The holiday hotspots where you can laze on the beach by day and party by night.
Perched on Mexico’s Caribbean coast, Cancun is a city divided into two parts: the quieter downtown area of El Centro and the bustling, resort-heavy Zona Hotelera. As the name suggests, the latter is where hotels line a 22.5 kilometre stretch of beach that borders the brilliant blue Caribbean Sea. It’s also where the party is at.
During the American spring break (March to April) the area is a magnet for college students searching for a cheap and accessible destination to party in swimsuits under the sun.
If you want in on this action but can’t get to Cancun, there are plenty of alternatives where sun and beach melt into a raucous party scene for 20-somethings escaping the thralls of student life. Here are your options:
Ibiza is always a good idea.
Renowned for its wild, raucous and celebrity-filled parties, Ibiza is the cream of the crop of beach party destinations. Its nightclubs are said to be the best in the world and feature everything from cabanas and sunbeds to swimming pools and VIP tables. Couple that with the island’s breathtakingly beautiful beaches and you’ll be asking yourself if you’ve died and gone to heaven.
- Where are the party resorts? Playa d’en Bossa, San Antonio and Ibiza Town.
- Hottest clubs: Pacha, Sankeys, Space Amnesia, Blue Marlin, Ushuaïa, Es Paradis, Eden and Ibiza Rocks Hotel.
- Party season: May to September.
On top of its 16th century windmills and lavish lifestyle, Mykonos has one of the biggest and best gay-friendly club scenes in the Mediterranean.
It might not be the cheapest island you could find yourself on, but there’s a reason Mykonos finds itself on top lists for beach party shenanigans time and time again. Its clubbing scene is legendary and it doesn’t matter what time of day it is, you’ll always find sexy revellers in skimpy clothes oozing on the dance floor, calling coyly for you to join them.
- Where are the party resorts? Psarrou, Paradise Beach and Super Paradise Beach.
- Hottest clubs: Paradise Club, Cavo Paradiso, Tropicana and Sunrise Bar.
- Party season: June to October.
Whether it’s a Monday night or a Friday night, every night is party night on Boracay.
At just 10.32km2, Boracay might be a tiny island but it has a surprisingly expansive clubbing scene. Along the west coast it boasts a heavy handful of bars and clubs that you’ll be warned not to arrive too early to, for it’s only when midnight strikes that the scene picks up. As this is a tourist island, the crowd is mixed with both internationals and locals sweating it out on the dance floor.
- Where are the party resorts? Station 1, Station 2 and Station 3.
- Hottest clubs: Epic Bar, Coco Bar, Summer Place, Club Paraw and Exit Bar.
- Party season: November to May.
These go-go dancers, ladyboys, disco bunnies and Thai masseuses will show you a good time on the island of Phuket. We guarantee it.
Phuket’s unique nightlife is what erotic dreams are made of. Whichever way you swing, there’s a party with your name on it where you’ll find go-go dancers stalking the bars, ladyboys tantalising in wild cabaret shows and DJs spinning decks all night long. Now you just need to decide which is your flavour.
- Where are the party resorts? Patong Beach.
- Hottest clubs: Seduction, Illuzion, White Room Nightclub and Tiger.
- Party season: November to April.
5. Rio de Janeiro
Bronzed men, thonged women and an endless stretch of beach just waiting to be combed – welcome to Rio, my party-seeking friend.
Joyful music and soulful dance is so ingrained into the Brazilian way of life, it’s as though everybody is born swaying to a samba song. It’s no surprise then that the locals kill it on the dance floor. Take the city’s infamous Carnival celebration as a case in point to prepare you for its sultry parties filled with the scantily clad shaking their booties.
- Where are the party resorts? Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach, Leblon and Lapa.
- Hottest clubs: 00 (Zero Zero), Rio Scenarium, Carioca da Gema, Casa da Matriz, Fosfobox, Barzinho, Circo Voador, The Week and Bip Bip.
- Party season: All year round.
6. Gili Trawangan
Avoid Bali belly and make your new Indonesian party destination Gili Trawangan near Lombok, an easy ferry ride away from Bali.
More than 30 years ago Gili Trawangan was an unknown speck in the ocean, but ever since intrepid travellers discovered the island’s powder-soft sands and crystal-clear waters it’s been an infamous party destination. Psychedelic blue and black moon parties overtake the beach twice monthly, but if the Moon and Earth don’t align during your stay, you’ll not be short of beachside clubs pulsing with reggae, dance, hip-hop and techno beats.
- Where are the party resorts? Along the East Coast of the island, around the port.
- Hottest clubs: Blue Marlin, Space Bar, Tir Na Nog (The Irish) and Sama Sama Bar.
- Party season: July to September and December to January and when there’s a full moon.
7. Tel Aviv
Be a trailblazer of the party scene by living it up in the emerging clubbing scene in Tel Aviv.
If its 13 pristine beaches, hip underground clubs and 5-star beachfront luxury hotels don’t sell you on Tel Aviv, we don’t know what will. The city’s main Gordon Beach is a white stretch of soft sand that’s been heralded the world over as one of the best party beaches of late. Posters on the beach generally keep you in the loop about what’s going down, so keep an eye out during the day and follow the music by night to the latest hotspot.
- Where are the party resorts? Gordon Beach, Hilton Beach, Frischmann Beach and Bograshov Beach.
- Hottest clubs: The Block, Shalvata, Mike’s Place, Clara Beach Bar, Shpagat, Langa Rooftop Lounge and Bootleg.
- Party season: May to October.
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