Like most places in the world when tourism comes along authenticity can be lost, however, Mexico has, by plan or chance, managed to preserve a part of itself and can offer both party and authentic passion to tourists and travellers. Cancun and Playa del Carmen.
Mexico is the party area of choice for many American spring breakers as Cancun bursts at the seams with bikini-clad party girls playing beer pong from dusk till dawn. For tourists and travellers who visit Cancun for the party scene outside of spring break a good time awaits. Cancun was built to party and as you approach Senor Frogs or Coco Bongos to be surrounded by monkeys, pythons and performers you get the impression that the night to follow will be one to remember, and you’d be right. The drinks are long often served in purpose-built sippy tubes that can hold litres of colourful icy cocktails or buckets to share or indulge by yourself. As the night progresses the music gets louder and the atmosphere more intense as surreal performers cater for the weird with cross-dressing, stilt artists, ballroom dancers and Congo lines. You will be approached by fancy-dressed waiters encouraging you to your next drink and find yourself lost in clubs that look like colourful caves with no clear exit.
At the other end of the spectrum is Playa Del Carmen a ramshackle almost romantic town littered with coloured lanterns and fantastic seafood restaurants where you can be serenaded by one of the many authentic mariachi bands. Along with dining, Playa Del Carmen welcomes more boutique clubs and beach bars the extraordinary Buddha Bar with its red lighting this place is an easy place to get lost in long drinks and great music. A slightly more authentic side to Mexico, Playa offers entertainment along with a Mexican nod and never lets you forget that’s where you are and indeed why you are having such a good time. It is advised when partying in Playa and Cancun to wear shoes appropriate for sand because many of the bars and clubs will spill onto beaches or indeed have their entire aesthetic based around being a beach bar even if not directly on the beach.
Another fantastic side to Playa, if you are in-between party days, is the wide selection of stalls and shops that burst with Dia de Muertos (Day of The Dead) crafts and eerie handmade skeleton dolls. You can also pick yourself up authentic Mexican wrestling masks in their vivid electric colours and designs, or be impressed with the detailed hand-painted cloth religious portraits of Spanish saints and other figures. It is a real slice of Mexican passion and authenticity.
For a more American experience and hectic night, Cancun is recommended but apart from the snakes and monkeys you really could be anywhere in the US. Whichever you choose you are bound for a great night surrounded by locals who make for some of the most peaceful and polite in the world even if you stumble into a local club you are welcomed with open arms, drinks and smiles. Enjoy.