Water to Go

Author: Paul Connolly

Water-to-Go North America

You have been planning and saving and will soon depart or your much-deserved vacation in Mexico. But what about the water? According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mexico's tap water is still unsafe to drink during your stay. But why? Why does everyone warn against drinking the water in Mexico? Why does the water in Mexico make you sick? How can I protect myself?  In this brief guide, we'll explore whether the water in Mexico is safe to drink, strategies to avoid waterborne illnesses, how a water filter bottle can provide protection against illnesses in Mexico and we will also answer some frequently asked questions about the safety of drinking water for visitors to Mexico.

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How Not To Get Sick in Mexico

Mark and his wife just returned from Mexico. Click below to hear how they avoided getting sick from the local water by using a Water-to-Go water filter bottle. 

Readers of this blog can get a 15% discount on Water-to-Go bottles. Use coupon code “MEXICO15” at checkout.


Drink Purified Water from a Water Filter Bottle.

Water filter bottles offer on-the-go purification, allowing travelers to access clean drinking water wherever they are. Water-to-Go water filter bottles allow visitors to Mexico to drink safely from any tap on the beach, in the city or in the rural countryside. The filter removes unsafe contaminants that could make you sick including viruses (hepatitis), bacteria (cholera), parasites (giardia), heavy metals (lead, arsenic) , chemicals (fluoride, chlorine, nitrates) and microplastics.  Water filter bottles are more cost effective over time, and much more friendly to the environment, when compared to continuous purchases of bottled water. By opting for a reusable water filter bottle, visitors reduce plastic pollution, aligning with sustainable travel practices and fostering a more responsible approach to environmental conservation.

Man in sunglasses drinking from water filter bottle

Mexican Bottled Water. Bottled water is another option. Stick to well-known and reputable brands when purchasing bottled water in Mexico: Ciel, Bonafont, E-Pura, Sante, Electropura. Avoid buying water from street vendors unless the source and authenticity can be verified. Always check the seal on the water bottle to ensure it hasn't been tampered with.  

Opt for Cooked Foods

Choose cooked foods over raw options to add an extra layer of safety. The cooking process often involves boiled water, reducing the risk of contamination. This is particularly relevant when enjoying street food.

Thoroughly Wash Fruits and Vegetables

Modifying food preferences is your best bet to staying healthy during your trip. According to the Mayo Clinic, the general rule of thumb for eating raw fruits and veggies in Mexico is to boil them, cook them, peel them or forget them 2. Peelable fruits and veggies like bananas and avocados are safe to eat; their non-peelable counterparts, such as grapes and berries, are not. 

Fruit in Mexico - Thoroughly Wash Fruits and Vegetables

The Risk of Getting Sick from Ice in Mexico

Consuming ice in Mexico can pose a risk to your health, particularly in establishments where tap water may be used. Since ice is often made from the local water supply, it can carry contaminants that may cause waterborne illnesses. To reduce this risk, opt for beverages served without ice or inquire about the water source if you choose to have ice in your drinks. Unless you are absolutely sure the water used for the ice has been purified, avoiding ice drinks is crucial, especially in smaller establishments or street vendors where tap water may be used to make ice.

Ice in water in Mexico -  The Risk of Getting Sick from Ice in Mexico

Answers to Common Questions 

Can you drink the water in Mexico City?
In Mexico City, it's advisable for visitors to avoid drinking tap water directly from the faucet. The water quality can vary, and the local tap water may not be treated to the standards suitable for consumption by tourists. 
Can you drink the water in Cabo?
While treated, drinking Cabo's tap water isn't recommended due to aging pipes and limited water quality data. Stick to bottled or purified water from a water filter bottle for peace of mind.
Can you drink the water in Puerto Vallarta?
Puerto Vallarta's tap water is considered safe by official standards, but many locals and visitors still opt for bottled water or a water filter bottle due to potential contamination in older pipes or personal preference.
Can you drink the water in Cancun?
While the tap water in Cancun may technically meet the Mexican government's safety standards, exercising extreme caution when it comes to consumption is highly recommended for visitors since Cancun's water distribution system, like many in Mexico, has aging infrastructure that can introduce contaminants like bacteria or parasites into the water supply despite treatment.
I accidentally brushed my teeth with Mexican water. What do I do?
If you accidentally brushed your teeth with Mexican water, take precautions to minimize potential risks. Avoid ingesting more water, rinse your mouth thoroughly with bottled or purified water, and refrain from consuming tap water. While accidental exposure is generally minimal, these steps help reduce any potential health concerns associated with uncertain water quality. If symptoms persist, seek prompt medical attention.
If I get sick can I take Imodium and Pepto-Bismol. together?
No. According to Healthline, interactions can make one or more of the drugs involved less effective. They can also increase your risk of side effects. Because of this, you shouldn't take Imodium A-D and Pepto-Bismol together. Taking them together won't increase how well they work for you.
Is bathroom sink water safe to drink in Mexico?
In Mexico, it is generally not considered safe to drink water directly from the bathroom sink. Water from bathroom taps may not be treated to the same standards as water from kitchen taps, and there is a higher risk of contamination. To ensure safe drinking water, it is recommended to use bottled water or purified water from a water filter bottle for drinking and oral hygiene purposes. Taking this precaution helps minimize the risk of waterborne illnesses and contributes to a healthier experience during your time in Mexico.

 Decorative Mexico bowls

Why is the Water in Mexico Bad?

While it's not accurate to say all water in Mexico is "bad," tap water can be risky. The water in Mexico faces challenges primarily due to inadequate infrastructure, industrial pollution, agricultural runoff, microbial contamination, and geographical factors. Microbial contamination, including bacteria and parasites, is widespread, leading to waterborne illnesses. 

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1. Mexico – Travelers health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

2. Traveler’s Diarrhea. Mayo Clinic

3. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/diarrhea/Imodium-ad-vs-pepto-bismol

For more information:

  • Lonely Planet: (Lonely Planet - Mexico). Lonely Planet is a well-known travel guide publisher, and their website often provides practical travel advice, including information on staying healthy and hydrated, which may include tips on safe drinking water.







Written by Water to Go North America

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