’m often drinking here and thinking: “Am I really this drunk at 3pm”
Wait! Of course I am.
It’s special time, and my beer only cost $2.
Each bar has its own vibe, and you’ll quickly find your favorites.
Like La Bodeguita del Medio, Senor Frogs, El Envero, Los Danzantes, or Pez Vela.
Some like El Envero are half bar / half restaurant.
Others like Bar Ranita are huge and regularly have live music and a lively atmosphere.
Then there are the bars where you can drink tequila with the locals.
I’m trying to avoid them at the moment after some particularly bad hangovers recently.
People bring their own cultural influences to Playa Del Carmen, which means it’s never boring.
So it’s now 9pm, and I’ll confess: I’m struggling to stick with my writing task.
I’ve just spent the last few hours in Senor Frog’s and Manne’s Biergarten before that.
So enough bars for now.
If you would like to read more then check out my Playa Del Carmen bars page.
Playa Del Carmen Sports Bars
People don’t spend that much time in Playa Del Carmen watching sports.
It might be important when you’re at home, but there are more important things to do when on vacation.
However, sometimes there’s not much better than a good sports bar to get a raucous atmosphere going.
I’m currently sitting in the Tequila Barrel.
This is one of the sports bars that shows mostly American sports.
They also seem to serve obscenely cheap tequila.
Even better, they do live betting on all the action that’s on the screen.
I just put $5 on the Buffalo Bills – and immediately regret it.
Most of Mexico is soccer crazy.
If you say football they shout, “Messiiii!” or “Ronaldoooo!”
So in many of the sports bars, like Legends Sports Bar, they primarily stick to football.
There are also a couple of dives that play soccer with Mexican commentary.
It’s funny, especially when the commentator says, “GOOOOOAAAAAALLLLL!!!!”
But enough sports.
I want to meet some women.
So I’m off on a Playacrawl.
This is a bar crawl that’s been put together specifically for tourists.
For a low price, you get taken to several different bars and clubs.
You get unlimited alcohol for five hours as well as VIP access in the clubs.
It saves you money, particularly if you like to hammer the drinks.
German, British, American – there are chicks on Playacrawls from everywhere.
There’s also a couple of Asian looking girls on this particular one.
That’s the best thing about the Playacrawl.
You immediately get to meet a load of like minded people.
It’s like a bar crawl mixed with some speed dating.
So if you’ll excuse me…I’ve got some women to try and pick up.
Visit my Playacrawl page to see where you go, how much it costs, and other important info.
Playa Del Carmen Clubs
I’m not usually one for clubs and pounding dance music.
I prefer places where you can talk to friends without HAVING TO SHOUT.
However, I got absolutely nowhere with the women on the Playacrawl.
So perhaps it’s better if I don’t talk and just dance!
I always forget that I have two left feet.
However, the clubs in Playa Del Carmen have an entirely different vibe to what you might expect in some random US city.
They’re generally pretty upscale and intimate.
While you’ll find many run down bars, you won’t visit any shitty looking clubs.
Playa Del Carmen is also big on underground music.
Every year they have a techno music festival called BPM, where some of the best DJ’s from around the world descend on this city.
So in most clubs you do hear good tunes.
The biggest and most famous club here is Coco Bongo.
But there are plenty to try, like Mandala Club, Pink Elephant, and La Santanera.
There are also some cool ones on the beach that sometimes continue past sunrise.
My Playa Del Carmen clubs page has all the information.
Just remember that the drinks are much pricier in clubs than they are in bars, so if you’re short of cash, then down a bottle of tequila before you go in.
Alternatively, check out some of the open-bar-1-club-all-night deals.
Right now it’s 2am, and everyone is thinking: “What’s this idiot doing on the dance floor with a laptop?”
So excuse me while I bust some new moves….
Playa Del Carmen Exotic Clubs
Why do I always end up here?
It’s 4am and I’m in a strip club, trying to convince the bouncer that I’m writing a very important article and not just using my laptop’s webcam to record some dancers.
Strip clubs in Playa Del Carmen are a little more liberal than their American counterparts.
So you don’t just have to sit on your hands.
Which is good because I’m trying to type while this Mexican chick waves her boobs in my face.
Most dancers usually allow some light touching and kissing.
But you can’t go too far without giving a very good tip.
I’m in Marlins right now, but there are some others you could check out, even if they do have a shady reputation.
My wallet is empty, so I’m getting out of here.
You’ll have to read more on my Playa Del Carmen exotic clubs page.
Alternative Playa Del Carmen Nightlife
Wow my head hurts.
Why didn’t I stick to the more sedate side of Playa Del Carmen nightlife.
Like Xcaret, which offers an incredible night show.
Or taking a romantic walk on the beach with a nice looking female (“Who’s going to accompany you with that one Rufus?”)
If you’re really curious, then why not try participating in some Mayan rituals after dark.
The Best Thing About Playa Del Carmen Nightlife
I’ve been rewriting this article and realize that there are a couple of important things that I didn’t mention.
Firstly – I forgot to mention what I was drinking last night.
It went something like this: 2 for 1 cocktails, Corona, Corona, tequila chaser, bottle of red wine at El Envero, assortment of Mexican beers, shots, then even more shots on the Playacrawl, bottle of tequila from the liquor store, rip off beer in the strip club, remains of a mescal bottle at 5am.
The other thing I forgot was to mention how diverse Playa Del Carmen’s drinkers are.
On every night out you meet people from all around the world!
That’s what makes Playa Del Carmen nightlife so great.
I hope to see you on the Fifth Avenue strip soon…
Lots of love,
It’s your turn. Do you have anything to add to this conversation about the nightlife here? Please leave it in the comments section below!
I’m considering plan a vacation to PDC with two friends in September.
can you tell me if the nightlife is still good this month?
The nightlife is still good. It is a little slower at this time, but people usually gravitate to the places that are busiest (e.g. some of the smaller bars may be emptier, but there will be a lot of people at the bigger clubs). Moreover, 10th and 12th street are always busy here.
September is quite hot here, so bring your sunscreen and sunhat. Also, it will be a more mixed crowd with less Americans/Canadians than are visiting during December-March, so plan on hooking up with some “international” guys.
In any case, there are always fun things to do around Playa, and September is a great time to save some money on your hotel/activities/etc…
Make sure you negotiate the price with your hotel/resort. This time of year the hotels and resorts are willing to offer more value and cheaper discounts in order to attract visitors (especially those from English-speaking countries). Talk directly to a manager when calling!!!
I hope to see you partying here with your friends in September, Johann!!!
If you need anything else, let me know.
Lots of love,
I’m going to Cancun next week , I want to hear Latin House music/ Jazz/Afro beats /Soul when can I hear this , bars and clubs) Many Thanks Keep It Soulful !!
I’m not sure about Cancun, but there are many types of music bars here.
The sky’s the limit!!!
Hey Rufas, were at palladium, and heading over playa del carmen tmrw if u have time to meet up for drinks. My 18 year old son and myself. Let me know. Would love to meet you.
I am happy to hear that you made it! I have to work in the morning, but if you can get together in the evening, it would be perfect. I’ll be free around 5:PM. Will that work for you? I can meet you somewhere on 5th near 6th street.
Please let me know if this works, and I will send you an exact location in the morning.
Here is a map of where I’m referring to…anywhere in this area is good for me. It’s quite close to everything and close to the most popular parts of 5th Avenue.
Here is the location:
Talk to you soon…..
Lots of love,
Planning a bachelor party sometime in June — how is the nightlife and do you recommend for a large group of guys (late 20s-early 30s).
First of all, thank you so much for the comment.
Also, congratulations on your decision to have your bachelor party in Playa Del Carmen. There’s always some good nightlife here, and I think it would be hard to find a better city to have a bachelor party in.
With that said, June is somewhat of a slower season in Playa Del Carmen. Although this city is always busy, June is a time of year when it gets quite hot, so most of the people from the United States and Canada just stay at home because it is hot there as well.
Nonetheless, during June this city receives a lot of visitors from Europe and domestic (Mexican) visitors. There are also a lot of South Americans here that time of year because it is cheaper to travel then.
In all honesty, it will be helpful if you can learn a little bit of Spanish before coming. During the high season (December to March), there are a lot more English speakers here. However, during the lower seasons, those numbers are significantly less.
For many people, this is great. The diversity that you will encounter is pretty wild! And as a bunch of single guys, you may score some exotic beauties to remember forever. There are lots of those types in Playa Del Carmen!
Believe me when I say that you will still find a number of Americans and other English speakers here, just not as many.
In addition to the usual, run of the mill clubs, there are also several opportunities for larger groups. One is a bar crawl called Playacrawl that is very popular with bachelor and bachelorette parties. That may be a good option – especially when you first arrive here.
Also, as a heads up, before you arrive, all of you should download a program called WhatsApp. It is a messaging app owned by Facebook. Everyone here uses it, so if you do meet some nice girls and want to exchange contact info, it is the primary way that people communicate in this city (as an alternative to SMS). “Do you have WhatsApp?” is a question you will hopefully hear often!
I hope this helps, and if you need an extra party guy with you in your group, I’m only an email away!
And finally, if you get a chance, send me some party photographs of the great time you have here so that I can put them on this website!
I was wondering which clubs tend to be more the younger crowd? I will be with a group for 21-25 year olds. We are looking for a club with girls our age (18-25) with opportunities to buy bottle service. Which of the clubs would you recommend? Or would you recommend just meeting girls at the hotel?
I forgot to mention we will be their first week of April. Staying at the Riu Playacar .
Got it, Joe. I included that detail as part of the response above.
Thanks for the question. I’m sure that you and your buddies are going to have a great time here.
Your resort is probably not the best place to meet girls. Primarily because most people here will be traveling as couples. While it is always possible to meet people wherever you go, the real beauty of this city is NOT found in resorts, but out on the streets where everyone wants to be seen. Your best bet is getting away from your resort to meet the opposite sex.
However, the beaches in Playacar are really amazing. It is not uncommon to see some gorgeous women running around topless in that area.
WARNING: At this time (March 2018), Playa Del Carmen and the entire Riviera Maya are dealing with a sargasso seaweed problem, so the beaches have been a little ugly. Also, the water is a little brown right now. There is no telling exactly when this will clear up, but hopefully before you arrive. In any case, there are so many other things to do that it shouldn’t worry you much.
In regard to the recommended club(s), there is not a single/individual club that I can wholeheartedly endorse. This is why:
1. Playa Del Carmen is a relatively small city. Consequently, nothing is very far apart.
2. All the major clubs are located on 12th Street (a.k.a. “Calle 12”).
Due to these two reasons, you are far better off checking them out for yourself and deciding which ones look appealing from the outside before making a decision whether or not to enter them.
As a side note, there are several beach clubs worth visiting, but that is more of a daytime experience. Definitely stop by Mamita’s Beach/Mamita’s Beach Club (the most popular beach in town). You may also want to try Martina Beach Club. However, much will depend on what is going on there. Martina is usually filled with Argentinians who are somewhat snobbish, insecure, and clingy (i.e. they ONLY hang out with other Argentinians).
Finally, there are cool bars scattered all around town as well. Too many to list here, but all have a different personality. Take a walk along 10th Street (Calle 10) at night to see some of the local bars. 10th Avenue is fast-paced as well from Constituyentes to 4th Street (Calle 4).
You guys will have a good time figuring out all the cool places to hang out at. There are always LOTS of hot girls here–I mean, jaw-dropping hot–if that’s what you’re looking for.
Take care, and I hope to see you guys here soon….