How Old Do I Need to Be to Drink Alcohol in Mexico? - How Old Do I Need to Be (2024)

The legal drinking age varies from country to country. So, if you plan to enjoy drinking alcohol in Mexico, perhaps some tropical drinks by the beach in Puerto Vallarta or beer by the pool in Cancun, you must know the drinking rules and regulations beforehand. Fortunately, we have outlined everything you need to know about drinking in Mexico.

What is the legal drinking age in Mexico?

If people come from countries like the United States, they are used to waiting until their twenties to be able to drink legally. However, this is not the case in Mexico, where the legal drinking age is 18. That means that if you are 18 years or older, you can purchase or drink alcohol in Mexico, regardless of the drinking age where you are from.

Drinking in Mexico

Regardless of whether someone is staying in a resort or visiting someone in a residential area, the same drinking laws apply to purchasing alcohol.

According to the law, adults must present their photo IDs proving they are of legal drinking age in Mexico if they are asked. If you are well above 18, it is common not to be asked for ID, but it is crucial to have it on you in case. Employees in resorts, stores, or supermarkets all reserve the right to ask for proof of identity before purchasing alcohol.

Drinking on vacation in Mexico

In some resorts or hotels, staff may be less strict with asking for ID when purchasing alcohol. However, it is essential not to rely on that when on vacation.

For example, if on vacation with family, the staff may turn a blind eye to underage people drinking with their family present. Therefore, parents should be aware that their children may have access to drinks, even those under 18. If this is the case, they may need to keep a closer eye on their children to ensure they are not drinking or are not drinking in excess (if parents are allowing them to have some alcohol). They must also understand the potential risks associated with underage drinking. The same logic applies when on vacation with friends under the legal drinking age.

Some resorts may have a coloured bracelet system to help identify legal drinking ages more easily. For example, when you check-in, they may ask to see your ID and give you a bracelet that shows staff that you are over 18 or under 18. This eliminates the need to always bring ID with you, which minimizes the potential of losing important documents such as your passport or license. However, ID would likely still be needed if purchasing alcohol outside the resort.

Can I drink alcohol in Mexico at age 16?

People will often search for the answer to this question. They want to know if they can drink at age 16 in Mexico. If you read the rest of this post you’ll know that 18 is the legal drinking age in Mexico. The answer is no 16 year olds cannot drink alcohol legally in Mexico. There have been some scenarios where under the supervision of parents, 16-year-olds have been allowed to have an alcoholic drink or two at Mexican all-inclusive resorts. By Mexican law, this is not legal but in practice, it may be fairly commonplace at resort bars that do not rigorously check IDs.

Rules regarding alcohol in Mexico

In addition to the legal drinking age, some other alcohol-related laws and regulations must be followed. Examples include:

  • Open alcohol containers are illegal in public. For example, you cannot walk down the street drinking an open beer.
  • Public drunkenness is illegal.
  • Drinking and driving is not permitted. The national blood alcohol limit is 0.8, but this is lower in some states. These include:
    • 0.4: Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.
    • 0.5: Chihuahua

If visitors do not abide by these laws or purchase alcohol underage, it can result in some severe consequences. For example, if an individual is caught drinking underage at a bar or club, they will likely be kicked out without further consequences. However, suppose a police officer sees someone with an open container of alcohol, drinking and driving or purchasing alcohol for a minor. In that case, they risk getting hit with hefty fines, being detained, or being imprisoned. Driving while intoxicated, for example, can result in jail time up to 36 hours with hefty fines.

Tips for drinking safely in Mexico

It is important to be responsible and vigilant while drinking, like in any other country. This includes:

  • Not leaving drinks unattended. It takes only a second for a drink to be spiked. if you are leaving your table, make sure to take the drinks with you or ask for new ones when you return, let resort/bar staff know if you suspect your drink has been spiked, don’t accept drinks from strangers, etc.
  • Limiting the amount of alcohol consumed. It is easy to drink in excess when on vacation. However, doing so can result in making some poor choices, so it is best to limit your drinks to ensure you do not get overly intoxicated.
  • Protecting important documents, such as a passport. These documents may be needed for ID, but losing them can cause a major headache when trying to return home. If possible, keep things like a passport safe and use other photo ID (e.g., driver’s license) when going out.
  • Not drinking and driving. This puts you and others at risk of harm. It can also result in jail time.
  • Not drinking alcohol when swimming. It is common to have a couple of drinks by the pool, but swimming while drunk puts you at a greater risk of drowning.
  • Only taking legal taxis. Ensure the taxi is legitimate and licensed before getting into it. Not doing this can result in a potentially dangerous situation. Ridesharing apps like uber can also be used.
  • Avoiding public intoxication and drinking. Again, this is illegal in the country and can result in hefty fines and issues with local police.

As a seasoned traveler and enthusiast of international cultures and regulations, particularly those related to alcohol consumption, I'm well-versed in the intricate details surrounding the legal drinking age and associated rules in various countries, including Mexico.

Firstly, let's delve into the comprehensive breakdown of the legal drinking age in Mexico. Unlike the United States, where one typically has to wait until their twenties to legally consume alcohol, Mexico sets the legal drinking age at 18. This means that individuals who are 18 years or older can purchase and consume alcohol, regardless of the drinking age regulations in their home country.

The key point to note is that this age restriction is applicable universally, whether one is staying at a resort, visiting a residential area, or enjoying a vacation in popular destinations like Puerto Vallarta or Cancun. According to Mexican law, adults must be prepared to present photo identification as proof of their legal drinking age upon request.

While some resorts or hotels may be more lenient in enforcing the presentation of ID, it is crucial not to solely rely on this leniency, especially when on vacation with family or friends. Parents, in particular, should be aware that their children may have access to alcohol even if they are below the legal drinking age. Some resorts may implement a colored bracelet system to distinguish individuals of legal drinking age more easily, streamlining the process of verification during check-ins.

Now, the question often arises about the legal drinking age for individuals aged 16. Despite some exceptions at all-inclusive resorts where, under parental supervision, 16-year-olds might be allowed a drink or two, it is important to emphasize that, by Mexican law, the legal drinking age remains 18. This practice may not strictly adhere to legal regulations, but it has been observed in certain scenarios.

Beyond the legal drinking age, there are additional rules and regulations related to alcohol consumption in Mexico. These include prohibitions against open alcohol containers in public, public drunkenness, and drinking and driving. The blood alcohol limit varies across states, with some states having stricter limits than the national standard.

Failure to comply with these laws can result in severe consequences, ranging from fines to imprisonment. For instance, purchasing alcohol for a minor, drinking and driving, or being caught with an open container of alcohol in public can lead to significant penalties.

To drink safely in Mexico, it is essential to exercise responsibility and vigilance. This includes not leaving drinks unattended, limiting alcohol consumption, protecting important documents such as passports, avoiding drinking and driving, refraining from alcohol consumption while swimming, using only legal taxis, and avoiding public intoxication.

In conclusion, having a comprehensive understanding of the legal drinking age and associated rules in Mexico is vital for a safe and enjoyable experience while indulging in the diverse and vibrant atmosphere the country has to offer.

How Old Do I Need to Be to Drink Alcohol in Mexico? - How Old Do I Need to Be (2024)


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