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What Is the Legal Drinking Age in Mexico? Liquor Laws Tourists Should Know

Tequila has developed a reputation as the quintessential party spirit (though Jäger certainly had its moment), but in Mexico the standard way to enjoy the distilled nectar of the blue agave plant is by sipping and savoring rather than gulping down shots. 

For the sake of health and safety, U.S. travelers might want to give the slower method of tequila consumption a try while visiting Mexico’s beachy resort areas such as Cancún, Tulum, Cabo San Lucas, and Puerto Vallarta.

Maintaining moderation seems especially wise if you’re new to drinking—and, as a matter of fact, Mexico permits drinking at a younger age than the United States does. In contrast to the age minimum of 21 north of the border, the legal drinking age in Mexico is 18

Visitors who have reached that age shouldn’t think of the country as a boozy free-for-all, however. Under Mexico’s laws, drinking on public streets, carrying around open containers of alcohol, and public drunkenness are all illegal. Violators are subject to fines and even jail time in some cases. 

As travel booking engine explains, it’s fine to imbibe at outdoor tables on a bar’s or restaurant’s property or within the bounds of your resort. But if you think you can go stumbling down the streets of Oaxaca while guzzling a bottle of mezcal, think again. 

The ban extends to public parks and beaches, per Business Insider.

(Oaxaca City, Mexico | Credit: Kelli Hayden / Shutterstock)

Drunk driving is of course against the law in Mexico as well. According to Australian travel insurance company World Nomads, “Mexican authorities employ DUI checkpoints to enforce the law,” and “rental cars carrying foreigners around party-hearty tourist spots are often pulled over.”

Drivers who fail breathalyzer tests by having blood alcohol concentration over 0.08 (in most Mexican states) may be fined up to $2,500, thrown in jail for up to 36 hours, and denied future entry into the country for the next 10 years. 

If that doesn’t convince you to take a taxi, maybe it’ll help to know that Mexico’s taxi drivers don’t normally expect tips


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