Finding the Nightlife in Cancún

Coming to Cancun anytime in the near future? Check out this to-do list:

Dinner Cruises

Sunset boat crusies that include dinner, drinks, music, and dancing are popular in Cancún, especially for couples looking for a romantic evening, and visitors who’d rather avoid the carnival atmosphere of Cancún’s clubs and discos.

On the Capitán Hook you can watch a pirate show aboard a replica of an 18th-century Spanish galleon, then enjoy a lobster dinner as the ship cruises around at sunset. When it’s dark, the boat lights up, the bar opens, and the music gets turned on for dancing under the stars.

Columbus Lobster Dinner Cruises offers tranquil, couples-only cruises on a 62-foot galleon. A fresh lobster dinner is served while the sun sets over Laguna Nichupté; afterward, the boat continues to cruise so you can stargaze.

Caribbean Carnival Tours start off on a large two-level catamaran at sunset. There’s an open bar for the sail across to Isla Mujeres; once you reach shore you’ll join in a moonlight calypso cookout and a full dinner buffet followed by a Caribbean carnival show. (Playa Totugas/Fat Tuesday Marina. 998/884-3790.)

Discos

Cancún wouldn’t be Cancuún without its glittering discos, which generally start jumping around 10:30 p.m. A few places open earlier, around 9, but make no mistake — the later it gets, the crazier it gets.

The wild, wild Coco Bongo has no chairs, but there are plenty of tables that everyone dances on. There’s also a popular floor show billed as “Las Vegas meets Hollywood,” featuring celebrity impersonators; and an amazing gravity-defying aerial acrobatic show with an accompanying 12-piece orchestra. After the shows, the techno gets turned up to full volume and everyone gets up to get down.

The Bull Dog Night Club has an all-you-can-drink bar, the latest dance music, and an impressive laser-light show. The stage here is large, and some very well-known rock bands, including Guns n’ Roses and Radiohead, have played on it. Another, somewhat bawdier draw here is the private hot tub, where you can have “the Jacuzzi bikini girls” scrub your back. Naturally, this place is popular with spring-breakers.

Live Music

Azucar showcases the very best Latin American bands. Go just to watch the locals dance (the beautiful people tend to turn up here really late). Proper dress is required—no jeans or sneakers.

To mingle with locals and hear great music for free, head to the Parque de las Palapas in El Centro. Every Friday night at 7:30 there’s live music that ranges from jazz to salsa to Caribbean; lots of locals show up to dance. On Sunday afternoons, the Cancuán Municipal Orchestra plays.

The Hacienda Sisal (www.haciendasisal.com) is the place for ballroom dancing. Its terrific live band plays golden oldies, romantic favorites, and latest hits. There’s a dinner menu, too, if you get hungry.[]