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What Is The Legal Drinking Age In Mexico?


Modified: December 27, 2023

by David Jefferson

People holding a variety of cocktails
Photo by bridgesward from Pixabay

You may be in Mexico City for a holiday trip with your friends or a quick getaway from school breaks. And all the fun times couldn’t be better with a drink or two. But wait! Before you plan to celebrate the occassion with a bottle of tequila, it’s best to know the legal drinking age in Mexico. The last thing you want is to end up breaking the law and to pay for the consequences. So, before you cross the border, find out the legal drinking age in Mexico for peace of mind.


The Legal Drinking Age In Mexico

Colorful cocktail drinks in a row

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While the legal drinking age for Americans is 21 years old, it’s however a few years younger for the locals. The minimum legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old. This is perhaps the reason why Mexico has been on top of the travel list. 


Drinking In Hotels And Resorts In Mexico

By law, young adults is mandatory to present their identification cards (IDs) and photos to prove that they’re of legal age to drink in Mexico. This also applies when purchasing alcoholic beverages from any convenient stores and supermarkets. Should anyone looks underage, the store employees reserve the right to ask the buyer for the proof of identity. When drinking in hotels or in all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, you’re still expected to present an ID. However, there are some hotels that do not practice this law strictly. However, this doesn’t mean you can relax and neglect the rules.  


Drinking In Mexico With Family

Family/friends out celebrating with drinks

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Whether you’re on a family vacation in Cancun or Playa del Carmen, the same drinking age in Mexico applies. It doesn’t mean that if you have your parents or family with you, you can get away with the drinking age limits in Mexico. However, in cases where the hotel resort seems lenient with this rule, taking the risk is totally up to you. 


When drinking in all-inclusive resorts in Mexico, you need to wear colored bracelets. There are separate colors for over 18, below 18, and even couples on honeymoon. This bracelet system helps hotel resorts quickly identify who is of legal age to drink. However, there are also resorts who cannot be bothered to offend their customers, so parents should keep an eye of their children.   


Given that hotel resorts in Mexico can be inconsistent, parents should set their own ground rules beforehand. Talk about how much alcohol you will allow your teenagers to consume, and how much independence they’re given during vacation, for that matter. 


Spring Break In Mexico

Photo of a summer drink in Cancun Mexico

Photo by EmilianDanaila from Pixabay


Home to nearly 500 beaches and amazing food, Mexico is a favorite spring break destination among many American students. If it’s your first time spending your spring break in Mexico, you might be wondering about the rules for drinking, especially among American teenagers. Regardless if it’s spring break or not, the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old and above. Many American teenagers are lured into the country by this significantly younger legal drinking age,


Whether you’re dreaming of drinking in a bar in Mexico or in a resort, make sure to be responsible. There have been reports of American young adults who get into trouble because of intoxication or drunk driving.


First-Time Drinking Tips In Mexico

Glasses of whiskey at a party

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Want your first legal drink to be in Mexico? Here are tips to stay safe when not sober:


  • Don’t drink in public: It’s illegal to drink in public in Mexico, and this is often strictly enforced in the country. This means you cannot drink on public streets and other public areas. It’s also advised to be considerate of both tourists and locals, and avoid being overly drunk. 
  • Take licensed taxis: Travelers are advised to take regulated and licensed taxis as much as possible. This way, you can be sure of your safety. Using unlicensed taxis puts you at risk. 
  • Don’t drink and swim: While swimming in Cancun is very tempting, don’t do it while intoxicated. Security and safety standards in Mexico beaches may not be as strict, so exercise extra caution. 
  • Don’t drink and drive: People suspected of driving while intoxicated can be pulled over by the police. This is regardless of whether you’re a minor or above 18 years old. There are also random alcohol breathalyzer checks in the bigger cities of Mexico. 
  • Keep your passport safe: Keep your passport secure at all times. You will be asked for proper identification when drinking in hotel resorts in Mexico. Among all the IDs, the passport is the most honored and most recognizable one you can present.
  • Be aware of tainted drinks: Tainted drinks are prevalent in Mexico, and vacationers are highly advised to be cautious. Those who consume tainted drinks can become ill. There are also some reports of people dying from laced drinks. Those who frequent bars and nightclubs should be extra careful and observant. If you feel something is wrong with your drink, immediately stop drinking and go to the hospital. 


Penalties For Minors Drinking In Mexico

A selection of bottled alcoholic drinks

Photo by MichaelGaida from Pixabay


Ignoring the drinking age in Mexico has its repercussions. It’s easy to get away from penalties in some resorts and restaurants that are more lenient. However, when you’re in a different country, it’s still smart to abide by the rules and laws. Here are some of the consequences you may face when violating Mexico’s laws on drinking:

  • Being kicked out: Most bars and clubs will ask you to leave their premises if you’re caught with underage drinking.
  • Getting fined or detained: You can pay hefty fines or even land in jail for being overly drunk and loud in Mexico. This also applies to minors caught drinking or buying alcohol. Aside from that, driving while drunk is a criminal offense. You can be detained for up to 36 hours when caught driving while intoxicated.
  • Getting imprisoned: Minors buying alcohol can get in trouble in Mexico, but those selling alcohol to minors can land in jail. Aside from that, getting caught with drugs can lead you to prison. Drugs may be readily available in Mexico, but this doesn’t mean you can’t go to prison for it. People caught with illegal drugs can be detained by police or be locked up in prison for up to a year. This is without bail. So, if you’re simply vacationing in Mexico, don’t get yourself mixed up with drugs in whatever way.


In Mexico, the national limit for blood alcohol content is 0.8. However, there are stricter rules in certain states:

    • 0.4: Estado de México, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Distrito Federal, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz
    • 0.5: Chihuahua


Best Bars In Mexico

Three refreshing cocktail drinks in a Mexico bar

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If you meet the legal drinking age in Mexico, then you’re more than allowed to drink and party away in the country. For the best experience, you might want to swing by these hot bars. 


  • La Casa de las Sirenas: If you’re down to explore the many flavors of tequila, head to La Casa de las Sirenas. Set within a 16th-century building, La Casa de las Sirenas offers a dining and drinking experience in a historical setup. The bar offers a wide selection of alcoholic beverages from more than 250 brands. 
  • Area Bar: A trendy rooftop bar, the Area Bar is a favorite among the elite of Mexico City. Drink at its luxurious decked lounge area while enjoying breathtaking views. This upscale bar has a great cocktail selection.
  • Artic Bar: Another great bar in Mexico City is the Artic Bar. This is Latin America’s very first ice bar where you can sit on ice sofas. You don’t need to worry about your outfit as the bar provides suitable clothing. All you need to do is prepare for a fun drinking session with a variety of drinks. 
  • La Unica: If you prefer a restaurant-bar, La Unica is an excellent choice. Offering a variety of Mexican delights, this bar also has an attractive wine and cocktail list. La Unica houses a stunning dining room that creates the perfect ambiance. 


Best Bottles To Bring Home


After a grand time in Mexico, how about bringing home a couple of bottles with you? While you share stories with your family and friends, you might as well share a bottle with them, too!  


      • Mezcal Real Minero Largo: A family-run brand, Real Minero is 100% largo agave. This mezcal has herbal and green notes with a mild sweetness. 
      • Don Mateo Pechuga: A pechuga made with Cenizo agave, Don Mateo is a crowd favorite. There are hints of earthy, rich, and smoky flavor in every drink with Don Mateo.
      • Cervecería de Colima Piedra Lisa: For an easy-to-drink option, bring home a few bottles of Piedra Lisa. Enjoy its citrus flavor with a light finish. This is a great choice for a light afternoon drinking session. 
      • Cru Cru Porter: With notes of coffee and chocolate, Cru Cru is another excellent beer choice. It offers a rich taste with just enough bitter aftertaste. 


Ready To Cross The Border?


Enjoy a cocktail drink on a stylish rooftop bar. Lounge by the beach with a few bottles of cold beer. These are just a couple of things you can enjoy when vacationing in Mexico. However, before you pop that beer can, make sure you know the legal drinking age and rules in Mexico. The legal drinking age in Mexico may be lower than in the U.S., but this doesn’t mean Mexico is any less lenient about underage drinking. Keep in mind that irresponsibility and carelessness have repercussions, any of which can ruin your trip. So, before you pack your bags with your family or friends, make sure to familiarize yourself with the rules and laws.