So, you have sorted out your spring break dates, now it’s time to decide if a Miami spring break will be more kick-ass than Cancún. The big question: Which destination offers the most spring break party potential?
There’s a reason why Cancún excels itself year on year, so that’s a steady bet. But you can get a decent dose of sun, sea and sand (oh go on then, let’s add snogging to that list too) on a Miami spring break vacation too. If you want a bit of adventure, then check out the jungles and caves of Puerto Rico! Or if you just have to make a dam fool of yourself in front of millions of viewers, follow the cameras for an MTV spring break in Las Vegas for 2013. But for those who can afford a far flung flight, our spring break alternative would be to head to Amsterdam, yeah that’s right, Europe baby!
Take a look at our nightlife guides in the top spring break destinations…
Miami Spring Break
Easy to reach with plenty of flights to Miami airport, the glamorous nightlife will appeal to students looking to live it up large for a spring break party.
If you want to know the secret to Miami’s beautiful people, put in a few hours of hard Miami shopping. There are boutiques to suite every budget including flea markets, vintage shops and designer labels. There’s also the beach of course with jet skis and canoes to hire. Further afield you could make a trip to the Everglades.
Restaurants: Don’t get stung by the drinks when eating out, try a bring-your-own-booze restaurant such as Maya Tapas & Grill. There are two locations, one on Lincoln Road (809) and the other on Ocean Drive (530). Tuck into mains from $12.
Bars & Clubs: If you think this city doesn’t immediately lend itself to a cheap spring break, do your research! Hostel staff can recommend cheap places to party in Miami and often offer guests free entry to some of the best Miami clubs. Smack bang on Ocean Drive, The Clevelander (1020 Ocean Drive) is a cheap Miami bar that boasts a lengthy and affordable cocktail list, outdoor pool, roof terrace and outdoor sidewalk bar. The best parties don’t kick off until after midnight, so if it’s atmosphere you are after, make it a late dinner. However, a great tip for a cheap Miami spring break is to arrive at clubs early. This way you can avoid the entry fees.
The Miami club music scene leans towards dance and electronica but to skip the flashy miniskirts and stilettos, try Buck 15 (437 Lincoln Rd) which avoids the South Beach pretensions. DJs prefer to spin Bon Jovi and AC/DC. The live reggae music at Purdy Lounge (1811 Purdy Avenue) is perfect for taking things a bit easier on Monday nights and prices are local.
Hostels: The Ohana Hostel Miami Beach offers guests free meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner!) and free bike rental – perfect for cruising along South Beach. It’s the perfect place to hang out with a Jacuzzi, pool table, ping pong and bar. They can even organise free entry to some of the best Miami nightclubs– who said Miami was expensive?! Choose Miami hostels and this be a surprisingly cheap spring break vacation!
Have a read of our guide to the top party hostels in Miami.
Cancún Spring Break
Four millions annual visitors can’t be wrong so some of you should check out how this small fishing village became Acapulco’s biggest competitor. Students will like the cheap Cancún flights too.
Cancún beaches on the Mayan strip can’t compete with Playa del Carmen – 50 miles south – but the water is still turquoise and the sand still white. You’ll need to navigate your way past the hotels to the public Cancún beaches, but once you have worked out a route you can settle down to soaking up the sun and recovering from the previous night’s antics. If you are desperate for a bit of culture, Chichen Itza is a 2.5 hour drive or Rio Secreto is one of Mexico’s largest underground cave systems but admission will set you back $69.
Restaurants: A party atmosphere makes people do things somewhat out of the ordinary. And with larvae, crickets and all types of tongue on the menu at Cantinerias (Coba Street), you are setting yourself up for disaster here. But there is a great atmosphere – more wild as the evening goes on – and plenty of Mexican cheesy quesadillas if you don’t fancy insects…but perhaps your tipsy friend does? Sly!
Bars & Clubs: Margaritas are the tipple of choice and that tequila-based drink will certainly be to blame for your shocking dancing later in the evening. No doubt you’ll have at least one night where you decide to take it easy and for that, there is the delicious agua de Jamaica, a flavoured water made from hibiscus flowers. A Cancún spring break guarantees plenty of bars all vying for your custom. Senor Frogs, both a restaurant and bar won’t stand for passive clientele. Waiters will have you up in the conga line, participating in contests and shot ladies plying you with tequila. But the best bit; this place has a waterslide! It takes you from the top of the bar and down into the Nichupte lagoon. Alternatively, in the heart of the Cancún party zone, Sweet Club (Kukulkan Blvd) offers clubbers a swanky restaurant as well as an illuminated dancefloor. It’s as popular with locals as tourists and offers free drinks to ladies on Saturday nights! There’s also an outdoor lounge called Joli with special lighting effects and fountains. A very sexy club.
Hostels: Our top-rated hostel in Cancún, Breakfast & Bed Garden offers private and dorm rooms. Staff organise hostel activities like yoga, salsa, Spanish classes, and surfing For those with heavy heads the morning after, guests can chill out in the garden or on the terrace. This is the ultimate Cancún hostel!
San Juan Spring Break
If you’re looking for a hassle-free beach vacation where you can drink all day and night and can use your American dollars, then San Juan is the place!
Known for its and pristine beaches and exciting night life Spring Breakers flock to Puerto Rico every year and turn it into one giant party. But there’s plenty to do inbetween beach sessions, like exploring the beautiful caves and jungle, surfing the waves or explore the cobbled streets of old San Juan. And all just a three-hour flight away from Miami!
Restaurants: For a real taste of the Caribbean, head to Fatty’s (102 Calle O’Donnell) and enjoy the jerk chicken, rice and bean, plantains and more – all for under $10! If you want something a little more upscale, but don’t want to break the bank, family-run Casita Miramar offers outdoor seating, authentic PR cuisine and a charming atmosphere.
Bars & Clubs: For a party that goes on until the early morning hours, check out Nono’s on Cristo and San Sebastián Streets. Start the evening off by playing pool on the second floor and then take advantage of the daily drink specials while chilling on the chairs and tables outside. It may not be the cheapest club around, but spend a night at Club Brava (6063 Isla Verde Ave) and you won’t be sorry. Often called the best club in PR, dance fiends can dance the night away in the club area, while those looking for something a little more relaxed can chill out in the lounge.
Hostels: For private rooms and top notch service, the Posada San Francisco is an excellent choice. With a 94.9% rating and rooms starting from $24.85, the hostel offers air conditioning and is right by Plaza Colon . Or check out all budget accommodation in Puerto Rico!
Las Vegas Spring Break
‘Party capital of the world?’ I hear some of you mutter. Well, with MTV setting up shop at The Palm Hotel pool complex a Las Vegas party will certainly be in order with resident DJs, live concerts and big artists in the pipe line. Catch the MTV spring break party and remember, it’s Vegas baby! So even if you party all night, make time to check out the Strip with the giant M&M store and Harley Davidson showrooms.
Catch the free bus to the Liberace Museum (1775 E Tropicana Ave), as bright and twinkly as the rest of the city! As one of the city’s most famous performers, the collection contains cars, pianos, costumes once owned by Mr Showmanship himself.
Restaurants: In the city that never sleeps, you won’t be hard pushed to find Michelin stars or roadside diners along the Strip at any hour of the day.
Bars & Clubs: Sorry freshman. It’s over 21s around here so it’s Cancún for you lot. But on the plus side woo hoo, no under 21s! Also, sit and pop some coins in the gambling machines and your drinks are free. Don’t get too carried away or suddenly this cheap trick ain’t so cheap after all. The vast 28,000 sq ft space at Rain (4321 West Flamingo Road) is enough to satisfy the most serious of clubbers. Your night will be spectacular, with three storeys of fountains, top pyrotechnics of 14ft fireballs and guest DJs from all over the world. Make this your big night out for spring break and reserve a booth for you and up to 15 friends.
Everybody loves a re-enactment of our favourite films, so a bar called Coyote Ugly (3790 Las Vegas Blvd South) doesn’t call for much imagination. Remember, you are on a college spring break, and this is very much the vibe at this bar with female bartenders in flimsy T-shirts, ripped jeans and performing stunts. It’s an unpretentious saloon and the drinks flow very smoothly!
Hostels: HI Las Vegas Tod Hostel is a good base from which to explore the legendary Las Vegas Strip. Staff plan activities and guests can relax by the pool or get a BBQ going. If you’ve had your fill of casinos, glitter and bright lights, staff can help you plan a trip to the Grand Canyon or suggest places for hiking, biking or rock climbing at some of the fantastic outdoor terrain nearby. Find another Las Vegas hostel.
Amsterdam Spring Break
Ok, so crossing the pond won’t suit all student budgets but if you are serious about having an alternative spring break, Europe will be one to remember! Perhaps you’ve done the beaches and bikinis and are looking for something super cool to tell your friends about on your return.
The Dutch have a keen eye for design so there are some gorgeous boutiques and art galleries to take in, not forgetting the quirky coffeeshops. But the city is so picturesque, just ambling alongside the canals or renting a bicycle is a pleasant way to spend the day.
Restaurants: If it is cheap eats your after, as well as comfort food, Da Portare Via (Leliegracht 34) is in the running for the best pizza in town. With a hot wood-fuelled oven to guarantee a good base and crust everything is to go but why not sit by the canal and tuck in. For traditional home-cooked Dutch cooking, try Hap Hmm (1e Helmerstraat 33) with mains for around €6.
Bars & Clubs: Good news for freshmen. 16+ can purchase beer and wine, although for spirits above 15% in alcohol content you need to be 18 or over. For theatre, live-music and drinks all rolled in to one, try Bitterzoet (Spuistraat 2) hosting both bands and DJs. To make the most of the European brews on offer, head to Cafe Gollem (Daniel Stalpertstraat 74) a cosy beer house with no fewer than 150 bottled brews. For serious clubbers looking to party any night of the week, check out Twstd (Weteringschans 157). This Amsterdam club has someone working the decks seven days a week and big names have played here in the past.
Hostels: Since you are in the market for a party, St Christopher’s Inn-The Winston hostel offers just that. One block from the Red Light District, they also have there own on site bar and nightclub and a private beer garden. They offer a free city tour and breakfast is included in the price. After a night on the town chill out in the lounge area with pool tables and TVs. For more party hostels Amsterdam has plenty in the city centre.
- Cheap Clubbing in South Beach, Miami… it’s Possible!
- Is there more to Cancún than partying?
- Student Summer Party Destinations