What You Need to Know About Mexico Alcohol Laws

Mexico has a reputation for being a great place to let loose and have some fun. With so many fiestas and events to enjoy, it's no wonder that many visitors want to take part in the revelry. However, it's important to be aware of Mexico's alcohol laws before you start drinking.

Mexico has a lower drinking age than many other countries, so visitors may be tempted to overindulge. But it's important to remember that Mexico also has strict laws against drinking and driving, and public intoxication. If you're caught driving under the influence, you could face serious consequences.

What is the Legal Drinking Age in Mexico?

In Mexico, the legal drinking age is 18 and it is relatively easy to purchase alcohol almost anywhere on a 24/7 basis.

Drinking and Driving Laws in Mexico

Driving while drunk in Mexico is a criminal offense. Police officers can pull you over and administer a breathalyzer test if they suspect you're under the influence.

You may be detained for up to 36 hours if you're caught driving while over the legal blood alcohol content (BAC) limit. If you're found to have a drunk driving conviction in the last 10 years, you may even be denied future entry into the country.

What is the Blood Alcohol (BAC) Limit in Mexico?

The BAC limit in Sonora and Baja California, Mexico, is .08.

If you're driving over the border from New Mexico or Texas, however, and find yourself in the Mexican state of Chihuahua, the BAC limit is .05.

Other Mexican states have lower limits. The BAC limit is .04 in Aguascalientes, Chiapas, Estado de México (including Mexico City), Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Tamaulipas, and Veracruz.

Traveling with Alcohol

It is not against the law to travel with alcohol in a vehicle in Mexico.

Can Passengers Drink Alcohol in a Car in Mexico?

It is legal for vehicle passengers to consume alcohol in Mexico. However, the passenger needs to be of legal drinking age.

Can You Drink in Public in Mexico?

Public drunkenness is illegal in Mexico, and you can expect this law to be enforced. You are not allowed to drink on public streets. However, it is perfectly fine to drink on your resort property.

Avoiding Tainted Alcohol

People toasting with beer bottles on a beach in Mexico at sunset

Problems with tainted alcohol have been increasing in recent years, as unscrupulous businesses try to make quick profits by cutting corners and using dangerous chemicals in their alcoholic beverages.

There are a few things you can do to avoid drinking tainted alcohol while in Mexico. Firstly, only drink from reputable sources, such as licensed bars and restaurants. Secondly, do not accept drinks from strangers or people you don't know well. Avoid liquor-based drinks if you're unsure about the source of the alcohol and stick to beer.

Symptoms of drinking tainted alcohol include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you experience any of these symptoms after drinking, or suspect that your drink may have been tainted, seek medical help immediately

Tips for Avoiding Alcohol-related Legal Trouble While in Mexico

  1. Bring Your ID. The minimum legal drinking age is 18 in Mexico, but some bars and clubs require an ID to enter, regardless of age.
  2. Don't drink and drive. Drunk driving is a serious offense, and the penalties can be severe. If you're caught driving under the influence, you could face fines, jail time, or even deportation.
  3. Do not drink in public. Public drunkenness is illegal. Observe local customs and refrain from being overtly drunk and rambunctious no matter where you are in Mexico, as this can lead to hefty fines or even imprisonment.
  4. Use public transportation or taxis after drinking. If you don't have a designated driver, make use of Mexico's public transportation system, or hail a taxi when out partying. It's better to be safe than sorry.
  5. Know your limit. Everyone has different tolerance levels when it comes to alcohol; know your limit before heading out for a night on the town.

Safety Tips for Drinking in Mexico

  1. Stick with friends, or travel in groups and stay together throughout the night. Women should be especially careful about walking alone at night and after drinking. While tourist areas do have a great deal of security in place, there are still various regions where everyone should exercise a level of caution.
  2. Stay aware of your surroundings. Don't let your guard down while you're out drinking — keep an eye on your belongings and be aware of who is around you.
  3. Use common sense. If something doesn't feel right, leave the bar or club immediately Seek help from local authorities if needed. Avoid dark alleys, quiet streets, and areas that you're unfamiliar with.
  4. Watch your drinks — Unfortunately, there have been reports of drinks being spiked with drugs like Rohypnol (also known as the "date rape drug"). To avoid this, never leave your drink unattended and only accept beverages from people you trust.
  5. Be cautious when meeting new people - Do not leave with strangers.
  6. Be careful about where & what you drink. Remember the symptoms of tainted alcohol are nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these or other unusual symptoms.

Mexico is generally a safe country, but it's always best to use caution, especially if you're partying at night in an unfamiliar place.

While enjoying a drink or two while on vacation in Mexico is generally nothing to worry about, it's important to be aware of and follow the country's alcohol laws, avoiding drunk driving and public drunkenness. Also, be mindful of your surroundings and follow our simple safety tips and you should be able to avoid any potential legal trouble and have a safe and enjoyable time drinking in Mexico.

NOTE: Mexpro's auto insurance and MexVisit® travel assistance does NOT cover a loss due to the insured drinking and driving, or under the influence of any illegal substance.