One of the best ways to experience the nightlife in Playa del Carmen is by hitting up a club or two! As a Playa del Carmen local, I’ve spent quite a few fun nights out dancing at the many fabulous open air nightclubs in Playa del Carmen.
There’s just so much energy on the dance floor that you can’t help but want to join the crowd. If you’re visiting Playa del Carmen and want to experience the nightlife, read on to discover all the best nightclubs in Playa del Carmen you won’t want to miss.
About Nightclubs in Playa del Carmen
Nightclubs in Playa del Carmen, Mexico are at the heart of the town’s nightlife, along with the more casual bar scene. Here’s the basic rundown on the clubs in Playa del Carmen:
From laidback to chaotic, the vibe in Playa del Carmen nightclubs varies between locations. For the most part, you’ll find these clubs extremely loud, energetic, and lively. Because Playa del Carmen is such a popular spot for young adults to vacation at, it often features drunken revelry.
Playa del Carmen nightclubs open their doors around 10PM, although this varies from club to club. I recommend hitting up Playa clubs at 11PM when the atmosphere is a little livelier and expect to party until 4 or 5 AM.
One of the best things about nightclubs in Playa del Carmen is the relaxed dress code. Typically casual, tourists either dress chic with a fitted dress or romper to visit a trendier club, or club hop in nicer shorts and blouses. Locals do dress up a bit, but tourists can get usually away with comfort over style.
For shoes, girls normally wear nice sandals, flats, or heels. If you’re wearing heels, I would recommend wedge or platform heels for more comfort and when walking on the uneven streets in Playa del Carmen.
The dress code tends to be more strict for guys so I would avoid wearing casual shorts and flip flops as some clubs may not let you in.
Bigger clubs like Mandala and La Vaquita trends towards typical clubbing music: techno, EDM, pop and live numbers. Other venues hire bands that cover pop and rock sensations while house and disco songs are regular features in dance clubs too. Of course, expect some Latin music like reggaeton, salsa, and bachata as well.
Entry fee varies from club to club in Playa del Carmen, but most charge around $100 pesos ($5 USD). Cover tends to increase during peak seasons or special events, costing $200 pesos instead. Some of the more exclusive clubs may offers admission with open bar (all you can drink) for a premium price.
Travelista Tip: Many clubs let you in for free before midnight, so go in early if you’re trying to budget.
The best nightclubs in Playa del Carmen are all conveniently clustered along 12th Street. It’s a treat being able to hop from one venue to another depending on your mood. Playa del Carmen clubs and bars come in varying vibes, music and space so there’s something for everyone.
Best Clubs on 12th Street
The Mandala nightclub at Playa del Carmen is one of the busiest – all thanks to its expansive size. Smack dab on the corner of 1st and 12th Street, its open-walled design means you can’t miss it.
Reds and pinks light up the distinctly Asian-themed venue, which fits up to 700 people! Expect long lines at the bar even as house and pop blasts overhead. Mandala is known to be the trendiest of Playa del Carmen dance clubs.
If you like to party early, Mandala is a great choice. Opening daily at 9:30PM, it offers bottle service as well as an entry and open bar combo deal. I highly recommend this club if you’re looking for a typical clubbing experience.
You can hear it before you see it, the loudest nightclub in Playa del Carmen. Sitting at the bottom of 12th Street, La Vaquita is the perfect place to end your club hopping adventures. Just look for its large plastic cows and walk right in.
Like Mandala, La Vaquita is open-air to keep the dance floor breezy. While the music selection is a little random, it caters to dancers who love variety. Whether you park yourself at one of the small round tables or join the 20s crowd on the dance floor, you’ll feel the energy that denotes Playa del Carmen’s nightlife.
Sitting at the intersection of all the major Playa del Carmen nightclubs, Abolengo is the perfect club to start the night – or end it. The green and red decor lends a rather retro vibe, and the wooden tables make it a good place to share some drinks.
Starting off the night with a lounge vibe rather than your typical club, Abolengo’s softer music choices make it easier to chat over drinks. I go for their specialty drinks, which are always fantastic!
For a more relaxed night out, I recommend grabbing a round of drinks at Santito Tun Tun. The relaxed bar has an upscale tropical ambiance, slowly transforming into the bar scene when the street gets rowdy.
Soon, people filter in to enjoy their “exotic mixology” along with live DJ’s rotation through funk, house, and disco music. Of the clubs and bars listed on this guide, it’s the best place to start your night.
The funky CocoBongo sign above the entrance marks this legendary Playa del Carmen nightclub. Conveniently located one block away from famous 5th Avenue, the Cocobongo nightclub is a carnival-like experience no clubber wants to miss.
A whopping 1,800 spectators can fit into the massive hall, which features giant screens, acrobats, confetti explosions, celebrity impersonators, and tribute singers. I’ve never seen a more extravagant nightclub than this.
The standard ticket does cost more than your regular Playa del Carmen club, $75 on Mondays through Fridays and $80 on Saturdays. But it does include both transportation from your hotel and unlimited open bar access.
Note that transportation back to your hotel isn’t included, so bring some cash. Tickets can be booked online here.
Personally my favorite Playa clubs are the rooftop clubs as they are trendier and and more spacious with a chic open air atmosphere that gives you the chance to dance under the stars.
A favorite among the local expat community, Clandestino is a classy and lively rooftop club in Playa del Carmen. The mix of tourists and locals make it a great opportunity to meet new people.
I’m in love with the beautiful design of the space! It is split level with various lounging areas, small tables lining balconies that look down into the center. The bar is right by the central pit for easy access.
You can start your night early here as it opens at 7PM. Bottle service, live music, and featured dancers make it one of the best Playa nightclubs.
Another unforgettable nightclub in Playa del Carmen is the Santino rooftop bar. Considered the best “Latin Bar” in town, the sultry and fast-paced music keeps the crowds dancing for days.
It’s split into a few floors, the first and middle hosting the craziest of dancers. Smoke guns and strobe lights are commonly featured.
To avoid them, climb up to the top floor where you’ll reach the open air rooftop usually featuring house and EDM music. And to commemorate your night out, don’t forget to snap a photo in front of the building’s gigantic mural!
Playa del Carmen Nightclub Safety Tips
Like in any other city, going out to clubs in Playa del Carmen require a certain level of alertness. I haven’t had any negative experiences while clubbing in Playa del Carmen, but it’s always good to exercise care when you’re out at night. I’ve heard stories of belongings being stolen or people getting drugged, so do be aware of potential risks.
To keep your Playa clubbing experience a happy memory, follow these safety tips:
- Don’t accept drinks that you haven’t seen prepared: As a woman, I’m always wary of accepting drinks from strangers. If you do, make sure you see it being prepared by the server or staff.
- Always keep an eye on your drinks: Don’t leave your drink unattended either, as any passerby can easily slip something into it.
- Use the buddy system: Whether you’re going to the bathroom, snagging drinks at the bar or going for a twirl on the dance floor; do it with a buddy. An extra pair of eyes (and hands) can go a long way in keeping you safe.
- Keep your belongings on you at all times: Ladies, you’ll definitely want to bring a compact crossbody purse and keep it on you at all times. Crowded nightclubs and drinking make it very easy for belongings to get stolen.
- Don’t take a taxi home alone: When you’re in a foreign place where you don’t speak the language or aren’t familiar with the geography, avoid situations where you’re cut off from the public. If you’re not traveling with a friend, try to find other tourists who are staying in the same area as you.
Unwinding at Playa del Carmen bars and nightclubs is one of the best ways to experience the nightlife in Playa del Carmen. Now that you know which are the best clubs in Playa del Carmen, you can let loose and dance the night away during your Mexico vacay.