Legal Drinking Age In Mexico & Drinking Laws To Know In 2024

Are you wondering what is the legal drinking age in Mexico?

For anyone looking to plan their next vacation, it is handy to know that the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. Compared to 21 in the US this makes Mexico extra appealing to younger crowds.

We spent a month in Mexico and had a whale of a time. Sipping cocktails by the beach, diving into cold refreshing cenotes and exploring ancient Mayan ruins. It is not hard to see why the country is becoming so popular.

In this post, I will let you in on 3 good to know drinking laws in Mexico as well as some money-saving tips and recommendations of places to visit and fun things to do.

Planning a trip? These are our favourite Travel Resources:
2 pretty cocktails sitting on a bar with red backlighting

Drinking Age In Mexico – Laws To Know

Here are three important drinking laws to keep in mind on your vacation to Mexico;

✅ 1. The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18

Anyone over the age of 18 can drink in Mexico. This is the only rule, there are no exceptions for being with an adult or in a resort. The law is not always enforced by bars. In fact, many touristy areas in Mexico have a reputation for serving alcohol to anyone and not checking for ID.

It is wise to always stick to the law because if the police decide to check the punishments can vary from a fine to jail time.

✅ 2. It is illegal to be drunk in public in Mexico

As with many places around the world, it is illegal to be drunk in public. If you do decide to drink while in Mexico it is wise to stick to one bar or resort and take a taxi back to your accommodation.

Avoid walking around the streets late at night, regardless of how much you have had to drink.

✅ 3. It is illegal to have open alcohol containers in Public in Mexico

It is good to remember that you can not have open bottles or cans of alcohol in public in Mexico. This means it is perfectly fine to shop for alcohol and have it in your possession, you just need to wait until you are inside to open it.

a cocktail on a table in Mexico

Best Places To Drink In Mexico

These are some of the best locations across Mexico to be if you like to party and enjoy a drink.

📍 Mexico City

Mexico’s capital city is a great place to spend some time exploring both during the day and in the evenings. Make sure to check out Hanky Panky cocktail bar, Licorería Limantour and Fifty Mils.

📍 Cancun

Cancun is another popular Mexican spot, and this will be the place you fly to if you plan to spend your vacation by the beach. While in town make sure to visit Mumma rooftop bar for a great atmosphere and the best cocktails in town.

📍 Tulum

We loved our week in Tulum. There are so many great beach clubs and bars to choose from that it might get a little daunting. These are our top two picks for the best bars to visit; Batey Mojito and Guarapo Bar and Nana Rooftop bar for incredible sunset views over Tulum.

a white sand beach in tulum with people sunbathing

Read more on drinking and safety in Tulum here.

📍 Cozumel

Cozumel was our favourite spot in Mexico. We loved the diving, beaches and easy-going island vibes. When it comes to nightlife it is also top-notch and one of the safer places to enjoy a drink in Mexico.


Tips For Saving Money On Drinks In Mexico

We found the Yucatan and Quintana Roo regions of Mexico to be pretty expensive, possibly because they are so much more touristy than the rest of the country. So here are a few tips to save some money when it comes to drinking in Mexico.

✔️ Buy Alcohol From A Store Or Market – This is far cheaper than buying drinks in a bar. Especially if you are staying in an apartment or villa, you can buy your own drinks and have a good time in peace.

✔️ Drink at small local bars not at resorts

The resorts and beach clubs will charge you twice if not three times more than the smaller, locally owned bars. Oftentimes times the best memories with the locals are also made in the smaller bars.

✔️ Take advantage of happy hours

We didn’t plan to drink at all while we were in Mexico but we are suckers for a happy hour deal. If it’s not happy hour then it was often two for the price of one. Making the most of these deals will definitely save you some money.

Mayan ruins in Mexico surrounded by Jungle

Drinking The Water In Mexico

Regardless of whether you have had a couple of drinks during happy hour or not, it is always wise to drink plenty of water. Especially when visiting hot countries like Mexico.

It is good to know that it is not safe to drink tap water in any part of Mexico. You should always make sure to drink filtered water.

❗️We use Water-To-Go bottles on ALL of our travels. Safe drinking water from ANY fresh water source. Taps, rivers, lakes, you name it.

Use code “COUNTING” for a 15% discount!


Other Things To Do In Mexico Besides Drinking

While in Mexico there are a few awesome things that you should make sure you add to your itinerary;

⭐️ Mayan Ruins – Throughout Mexico there are countless Mayan ruin sites. Some near cities, some buried deep within the jungle. Depending on how adventurous you are feeling you should absolutely try to see a few.

Tulum ruins are super easy to access and are next to some beautiful beaches. If you can, I would strongly recommend visiting Chichen Itza. Named as one of the 7 wonders of the world it is a real bucket list item you could tick off during your vacation.

We also list details of many more remote Mayan ruin sites in this post.

⭐️ Swimming in Cenotes

There are thousands of cenotes in Mexico just waiting to be explored. They range from large open-air cenotes that feel like a pond or lake, Such as those around Bacalar Lagoon. To stunning underground caves with crystal-clear waters.

Some of our favourite cenotes that we visited are Suytan cenotes, Cenote Calavera, Cenote Secreto Maya and Cenote XCANAHALTUN.

a large underground cenote in mexico with vines hanging down into it

⭐️ Swim with Whale sharks

Perhaps one of the most exciting things you can do in Mexico is get a chance to swim with the majestic whale sharks that pass through each year. From June – September each year you can join snorkelling tours to find them off the coast of Holbox.

Holbox is a wonderful island off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsular. Also home to Refugio Holbox Animal Rescue if you love animals.


Drinking Age In Mexico FAQs

Here are a few more commonly asked questions regarding the drinking age in Mexico;

Can those under 18 drink if they are with a parent?

The legal drinking age in Mexico is 18. Anyone under this age is not legally allowed to drink no matter who they are with.

Are the drinking laws enforced?

It is widely known that in the touristy regions of the country such as Cancun and Tulum, the drinking laws are not consistently enforced. Those working in bars and resorts will often not ask for ID but the police may check anyone at any time.

Is Cancun strict on the drinking age?

Cancun is one of the regions where teens under 18 have a chance of being served because the staff in bars are very relaxed about the rules. Keep in mind that it is illegal to drink under the age of 18 and if questioned by police there could be severe consequences.

Can you drink in Mexico at 16?

Nope. Not legally anyway. Only those 18 and over are allowed to drink in Mexico.


Drinking Age In Mexico – Final Thoughts

So there you have it, our top tips and advice on the drinking age in Mexico.

Anyone 18 and older can have a cocktail while those not yet 18 will have to stick to the mocktails for a little longer.

Trust me, when you’re in Mexico you will be having such a great time that you won’t mind one bit sticking to water instead of wine. For more inspiration for your trip check out our Mexico to Guatemala Itinerary or our guide to spending 3 days in Valladolid.

Happy Travels!