Discovering Mexico: A Guide to Drinking Age Laws and Responsible Alcohol Consumption

Mexico is an exciting and vibrant country to explore, with plenty of opportunities for travelers to enjoy the culture, cuisine, and nightlife. According to the 2021 Travel and Tourism Development Index, the country ranks among the top 10 for cultural and natural resources.

This competitive Latin American destination continues to draw in tourists from all over the world. In fact, more than 8 percent of the country’s GDP is generated from the tourism industry. This means that Mexico is a great place to visit and explore. But before you go, it’s best to brush up on the country’s laws and regulations.

Among the first laws on your checklist should be the country’s drinking age laws. As in most countries, Mexico has regulations on alcohol consumption and purchase. So, what’s the drinking age in Mexico? Here’s what you need to know about the legal drinking age in Mexico and how to consume alcohol responsibly.

Legal Drinking Age in Mexico


According to Mexico’s Ley de Alcoholes, the legal drinking age in the country is 18. That means anyone under 18 is prohibited from anything that has to do with alcoholic beverages. The law encompasses a set of regulations, including:

Types of Alcoholic Beverage


Any alcoholic beverage, including beer, wine, and spirits, is included under Mexico’s drinking age laws. This ensures that no matter what kind of drink you’re consuming, it must be done within the legal age limits.

Alcohol Purchase

It is illegal to purchase any alcoholic beverage if you are under 18 years of age. This includes buying drinks at a bar, restaurant, or store. Furthermore, there is no exception in Mexico for underage drinking on private property – even if a parent or guardian is present.

In addition, it is essential to note that it is illegal for anyone under 18 years of age to be served or sold alcohol in any establishment. Therefore, establishments must verify the age of anyone attempting to buy an alcoholic beverage before selling it.

To make sure you are at least 18 before purchasing any alcoholic beverage, vendors will ask for a valid government-issued ID before selling. This will help them ensure that they are complying with the law.

Alcohol Consumption

adult drinking alcoholic drink

In Mexico, responsible alcohol consumption is essential. Not only is it illegal to purchase alcohol under the age of 18, but consuming alcohol in public places or while engaging in dangerous activities is also prohibited.

This can include drinking while driving, operating machinery, or engaging in any other activities that could be dangerous if done under the influence. Mexico takes its drinking age laws seriously, and violating them can result in heavy fines or punishments.

Therefore, it is essential to remember that alcohol consumption should always be done responsibly,

How Does the Legal Drinking Age in Mexico Differ from Other Countries?

In comparison to other countries, Mexico’s legal drinking age is one of the lowest in the world. It is lower than many other Latin American countries, such as Brazil, which has a legal drinking age of 21 as well. However, it can also be higher than in some other countries, such as Germany, where the legal drinking age is only 16.

It’s important to remember that laws vary from country to country and to always familiarize yourself with the regulations for any country before visiting. For example, the US and Canada legal drinking age is 21. This means that travelers from those countries have to be extra mindful of the country’s drinking laws if they plan on visiting Mexico.

It is also important to keep in mind that Mexico’s drinking laws may vary from state to state. For example, in states like Baja California, the law has been altered to allow supervised alcohol consumption for those ages 16 and above. So, your due diligence is vital to understand the local laws wherever you go.

Are There Any Exceptions to the Drinking Age Law?

Mexico’s drinking age laws are stringent, and there is no exception for anyone under 18 to consume alcohol. However, some locations may offer supervised alcohol consumption for those under 18, depending on the local laws and establishments.

These supervised consumption locations often referred to as ‘juerga’ or ‘juergon’, are regulated and monitored for safety. These places allow minors to consume alcohol responsibly and take place in private settings, such as hotels. There are also designated places called ‘juergon publico’ that allow minors to consume alcohol under the supervision of their parents and guardians.

What Can Happen if You Get Caught in Violation of Mexico’s Drinking Age Laws?

Breaking the law in any country can have serious legal and financial consequences. In Mexico, it is illegal to buy, possess, or consume alcohol if you are under 18. If caught, offenders can face fines or even imprisonment in some cases. Other punishments may include community service hours and the mandatory attendance of alcohol prevention programs.

It is also essential to remember that establishments can be held liable if they serve alcohol to minors. Therefore, establishments are usually very strict in verifying the age of customers before selling them any alcoholic beverage.

What Are Some Tips for Responsible Alcohol Consumption When Visiting Mexico?

Mexico is an excellent place to explore for travelers of any age. However, you should always remember that the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18, and alcohol consumption should always be done responsibly. Here are some tips to keep in mind to help ensure a safe and enjoyable time abroad.

Always carry a valid government-issued ID

A valid identification card (ID) is essential to avoid issues when purchasing alcohol. The primary ID accepted in Mexico is its government-issued card, but foreign IDs such as a passport will also be accepted. As this is the first piece of proof that vendors will check, it will be much easier to buy alcohol if you carry a valid ID.

In addition, it’s a good idea also to carry an international student card or another form of identification. This will help you gain access to discounts or special offers that vendors may have for travelers.

Know your limits

It is essential to know your limits when consuming alcohol. This is especially true if you’re traveling to Mexico. Not only can drinking too much have negative consequences for your health, but it can also lead to legal consequences if you are under the influence or engage in any dangerous activities.

You can work on establishing a safe drinking limit for yourself and stick to it. This can help you enjoy your time in Mexico without putting yourself in any danger.

Buy only from reputable establishments

It is crucial to ensure you purchase your drinks from reputable establishments that comply with Mexico’s laws. This will help ensure that all purchases and consumption of alcohol are made legally and responsibly.

To ensure the safety of both customers and vendors, you can search for establishments that have ‘sello etilico’ certification, which guarantees that all drinks are up to standard and safe for consumption.

Avoid drinking and driving

According to Mexico’s Ley de Alcoholes, operating or driving a vehicle is illegal if you are under the influence of alcohol. Driving under the influence can also lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment.

Mexico has ride-hailing services, such as Uber and Cabify, that make it easy to get around without worrying about breaking the law. Using these services is always safer and more reliable than driving after consuming alcohol. You can also hire taxis or use public transportation to get around if you can. Just make sure not to be a disturbance to other passengers.

Don’t drink and engage in dangerous activities

It is also essential to remember that drinking and engaging in dangerous activities are illegal. This includes any activity that can put you or someone else in harm’s way. Examples of these activities include swimming, operating a boat, or any other activity that could be dangerous if done under the influence.

Many establishments may also have signs that explicitly state that no alcohol consumption or activities are allowed on their premises. It is best to follow these rules and avoid any risky behavior.

Skip the alcohol altogether

Finally, if you are under 18, the best way to avoid legal issues is to not consume alcohol. Mexico has plenty of alcohol alternatives that make your visit an enjoyable experience. For example, you can try the country’s wide selection of soft drinks or juices for a fun and safe alternative.

Aside from that, you can also explore the country without ever having to worry about drinking laws. Mexico has lots to offer, and below are some of your options:

Visiting the country’s many historical landmarks

Mexico is famous for its historical sites and cultural landmarks. You can explore the country’s ancient ruins, such as the Mayan city of Chichen Itza or the colonial city of Guanajuato. Depending on your interests, you can also explore Mexico’s rich cultural heritage through its various museums and galleries.

Exploring the local cuisine and traditional dishes

You can make your visit to Mexico a gastronomic experience by exploring the country’s unique cuisine. From street food and tacos to flavorful seafood dishes, there are plenty of options to choose from. Mexico’s culture is strongly connected to its food, so visit some of the country’s top eateries for a fantastic culinary experience.

Exploring its vibrant nightlife

The nightlife in Mexico is vibrant and fun. Whether you’re looking for live music, theater performances, or nightclubs, there are plenty of options to choose from. Mexico also has its own unique music scene, so make sure to listen to local bands and explore the country’s various genres of music.

Why Is It Important to Follow Laws and Regulations When Traveling?

It is always essential to keep laws and regulations in mind when traveling abroad, no matter where you’re going. And there are plenty of reasons why it’s necessary to do so.

Ensuring everyone’s safety

Laws are there to protect you and ensure a safe experience while traveling abroad. They help maintain a balance between the rights of travelers and locals, as well as promote responsible behavior. This will help ensure that everyone can enjoy the country’s attractions and culture without issues.

Avoiding legal repercussions

Breaking laws in any country can have serious consequences. In Mexico, underage drinking can lead to hefty fines and even imprisonment in some cases. The same goes for other laws, such as the use of illicit drugs, public intoxication, and disorderly conduct. Therefore, it is essential to make sure you understand the laws before traveling and avoid any activities or behaviors that could put you at risk.

Respect the rights of locals

It’s essential to remember that laws are there to protect the citizens of a country, so it is always best to respect their rules and regulations. This means being mindful of your actions, no matter where you are. Showing respect for the laws and customs of the country you’re visiting will make your experience more enjoyable and help foster good relations with the locals.

Avoiding negative stereotypes

Following a country’s laws and regulations can help avoid negative stereotypes about travelers. This is especially true for younger travelers, who may be more prone to getting into trouble with the law. Abiding by the country’s laws will help avoid any stereotypes and ensure a pleasant and safe stay.

Make the most of your experience

Understanding and following laws will help you make the most of your travel experience. Not only will it help ensure your safety, but it will also help you get the most out of your time abroad. This includes having access to any discounts or specials that establishments might have for travelers and avoiding legal issues.

It is always important to remember that alcohol consumption should be done responsibly and within the law, no matter where you are. Familiarizing yourself with the country’s drinking laws before visiting can help ensure that you have a safe and enjoyable trip.

Now that you know Mexico’s drinking laws, you are ready to enjoy all that the country has to offer. Make sure to remember all of the tips provided, and most importantly, have a great time. Enjoy your time in Mexico safely and responsibly.

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