Cancun attracts millions of tourists per year to its white sand beaches and turquoise water. It's also one of Mexico's most popular destinations for gay travelers. However, it takes a bit of experience and local knowledge to really get the most out of Gay Cancun.
I've personally called Cancun my home for 15 years. As a gay man myself, I often wished there were a guide outlining the best places for gay travelers to visit and the best way to meet hot men (or women) in Cancun. So I decided to put one together for anyone who might find it useful.
Gay Life in Cancun
Cancun has a very large and active gay community and is considered a gay-friendly city. It is home to 750,000 residents and, by Mexican standards, they are generally very liberal and open minded.
In fact, the State of Quintana Roo, where Cancun is located, was the second state in Mexico to legalize gay civil unions after Mexico City. Gay tourists should expect little to no homophobia in their resort or hotel and staff is well versed in serving gay and lesbian guests.
You should consider that Mexico is a conservative Catholic society and Cancun is no exception. Overt public displays of affection should probably be avoided, but this holds true for nearly everywhere in Mexico.
As long as you exercise a bit of caution and remain aware of your surroundings, you are very unlikely to run into any problems during your stay.
The next part of this guide will introduce you to the two main areas in Cancun: the Hotel Zone and Downtown Cancun.
The Hotel Zone
The thin fifteen-mile stretch of land between the Caribbean Ocean and the Nichupte Lagoon is known as the "Hotel Zone," or Zona Hotelera in Spanish.
The Hotel Zone is the neighborhood of Cancun where all of the ocean front resorts are located, and where you will most likely be staying. Resorts, hotels, restaurants, mainstream nightclubs, shopping centers and luxury condominiums line the beaches and streets.
Unfortunately, the Hotel Zone does not have much to offer in terms of gay life and very few locals live in the Hotel Zone. The area was created to make international tourists feel comfortable and is a highly organized and sanitized version of Mexico.
Downtown Cancun, or "El Centro" in Spanish, is where all of the locals live and is where the gay owned businesses and attractions are located. Downtown Cancun was designed as a service community for the hotel zone.
Because downtown Cancun is architecturally uninteresting and offers little to vacationing tourists, most never venture outside of the confines of the Hotel Zone. So unless you're in search of gay nightlife, there is absolutely no reason to spend time downtown in "El Centro".
Gay Sex in Cancun
To put it bluntly, scoring sex in Cancun with a hot Mexican you meet on the street isn't easy for an English-speaking tourist.
Most of the action is online. Manhunt.com is very popular in Mexico, and so are the most common apps including Grindr, Scruff, and Growlr.
The Yucatan sections of Craigslist and Backpage.com are also active. There you will find both local and vacationing men and women looking to hook up. However, most of the ads posted by locals tend to be independent escorts or escort agencies.
Why is it difficult to hook up in Cancun as a tourist?
- Locals can't enter your hotel. 90% of Cancun hotels are "all inclusive" and require all guests to wear a plastic wristband. The locals know this and do not want to deal with the hassle of entering your hotel.
- The locals live downtown in "El Centro" and do not own a car. They don't want to take an hour long bus ride to your hotel, especially when they know they can't enter.
- They can't host you downtown because they have a roommate and/or they are embarrassed because they live very modestly.
- They don't speak English, and you can't speak Spanish.
It's not impossible by any means, but all of these obstacles can make it very difficult to hook up with a local.
Your Best Option for Meeting a Hot Local
If you want to score with the hottest Mexican or Latin American men in Cancun with no hassles, then your best bet is to go through an escort agency. And while this may not be exactly what you wanted to read, it is your only guaranteed option for hot sex.
Prostitution is completely legal in Mexico.
Don't listen to anyone who tells you differently. This is a regulated industry in Mexico, and as long as the transaction occurs out of public view, you will not be breaking any laws. Mexican prostitution is well tolerated and brothels are a normal part of Mexican society.
If spending time with an escort just isn't your thing, that's totally okay. There are a number of gay nightlife options available in Cancun, which we will go over in the next sections.
Independent Escorts vs. Escort Agencies
I've always had much more luck going through an agency for escorts in Cancun rather than trying to find someone working independently. The escorts are much hotter on average, you will feel safer, and you can visit the brothel for service if you can't get your companion inside an all-inclusive resort.
In my experience, The Pleasure Principle has Cancun's hottest gay male escorts, and there isn't even a close second.
The Pleasure Principle has been a staple in Cancun for over 15 years and is commonly regarded as best agency in Mexico amongst wealthy citizens.
The location is discrete, it's open 24/7, and the private rooms are clean and well-kept. It's close to all major hotels, and they even offer free round-trip transportation. It's reasonably priced relative to the quality of their escorts.
Gay Nightlife in Cancun
Gay Bars & Clubs
In Mexico (and all of Latin America), the term "disco" is still used for a dance club. The bars and discos in Cancun start around midnight and keep going until the sun rises. Don't even bother showing up before midnight because all of the clubs will be empty.
Regardless of which gay club or bar you choose, here are a few things to remember:
- Downtown Cancun is 15 to 30 minutes taxi ride from the Hotel Zone and taxi fare averages $20 USD each way.
- Always negotiate the fare before entering your taxi.
- Leave your wallet and cellular phone in your hotel room safe.
- Bring your driver's license and $2,000 to $3,000 Mexican Pesos in cash. All bars and nightclubs will give a very poor exchange rate for US Dollars.
Karamba is Cancun's oldest gay club located in the heart of Cancun's downtown district on Avenida Tulum. Karamba is a Cancun institution, and all taxi drivers will know the location.
Karamba is the most tourist friendly of the gay clubs and is recommended as a safe and fun nightspot for locals and foreigners alike.
It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 PM to 6 AM. Just remember to show up at midnight or later, unless you want to drink in a very quiet club.
Karamba is known for having hot male strippers, great drag shows and many special events nights. The best nights are Friday and Saturday though.
Cover charge is generally $100 Mexican Pesos and beer is $35 Pesos. Occasionally, Karamba offers open bar for $150 Pesos depending on the day of the week. The atmosphere is very casual and you should dress accordingly.
Pronounced in Spanish roughly as "Ohn-say Ohn-say", this Cancun gay nightclub is very popular with young local men and lesbians. 11:11 is located on Avenida Tulum in the heart of Downtown Cancun, just six blocks from Karamba. It is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 10 PM to 6 AM.
The crowd is younger and quite a bit more "down-market" than Karamba. The average age of an 11:11 patron is probably 18 to 30 years old. On the weekends 11:11 is crowded shoulder to shoulder.
The strippers are hot and dance with their cocks hard. It is a down and dirty club attracting a down and dirty audience. There's even a "dark room" in the back for quick and dirty sex!
If this is your thing, then by all means enjoy yourself – just be careful.
Laser Hot Bar – formerly "Picante" Bar
Picante Hot Bar was a Cancun institution for many years. It was recently renamed and is now Laser Hot Bar.
Nothing has changed. This is a classic Mexican "cantina" or drinking pub. Laser Hot Bar is on Tulum Avenue in Plaza Las Galerias. Cancun taxi drivers will know the location, especially if you mention "Picante Bar". They will know it by its former name.
Laser Hot Bar is open Tuesday to Sundays from 10 PM to very late night. It becomes very crowded on weekends.
The cover charge is $50 Pesos. The bar is basically a small shoe box shaped space with a small dance floor / drag show stage, a bar and a few tables.
There are drag shows every weekend, but the quality of the shows is comically amateurish.
The crowd is working class Cancun mixed with a lot of drag queens and feminine gay men. Laser Hot Bar does see a few tourists, but not many. In all, this is a rough crowd and caution should be exercised.
Sexy's Club is the most upscale gay club in Cancun. However, "upscale" by Cancun standards simply means don't wear your sandals and put on a pair of jeans!
I highly recommend Sexy's Club for tourists. The crowd is mixed, but any straights are very gay friendly and usually in search of a dance party experience complete with the "party supplies" the gay community is known for worldwide.
Sexy's Club is located on Avenida Bonampak on the second floor of Plaza Peninsula shopping center. Ask any taxi driver to take you to Plaza Peninsula on Avenida Bonamapak; they all know the location. This is a safe and nice area of downtown Cancun.
Sexy's caters to the circuit party / dance party crowd with electronic and house music every night. The terrace at Sexy's Club Cancun features an open-air club for Spanish Pop music with DJ. The hottest muscle boys in Cancun party here on Friday and Saturday nights.
Male and female strippers are always available. "Private dances" of five minutes are $200 Pesos. Sexy's Club is full of male and female strippers trying to sell escort services. However, it's best to ignore their advances and simply enjoy the music and atmosphere of the club.
The reason I advise against taking one of these strippers/escorts home is by the time you buy a few "private dances", as well as overpriced and watered down drinks for you and your stripper (in addition to paying a couple hundred dollars his services), you will find that it is much cheaper, easier and safer just to contact a professional escort service like The Pleasure Principle mentioned above.
In all, Sexy's Club is the best nightclub in Cancun for gay men accustomed to more upscale clubs and who enjoy the dance music / circuit party scene. Friday and Saturday nights from 12 Midnight until the sun rises are best.
Cancun Gay Saunas
We do not recommend that tourists visit Cancun's gay saunas. They are dumpy facilities and are located in less-than-safe areas of town. If you do not speak fluent Spanish it will be a hassle. They are not very busy and the crowd that does go is generally unattractive.
The following information is provided for those of you who like to "walk on the wild side" and are true sauna enthusiasts.
Cancun Spa Xmahan Nah
This is the oldest gay sauna in Cancun operating for 10+ years. It is located near Avenida Bonampak & Avenida Lopez Portillo. This is an area of the city where very few foreigners are seen and is not recommended to visit after dark.
Entry fee is $100 Pesos, which includes the use of a locker, sandals and a towel. Condoms and lubricant are provided complimentary. Soft drinks are available for sale.
The facility has been best described as "third world". It's a simple one-story house that has been converted into a small gay sauna. It's clean but very simple. Spa Xmahan Nah has one steam room, one dry sauna, and a porno video lounge.
The clients are aged 30 to 60 and generally closeted or married men. This is not a place to find a hot young Mexican guy, and foreign tourists rarely visit Spa Xmahan Nah.
Spa Xmahan Nah is open daily except Tuesday from 4 PM to 10 PM. The busiest hours are from 6 PM to 8 PM.
Sauna Closet de Laserr
Sauna Closet de Laserr is a new gay sauna in Cancun. Unfortunately, the location is very far from the Hotel Zone and is in an area where no foreign tourists go.
If you are very adventurous, the location for your taxi driver is "Ruta 7 close to Bonampak Avenue in front of Tortas Goyo". The driver will know the location.
Sauna Closet de Laserr is a very simple single story house that looks as if it was never finished. The interior looks like a construction site with no finishing materials installed. It is dirty and "third world" to an extreme.
The facility features a steam room, shower room, dark room and a video room with a small television. It is about as down-market as Cancun gets (and that means VERY down-market).
Hours are from 4 PM to 10 PM daily. The busiest time is from 6 PM to 8 PM on Friday and Saturday when you may encounter around 15 customers maximum.
The customers are generally deeply closeted and / or married men.
In the USA and most of the developed world, "internet cafes" are a thing of the past. Everyone has a laptop, a smart phone and Wi-Fi in their home.
But in Mexico, many people can't afford a computer, home Internet service or an iPhone. Internet cafes are the only source of Internet access to for many Mexicans.
In Cancun, there are two "Cyber Cafes" where the gay community frequents to connect and have casual sex. Internet cafes in Mexico feature private cabins designed for pornography viewing. These cabins are used for quick and discrete sexual encounters. They are popular all throughout Mexico.
Ciber Arcoiris (Rainbow Cyber Café)
Cyber Arcoiris is conveniently located on the same side street as Karamba nightclub. When entering this cyber café, the receptionist will rent you a private Internet cabin, which contains a desktop computer and webcam as well as a desk and chair. The cabins are clean and simple.
Once inside the cabin, you can connect and see other users in the same Internet café via your webcam. I bet you can guess what happens next . . .
Arcoiris is open 24 hours / 7 days with the exception of Mondays with hours of operation from 10 AM to 11 PM. The peak time with the most traffic is in the afternoon from 2 PM to 12 Midnight.
Arcoiris is never very busy but given time and patience there is always some action to be had.
Ciber Casa Blanca
Ciber Casa Blanca is gay owned and operated, and it is the busier of the two gay Cancun Internet cafes. It is located on Cancun's city park, "Palapas Park" in downtown Cancun "El Centro". All taxi drivers know Palapas Park.
Ciber Casa Blanca has 25 Internet cabins, all of which are clean and good sized. The fee is $25 Mexican Pesos per hour and you pay upon leaving.
Many of the customers are young and attractive, ranging from 18 to 30 years old.
Cyber Casa Blanca opens every day from 10 AM to 2 AM. The busiest times are from 4 PM to 1 AM. Cyber Casa Blanca is so busy that often clients are waiting outside for a cabin to become available.
Cancun Gay Beaches
Playa Delfines or "Dolphin Beach" in English used to be Cancun's only gay beach.
It has unfortunately become very heterosexual with many families on the weekends.
So, it's sad to report that Cancun no longer has a gay beach.
This concludes our Cancun Gay Guide. I sincerely hope it will help you get the most out of your stay in this beautiful city.
Just remember: you will likely be staying in the Hotel Zone, but partying in Downtown Cancun, so please be careful when you leave the tourist areas.
You have a number of great nightlife options throughout this gay-friendly city, but if your top priority is scoring hot sex with a hot local or Latin American, then definitely check out the Pleasure Principle. You'll be pleasantly surprised.