Tulum Nightlife: Expert Guide With the Best Bars, Clubs, Tips

It can be challenging to enjoy Tulum nightlife, especially if it’s your first time coming to this world-famous party scene.

Where are the party areas? How to avoid tourist traps? Where are the locals’ favorite bars? The famous restaurants of the stars? Is it safe?

I stayed 15 days in Tulum to get the best information from local people. And I spent tens of hours analyzing thousands of reviews on the internet.

The result?

A complete guide on how to party in Tulum, with the best bars, shows, nightclubs, and dozens of valuable tips (safety, money, prices, booking, opening hours, and more).

Bring your favorite tequila shot, and keep reading!

👉 Don’t hesitate to read our Tulum guide to plan your vacation and not make any more mistakes. You will find all our articles about this destination.

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In 2 months, I’ve spent more than 10,000 USD to test the best activities in the Riviera Maya. Stay with me to quickly decide which experiences you should do and learn how to make the most of your trip.

Where to party in Tulum: The best areas

This section will help you decide when and where you want to plan your party night in Tulum.

A big event for each day of the week (except Monday) 

Gitano Tulum
Credit: @Gitano

If you come for breakfast and stay until the live music sets they host in the evening, you may ingest an ungodly amount of sugar due to the fresh fruit mojitos. It’s a chill place to hang out at any hour of the day in the Pueblo section of Tulum. The mood certainly shifts as the day moves on and the live flamenco and blues bands take the stage. 

Fresh fruity cocktails and seafood are the main staples of Casa Jaguar, which is perfect for a nice meal any day of the week. From Thursday night to the weekend, though, you can see live DJ sets on site in the evening. The outdoor terrace on the jungle part of the middle beach zone is a unique experience.    

The Gitano brand runs multiple spots in Tulum. Here we’re talking about the Gitano Tulum jungle venue. On Friday nights, there will be plenty of mezcal-infused drinks and gypsy disco dancing. Mezcal is tequila’s brother with a meaner punch, so be careful with that.    

This is an entire resort that you can stay at, but their Saturday Moonlight celebrations are what they are most known for. They bring in local and international DJs every week. House music is blasting in the beach club on those days.   

Free lessons in salsa dancing and 2×1 mojitos are available at midday Sunday. This is right before La Zebra hotel hosts their salsa night. Even if you’re not an avid dancer, you can become (almost) one within a few hours.  

Tulum beach

Papaya Playa Tulum
Credit: @Papaya Playa Project

The Tulum beach area features some of the most upscale resorts in the region. Also, it’s home to chic restaurants and bars. Many of the resorts run their own beach clubs, like the Papaya Playa Project restaurant I recently mentioned. 

You can sit on a terrace overlooking the jungle while you listen to some smooth jazz. If you’re more into the electronic house scene and wild jungle parties, there are plenty of places to find that type of music.   

El Pueblo (Downtown)

Downtown Tulum
Tulum Downtown

Tulum Pueblo’s bar scene is typically more laid back and simplistic. Board shorts and a T-shirt can replace the chic outfit you must wear at fancy beach bars. 

Since this is the area within the town center, you’ll find more locals hanging out at these spots. This may be the place to be if you’re looking for delicious food and affordable bars. You’ll get the small-town Mexico experience here, that’s been completely erased from some of the other parts of Tulum. The busiest street is Calle Centauro Sur (where Batey Mojito is).  

MAP: Tulum nightlife

Best bars in Tulum 

Batey Mojito Tulum

One of the best things about Tulum is that there’s something for everybody. Yes, the region made its name for being a spot for jungle side raves and music festivals, but there’s a bit of everything available these days. 

1# Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar – Breakfast to Midnight

 Come for the breakfast chilaquiles, and stay for the live music in the evening. It’s one of the most popular spots in the downtown area. Prices for the food and drinks are not too crazy. It’s 20 pesos for a black coffee, for example. 

2# Ki’Bok – A Coffee Shop With A Lot To Offer

Some Tulum spots are a little bit of everything packed into one spot. That’s precisely what you get with Ki’Bok in downtown Tulum. It’s essentially a coffee joint, but it features different floors, and the type of music and experience you can have on each floor can vary drastically. 

They serve all sorts of coffee drinks along with burgers and pizza. You can come for that, the yoga lessons, the salsa dancing. The whole place has a fun atmosphere, but it can also get crowded, and service suffers on those days.  

3# Santino Bar – A Traditional Beach Bar (without the beach)

Santino Bar is more of a nightclub than all the other bars in this guide. It’s in the downtown area, which dictates what you can expect: a truly laid-back dress code, low-priced shots, and the full Mexican beach town experience.

4# Xibalbar – A Cool Rooftop With Techno Music & Hookah

Labeling any Tulum bar as an “exotic bar” is mission impossible. Why? Well, they’re all exotic. Xibalbar is the exception, as you can smoke Hookah! If you’re looking for 24/7 techno music, head to this spot. There are a ton of different places with similar names in Tulum. This Xibalbar is the rooftop in Pueblo Tulum.      

5# Nana Rooftop Bar – Chic Mezcal Bar

The signature cocktails offered at Nana Rooftop bar keep people coming back. Although it’s also a rooftop bar, it’s completely different from Xibalbar. Prices at Nana are much more expensive, but it’s a spot in Tulum’s downtown to be at ease and have a few drinks. 

You’ll have to roll up in a much more aesthetic outfit to Nana. The bar features a garden patio that can be a great spot to spend the early afternoon.    

6# Straw Hat Hostel & Rooftop Bar! – Cheap Beer & Pool Parties

The whole vibe surrounding this spot revolves around the fact that this is a hostel. The bar hosts pool parties for the hostel guests. It’s got a girl’s gone wild kind of vibe. At least, that’s what the bar wants to portray. 

Suppose you’re into the college frat party type of atmosphere; that’s what you’ll get here. The hostel rooms can be booked directly from their Instagram page. This spot is in Tulum’s pueblo area. 

7# Che Tulum – A More Private Hostel Experience

The traveler that heads to Che differs from the type of traveler that would go to Straw Hat Hostel. Che is also in the Tulum downtown area but is more of a private venue. They host parties every night, yet they are not a massive affair.

8# Mulata – Cigar Bar With Cheap Shots

Another spot in the Tulum beach area that’s better suited for an afternoon with friends or more quiet Saturday nights. This is a cigar bar where you may find a live band playing on the weekends. It’s mainly a place to relax and have a good conversation with a few smokes. 

9# Mateo’s Mexican Grill – Family Restaurant Experience

This is a lot more of a traditional restaurant along Tulum beach. It serves primarily Mexican seafood, and American tourists will find very familiar flavors, particularly with the chips and guacamole. A live band almost always plays, a good spot for a “mild” experience.   

10# El Milagrito – Come For The Mezcal

Like Mateos’, this sultry mezcal bar has become a full restaurant. The food here is a bit hit-and-miss, depending on who you ask. Still, it’s one of the spots downtown that you can head to, to sit down and have more of a quiet meal.  

beach clubs & restaurants that turn into clubs in Tulum 

Casa Jaguar Tulum
Credit: @Casa Jaguar

Nightlife in Tulum can be unique in that you could be at a trendy Caribbean restaurant one moment, and suddenly, you’re in a full-fledged nightclub. All of this happens without you changing spots. Here are my favorite venues.

1# Casa Jaguar Trendy Spot In Middle Beach Zone

Casa Jaguar offers high-end Mexican food for lunch and dinner. Expect some unique flavors that may only be for some of you. In the evening, there are DJ sets, and Casa Jaguar hosts their jungle-themed party on the weekends as well.

The high prices for food and drinks may not be everyone’s cup of tea. Remember that if you want to party in the Tulum beach area, you’ll pay higher prices than downtown.     

2# Gitano – Gypsy Music For A Pretty Penny

Gitano Jungle Tulum in the beach area is another trending nightlife venue—a bit more of a laid-back bar than some of the other options. You can expect to pay 500 pesos for entry, which includes one drink. 

If you want to get the whole experience here, making a reservation and dining out at the restaurant will be a good idea. Expect high-end Mexican cuisine as well on the menu here. 

3# La Zebra Hotel – Dance Lessons Anyone?

The La Zebra hotel in the south beach zone runs one of the most distinctive Tulum beach clubs. They go the extra mile to offer dancing lessons on Sundays before their salsa nights. Throughout the year, there are different themed parties that both hotel guests and walk-ins can enjoy.   

4# Papaya Playa Project – Fire Dancers & Decent Prices

Located in the north beach zone in Tulum, the Papaya Playa Project is one place with hefty prices. Its main draw is the exotic performances that can bring something to the table that goes beyond drinks and food. Service here is reported to be bad.  

5# KANAN BEACH CLUB & KARMA RESTAURANT – Some Of The Best Food in Tulum

This may be the spot if you’re into Japanese cuisine and want to go out for a nice dinner. Expect all sorts of mezcal cocktails with some of the best food in the area. Not the cheapest spot on Tulum beach, but it’s perfect for high-end dining.  

6# RosaNegra – Come For The Food, Stay For The Rest

The Rosa Negra restaurant is fast becoming one of the more popular chain brand restaurants in all of Mexico. The Tulum beach venue goes through quite a transformation in the later hours of the night. It can get crowded when they turn the party mode on, although the experience is worth it. 

7# BAK RESTAURANT TULUM – The Jungle Steakhouse 

BAK may look like many of Tulum’s jungle clubs from the outside. However, it’s a high-end steakhouse featuring a fire show with local dancers from Wednesday to Sunday. Make sure to make your reservations before 9h30 PM, right around the show’s start. 

8# Taboo – Great For Pre-Game, Nights Get Hard Though

Taboo is run by the Rosa Negra restaurant group, which helps understand why the food is good for a beach club. It’s a great spot to start your day out, particularly on the outdoor terrace on Tulum beach near the pools. It can get too hardcore for some tastes later in the day with the DJ sets. 

There are rumors that many hard drugs are being sold on-site. If that’s something that you want to distance yourself from, then Taboo may not be for you.   

9# IT Tulum – Good Food & A party Atmosphere

Michelin Star Chef Nino Di Costanzo designed the menu here, but food lovers don’t rave about his cuisine. The restaurant is more famous for its after-parties, with well-known DJs performing on a superb outdoor terrace—next to a cenote! Prices are high. This spot is in the central Tulum hotel zone.  

10# Mia Beach club – Local and International Djs Regularly Perform Here 

If you’re heading to Tulum for techno and house music, Mia Beach club is the place to be. It regularly features some of the best performers in the region. As I said with Taboo, it can get a little too “wild” for some people in the late hours.

11# TANTRA BEACH CLUB – Instagram Friendly Spot, Ok Vibe

Tantra beach club has made a name for itself because it has one of the most Instagram-friendly decors in Tulum. Since it’s becoming popular, prices are steep, however. Still, it’s a spot where you can experience the typical beach club vibe Tulum is known for. 

Best nightclubs in Tulum

zamanik Tulum
Credit: @Zamanic

As you can tell by now, many places in Tulum turn into clubs. These are two of the spots that operate exclusively as clubs. You can expect the typical Tulum nightlife experience involving dim lights and DJs here.  

1# Zamanik – One Of The Most Exclusive In Tulum

Only 100 people can fit into the Zamanik club, so make sure that you make a reservation well in advance. Sunday is one of the best days to head out to this club. Some of the top DJs in the region perform here until 6 AM. This spot is between downtown and the beach, so access is more challenging.   

2# Confessions – Tapas Bar In The Hotel Zone

Confessions is right along the main Tulum hotel zone road. Something that makes it an easy spot to get to after a couple of drinks at another nearby bar. A light meal, a ton of drinks, and techno music are what you can expect here. 

The party guide: Tulum Nightlife

papaya playa project tulum
Credit: @Papaya Playa Project

Following specific rules while out in Tulum can make your experience more enjoyable. Here are some tips and nuggets about Tulum nightlife to ensure you have the best experience possible. 

1# Safety in Tulum

The number of people coming to Tulum has drastically increased over the last 10 years. This has also led to the area experiencing quite a few unfortunate incidents regarding shootings and other situations revolving around organized crime groups. 

The best way to avoid issues with these groups is to not buy/bring drugs during your stay. Both downtown and the hotel zone strip are generally safe spots to walk along. Just ensure you stay near the popular tourist spots as much as possible.    

2# Open times

These can be a little tricky, mainly because there’s not a lot of “correct” information online. Most clubs in Tulum tell customers online that they close up shop at midnight. Yet, you can find yourself at a Tulum club way past that time. 

It’s kind of a legal loophole that’s been set up by local authorities. How it works is that the official closing time in the region is 12, and clubs can then pay an extra fee to authorities, and they allow them to remain open until later. The best way to know is to ask waiters or even promoters directly.

That way, you can craft your bar-hopping strategy accordingly. Getting help directly at your hotel instead of relying on external promoters to craft your bar-hopping plan may be a good idea. Promoters sometimes don’t have your best interest at heart, so they’ll plan a night out that suits them best.    

3# Reservations

Not all of Tulum’s nightlife venues will be overly large. Therefore, getting reservations to any spot you want to go to early is always a good idea. This is where promoters come back into the picture. 

There are essentially two ways to make reservations. One is to call every venue directly and schedule before you go out. Or you can rely on a local promoter that can be reached through people at your hotel. As previously stated, experiences with promoters can be hit or miss. 

Whatever you decide, it’s always a good idea to pick at least some of the main spots you want to visit and check out their sites directly to make your reservation, especially for the famous restaurants that turn into nightclubs.   

4# Prices

There are a couple of things that you want to keep in mind when it comes to prices. Don’t assume the price is in pesos because it looks overly steep. Certain spots can have both pesos and dollar prices on their menu.  

Generally, Tulum Pueblo will be considerably cheaper than the middle beach zone. You can head over to Santino Bar and find gins going for 180 pesos a pop. The same drinks at Mia Beach Club go for 320 pesos.    

5# Bar crawl

If you want to go on a guided tour of Tulum bars, you can book one at Social Pub Crawl. They regularly offer tours of Tulum bars on different days of the week. This is a perfect way to experience multiple venues without worrying about how you get there, covers, and other issues.    

6# Where to find the events

This is usually pretty easy to do. A quick google search of events in Tulum will give you all the big-time concerts and music festivals that will be taking place. The other thing you can do is ask anyone at your hotel. 

7# What type of parties

There are all sorts of parties in Tulum. I started by saying there’s much more than raves in the city. Watching a live band in a jungle canopy is not uncommon in Tulum. 

Pool parties will also be there weekly, especially if you come to Tulum during Spring and summer. Expect to see all sorts of dance parties and shows at restaurants.   

8# High season/low season

The high season in Tulum runs from around December to the end of the Spring. Many people also head to the region in the early summer months. These days the low season is only about two or three months long, from August to around October.

July and August may not be a great time to head to the region as some storms might bring bad weather—though it’ll still be warm! Plenty of places with outdoor seating, particularly in the Tulum jungle area, close off those parts of their bar.  

9# LGBT

Tulum is considered one of the most welcoming destinations for people in the LGBTQ+ community. According to people in the know, Radio Tulum is regarded as the “it” Gay bar on the scene these days. 

There are also different days when beach clubs and other venues host LGBTQ+ friendly nights or days. For example, the Conestesia, a beach club overlooking the Caribbean Sea, hosts Gay Wednesdays. Even gay music festivals appear regularly on the Tulum event calendar, so there’s much to choose from.    

10# Mosquitoes

You’re in a beach town where the ocean meets the jungle. Travelers love it. Mosquitoes too.

Bringing insect repellent is always a good idea, particularly if you’re going to be on a back terrace that overlooks the jungle.

11# What to wear

If you’re heading to one of the places in the Tulum Pueblo area, you can afford to be a lot less formal. I mentioned earlier that some spots are perfect for board shorts, a T-shirt, and flip-flops. As you move towards higher-scale places with a bohemian vibe, your outfit should reflect that.

Linen shirts and dresses are going to be your best friend. With this material, you can pull off a very casual outfit, and you won’t be sweating excessively like a cotton shirt. Even though you’ll want to wear casual shoes, make sure they’re comfortable because you’ll likely be doing plenty of walking!    

12# Best music festivals

Undoubtedly, the most anticipated music festival of 2023 was Tomorrow Land’s Core Tulum festival. It took place in early 2023 and is likely to return in 2024. This type of festival fits the Tulum marriage with electronic music perfectly! 

Rüfüs Du Sol and their festival Sun Dream will be in Cabo this year but will likely return to Tulum in 2023. The band has had a ton of success with their festival, which took place in the Papaya Playa project venue. 

If you come to Tulum and want that music festival experience, but nothing is happening, the Papaya Playa moon parties are the closest thing to a festival. Live bands play earlier in the day, and it’s a glorified dance party.  

13# Cash

The Mia Beach club example shows how confusing Tulum’s cash situation can be. The same bar will have prices in US dollars and Mexican Pesos. Carrying cash in US dollars and Mexican pesos is a good idea. 

Many of the bars in the Tulum Pueblo or downtown section will prefer taking pesos. In contrast, some of the high-end spots on the beach area may even demand dollars. Restaurants, particularly those in the beach area, will allow you to pay with a card. 

When paying with a card, though, there may be a 3% markup in the price that’s not included as part of the tips. Also, when paying with a foreign card, it’s a good idea not to accept the exchange rate the machine offers. If you click pay Mexican pesos, your credit card provider will set the exchange rate. Those rates are usually more friendly to cardholders.     

14# Tipping

Tipping is something that is expected throughout the entire region. Servers at bars and nightclubs can get 15% or even 20% tips. The best way to avoid any confrontation, particularly at bars, is to settle on the tip at the beginning of the night.

For all other activities and even restaurants, a 10% tip is ok. Regarding tips for housekeeping staff hotels, that’s whatever you want to leave behind. Don’t feel pressured to pay 10% of the nightly fee.    

15# Moving around

Renting a car to move around Tulum, Cancun, and Playa del Carmen may be a good idea. Finding parking is relatively easy, and many main spots are within the hotel zone. 

Having a car will help you avoid altercations with taxi drivers, who love to be tricky with tourists (high prices). If you have to take a cab, settle on the price before you get into the taxi. Remember, there are no Uber or rideshare apps that can pick you up in Tulum. 

Your Questions about Tulum Nightlife

TULUM DOWNTOWN

I’ve talked about many aspects of the Tulum nightlife, but there are a couple of frequently asked questions that I want to get to. This can give you an even better sense of what to expect when coming to Tulum.  

Tulum vs Cabo nightlife

Cabo, in general, has always catered to high-end tourism that is fearless to splurge quite a bit of cash. Some popular venues include the Cabo Wabo Cantina, where top Rock and Roll artists may be on stage any night.

While there are certain spots to get wild in Cabo, it’s a destination that caters more to an older crowd when compared to Tulum. Tulum has always been known to be a haven for rave-loving teens. Prices in Tulum have increased, leading to venues that target an older crowd that’s different from what the entire Tulum vibe invites.     

Tulum vs Cancun nightlife

You can find the same restaurants and bars based in Tulum and Cancun. However, you may still get different people shuffling into these spots every night. 

Cancun has become more of a family resort destination within the Riviera Maya. It’s a much larger city, so you can find any venue you’d like. You’ll find more locals in the Cancun nightlife, while Tulum is almost 100% tourist based. It’s easier to bar hop on foot in Tulum because it’s smaller.    

Tulum vs Playa del carmen Nightlife

The thing that Playa del Carmen has over Tulum is that all the bars and everything are on 5th avenue. If you’re staying in Playa, you could get a shuttle from the airport and back without worrying about transportation during your stay.

When it comes to the type of crowd that you can expect to find in the playa nightlife scene, it could be many of the same younger faces. You have more options in Tulum by far. In Tulum, you can pick the cheaper downtown area and have all of the jungle-facing bars not present in Playa.  

What’s the main strip in Tulum?

That’s the La Costera road, also known as highway 15. It runs right through the main Tulum hotel zone and along the beach. That’s going to be the main strip in the Tulum beach zone. 

The Tulum downtown area is split down the middle by the highway that leads to Cancun. You can find many of the main spots in the downtown area on the side of the main road.  

Can you walk around Tulum at night?

It all comes down to where you’re walking. In both downtown and the main beach area, you want to stay within a reasonable distance from where the main hotels are. 

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I have been traveling around Colombia and Mexico since 2015 to discover new experiences and help travelers make the right choices.

2 comments

  1. Loreta says:

    you really helped me and my friends a lot with this website. I just wanna say thank you so so much because i feel way safer and oriented about going to tulum

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