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The Legal Drinking Age in Mexico

Susan Laurent
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by Susan Laurent

Bienvenidos a México! Are you in the mood for a tequila shot?

Let’s be honest for a second: it would be a pity to visit some of Mexico’s party hotspots, such as Puerto Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas, Playa del Carmen, or Cozumel, and not enjoy their traditional drinks.

But before we raise our glasses, we need to discuss a very important topic: Mexico’s legal drinking age.

So, what’s the number? Is it 21, like in America?

The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18 years old!

In this article, we’ll discuss the legalities of alcohol consumption in mexico; public intoxication, driving under the influence of alcohol, and much more! 

The legal age to drink in Mexico is 18 years old.

This means that if you are 18 years old, you can legally consume alcohol in Mexico, even if the legal drinking age in your home country is higher than 18. Cool!

Drinking in Mexico

However, you need to be mindful of one thing — young individuals in mexico are likely to be asked to show identification, such as a passport or a driver’s license, as proof that they’re of legal age for consuming alcohol.

You may be asked for your ID in any establishment that sells alcohol, such as bars, restaurants, stores, resorts, and nightclubs. Not every place you go to will ask for your verification, but that’s the law, so always have your ID ready!

Additionally, remember that certain resorts put bracelets on minors upon check-in. This way, the bartenders throughout the resort know not to serve these guests alcohol. If this policy is not enforced, employees that serve alcohol to minors can face penalties.

Asides from the legal drinking age, there are several other laws regarding alcohol and drinking in Mexico that you need to be familiar with.

For instance, consuming open alcohol bottles on public streets is illegal, even if you’re over 18 years old.

This means that on the streets of Mexico, you cannot bring open alcohol containers or bottles. Enjoy your drink in a bar, restaurant, or nightclub, and be sure to finish them before leaving.

Public intoxication is also illegal in Mexico.

Intoxicated people who are found drinking in public or causing a disturbance risk getting fined or possibly arrested.

Police and military patrols are widespread in Mexico, particularly in tourist areas, so if they notice any disturbances or problems due to alcohol consumption, they’ll respond appropriately.

So drink wisely — the last thing you want is to get fined or, worst case scenario, spend time in a Mexican jail.

Drinking and Driving in Mexico

It’s unlawful to drink and drive in Mexico, regardless of age.

In most Mexican states, the limit for alcohol concentration in the blood while driving is 0.8%.

However, in some Mexican states where crime and violence are high, the limit is lower. For instance, in the states of San Luis Potosí, Jalisco, and Morelos, the limit for blood alcohol content is 0.5%, whereas in Sonora it’s 0.4%.

Mexican police have the right to stop you if they believe you are driving while intoxicated. At that point, you’ll be asked to take a breathalyzer test to measure the alcohol content in your blood. If you have been convicted of drunk driving, you may pay a fine, end up in jail, or be denied future entry into Mexico. Whether or not tourists will get a black stamp and be instantly deported depends on what part of the country the incident happened in and what their laws are on driving while intoxicated. So, be careful.

Mexico’s Alcohol Buying Restrictions

Some Mexican states limit the purchase of alcohol on specific days and hours of the week.

For example, in Quintana Roo, supermarkets, and liquor stores can only sell alcohol from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Bars may serve alcohol until 2 a.m., which is their closing time. Restaurants can sell until 11:00 p.m. or until they stop serving food.

On Sundays, you can buy alcohol from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Alcohol Buying.jpg

Each of the 32 states in Mexico may have a time limit on selling alcoholic beverages. As a result, it’s best to research the laws and regulations of the destination you are visiting.

Mexico’s Alcohol Ban on Election Days

On election days, the sale of alcohol is prohibited in some states in Mexico.

This is known as the “dry law,” and under it, the sale of alcoholic beverages is prohibited for 24 to 48 hours during the election.

If you are traveling to Mexico during an election day, some markets, liquor stores, bars, and restaurants may not be able to sell you alcohol. Still, the election is just two days long, so it’s easy to plan ahead and stock up on alcoholic beverages beforehand.

Tips & Tricks for Safe Drinking in Mexico

Safe Drinking in Mexico

While in Mexico, safety comes first — so drink responsibly when you’re visiting, and don’t let the tequila make the decisions for you!

Here are some of the best tips and tricks on staying safe while enjoying a drink in Mexico.

1.  Learn Some Basic Spanish

Even though most people in Mexico understand English, knowing a few basic Spanish words and phrases might be beneficial when out drinking. This can help you communicate with the locals and avoid any potential misunderstanding that may lead to trouble.

2. Never Drink Tap Water

Tap water is contaminated in Mexico. Err on the side of caution and opt for bottled water while in the country.

3. Be Wary of Your Belongings

It’s easy to get carried away while drinking and forget to be wary of your surroundings — but robberies and kidnappings occur in Mexico, just like they do everywhere else in the world.

Therefore, pay great attention to where you put your possessions, such as your phone, wallet, or purse. Don’t carry huge sums of cash, as that might make you a bigger target.

Keep some cash in a safe place at your hotel so you’ll always have backup cash on hand!

4. Group Night Outs Are the Safest

One of the most important pieces of advice we can give you when traveling to Mexico is to exercise caution if you are alone. This means that you should never ever roam around alone at night.

If someone sees you alone and intoxicated, they might take advantage of you. So limit your drinking, especially at night. If you’re traveling alone, consider making friends with other tourists or families from the hotel. You can also join a guided tour and meet other travellers to enjoy Mexico’s nightlife together.

5. Watch Out for Scams

Tourists are frequently the target of scams in Mexico, especially if it’s obvious they’re under the influence of alcohol. For example, bartenders might charge you extra for beverages, and taxi drivers can rob you blind. To minimize this risk, stick to respectable bars and restaurants, always keep an eye on your bill, and drive in reliable taxis like Uber or DiDi.

6. Keep an Eye on Your Drink

In addition to the scams, some alcohol-selling establishments like to sell tainted alcohol to tourists. 

Tainted alcohol is a liquor that’s unlawfully made — usually by replacing a premium drink with a low-cost drink, adding water into the bottle, or, in the worst-case scenario, narcotics.

This is why it’s essential to keep an eye on your drink. Drink only from sealed cans and bottles, and if you prefer a cocktail or a drink served in a glass, order one that’s made in front of you. Never accept free rounds of drinks served at bars, restaurants, nightclubs, or house parties — they may have narcotics in them.

Be careful not to consume alcohol with an odd flavor or aroma, and most importantly — never accept drinks from strangers!


To sum up, in Mexico, the legal drinking age is 18, but it’s responsibility, knowledge, and moderation that genuinely shapes one’s experience of drinking.

If you wish to order a drink, you may be asked for identification. Tourists under the age of 18 may be required to wear particular bracelets so that bartenders know not to sell them alcohol.

Off-premises drinking and public intoxication are both prohibited. In the majority of Mexican states, the legal alcohol amount in your blood while driving is 0.8%.

Liquor stores and markets are open to sell alcohol from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. Restaurants serve alcohol until 11:00 p.m., whereas bars serve until 2:00 a.m. On Sundays, alcohol is available from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. On election days, alcohol is not sold in Mexico.

And there you have it! The ultimate guide to legal drinking in Mexico. Cheers, and remember: if you’re feeling too tipsy, order a taco to help you sober up, and afterward, go straight to bed!

About Susan Laurent
Susan Laurent
I'm passionate about world cultures, travel, and discovering amazing new places. I've spent years traveling the globe, very often alone, so I focus on providing important information about travel safety to travelers that I've gathered from first-hand experience.
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