Playa del Carmen, once a thriving fishing village, has now become one of the most sought-after destinations along the eastern side of the Yucatan peninsula.

It is the quintessential Caribbean town. White sandy beaches lined with palm trees, oceans of turquoise and cobalt blue, coral reefs all combined with relaxed boho Mexican vibes. We love that Playa (as the locals call it) hasn’t been taken over by high-rise hotels and has managed to keep the authenticity we have all come to love.

It is known as the more relaxed version of Cancun, but we can assure you that Playa del Carmen nightlife is anything but relaxed. Playa del Carmen’s nightlife has everything from sundowners and gourmet food feasts through to all-night parties. You might just need to use those days on the beach to recover from the night before.

We know this place well, so we’re about to show you everything you need for the best Playa del Carmen nightlife experience possible.

So take a virtual stroll with us down 5th Avenue, the heart of Playa del Carmen, where shops, restaurants, and bars sit side by side. Or venture down to the beach for beachside bars – the choices are endless.

First we share our favorite places for sundowners, then the best bars and party spots in the city. Then we share places you can find entertainment, where you should dine, and even where to get late night food to stave off feeling sick in the morning. As well as point out where the happy hours are.

Everything you need for the best night possible is right here. Enjoy!

Our Favorite Picks for Sundowners in Playa del Carmen

There simply isn’t a better way to kick off the evening than watching those mesmerizing Caribbean sunsets with a hand-crafted cocktail in hand. 

Playa del Carmen has some of the best spots imaginable to do just that.

1. Sunset Cruise

Watching the sunset from the ocean takes the sundowner experience to a whole new level and we highly recommend watching it in style from a luxury catamaran. 

The sunset cruise starts around 5:30 pm and last for around 2 ½ hours. Get ready to experience Mother Nature’s awe-inspiring show as you have never seen it before as you sail along the spectacular Riviera Maya coastline.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

2. Zenzi

Zenzi is one of those places which is more open than it’s closed. That’s because it’s open from 8h30 am all the way through until 1:00 am Monday to Saturday, and 2:00 am on Sundays!

Located directly on the beach, this is the perfect place for sundowners but be careful as you might find your trip turns into an all-night affair! If you’re feeling peckish, pair your drinks with one of their Zenzi Bites. We recommend the Muchos Nachos or Shrimp Tacos.

DJs play throughout the day until 5:00 pm which is when they then switch over to live music featuring many talented local artists.

We love the Salsa and Samba Sunday nights at Zenzi where you can dance the night away with the sand between your toes. And if that wasn’t enough, Samba lessons kick off at 9:00pm till late.  Who doesn’t love a party on a Sunday night?

3. Deck 5 Pool and Skybar

Located on the rooftop of the Carmen Hotel, this bar has unrivaled views of Playa del Carmen and is a perfect spot to watch the sunset.

With its wooden deck, loungers, and corner pool looking out over the ocean, you may think you have mistakenly boarded a cruise liner!  Order that glass of wine and watch the sunset in style from one of the best places to start any Playa del Carmen nightlife adventure.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

The Best Bars in Playa del Carmen

Nightlife in Playa del Carmen wouldn’t be complete without a drink or two at one of the many bars.  But be warned, some of Playa’s bars stay open until the early hours of the morning, so a few drinks can quickly turn into an all-nighter!

Hand-crafted cocktails, artisanal beers and wines are in abundance and for those of you who want to try something a little bit different, you can always give pulque a bash. It’s the original Mexican drink, before tequila or mezcal were discovered. It’s basically fermented sap from the agave plants. Give it a try so you know that you can go home having had the full Playa del Carmen nightlife experience.

1. El Tigre

If you are looking for something a little quieter to begin your night, then El Tigre is just what you need.  The warm atmosphere in this modern but authentically Mexican bar is the perfect place to relax and catch up before heading out to dinner or to party. 

The décor of brightly colored Mexican tiles and photographs of Playa del Carmen through the ages add to the experience. Mezcal and tequila flow freely here, and it may be wise to order some botanas with your drinks.

El Tigre is open daily until around 11:30 pm.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

2. Club de Cerveza

Tired of cocktails and tequila? Then Club de Cerveza is just what you are looking for. They have an extensive list of around 100 local and international beers on offer.

There are the standard 75 beers they have, and then an additional 25 which rotate.  Around 60% of their beers are from Mexico and many of them are not available outside of Mexico – so this is your chance to try something you’ve never tried before! They also have two local beers on tap, the Akumal pale ale and Mundo Maya IPA “The Warrior”.

The staff are very knowledgeable and this bar – with its brick and wooden décor – is the perfect spot to relax and learn about beer. Remember there is no learning without doing!

Club de Cerveza is open 7 days a week and closes at around 1:00 am – plenty of time to do a beer tour around Mexico and the world!

Playa del Carmen nightlife

3. Cerveceria Chapultepec 

Cerveceria Chapultepec is a chic Mexican gastropub and a great place to relax over a local beer. And as a bonus, there are 2 branches in Playa del Carmen!

Its trendy and fun atmosphere will have you staying for more than one drink. They also serve the most amazing tostadas and if you are a ceviche fan, then you will want to give theirs a try.

They are open every day of the week and close around 11:00 pm.

4. L’ambassade

No list of Playa del Carmen bars would be complete without including L’ambassade.

This is a local favorite and most people love it because of its casual and friendly atmosphere, Latin music and …. well, let’s be honest, the most popular thing about L’ambassade are the cheap litros (liter-sized drinks) which are served in plastic cups!

You can sit on the ground floor and watch the world go by or head upstairs and chug down those liter cocktails. Party on!

L’ambassade is open daily and closes around 3:00 am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

4. Las Helodias

Las Helodias is out of the bustle of 5th Avenue and another great bar for getting litros – the specials for the day are advertised on their billboard outside. Definately make sure you try something new.

The specials change and many take their inspiration from traditional Mexican candy.  This bar is vibrant and fun which is reflected in the décor which centers around their Mexican wrestling motif.

Las Helodias is open every day until 2:00 am.

5. La Bodeguita del Medio

You will be forgiven for thinking you were miraculously transported to Cuba when you enter La Bodeguita. Here you will find a great mix of both locals and tourists and will be a night you won’t forget in a hurry.

They have stayed true to the very first La Bodeguita which was opened in Havana, Cuba in 1942. The hand-written walls and revolutionary décor all add to the ambience, as does the Cuban cigars for sale.

This traditional Cuban bar is a one-stop party and the ultimate place to dance the night away. Their incredibly talented live band will have you getting down on the dance floor doing the Salsa until closing.

They are open seven nights a week until 12:00am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

6. Fah Bar

Fah Bar is in at the heart of 5th Avenue and is a must for those in need of a bit of rock music.  The welcoming fun atmosphere accompanied by friendly service, great food and some good old-fashioned beer – and yes, the usual cocktails too – make this a great way to spend an evening. 

They make a mean margarita and martini and also have a selection of wines. The large open-air patio is the place to be, and they have live music every night, from 6:00 pm to 9:30 pm. But the fun doesn’t end then, Fah stays open until 2:00 am every night of the week.

7. La Perla Pixan

Right off the bat, we love a place with a wide selection of mezcals and here they even host mezcal master classes!

The rustic décor with its thatched roof adds to the authentic Mexican vibes making this one of those places you just don’t want to close. It’s definitely worth getting here early as happy hour kicks off at 5:00pm through until 7:00pm.

The kitchen serves up some incredible traditional dishes – trust us on this one. Where else in the world can you have a mezcal cocktail along with insect tacos, finished off with a crème brule?

Live music kicks off at 9:00 pm each night, Tuesday through Sunday all the way through to 1:00am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

Top Party Spots and Nightclubs in Playa del Carmen

Playa del Carmen nightlife is a non-stop party and with a multitude of venues to choose from we had a difficult time narrowing our list down. But here’s a few of our favorites.

1. Abolengo

Abolgengo, describes itself as a bartina – the perfect combination of a traditional Mexican cantina and a contemporary modern bar. The atmosphere is fun and vibrant.

Abolengo is renowned for their exotic cocktails, so keep an eye out for their all-you-can-drink deals. Their bar food is at a different level and well worth a try if you are feeling hungry. But in all honesty, all you need is a mojito and the ability to dance all the way through to closing – this is a guaranteed night of fiesta-fun.

Abolgeno is open 7 days a week until 2:00 am.

2. Patio 8

Patio 8 has been described as majestic, and with its impressive exterior we tend to agree.  Their large modern open-air space with murals is complemented by bricks, steel and wooden surrounds and the ambience is ideal for those late-night parties.

Be prepared for a night of unadulterated dancing as their DJs never fail to delight all those lovers of electro.

They are also known for the contemporary Mexican food, great service and importantly drinks that are out of this world. Artisanal cocktails, Mezcal and Tequila – what more could you want?

Patio 8 is open 7 days a week until around 1:00 am.

3. Mandala

Mandala is the place to party and is known as the top club for Reggaeton. Its chic Asian style décor adds a different twist and their house DJ who drops some of the best beats in town, will have you dancing until the early hours of the morning. Mandala is the place for partyholics!

You will find a good combo of both locals and tourists here so grab your friends and get ready to party.

Mandala is open daily and closes at around 4am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

4. La Vaquita

La Vaquita is a one-of-a-kind nightclub, and if you are looking for a wild night out, then you’ve come to the right place.  

Its unique cow-themed décor and relaxed atmosphere where there doesn’t appear to be any rules is the perfect place to let your hair down. No one minds where you dance – chairs, tables, the stage – everywhere fair game and their dancing cow mascot definitely knows how to party.

The club specializes in reggaeton, hip hop and R&B and let’s not forget those all-important drinks. You can order your favorite cocktails and drinks litre-sized.  The lines to get in can be crazy but there are options to pre-book your tickets, especially for those nights when the top DJs are around.

La Vaquita closes at 1:00 am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

5. Tequila Barrel

The Tequila Barrel is another hip club along 5th Avenue and as they claim, “It’s where the party starts and ends.” They showcase some of the top DJs around, playing an endless stream of hip-hop, Afrobeats, Soca, and R&B.

When it comes to drinks, get prepared for mixology at its best and what they refer to as “flair-bartending”. And for the brave, they even encourage dancing on their bar for a free shot of tequila – sorry, ladies only! And if you’re feeling peckish, the Tequila Barrel Burger is worth a bash. 

The Tequila Barrel is open 7 days a week until 2:00 am.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

Playa del Carmen Nightlife With a Bit of a Difference

Most restaurants and bars offer some form of live entertainment, but the next three offer something that’s just a little bit different.

1. Juke Joint

Juke Joint is open one night a week and this is the place to turn your Wednesdays from mild to wild.

Spend the night enjoying mouth-watering food, handcrafted cocktails with flair, and dance under the moonlight.  They host both local and international DJs and other iconic artists with a mixture of Hip-Hop, Afrobeats, R&B, Dancehall, Soca, and Trap playing all night.

They also have the best selection of games like Beach Ping Pong, Giant Jenga, Giant Connect Four and Twister just to mention a few. Somehow after a few cocktails, these always seems like a great idea to us… They’re definitely an ice-breaker if you need one.

Juke Joint Playa is only open on a Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 1:00 am.  Make sure you take advantage of happy hour from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

2. Coco Bongo

If you are looking for a combination of Mexican fiesta party and Las Vegas big show entertainment, then you will love Coco Bongo. We highly recommend you buy the Coco Bong Gold tickets which gives you a few perks – like a table. 

The show starts at 11:00 and finishes at around 3:30 am, hence the gold ticket recommendation – that table will come in handy.  As you enter, the energy is palpable, be ready for a non-stop party with wild, over-the-top shows all produced with state-of-the-art audiovisual equipment.

Playa del Carmen nightlife

3. Le Lotus Rouge

Entering Le Lotus Rouge is like walking into a magical fantasy world.  It is a theatrical experience that will stimulate each one of your senses. This 500m2 circus tent is covered in art from all around the globe and there is a themed room for each continent.

At night Le Lotus Rouge turns into a unique art lounge offering multi-cultural cuisine and artistic drinks accompanied by a range of entertainment from live music to karaoke. You may be lucky enough to enjoy a burlesque show.

Le Lotus Rouge is open from Tuesdays to Sundays and closes at around 12:00 am.

Our Favorite Places to Eat in Playa del Carmen

Be prepared for a foodie fiesta feast, as here in Playa del Carmen food is a celebration.

There is an abundance of choice from authentic Mexican cuisine with Mayan influences all the way through to the good old American hamburger or Italian pizza.

We love the availability of fresh ingredients and how each restaurant adds its own nuance and twist to traditional dishes.

So start your Playa del Carmen nightlife adventure off right with these delicious dining options.

El Fogon – Value for Money Choice

El Fogon, is loved by locals and tourists alike and is extremely popular.  It is renowned for its very affordable tacos, especially the al pastor tacos. And the best bit – the portions are huge!

When it comes to drinks El Fogon has some of the best margaritas in town and a fabulous selection of Mexican beers. This is a truly authentic Mexican restaurant focusing on delicious food, bursting with flavor, made from fresh ingredients, and all served by their friendly and efficient staff.

El Fogon closes at 11:00 pm and is also a great late-night food option.  If you don’t want to queue, we suggest you get there early as the lines are known to go down the street, but the wait is definitely worth it.

Don Chendo – Mid-Range

Don Chendo isn’t your ordinary pizza restaurant.  Their pizza is true Chicago deep dish style made from the freshest ingredients and rumored to be the best pizza in Playa.

Their pizzas are made for two. Although that depends on how hungry you are.

Our favorite is the Chendo, made with homemade Italian sausage, onions, green and red peppers, and mozzarella, after baking it is then topped with hot Chendo tomato sauce and parmesan cheese. We can guarantee you will be going back for more.

Don Chendo is open 7 days a week and closes around 9:30 pm.

Alux – Fine Dining

Alux is not just another restaurant, and it’s not just a place to eat. This is truly a culinary experience you will be talking about for months. Prepare for a magical and extraordinary evening as you are served in one of the most unique settings around – a 10,000-year-old underground cave at the edge of a Mayan cenote!

At Alux, attention to detail is everything and you will find yourself mesmerized by the cavern, with its stalactites and stalagmites showcased by hues of blue and green lighting. It is a gastronomical experience that will take your breath away. Here you truly do eat with your eyes first. 

The menu is filled with mouth-watering dishes and we loved the Tuna seared in a crust of cocoa, coffee, and sesame seeds, accompanied with mashed potatoes with french chives and asparagus popcorn. When it comes to cocktails, their hand-crafted Margalux is one of our favorites – a combination of tequila, orange bitters, Grand Marnier, agave honey, lime juice, frosted with worm salt, a bouquet of sage and angostura bitters.

Alux opens at 6:00 pm until around 11:00 pm.

Porfirios – Fine Dining

Porfirios is known for its outstanding service and contemporary urban Mexican cuisine. They have transformed traditional flavors and family favorite recipes into a food sensation. As they like to say, “ Bringing the best from our streets to your table.” 

They believe it is their Chef’s touch that adds soul and flavor to each one of their dishes. Their elegant terraced restaurant overlooking 5th Avenue should be a must on your list. It’s a wonderful al fresco dining experience.

We love their meals to share and recommend giving the Pork Confit with Pastor a try. It’s served with sweet potato purée with orange, pineapple butter, pastor puree, avocado mousse, beets and crispy pork rinds. If sharing isn’t your thing, the Fillet Cane with Mezcal is one of our favorites, it is grilled with chicatana butter and flamed in mezcal and served with a grasshopper sauce.

They have an extensive drinks menu and you must try one of their Mexaginis. We love the Lemon Soldier – Tanqueray Gin infused with lemongrass, tonic water and strawberries.

Porfirios closes around 12:00 am and is one of those foodie evenings you won’t forget in a hurry.

Late-Night Food Options in Playa del Carmen

Most bars close after midnight with kitchens closing around 11:00 pm, so grabbing a late-night bite isn’t going to be a problem.  But Here are our two favorite picks.

1. Señor Frogs

Well, fine dining it isn’t, but that’s not what you are looking for late at night.

Rather, Señor Frogs is delightfully tacky that you just can’t help but love it. Besides being a late-night food option, it’s a fun and light-hearted bar to go to. And to top it all off, they have live music.  We recommend the guacamole served with their homemade corn tortilla chips or their grilled shrimp tacos. Of course don’t leave without trying the churros.

Señor Frogs is open daily until around 2:00 am.

2. El Rey Del Taco

This food truck serves some of the best tacos in Playa del Carmen. Everything is fresh and served with a smile. We recommend the fresh Pico, that’s grilled cactus served with an incredible salsa.

You can find El Rey Del Taco in the Mega Parking lot every night of the week, just look out for the line (filled with locals, so you know it’s good). They close at around 12:00 am.

Playa del Carmen Nightlife: Our Final Thoughts

Playa del Carmen is one of those special places that brings out the holiday-party vibes in each and every one who visits.

Its natural beauty, Caribbean architecture and festive vibrant culture is a place where you will build memories that last a lifetime. So get out there and have a Playa del Carmen nightlife adventure to remember!