What Is The Drinking Age In Puerto Rico? (2023) – All You Need To Know

Puerto Rico’s minimum drinking age is different than in the United States.

In the United States, you must be 21 years old to purchase, consume and carry alcohol.

However, in Puerto Rico, you can be younger than 21 and legally buy alcohol.

In this article, I will cover everything that you need to know about drinking alcohol in Puerto Rico:

What is the drinking age in Puerto Rico?
Can you legally drink at 18 in Puerto Rico?
Why is the drinking age 18 in Puerto Rico?
Do they ID in Puerto Rico?
What drinks were made in Puerto Rico?
5 Popular Drinks You Should Order In Puerto Rico
What happens if a minor drinks alcohol in Puerto Rico?
Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is the drinking age in Puerto Rico?

The drinking age in Puerto Rico is 18. You must be 18 years old to purchase, consume and carry alcohol.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Aguardiente Bar – La Placita (@aguardiente_bar)

Photo credit: @aguardiente_bar

It is against the law to drink if you are under 18. If caught, you are subjected to pay a fine or even go to jail, depending on the circumstances.

Explore the best places to go out in our article Nightlife In Puerto Rico

 

Can you legally drink at 18 in Puerto Rico?

Yes, you can legally drink at 18 in Puerto Rico.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bistro Café | Since: 2011 (@bistrocaferest)

Photo credit: @bistrocaferest

Some bars and clubs require you to be 21 or up to enter. However, that is fine as most bars and clubs in Puerto Rico need you only to be 18 to enter.

You’ll be glad to hear that if you’re staying in San Juan, most of the bars and clubs only require you to be 18 to enter. 

Even the casinos in hotels only require you to be 18 years old to enter and gamble. 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by La Concha Resort (@laconcharesort)

Photo credit: @laconcharesort

Learn more in our article Nightlife In San Juan.

 

Why is the drinking age 18 in Puerto Rico?

Drinking culture is more relaxed and socially acceptable in Puerto Rico than in the mainland United States.

image of Party Friends
You can find a wide variety of places to go out in Puerto Rico, from beachside bars to fine dining.

The United States requires you to be 21 to drink so they can get federal transportation funding. This is not an issue in Puerto Rico. Therefore, the legal drinking age is 18.

image of friends drinking
Puerto Rico’s nightlife scene offers something for everyone, from dancing to live music to casinos and dive bars.

In Puerto Rico, 18-year-olds are considered adults. Many tourists believe that it is unsafe to visit because the legal drinking age is 18. 

Rest assured that Puerto Rico is a safe and popular tourism destination with an enjoyable environment. Always exercise caution and avoid drinking too much in one sitting. 

Learn more in our article Is Puerto Rico Safe?

 

Do they ID in Puerto Rico?

Yes, if you are 18 years old and looking to drink in Puerto Rico, you will need an ID.

Refrain from fear, as this is a standard procedure for any establishment that sells alcohol, like bars, restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacies, and gas stations. 

image of valid ID identification
Be prepared with proper identification when you go out in Puerto Rico. Some US based chains may not sell you alcohol if you are under 21.

However, be aware that places like Walgreens might deny selling alcohol to you if you are under 21, as they abide by the rules of the mainland United States. 

As long as you have your ID or documents ready, you will have no problem. 

 

What drinks were made in Puerto Rico?

Did you know that the Piña Colada was founded in Puerto Rico? 

Born in San Juan, it’s one of the most popular drinks worldwide. What better way to enjoy it than to drink it in its country origins?

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Barrachina Restaurant San Juan (@barrachinarestaurant)

Photo credit: @barrachinarestaurant

Rum is also another national drink produced in Puerto Rico.

80% of the rum consumed in the United States is made in Puerto Rico, one of the brands being Bacardi.

image of Rum Cocktail
Rum and coke with lime is a popular way to taste Puerto Rican rums.

Puerto Rico has their version of Moonshine called Pitorro. It’s a drink infused with fruits and is crude for months. 

Below is a video explaining what Pitorro is:

It is particularly popular during the holiday season. If you’re traveling to Puerto Rico during the holidays, you must try the artisan version of Pitorro that can be found in stores or at bars.

image of Puerto Rican Coquito Eggnog
Coquito is a very popular holiday drink in Puerto Rico.

Another drink that is popular during the holidays is Coquito. Made with vanilla, coconut milk, coconut cream, rum, and spices, it’s similar to eggnog but tastes much better.

Head over to our article about the 25 Best Tours In Puerto Rico to learn more about visiting the Bacardi and Don Q Rum Facilities.

 

5 Popular Drinks You Should Order In Puerto Rico

When partying at the bars and clubs in Puerto Rico, avoid ordering your usual drink order and try out our best drinks! 

One of the first drinks you should have is Puerto Rico’s natural drink, the Piña Colada. 

image of Piña Colada Tropical Del Caribe
Pina Colada is a popular drink in Puerto Rico because it was created here.

Take it a step further and enjoy a Piña Colada at Barrachina in Old San Juan, where the drink was first made and founded.

To get your night started, try a shot of Chichaíto, made with anisette liquor and white rum; this is a local Puerto Rican shot locals enjoy ordering. 

image of Chichaíto drink
Chichaíto is a popular local drink made with anisette liquor and white rum.

Looking for something classy? Order a Cuba Libre mix of Rum, Coca Cola and a squeeze of lime over ice. 

image of Cuba Libre drink
Order a Cuba Libre to taste Puerto Rico’s local rums.

For something simple and refreshing, you should order a Don Q with Cranberry, which combines Don Q Limón rum with cranberry juice served over ice. 

image of Don Q Limón rum
Don Q Limón rum goes great with cranberry juice.

Finally, if you’re a beer fan, you must Puerto Rico’s local and most famous beer, Medalla Light.

image of Medalla Light drink
Medalla is Puerto Rico’s most popular beer.

 

What happens if a minor drinks alcohol in Puerto Rico?

If someone under 18 is caught drinking in Puerto Rico, the penalties can be severe.

You might be subjected to a fine or jail time. Depending on your case, you can even be deported back to the United States if found guilty.

image of a criminal arrested and handcuffed
Penalties for drinking underage in Puerto Rico are severe, avoid it.

I would recommend avoiding underage drinking when visiting Puerto Rico. 

 

 

FAQ section

Can you drink at 17 in Puerto Rico?

You cannot drink at 17 in Puerto Rico. The minimum drinking age is 18 years old in Puerto Rico.

Do you have to be 21 to buy alcohol in Puerto Rico?

You do not need to be 21 to buy alcohol in Puerto Rico. Some bars and clubs require you to be 21 to enter, but you can buy alcohol anywhere at 18.

 

Final thoughts

To buy alcohol in Puerto Rico, you must be 18 years old.

Puerto Rico is a popular destination spot for high school graduates since they don’t need to be 21 to buy alcohol.

However, don’t forget to bring your ID because they ask for proof of age when buying alcohol. As long as you’re 18 or older, and you have your ID with you, you won’t have a problem.

Want more ideas to help plan your trip? Check out our article 45 Best Things To Do In Puerto Rico.

Article by

Miguel Concepcion

Writer at PuertoRico.com. I’ve lived in Puerto Rico for 14 years and have experienced every inch of this stunning island. Growing up in Puerto Rico has helped me truly learn about the rich culture and extensive history this island has to offer. I share my local knowledge in all of the articles that I write.

About the author

Find the best things to do
by interest