The What, Where and How Old for Drinking in Puerto Vallarta
Puerto Vallarta nightlife is legendary, one of the many factors that make it one of the best Spring Break destinations in Mexico.
One reason why many younger travelers opt for a party vacation in Puerto Vallarta is because the legal drinking age in Mexico is lower than most parts of Canada or the USA.
The official drinking age in Puerto Vallarta is 18 years old, so you don’t need to wait until 21 to get into the hottest clubs in Mexico.
Now, like a lot of things in Mexico, there is the official law….and then there is the way things sort of go.
While 18 is the legal drinking age, and should expect to be asked to present identification at your resort or at any of the nightclubs in Puerto Vallarta, you certainly won’t always be asked.
Getting carded in Puerto Vallarta can be hit or miss, based on a few factors:
You look super wasted and already messy when you roll up to the club (getting carded)
You are a jerk to the bouncer (getting carded)
You look like you’ve got a lot of money to spend and you’ve already ordered bottle service (probably not getting carded)
You’re super hot and so are your friends (probably not getting carded)
But just because we’re telling you the truth, doesn’t mean that we’re condoning it. It’s never a good idea to break the law when you’re in a foreign country and you don’t want to put yourself at risk.
That said, if the question is “All my friends are 18 and over and I’m almost 18, do I have to stay at the hotel and feel like a sad and lonely loser when they go clubbing in Puerto Vallarta?” then the answer is (keeping in mind our handy checklist above) that you can most likely get yourself into the club but don’t be an idiot while you are there.
If you are heading down for a Puerto Vallarta spring break vacation, whether you are 18 years or older, there are a few things that you need to do to keep yourself safe and have a good time.
Nobody wants to wreck their vacation with an easily avoidable visit to the hospital, the consulate or the state prison. Here are some easy adulating tips to keep things right and tight:
Use the in-room safe or the hotel safe to store your passport and your tourist visa. The tourist visa will be given to you when you enter Mexico at immigration. You need it to leave, so tuck it in your passport where it won’t be lost. And then don’t lose your passport. Easy. Didn’t listen to us? That was dumb. There is a Canadian Consulate in Puerto Vallarta and an American Consulate in Nuevo Vallarta to help you out. But seriously, lock it up and use your driver’s license or other government ID while you are partying in Puerto Vallarta.
We are big fans of using Uber when you are club-hopping in Puerto Vallarta because you can share your ride with friends, so they know where you are. But taxis here are generally safe and you don’t need to take a “registered” taxi. The regular yellow cabs and white airport taxis are fine, just make sure to check the fare as you get in and text the taxi number on the outside of the car to your friends as an extra precaution.
Don’t do drugs in Mexico. Just don’t. Bad idea. And illegal, including marijuana – and if you happen to be from a legal weed state or province, you will find that pot here is crappy by comparison, so the risk of getting busted is nowhere near the reward.
Stay off the beach late at night. Not only will a mugger be happy to relieve you of your wallet on the beach in the wee morning hours, you may also encounter a wild crocodile who would be happy to relieve you of a limb. And swimming? No. You are not Aquaman. Swimming in the ocean, drunk and late at night, is a fabulous way to drown, because our water is calm and safe in the day but can have a strong undertow at night. And don’t do it at the resort either, because a loud drunken swim when the hotel pool is closed promises an easy way to earn yourself a forced early check out and get escorted off the premises by security.
Be careful before taking someone home. Is he or she insanely hot or super interested? Hotter or more interested in what you’re used to getting at home? You may have just met yourself a prostitute, my friend, who will have a big bodyguard making sure she gets paid, or a really nice guy who wants to “cuddle” until you fall asleep and then steal your watch and your wallet on his way out. We’re not saying you’re not a total babe but be smart about things.
With the legal and “being responsible” part out of the way, let’s talk about what you should be drinking while vacationing in Puerto Vallarta.
Allow us to present your guide to the top three most popular Mexican spirits, so that you can order like a champion and be king of the club.
Tequila: yes, obviously you know Tequila, but did you know that Puerto Vallarta’s own state of Jalisco is the home of Tequila? To officially be considered Tequila, it must come from the region of Tequila, Jalisco, just like true Champagne can only come from the Champagne region of France.
You can just drop that little fun fact as you order a round of shots and be impressive. Tequila comes in 5 distinct forms:
Blanco or Silver: colorless and with a strong taste of the blue agave plant, from which all Tequila is made, blanco goes straight from the distilling process to the bottle or may be aged up to two months in stainless steel tanks. Some people think that silver Tequila is the cheap stuff but there are some that are distilled to be very smooth and of high quality. How do you know the difference? The price tag will tell you – or the brutality of the hangover the next day.
Joven or Gold: Young and usually inexpensive Tequila, this is the stuff usually reserved for making mixed drinks.
Resposado: meaning “rested”, this Tequila is aged in wood barrels for 2 to 11 months, and each brand will have its own distinct flavor profile. Grab some salt and lime, because this is perfect for shots.
Añejo: Tequila Añejo is made in small batches and aged in wood barrels for no less than one and up to three years, and is meant to be sipped and appreciated, like a fine cognac or brandy.
Extra Añejo: Now you’re getting fancy. Extra Añejo is “ultra-aged”, having rested in wood barrels for over three full years. Extremely smooth and with complex flavor profiles, prices can run up to $2000 USD for an elite bottle.
Mezcal: whereas Tequila can only be made from the blue agave plant, mezcal can be made from any type of agave plant, giving it a different flavor. Sort of like scotch and whiskey, they are related, but not the same. And like Tequila, mezcal also comes in blanco, reposado and añejo form.
Raicilla: another cousin of Tequila, this agave-based spirit has only recently become legal for sale in Mexico, having been a favorite bootleg booze made in underground distilleries in Jalisco for literally generations. Ask for this and enjoy the look of approval from your waiter or bartender.
And where should you be drinking? For the best Puerto Vallarta nightclubs, you will want to head to Bar Morelos in downtown Puerto Vallarta, Mandala and La Vaquita on the famous Puerto Vallarta Malecon, or La Santa, Strana or Biblioteca in the Vallarta Hotel Zone.
Even better, book one of our VIP Packages and experience Puerto Vallarta nightlife like a rock star.
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In fact, our party planning experts can take care of your Puerto Vallarta party vacation from start to finish, with everything you need for an epic holiday.
With just a click, access expert planners to book you and your group private villa accommodations, transportation, Puerto Vallarta sightseeing tours, beach and jungle excursions, spa packages, sport fishing or luxury private yachts, reservations at Puerto Vallarta’s most trendy restaurants or VIP booths at Puerto Vallarta’s hottest nightclubs. Whatever you need, the local party-planning professionals at PV Nightlife will be there to make sure your trip is amazing, and your partying is on point, every day and every night of your Puerto Vallarta vacation.