There are so many amazing beach clubs in Playa del Carmen that you’ll want to check out on your trip to this incredible beach town.
The Riviera Maya is a year-round destination with tons of stuff to keep you busy during your trip—and Playa Del Carmen is in the center of it all. When you vacation here, you can explore ancient Mayan ruins, snorkel along the reefs, visit nearby islands, dance the night away at the nightclubs, dive into a refreshingly cold cenote, and, of course, waste your day away relaxing at some of the best beach clubs in Playa Del Carmen!
If beach time is on your travel itinerary, you’ll want to check out the preferred local beach clubs to find the best spot to dig your feet in the sand and enjoy a relaxed, tropical experience.
Planning a trip to Playa del Carmen? Don’t miss this post about the best places to have breakfast or our favorite day trip to Cozumel while you’re there!
Best Time of Year to Visit Playa Del Carmen for Beach Clubs
The best time of year weather-wise is from December to March. It is a bit cooler, there is less humidity, and the beaches are clearer and bluer. The catch? Everyone wants to enjoy that.
High season welcomes many tourists, which can raise prices in the city and make it difficult for last-minute rentals, reservations, and beach spots.
In the summer months, you can snag much better deals on vacation and auto rentals and won’t be fighting for space.
It’s also considerably warmer, making it the perfect weather to cool off in one of the local cenotes or at a fancy rooftop pool. The downside to the summer months is rain (with September and October being the wettest months) and sargasso.
Sargasso is a brown macroalgae, which, thanks to climate changes and warming oceans, has been washing up along the Caribbean shores during the summer months. July, August, and September tend to see the largest amounts of sargasso, but its season can be somewhat unpredictable. If you’re looking to spend your vacation beach bumming at local beach clubs, I would not recommend coming at this time.
The shoulder season, April to May, could offer a good in-between. You’ll find some relief from the larger crowds during this time while still having slightly more mild temperatures and less of an issue with sargasso.
It’s still likely you’ll see some sargasso around this time, and it’s hard to say how soon and how hard it will hit, but it’s usually manageable. Many of the resorts and beach clubs will clean it daily, so you can still swim and enjoy the ocean.
You can follow the local monitoring page on Facebook for up-to-date info on the clarity of beaches during sargasso season.
What to Know About Beach Clubs in Playa Del Carmen
Before you pack up your beach bag and head over to one of the Playa Del Carmen beach clubs listed below, there are a few things you should know. First, you’ll need to understand how beach clubs work. Essentially, you pay a fee in one way or another in exchange for access to different amenities (like loungers, beds, bathrooms, etc.) and facilities. How much and how you will pay will differ from club to club.
How much do beach clubs cost in Playa Del Carmen?
Some beach clubs only require a minimum spend, allowing you “free” use of loungers, bathrooms, showers, and shade in exchange for purchasing foods and drinks from the establishment.
As long as the menu prices aren’t too ridiculous, this is often a fair trade as you’ll need to fuel up on food and piña coladas anyway.
Other beach clubs will charge you a flat entrance fee and return all or some of that fee as a credit on your final tab.
This is pretty much the same as the minimum spends except that you pay them upfront, and they then credit your bill with all or a portion of what you paid for entrance.
A few exclusive beach clubs, like Mandarino listed below, charge full price for food and drink in addition to a flat entrance fee.
Honestly, the better deal depends on what experience you’re looking to get and how much you plan to spend on food and drink. For example, if you’re not a drinker, paying a large consumption minimum might not be your best bet.
And if you want a very high-end experience, you can expect to pay for that.
What should I bring to a beach club in Playa del Carmen?
The beauty of a beach club is that you don’t need much. Ideally, the club should have everything you need. No coolers, no umbrellas, no beach chairs. However, you shouldn’t come completely empty-handed either.
Many beach clubs will provide towels, but I always bring a backup towel or sarong just in case. You’ll also want to take a hat, sunglasses, and maybe a light coverup. Most beach clubs offer umbrellas and shade, but when you’re laying out all day, the shade can move.
You’ll also want to pack plenty of sunscreen to protect your skin—please opt for a reef-friendly one if you can. Although many people don’t realize it, some of the beach clubs, such as Martina and Las Hijas, are located right in front of reefs. That said, you might also consider bringing swimming goggles to head out to the reef with or spot some fish during your swim.
Check out my Cancun packing list or Tulum packing list to get an idea of what to pack for your trip to Playa, too!
How do I not get ripped off at beach clubs?
Prices are constantly changing in Playa, especially with beach club entrances, so it’s difficult to provide hard numbers. However, there are a few tricks you can do to avoid getting ripped off on your next beach club visit (or for everything else in Mexico, in that case):
- Ask locals how much it costs. Whenever I’m traveling, I always ask around about average prices for taxis, entrances, tours, etc. Not everyone will always have the same answer, but it will give me an idea of what range I should expect to pay, so if they give me a super high number, I’ll know to counter with something much lower.
- Check out their Facebook page. Most establishments in Mexico will have an active Facebook page. This is helpful to check out what events might be happening at the beach club that week, promotions, and current entrance fees. If they don’t have it listed, send them a message. The person responding is unlikely to gain from lying to you, so you’re more likely to get a straight answer.
- Ask what’s included and what’s additional. If they don’t mention an entrance or a bed fee, it doesn’t mean there isn’t a cost! While most servers are honest and will inform you, some will either assume you already know how it works or use the opportunity to increase your final bill. If you’re unsure, just ask whether or not it’s included.
Tipping in Playa Del Carmen
Tipping is customary in Mexico, and just like any other service establishment, you should expect to leave a tip for your server at the beach club. Usually, 10 – 15% is considered a good tip range.
However, because it’s a big tourist town, some servers are more accustomed to more generous tips of up to 20%. It’s also quite common to have the tip included in your final bill, especially in the more touristic zones.
So check your tab for “propina” or “servicio” to ensure it isn’t already included. And again, if you aren’t sure, ask. Not everyone is here to try and rip you off. This is just normal practice at many of these establishments.
Awesome Beach Clubs in Playa Del Carmen
Each beach club in Playa Del Carmen will offer different vibes, amenities, and price points, which is why it can feel intimidating to find one that is right for you. Lucky for you, though, this beach town offers tons of cozy spots along the water to hang out for the day. So if one doesn’t work for you, you can just as easily walk on over to the next.
To get you started on your search, here are some of the best beach clubs in Playa Del Carmen. Any of these places will have you kicking up your feet (or moving them on the dance floor) all day long. Enjoy!
1. Lido Beach Club Playa Del Carmen
Lido Beach Club is a favorite amongst the expat community (and for good reason). With cool tiki vibes, a great menu, and live bands in the afternoon, it’s the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy the good life. You can pop onto a swing at the bar, lay back in a lounge chair under the shade of an umbrella, or grab some chairs or a table to enjoy food and drinks with your friends. You can even bring your furry friends as the establishment is pet-friendly.
The best part about Lido? There’s no cover or minimum consumption. That means no pressure to meet a minimum if you just want to stop by for a quick drink or a relaxing lunch break on the beach.
Of course, you should support the establishment by purchasing food and drink—and once you see their menu, you won’t have a problem doing so. Lido’s offers a little something from everyone. Choose from premium salads, tacos, seafood dishes, sliders, or an array of gluten-free and vegan-friendly options.
Location: Lido Beach Club Restaurant
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2. Martina Beach Club
Martina’s is a good spot if you want to add some party to your beach day. This beach club is known for its daily deep house DJ sets and entertaining theatrics.
Don’t be surprised when your beach lounging is interrupted by a group of local dancers and a display of smoke shows and sparklers.
There are plenty of beds and loungers, and the club is located on the northern end of centro, increasing your odds of finding a spot during high season. Admission includes access to bathrooms and showers.
Martina Beach Club also has a pool, which is where the party really happens. There is an additional entrance charge for the pool, and because of the party scene, it is only 18 and up. The beach lounge area is more family-friendly and perfect if you just want a nice chair and to enjoy food and beverages from the menu.
Location: Martina Beach Club
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3. INTI Beach
If you want to escape the party scene and enjoy a more relaxing beach experience, head over to INTI Beach Club. This zen zone is tucked back and offers a calm vibe with an Asian flair and is the perfect place to sit back and relax to chill vibes and a yoga scene.
There is no cover, but you can expect to have around a $500 MXN minimum consumption requirement in exchange for the use of beds and facilities.
Here, you can find beach chairs, yoga, SUP rentals, massages, and more. The menu is also on the healthier side to give your stomach a rest from the Mezcal and tacos. Do expect to pay higher prices than other restaurants, but it’s well worth it for the experience and atmosphere if it’s within your budget!
LOCATION: INTI Beach, Playa Del Carmen
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4. Zenzi Beach Bar
Zenzi’s might not have all of the frills that some of the others beach bars in Playa Del Carmen do, but it doesn’t need it.
With good vibes, good service, and strong patronage, Zenzi’s has long been a popular spot for people visiting and living in Playa Del Carmen. It offers everything you could want and need for a relaxing beach and is a place you can enjoy from day to night.
Relax the day away on one of their beach loungers, filling up on Caribbean grilled sandwiches, burgers, breakfast, and more. Then gear up for a night of dancing to live music and mingling with locals, expats, and other tourists.
Zenzi Beach Bar offers a different vibe each night, from rock to salsa, so be sure to stop by or check out their website to see what their current line-up is.
Location: Zenzi Beach Bar
5. Las Hijas Beach Club
Las Hijas is a popular restaurant chain in the Riviera Maya, and its most recent location is in a three-story, open-air building that juts out over the water in the northern end of the touristic zone.
Each level offers a slightly different feel, which makes this place great for everyone. The first floor is perfect for those who want to hang out and sip on some chelas for the day, while the second floor offers slightly more privacy and some stellar views for dining.
The menu offers a delicious mix of seafood, tostadas, tacos, sliders, and more, so you won’t have an issue finding something good to munch on.
Finally, the sky bar on the roof has more of a party vibe as well as a jacuzzi pool to cool off in.
There are often private parties on the rooftop, which could sometimes require separate cover charges, but the restaurant itself doesn’t charge admission or a minimum consumption.
Just keep in mind that this isn’t your typical beach club in Playa del Carmen with loungers and sand at your feet, so it’s best for people who just want great service and incredible sea views without too much sand and sun.
Location: Las Hijas Beach Club
6. Mandarino Beach Club
If you want something indulgent and aren’t worried about what it costs, head over to Mandarino.
This exclusive beach club has everything you could need for the day—a beautiful pool, a hot tub, comfortable lounge chairs, and beautiful beach beds that make for great Instagram shots.
The entire vibe of the beach is a luxury boho. The pool is beautifully shaped with a built-in bar and plenty of spots to chill out. The menu is also great if you’re a seafood lover. Enjoy seafood pasta, calamari, fried shrimp, calamari, and more (and all while gazing out at the ocean it all came from).
Entrance costs around $30 USD per person and additional costs for food and drink orders.
This is different from most beach clubs that either give you food credit or rely on a minimum spend. All in all, this one can add up to quite a bit more than other choices, but if it’s in your budget, it is a beautiful place to sit back and relax!
Location: Mandarino Beach Club
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