Drinking age in Jamaica
It used to be that there was no legal drinking age in Jamaica, and the legal purchase age was 16. This was very unusual to see in a country. Jamaica was very unique in offering no drinking age legislation. Perhaps that’s part of the fun that drew young people to Jamaica though. There were a lot of students that visited there over Spring Break to enjoy the Jamaican weather, parties, and events. Part of the allure might also have been the drinking age. There was no drinking age whatsoever. That caused a ton of people to come to the country.
The drinking age in Jamaica is now 18, however. It’s not a complete free-for-all when you go there as a tourist and drink for Spring Break because you still have to be 18. It’s not the same as it once was. However, enforcement of the law is lax in some places, and generally, if you look 15 or so, you can get away with drinking in some parts of the country. The drinking laws are very lax in some parts of the country, and there is kind of a permissive attitude to underage drinking amongst some bartenders, restaurant owners, and vendors. IDs are not usually checked in Jamaica.
Many of the islands drinks are mixtures of different kinds of alcohol, and they have some of the island’s best rum in them. A lot of tourists will say that the official legal drinking age is 18, but many of the salesmen on the island just don’t care. They’re not uptight, proscriptive, and chastising of underage drinkers that try to buy alcohol. They generally have a laissez-faire attitude about it. Other sources indicate that the minimum drinking age is very strict in some parts of the country. It really depends on where you are on the island.
Some people say that you can bribe or tip bartenders to get drinks if you’re underage. Bars can allow minors to come in if they are accompanied by their parents, but the minors are not allowed to drink in the bar. A parent can also be arrested if they have children that are not their own drinking on their property. If a teen party occurs on the premises, then that parent can be charged if there are children other than their own children that are drinking at the party. This set of laws is not that uncommon. Jamaica is generally like any other country in Europe that has a legal minimum drinking age of 18. While some sources say that they may be a little more lax in certain areas, it’s not any different than countries in Europe that have certain bad salespeople that sell alcohol to minors that are under the age of 18 years old when they shouldn’t be doing so.
Jamaica is a great place to go party and have fun, but just make sure you’re 18 before you go, and you have your ID. You won’t get to enjoy the best rum in the world, or dance clubs, or parties, without being able to drink while you’re there.