Coco Bongo features a live show of Cirque Du Soleil-style acrobatics, music and celebrity impersonators. // © 2012 Mindy Poder
Antonio Banderas was hugging me goodbye. This was my final chance to ask him a question. We were at the Iberostar Cancun resort and the following night would be my first opportunity to venture out into the city. Throughout our conversation, the Iberostar brand ambassador and film star had proclaimed his love for Mexico many times. I wondered where he went when he wasn’t working.
“Coco Bongo,” responded Banderas. “I’ve been there twice during this trip. I’d go again, but my wife would kill me.”
His toothy endorsement was enough to convince me and my friends to meander to the nightclub the next night. I admit I was surprised at his recommendation. Throughout Cancun, I had seen cheesy advertisements for the club depicting a man dressed in a Spiderman outfit. My friend’s description of Coco Bongo as “a huge, stadium disco” also contributed to my impression that the venue would be a dumping ground for drunk, young Americans.
Coco Bongo offered neither ancient Maya culture nor the opportunity to interact with locals. The club might have resembled the ruins of Chichen Itza only in its size, but Coco Bongo’s reputation as Cancun’s best nightspot is well earned. Unlike a typical club featuring only a DJ for entertainment, Coco Bongo keeps the crowd active with an energetic, non-stop live show. I was surprised by the technical sophistication of the stage productions — the talent and variety of the performers ranged from Cirque Du Soleil-style flying acrobats enacting a scene from “Tron” to Lady Gaga and Beyonce impersonators. Perhaps I wasn’t dancing with a celebrity, but I certainly had no problems dancing to the music of their impersonators.
The views, as well as the general experience at the club, were particularly enjoyable from the second story of the venue, where I was standing. This top area is the VIP section and offers a little more room to dance and watch the show than the sprawling ground floor. Even though the venue has the capacity for 1,800 people, Coco Bongo fills up and the entrance lines can get quite long. The club attracts a younger crowd who are unfazed by club quirks such as long lines, low-quality drinks and an intoxicated, scantily clad clientele, but open-minded older clients interested in nightlife and live entertainment will enjoy themselves as well. Due to the ongoing live show, dancing, fending off strangers and other typical nightclub activities can be avoided. The club’s theatrics and size make it feel like a combined version of Las Vegas’ nightclubs and shows, but without the exclusivity of Vegas’ most popular spots.
For clients, be sure to contact the hotel concierge about ways to book an advance VIP ticket or the possibility of booking a nightclub tour or hotel excursion. During the week, ticket prices start at $55 and on Friday and Saturdays, prices start at $65. Ticket price includes access to open bar. The show begins at 10:30 p.m.