This privileged island in southeast Mexico known as Cancun has been developed from a small fishing village to an international resort and is the most important tourist destination in the country. This spot, found in northern Quintana Roo on the Mexican Caribbean coast, was chosen by presidential decree in 1971 to be one of the must ambitious developments of the decade.
Unfortunately this beautiful beach destination does not have a strong gay network or a variety of gay services to make it an important gay spot in Mexico yet, but it's still worth visiting. There are about 5 gay bars and one gay BB. Los Delfines, on the south area of the hotel zone is where the gay beach is located.
In the early 70's, the Mexican government conducted a computer study to find the best location for a modern, planned tourist resort. The government began building the first hotel in 1974, and the construction hasn't stopped since. The weather is perfect, and the beaches are absolutely gorgeous, with some of the best snorkeling and scuba diving areas in the world. Cancun is now the most popular visitor destination in Mexico -- and the success of this resort experience has spurred a hotel-and-tourism construction boom along the entire coast between Cancun and Belize.
Because it is the most modern city in Mexico, Cancun is indeed tourist-friendly. And it is becoming more and more gay-friendly, especially during the annual Cancun International Gay Festival held every May. The public transportation is great here, with frequent, inexpensive buses and taxis going back and forth between the Hotel Zone and the downtown, where the gay bars are located. Crime is also not a big problem, and you don't need to be paranoid about the water. Cancun has one of Mexico's most modern water purification systems, so it's safe to drink at all the hotels in the Hotel Zone and in most places downtown.
Annual Cancun International Gay Festival
The Cancun International Gay Festival was started in 1995 by several gay tourism officials who wanted to show visitors that there IS a gay presence in this Mexican-Caribbean paradise. There is no parade, but lots of fun activities, including a Rockin' Beach Party, a Sunset Caribbean Cruise, a Grand City Tour to downtown Cancun and the Mayan ruins, and Special Events at all the bars! Come and party with your gay brothers and sisters in Cancun!
Cancun Gay Nightlife
The party never stops in Cancun, and the gay club scene is no exception! There's a lot of gay fun to be had at the three energetic, out-and-proud clubs, a small gay cafe and one low-key, mixed ( gay-straight ) after-hours club.
PICANTE is the oldest, friendliest, and most cruisy gay establishment. It's a small video bar with a tiny dance floor. It also features occasional drag shows and stripper revues. But the main attraction is the all-male clientele of good-looking, macho men. They are everywhere, and they are not shy. Some are working boys, so you might want to bring a little extra cash, if you want to play around.
KARAMBA is a large, gay disco overlooking the busy commercial heart of Avenida Tulum. It attracts a mixed ( male-female ) crowd and lots of international visitors. A combination of the best dance music and the hottest go-go boys in town makes this place absolutely intoxicating! And every Wednesday and Sunday, they present some of the best drag shows in all of Mexico. You will BELIEVE that Cher, Janet Jackson, Madonna and other pop music divas are really "in the house" when you see these ladies of illusion and their fantastic backup dancers.
SEBASTIAN'S is the newest gay disco in town -- a fun place to boogie or watch excellent dance, drag and stripper shows. The bar is located in a 2-story former MEXICAN restaurant that resembles an elegant mansion. There are several comfortable lounges for kissing and cuddling. And this is the only gay club in the beautiful hotel zone close to all the tourist hotels.
EL CHAT CANCUN is a colorful little INTERNET CAFE joint on the Pedestrian Walkway that leads to Palapas Park. It opens in the early evening, making it a perfect place to gather and gab before the other bars get busy.
RISKY TIMES is a mixed gay-straight club that is famous for its rowdy, risky after-hours scene. It gets hopping around 3 a.m. ( mostly filled with employees from the bars, hotels, and restaurants of Cancun ) and parties on sometimes until 8 a.m.
The beach and related water sports activities are the prime activities here. Local gays used to recommend the Mirador, a beautiful rocky area with a little lighthouse behind the Camino Real Hotel in the elbow of the island Hotel Zone. But the new gathering spot is Playa Delfines, a gorgeous stretch of white sand at the southern end of the Hotel Zone, next to the Ceasar Park Hotel and across from the Ruinas del Rey. People-watching is also a prime activity, especially in the downtown area. Shoppers will love the wonderful selection of air-conditioned malls and street bargain centers. And bullfights, for those who can stand them, happen every Wednesday at the fairly new Plaza de Toros.
Cancun is an excellent starting off point for many day trips or short excursions in the Yucatan Peninsula. There are other beaches that are less crowded and less expensive than Cancun, there are jungle tours and back country explorations and some very magnificent Mayan ruins. Chichen Itza is located about 125 miles from Cancun and offers stunning ruins of what was a major Mayan metropolis in the 7th and 8th centuries. It is by far the most popular excursion from Cancun and is a place that you will not soon forget. The wonderful ruins at Tulum are closer (only about 60 miles south) and are the only beachfront ruins still in existence in Mexico. Be prepared for very hot and humid weather, even in winter, and dress for a lot of walking and climbing.
Cozumel, Mexico's largest island, is about 40 minutes from Cancun and can breached by ferry from Playa del Carmen on the mainland or by plane from Cancun airport. Once a sacred Mayan site, Cozumel was developed as a tourist destination before Cancun, but is still primarily undeveloped with large nature reserves.