The nightlife in Tulum is where the Riviera Maya takes a turn for the more refined. That’s not to say it’s not off the hook. It most definitely is. It’s just that this temple-topped town on the Caribbean does things a little differently to the no-holes-barred party mecca of Cancun that lies a little up the coast of the Yucatan.
What do we mean? We mean an abundance of chic cocktail lounges and cool, breezy beach bars. They really come into their own at the golden hour, when the sunset blazes over the coconut groves and kisses the shores with a haze of red and purple and pink. On top of that, you’ve got jungle-themed clubs and bumping jazz joints where bodies twist and turn into the early hours, and oodles of fantastic eateries to kick-start that night in style.
This complete guide to the nightlife in Tulum will take you through seven of the chart-topper bars in the town. It’s got info on the places we love to go to when the evening is drawing near, for those sharp margaritas on plush bean bangs. And it’s takes you to the nocturnal night spots that should be rollicking with EDM well into the Tulum morning. Ready? Let’s go…
The 7 Best Bars in Tulum
We’ve whittled down the nightlife in Tulum to seven of the very best bars in the whole resort. From eco-conscious cocktail spots to rambunctious mezcal dives, there’s all sorts to get stuck into…
Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar
No guide to the nightlife in Tulum could possibly be complete without a mention of Batey’s. Now a veritable legend of the Riviera Maya, this small and unassuming cocktail lounge has risen to great heights from humble beginnings. It’s located in the Tulum Centro, which means it’s right in the thick of the town center, away from the chicer, more hipster spots on the Caribbean coastline to the east.
Actually, that’s precisely the reason we love it so much: Batey Mojito & Guarapo Bar is a rough-around-the-edges local’s dive bar with stacks of character. Stroll in and you’ll be greeted by vintage convertible cars with strange antiques and trinkets poking out of the engines. Meanwhile, tables spill out onto the street right out front, to offer views of the taco stands and bustling sidewalks.
Of course, as the name implies, Batey is all about the mojito. It’s nothing but the best, fresh-crushed sugarcane, and the finest Carib rum, for the mixes in these parts. You’ll be able to choose from a whole medley of different iterations of the classic drink, including simple lime-doused options and creative herb-infused highballs.
Address: Calle Centauro Sur, Tulum Centro, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Papaya Playa Project
We’ve whiled away many a long weekend session at the Papaya Playa Project. And why not? It’s surely one of the coolest spots in the whole of Tulum. The establishment is actually a part of one huge and darn gorgeous boutique hotel, which filters out of the Maya jungles in a series of bamboo-built cabanas and salty beach cottages. The part you’re looking for is the all-new beach bar. It’s a doozy…
Yep, there’s an organic feel to the seating spaces and the tables, where you can laze out and have one foot in the sand and the other on the creaking wooden decks. The ocean is just a few steps away. The bar hides below a ruffled hair of tropical thatch. Taking a little from the chic beach clubs of Canggu, in Bali, the PPP (as it’s known to the locals) also offers a menu of meticulously mixed cocktails and creative food that fuses the Mexican and the European kitchens.
The main nightlife event at the Papaya Playa Project has to the be the monthly full-moon shindig. Don’t go thinking it’s anything like the ones down on Koh Phangan in the Land of Smiles. It’s far classier that that, with world-class DJs hitting the decks and a resident crowd of models and influencers now the norm.
Address: Carr. Tulum-Boca Paila Km 4.5, Tulum Beach, Zona Costera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Casa Jaguar bills itself as an all-round cultural venue. Things start with the enticing kitchen, which churns out fresh ceviche and punchy Mexican tacos, all cooked up with locally sourced ingredients and infused with zests of citrus and spice. You’ll be dining in a gorgeous half-outdoor space; all polished concrete and slatted wood blinds, with fern bushes and tropical trees sprouting from the patios. Pretty stuff.
Once you’re done dining, you can slip through into the cocktail bar come club. That’s officially called the Todos Santos Bar, and boy is it a stunner! The noir look and candlelit alcoves lend it a bit of an Apocalypto mystique, with curious Mayan sculptures adorning the bar and vines hanging and twisting their way over the light fittings and the drinks cupboards. It’s not a sprawling mega club a la Cancun, but rather somewhere curated and intimate for the in-the-know Tulum crowd.
Casa Jaguar hosts regular DJ nights, and there are live-music evenings on Tuesdays to boot. You’ll also find that this one’s a good spot for chillout sessions. So, have it on the radar when you wake and need to sizzle off the hangover from the night before!
Address: Carretera Boca Paila Km 7.5, Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Let’s get one thing straight: Nômade isn’t the place for downing tequila shots and watching the latest NFL game. Nope. It’s very different to many of the spots on the lineup of the nightlife in Tulum. Relaxed, hippy vibes flow throughout, the menus are focused on organic, healthy foods, and the people are invariably yoga heads with penchant for chatting about the latest mediation techniques.
If that’s your scene, you’ve found your heaven. Seriously, this stunning boutique hotel won’t disappoint with its timber-built gathering spaces and lush garden areas. They all converge on the Macondo Restaurant, where you can get the evening rolling with smoky baba ghanoush dips and labneh cheeses straight out of the Levant.
Later on, the dishes are cleared away and you have a gorgeous beach bar down in La Popular. The cocktails there really are something special. Some harness the punch of habanero peppers. Others pit mint and cucumber against the sharp kick of Stolichnaya. The setting is also killer – you’re right on the white sands with the Caribbean Sea literally meters away!
Address: Carretera Cancún – Tulum KM 10, 77880 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Zamna Tulum is also known as the Zamna Festival. It’s located down the 307 road to the south-west of Tulum proper, where it hides in the midst of the Yucatan forests. In fact, the venue itself is less of a bar and more of an enclosed oasis in the jungles, complete – and here’s the piece de resistance – with its own private cenote! The place covers 11 hectares in total and can host thousands of revelers when there’s an event on.
Talking of events, it’s huge, laser-lit blowouts that are the order of the day at Zamna. They see some of the biggest-name DJs and EDM/techno acts in Tulum and can command ticket prices of 80 USD and up. Former acts include the likes of Paul Kalkbrenner and Damian Lazarus, along with oodles of other famous faces from all around the globe.
Just don’t come here expecting something intimate and chilled. This is much more of a fully-fledged nightlife events space and festival ground, with thousands upon thousands of attendees arriving early and leaving late.
Address: km 200, México 307, 77760 Tulum, Qro., Mexico
If you’re keen to get the romance a-flowing and feel a little bit of that famed Tulum class, Kin Toh might just be the perfect option. It promises to kick-start an evening with a menu of artfully presented Mayan-Mexican cuisine. So, ditch the street-stall tacos and ready yourself for melt-in-the-mouth meat cuts doused in habanero jus and seafood dishes made with the local catch of the day.
You’ll also be wowed by the look of Kin Toh. This isn’t your run-of-the-mill beach bar. Set just back from the cotton-white sands, it’s built with an eye for the traditional Maya way of life, with bunches of thatched reeds and twisted stalks creating a treehouse on the edge of the jungle. Reserve one of the unique ‘nest’ seats if you’re coming here with your other half – they promise the height of loved-up eating.
Kin Toh isn’t so much about guzzling tequila cocktails and going until sunup as it is about savoring the finer things of the Yucatan Peninsula. As such, there’s a fantastic wine list with more than 200 labels and 600 different bottles. Ask for advice to match up the perfect one with your meal.
Address: Carretera Tulum-Punta Allen KM 5, Zona Hotelera, 77780 Tulum, Q.R., Mexico
Gitano is one of the top eateries in the Middle Beach Zone of Tulum for most of the week. At least, that is, until the weekend swings around. Then, it channels a little of that feel-good Friday energy and transforms into a hip dance venue where folk come to let loose under the gaze of the old rainforest. The music policy is experimental EDM and Lo-Fi chillhop with a twist of Mexican jazziness to it. What more could you need?
Well…how about a dedicated mezcal bar for sampling the finest agave and tequila tipples (there were over 40 individual mezcals on the menu at our last checking) this side of Jalisco state? There’s also an on-site restaurant, which prides itself on using local ingredients and cooking in the traditional Mexican way – expect open fires and corn-flour tortillas on griddles over the coals.
The best nights to come to Gitano for a party all fall on the weekend. There are dance sessions that go on until the early hours then and the best music acts tend to be around on Fridays, starting at 11pm and ending at the last song.
Address: Beach Road Km. 7, 77710 Q.R., Mexico