Saturday, October 14, 2006

Nightlife Profile -- Coco Bongo Cancun

Exciting live entertainment at Coco Bongo -
Located across from the Cancun Convention Center, in the heart of the city's party zone, Coco Bongo is Cancun's premier party spot. But to call Coco Bongo a bar would be woefully inadequate; to even call it a nightclub is somewhat of a joke. It's more like an entertainment center, where travelers from around the world congregate to celebrate life and pretend it's Spring Break all year long.

There's often a line wrapping around the corner, but it goes fast, and you can start making friends before you even get inside. Cover charge varies by night, with pay-as-you-go options starting at around $10 and all-you-can-drink specials starting at $25. Once inside, you'll find a central bar area ringed by stadium-like seating, an upper deck with another bar and more seating, and an elevated stage, where most of the club's nonstop action happens.

Coco Bongo entrance - Courtesy Creative Commons
Accommodating up to 1800 guests, it's amazing how frequently the place gets packed. Even when the other clubs in the area are hurting for business, Coco Bongo is always a party. Throughout the night, one show after another is presented, each one good enough to headline anywhere else in town. From celebrity impersonators and high-flying acrobats to live rock music and comic book reenactments, there's always something happening on stage or hanging from the rafters above the main bar.

Between acts, DJ music fills the room while bar-top conga lines, audio-visual displays, cascading soap bubbles, balloon drops, streamers, confetti and air-blasts keep the crowd energized. The atmosphere is very convivial, with a strong spirit of communal fun. Recent celebrity guests include actors Benicio del Toro and Daman Wayans, plus former NBA bad-boy and famed partier Dennis Rodman.

The party crowd at Coco Bongo - Courtesy of Creative Commons
Insider's Tip: Though most of the action happens on the ground level, with a clear view of the stage, head to the top level, stage-left and snag a spot along the rail for a while. From this vantage point, you can see the entire club as well as the back-stage preparations and the door leading to the dressing room. It's a great spot to see the inner workings of the place and helps lead to an even greater appreciation of what it takes to keep a club of 1500 revelers whipped into a frenzy all night long.

Doors open at around 10pm, with midnight to 2am being the prime hours. Depending on the night and the crowd, the party can go until sun-up.

If you're interested in staying within walking distance to Coco Bongo, consider the very upscale Fiesta Americana Grand Coral Beach, tourist class NH Krystal Cancun, or the moderately priced Carisa y Palma Condos, all within stumbling distance.

Even if you're staying in Playa del Carmen or elsewhere in the Riviera Maya, going to Coco Bongo should be part of your travel itinerary. Though cultural purists may cringe at the notion, for travelers to the Mexican Caribbean, Coco Bongo as much of a must-see as the ruins of Tulum or Chichen Itza.

Coco Bongo Official Site
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