Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/drinking-age-for-mexico/

What is the Drinking Age for Mexico?

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What is the Legal Drinking Age for Mexico? Your Complete Guide for 2024 Planning a trip to Mexico and want to know the legal drinking age? I go over this comprehensive guide that covers everything you need to know about Mexico’s drinking laws, customs, and safety tips. As a frequent traveler to Mexico, one of the world’s most popular destinations, I’ll share my insider knowledge to ensure you have a fun and responsible time.

Now, let’s dive into the details so you can confidently navigate Mexico’s drinking scene.

what is the Drinking Age for Mexico?

The drinking age for Mexico is 18 years old across all states.

  • This applies to beer, wine, and spirits purchased in stores, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, resorts, etc.
  • The drinking age is regulated by the federal government but states can implement additional restrictions
  • There are no exceptions to the legal drinking age, even with parental consent
Coco Tran — Aesthetic Travel Blog By Film Photographer Coco Tran https://cocotran.com/drinking-age-for-mexico/
Azulik, Tulum Mexico

What is the legal drinking age in Mexico 2024?

  • As of 2024, the legal drinking age in Mexico remains 18 years old
  • This applies to all types of alcohol, including beer, wine, and spirits
  • There are no planned changes to the legal drinking age in the near future

Why is the drinking age in Mexico 18?

Mexico considers 18 the age of legal adulthood. At 18, you can vote, get married, sign contracts, and of course, purchase and consume alcohol. This is a lower drinking age than the U.S. (21) and Canada (18-19 depending on province), making Mexico an attractive destination for younger travelers looking to legally imbibe.

However, just because the drinking age is 18 doesn’t mean anything goes. Let’s look at some important laws and customs around alcohol in Mexico.

Mexico Drinking Age & Customs in Mexico You Need to Know Purchasing Alcohol

  • Valid photo ID (passport, driver’s license, govt-issued ID) is required to purchase alcohol, regardless of age
  • Alcohol is widely available in supermarkets, convenience stores, liquor stores
  • Most bars and restaurants serve alcohol
  • Some all-inclusive resorts use wristbands to distinguish guests under/over 18

Open Alcohol Laws

  • Open alcohol containers are illegal in public streets, beaches, parks
  • Drinking in public is prohibited and can result in fines or arrest
  • Alcohol only permitted in licensed establishments or private residences
  • Some tourist areas may be more lax but caution is advised

Drinking age Mexico & Driving 

  • Mexico has strict drunk driving laws aligned with the U.S.
  • The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%
  • Frequent roadside breathalyzer tests are conducted
  • Penalties include large fines, license suspension, and imprisonment

Is drunk driving illegal in Mexico?

  • Yes, drunk driving is strictly illegal in Mexico
  • The legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit is 0.08%, similar to the United States
  • Penalties for drunk driving can include heavy fines, license suspension, and even imprisonment
  • It’s always best to use a designated driver, taxi, or rideshare service if you plan to drink
  • Some states have even lower BAC limits (see table below)
Mexico StateBAC Limit
Aguascalientes0.04%
Chiapas0.04%
Chihuahua0.05%
Mexico City0.04%
Jalisco0.04%
Michoacán0.04%
Tamaulipas0.04%
Veracruz0.04%

*Source: International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD)

The smartest choice is not to drink and drive at all in Mexico. Hail a cab, use a rideshare app, or designate a sober driver. It’s not worth the risk to your safety and freedom.

drinking age for mexico
Tulum Ruins

How strict are drinking laws in Mexico?

  • Mexico has strict laws regarding alcohol consumption and possession
  • Open containers are illegal in public areas, including streets and beaches
  • Public intoxication and disorderly conduct can lead to arrests and fines
  • Driving under the influence is a serious offense with severe penalties

Drinking age in Mexico Resorts at All-Inclusive Resorts

All-inclusive resorts are hugely popular in Mexico, with endless food and drink often part of the package. So what is the legal drinking age in Mexico resorts? Does the 18+ drinking age still apply? Absolutely.

Most resorts implement a wristband system to identify guests under 18 and over 18. Bartenders and servers are trained to check for the proper wristband before serving alcohol. While enforcement may seem lax at times, the rules are the rules. Underage drinking in Mexico can get you and the resort in serious trouble.

Helpful Tip: If you’re traveling with kids or teens, look for resorts with great mocktails and virgin drink options so no one feels left out. Many places whip up some seriously tasty and Instagram-worthy non-alcoholic concoctions.

Is Cancun strict on drinking age?

  • Yes, Cancun is known for being relatively strict on enforcing the legal drinking age of 18
  • Most bars, nightclubs, and resorts will ask for ID to verify age
  • Attempting to purchase alcohol or enter age-restricted venues underage can result in penalties

Can 18 year olds drink at all-inclusive resorts?

  • Yes, 18 year olds can legally drink at all-inclusive resorts in Cancun and throughout Mexico
  • Resorts typically provide wristbands to identify guests who are over 18 and allowed to drink
  • However, some resorts may have their own policies restricting alcohol service to those over 21

Do they ID at resorts in Mexico?

Yes, most resorts in Mexico will ask for ID at check-in to verify the age of guests.This is to ensure compliance with the legal drinking age and to provide appropriate wristbands.Some resorts may ID guests when ordering alcoholic beverages, especially if they appear young

Can you drink on the beach in Mexico?

  • No, it is illegal to drink alcohol on beaches and in other public areas in Mexico
  • This law applies to both tourists and locals alike
  • Violations can result in fines and potential arrests

How old do you have to be in Mexico to go to a club?

The legal age to enter most nightclubs in Mexico is 18. However, some clubs may have their own age restrictions or dress codes.It’s always best to check with the specific establishment beforehand

What not to drink in Mexico?

  • Avoid drinking tap water, as it may contain bacteria that can cause illness
  • Stick to sealed bottled water, even when brushing your teeth
  • Be cautious of ice cubes, as they may be made from tap water
  • Avoid homemade or unlabeled alcoholic beverages, as they may be tainted or unsafe
  • Stick to reputable bars, restaurants, and resorts when ordering alcoholic drinks

 Drinking age in Mexico with Parents

A common question is whether the 18 drinking age still applies if underage individuals are with their parents. The answer is yes.

Unlike some countries (like the U.K.) that allow supervised drinking at 16+, Mexico grants no exceptions for parental consent. The minimum age is 18 across the board, even if parents are buying the drinks or sipping together at dinner.

This can be frustrating for families with mixed-age children. Unfortunately a 17-year-old can’t enjoy a cerveza with their parents at a beachside cantina. Them’s the rules and establishments face stiff penalties for serving minors.

Do They Check ID’s In Mexico?

Yes, they do check IDs in Mexico, especially when it comes to purchasing alcohol or entering bars and nightclubs. While enforcement may vary depending on the specific location and establishment, it’s a legal requirement for businesses to verify age before serving or selling alcohol.

Here’s what you need to know about ID checks in Mexico:

  • Valid photo identification is required to prove you are over 18 (the legal drinking age)
  • Acceptable forms of ID include a passport, driver’s license, or government-issued ID card
  • Many popular tourist destinations, such as Cancun and Playa del Carmen, are known for stricter ID enforcement
  • All-inclusive resorts often check IDs at check-in and provide wristbands to identify guests who are over 18

It’s important to note that while some establishments may appear lax in their ID checks, it’s never a good idea to attempt to purchase alcohol or enter age-restricted venues if you are underage. Penalties for underage drinking can be severe, including fines and potential legal trouble.

Additionally, it’s not recommended to carry your passport around as your primary form of identification, especially when going out to bars or clubs. The risk of losing your passport or having it stolen is much higher in these environments. Instead, consider carrying a driver’s license or a separate government-issued ID card.

Helpful Tip: Always have a valid form of photo ID with you when going out, even if you don’t plan on drinking. Many establishments will require ID for entry regardless of whether you plan to consume alcohol or not. It’s better to be prepared than to be turned away at the door.

Safety Tips for Drinking in Mexico

Now that you know the legal ins and outs, here are some safety tips for drinking responsibly in Mexico.

Watch for Tainted Alcohol 

In recent years, there have been reports of tainted alcohol served at some Mexican resorts leading to illness, blackouts and even death. Tainted alcohol is liquor mixed with toxic additives like methanol (used in antifreeze). Symptoms include:

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness

The government has cracked down but travelers should remain vigilant.

Drinking in Mexico tips:

  • Stick to sealed bottles or cans vs mixed drinks
  • Avoid communal booze (punch bowls, pitchers)
  • Be wary of too-good-to-be-true drink specials
  • Make sure your drink is poured or mixed in front of you
  • Use bottled water and purified ice
  • Stop drinking if your drink tastes, smells or looks strange
  • Seek medical attention immediately if you suspect poisoning and report it to resort and authorities

Pace Yourself & Stay Hydrated

The Mexican heat and sun can dehydrate you quickly, especially when alcohol is involved. Alcohol is a diuretic, meaning it makes you urinate more and lose fluids. Combine that with sweating and you have a recipe for heat exhaustion or worse.

Helpful Tip: For every cocktail, drink a glass of water. Limit afternoons in direct sunlight if you’ve been imbibing. Wear SPF, a hat, and seek shade. Watch for signs of heat illness like dizziness, headache and nausea.

Stick With Your Group

There’s safety in numbers when exploring Mexico’s bar and club scene. Avoid wandering off alone if you’ve been drinking as it makes you a more vulnerable target for petty crime. Check in on your amigos and have a designated meet-up plan if someone gets lost.

Only Use Trusted Transportation

After a night out, only use licensed taxis or Uber in Mexico. Public intoxication is illegal, so you don’t want to get stranded. Have small bills for cab fare and confirm the price upfront. Never accept a ride from a stranger.

Know Your Limits

Overindulging can ruin your vacation real fast. Pace yourself, alternate with non-alcoholic drinks, and don’t try to keep up with your frat star friend. No shame in bowing out early if you’ve reached your limit. Tomorrow’s snorkeling trip will thank you for it.

Additional Tips & FAQs Can I bring alcohol into Mexico?

  • Travelers over 18 can bring 1L of spirits, 6L of wine, and 12L of beer duty-free

Is alcohol expensive in Mexico?

  • Alcohol prices vary but tend to be lower than in U.S., Canada or U.K.
  • Higher-end establishments and resorts will charge more

When can you buy alcohol in Mexico?

  • Alcohol sales restrictions vary by location
  • Many states limit sales from 10am – midnight but some allow 24 hour service
  • Resort bars often close earlier (1am – 2am) but tend to open earlier too

What’s the best way to refuse a drink in Mexico?

  • A simple “no gracias” will do, or “no tomo” (I don’t drink)
  • Hold your hand over your glass to stop refills
  • You can also say you’re the designated driver (el conductor designado)

What are some popular Mexican drinks to try?

  • Tequila – Mexico’s national liquor made from blue agave
  • Mezcal – A smokier cousin of tequila
  • Margarita – Tequila, lime juice, triple sec
  • Paloma – Tequila, grapefruit soda, lime
  • Michelada – Beer, lime juice, hot sauce
  • Horchata – Non-alcoholic rice milk drink

Helpful Tip: Drink quality makes a difference. Look for “100% agave” on tequila and mezcal bottles. For mixed drinks, choose top-shelf liquor. Your hangover will thank you.

With this knowledge under your belt (and maybe some tequila too), you’re ready to raise a glass to an epic Mexican vacation. Remember, drink smart and stay safe amigos. ¡Salud!

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