For travelers from Austin and around the world, Playa del Carmen and the Riviera Maya are known for their amazing beaches, friendly nightlife and indigenous attractions, but for some visitors, a trip to Mexico isn’t complete without a visit gazing at the flashy lights of the Red Light District.
In the Riviera Maya, the main gentleman’s clubs are in Playa del Carmen, along Highway 307. They are generally considered safe for tourists, though as anywhere, it’s best to keep your wits and not do anything that you think could get you in trouble. That being said, the law allows for quite a bit, and you’re sure to find your choice of willing participants—for a price.
One such club is Baby’s Hot (Highway 307 at Sixth Street). A small hangout for locals, it doesn’t see many gringos and can seem a bit rough around the edges to many foreigners. Cover charge is posted at $25, but they’re flexible if they think you’ll spend some money once you’re inside, especially if you threaten to go down the road to visit their competitors instead.
A few blocks south is Marlin Men’s Club (Highway 307 and Avenue Juárez). It’s the most stylish of the nonmembership clubs, featuring a pool table, laser light show, massages, escort girls, show girls, table dances, private dances, and multiple stages. Its cover charge is negotiable.
Farther down Highway 307, across from the southernmost entrance to Playacar, is Chilly Willy’s, a palapa-roofed sister club to the longtime nudie institution in Cancún. Cover charge is posted at $20, and the club seems to open only certain times of the year.
Each club offers table dances in a private curtained room for $15–20, payable directly to your dancer of choice, waiter, or floor manager (who is eager to assist with your selection). More intimate encounters can be arranged for an additional fee and each club has private rooms for rent by the hour.
Drinks are relatively inexpensive, though if a dancer asks you to buy her a drink, the fee is significantly higher—up to $15 for a single cocktail—so unless you’re ready to drop a lot of money, you’re probably best off saving your pesos for a dance, as it’s roughly the same price.
Cash is the preferred payment method, so bring some bills and stay aware of your surroundings. All taxis know these clubs well and will often recommend one to you since they get a kickback for dropping people off there. Negotiate your price in advance (it shouldn’t be more than a few dollars from any Playa del Carmen or Playacar hotel), and if you want to try to get in without paying a cover, ask to be dropped off a block or two away so you’re not obligated to your taxi driver in any way. No need to have your cabbie wait for you; there are plenty waiting outside when it’s time to leave.
The Riviera Maya can be reached through the Cancun airport, accessible from Austin and other major gateway cities on most major international airlines.