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Partying In Cancun? This Common Mistake Could Get You Detained 

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For many travelers who have been to Cancun, there are three things that automatically come to mind when it’s mentioned: gorgeous beaches, luxury all-inclusives, and a vibrant nightlife.   

All three are Cancun’s main claims to fame, but there’s one that can get you into trouble if you don’t follow the rules, and that’s enjoying the nightlife.   

If you’ll be partying in Cancun during your vacation, there is one common mistake that, if you make it, could get you detained. 

Drinks Displayed Outside of a Bar in Cancun, Mexico

It’s consuming alcohol on the streets.   

Understanding The Law 

You’re probably wondering how serious a crime public consumption of alcohol is.   

What specific areas is it illegal to drink in?   

How strictly is the law enforced?   

Does getting caught mean you’ll be fined, or can you get arrested?   

Let’s delve into the specifics so that you know exactly what you’re dealing with when vacationing in Cancun.   

Police Vehicle Sitting on the Street in the Cancun Hotel Zone

Where You Can’t Consume Alcohol In Cancun 

It is against the law to drink in any public area in Cancun that isn’t an establishment that has a license to serve alcohol.   

It’s illegal to drink in the streets, in public parks, and on the beaches in Cancun unless the alcohol is purchased from a restaurant, beach club, or other concessionaire.   It’s also illegal to drink and drive.

You cannot go into a store to purchase alcohol to walk around drinking with, as you can in some places in the U.S., like the Las Vegas Strip.   

Tourists on a Busy Street in Cancun, Mexico

Where You Can Consume Alcohol In Cancun 

Cancun has plenty of places to legally enjoy a beer, a glass of wine, or a cocktail.   

Restaurants and bars, including those with outdoor seating, nightclubs, beach clubs, and the bars and lounges within your resort’s property, are all legal drinking establishments.   

Just be sure to finish your drink in the establishment and not wander into the streets with it.   

Tourists at an Outdoor Restaurant in Cancun, Mexico

How Strictly Is The Law Enforced? 

The law is the law and it should be respected at all times.   

That being said, you might be surprised to see that it isn’t always enforced.   

Particularly on the beaches, it isn’t uncommon to see people bring their own alcohol and not have anything said to them, but being a visitor in another country, it’s not really a chance you want to take.   

Police Vehicles in Front of Coco Bongo in Cancun, Mexico

How Often Do People Get Detained For Public Consumption Of Alcohol In Cancun? 

Authorities enforce the prohibition of drinking on the streets much more.   

In fact, more than 1,500 people were detained in the first three months of this year.   

Most of those who were detained were in the tourist area known as the Hotel Zone.   

Tourists Police Station in Cancun, Mexico

The Punishment For Getting Caught Consuming Alcohol In Public In Cancun  

If you get caught consuming alcohol on the streets or in other outdoor public spaces, or if you’re intoxicated in public, there are two things that can happen.   

If you’re lucky, you’ll just have to pay a fine, but it can be more serious than that.   

You can also be detained by police for up to 72 hours, which is not something you want to experience, especially if your flight home leaves before you’re released.   

Small Police Cars With Lights Flashing Cancun

Have Fun, But Play It Safe 

Vacations are supposed to be fun, and Cancun is known as a party destination, but the last thing you want is to spend even a few hours in a Cancun jail.   

This is why it’s better to just play it safe.   

Go out, have drinks at the clubs and bars, and have a good time, but when it comes time to leave the establishment, leave your drink behind.  

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