Where to find the Best Nightlife in Central America & Mexico

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If you read my blog regularly, you knowwwwww that I like a good party while I travel, and following the popularity of my best party cities in South America post, it was only right that I wrote a best nightlife in Central America & Mexico guide to match!

Geographically, the parties in Central America and Mexico are generally more accessible to my main readers in North America, so this region is actually more suited to a short-trip party-going group than South America, which is fantastic for people wanting to party on longer trips (but hey, if you want to pop to Buenos Aires for a weekend, I won’t stop you). However, there are some party destinations in this list of the best nightlife in Central America & Mexico which require a longer trip, as they’re pretty far from the nearest international airport.

So let’s get into it, and happy partying!

After you’ve read this post on the best nightlife in Central America & Mexico, don’t miss out on checking out these top guides:

Where to find the best nightlife in Central America & Mexico:

Antigua, Guatemala

Crowd: expats & backpackers

This destination in central Guatemala tries quite hard not to be a top Central America party city, with a 12am curfew on bars and alcohol sales, but it’s the hostel vibe that keeps travellers buzzing for more. Places such as Bigfoot Hostel get backpackers going with events like their weekly beer pong tournament (which allows both locals and non-guests from other hostels to join), and people generally tend to be there for a good time.

Panama City, Panama

Crowd: expats & locals

It’s no surprise that some of the best nightlife in Central America & Mexico happens in major cities (I give myself no prizes for working that one out), but Panama City offers quite a different experience to the rest of the region. The Miami of Central America offers all the swanky, skyline bars you’d expect from a tax haven, including 25th-floor bar-side infinity pools that look amazing but no one is allowed to go in.

However, it also has some beautifully vibey Latin-style bars down in the old town, where you can remind yourself that you don’t need an ESTA to be there.

Best nightlife in Central America & Mexico: Panama city


Bocas del Toro, Panama

Crowd: backpackers

All across Central America, the nightlife (well, daylife, really) in Bocas del Toro is renowned for to its famous ‘Filthy Friday’, and you’ll see the t-shirts worn all around the region. Sunday Funday is a sizeable bar crawl that starts around a hostel pool in the small town and end up out on an island a short speed-boat away from the mainland. It’s a heavy all-day drinking sesh, but a fantastic way to meet new people in rickety-piered paradise.

If you’re planning on going, book your tickets from a local hostel ahead of time, and get those hostel beds secured; this is a very popular event!

Best nightlife in Central America & Mexico: Bocas del toro filthy friday panama

San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua

Crowd: backpackers

Had a great time at Filthy Friday? Meet Sunday Funday (what will they think of next?!). Another piece of nightlife in Central America that very much starts in the day, this is a bar crawl that takes you from beach to jungle up in the mountains above the party city.

Again, it’s full of backpackers who flock to San Juan del Sur for this weekly extravaganza (and the lure of a new, non-damp-smelling t-shirt), so get your beds and tickets sorted at least a few days before.

Best nightlife in Central America & Mexico: nicaragua san juan sunday funday

Granada, Nicaragua

Crowd: expats & backpackers

This is one of those spots for nightlife in Central America that feels like there’s something going on specifically for backpackers almost every day of the week. I go into these events in much more detail in my full guide to visiting Granada, but between classics like a booze cruise through the islets, a treehouse party in the jungle, a pool party at Encuentros and more, this party city really has you covered.

Cancún, Mexico

Crowd: Spring-breakers & bachelor(ette) parties

Let’s not beat around the bush here, Cancún is a horrible, horrible, HORRIBLE place, and I wouldn’t wish it on any weary traveller, but if you’re in the mindset of just finding a Mexico party city to find big all-nighter clubs and hordes of other party-goers who speak English as a first language, I can’t deny that it does match the brief.

Keep your visit to just a few days and book an well-rated hotel with a pool (like this one!) to recover in during the sunshine hours, and you’ll get all you need out of Cancún – just don’t expect to soak up much Mexican culture.

Mexico City

Crowd: expats, locals & backpackers

Of course, the capital of Mexico was not to be left off this list of the best nightlife in Central America and MX!

Mexico City is sprawling, and safety in some areas can be pretty iffy, so you do need to be aware of the right districts to be in to take advantage of its party city status. Check out Polanco for speakeasies & karaoke, La Condesa for a bit of swankiness, Roma for general hipster trendiness, or Colonia Juárez for LGBT-friendly clubs and bars in Mexico City.

Aaand so we come to the end of my list of the best nightlife in Central America & Mexico. Obviously my life’s mission is to ensure that you have an incredible trip wherever you travel to in Latin America, so I can only hope that this post leads you to the best party experiences of your entire existence (let us pray). Salud!


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Last Updated on 11 February 2024 by Cuppa to Copa Travels

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