It has been years in the making, but you are finally doing it. Your hard-earned efforts are sending you on vacation to Mexico, a country known for its rich culture, great food, scenic views, and tourist-friendly environment. While beautiful beaches and pleasant weather may be welcomed distractions, you should not get too comfortable, especially with drinking water. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Mexico's tap water is still unsafe to drink during your stay 1. If you have never visited Mexico, you are probably asking, but why? Two words. Sanitation levels.
The country's sanitation levels are different from what we are accustomed to. If not properly filtered, local water containing bacteria, viruses, and parasites can result in traveler's diarrhea or an upset tummy, ruining a perfect trip. The last thing you want is to spend your vacation sick from traveler’s diarrhea.
Martinez Salgado from the National Polytechnic institute says, "Several studies have documented the detection of aerobic and coliform bacteria in bottled water at counts that exceed national and international drinking water limits for human use."
Purify With a Water Bottle Filter
Before visiting Mexico, consider buying a water purifier filter bottle to take along with you. We recommend using Water-to-Go's Active Water Bottle. It is a safe and convenient way to filter all contaminants found in the water. No filter bottle? No problem. Ask your host or concierge during your stay if the property offers access to purified water.
Avoid Ice Cubes
Ice cubes are something that we often do not think about. It can contain the same bacteria from the regional water we are trying to avoid. When it comes down to what is safe, it all depends on its source. Ice from a filtered water system is safe to consume, and ice made from a local tap is not. Do not be afraid to ask how the ice cubes are made. If you still are not sure, then hold the ice. Better to have a room-temperature beverage than a ruined vacation from one iced drink. Despite popular belief, not all alcoholic beverages are exempt from this rule.
Rethink Leafy Greens, Fruits, and Veggies
Stay away from fresh fruits and veggies, at least while in Mexico. Healthy food items such as leafy greens, fruits, and veggies are more likely to be rinsed in unfiltered water. A fruit and vegetable wash, like Microdyn, is a safe way to rinse your fruits and veggies before eating. Consuming fresh fruits and veggies could be risky if you cannot get your hands on a germ solution.
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.
Other Everyday Things to Think About
Grabbing a cup of coffee or tea in the morning can be a typical routine back home. Drinking a cup of morning brew in Mexico is no different. However, it is important to ensure that your coffee or tea is boiling hot to kill bacteria. You should also beware of what you put into your drink, as it could cause contamination, regardless of temperature.
If your adventure involves the entire family, including little ones, you will also want to pay close attention to their water ingestion. When preparing baby bottles, drinking water, cereal, or oatmeal, use filtered instead of tap. Anything that requires water (unless it is boiled) should be filtered. Drinking mixed juices in Mexico should also be avoided.
Are you a fan of fountain drinks? If so, this may be hard to read. Drinks served from a fountain are also deemed risky because they are mixed with carbonation, syrup, and, you probably guessed it, unfiltered tap water. Nevertheless, avoid fountain drinks. Canned beer and bottled wine are okay to drink when traveling in Mexico if you choose to do so.
Brush Teeth with Filtered Water.
Water is essential to brushing our teeth and is something we do daily. However, consider the water source before you brush, gargle, or rinse your mouth. Tiny droplets of contaminated water are all it takes to affect the digestive tract, regardless of time or quantity, and can happen rather quickly.
When it comes to dental hygiene, it is best to play it safe. Purified water is a safe source to use while traveling through Mexico. Because we are creatures of habit, keep a water purifier filter bottle by the sink. Also, remember to keep talking and singing to a minimum in the shower.
With All That in Mind, Here is Everything You Need to Know Before Drinking Water in Mexico:
- Drink only purified water. Water to Go's water purifier filter bottle will eliminate up to 99.999% of the dangers in unfamiliar water. Ask your hotel or restaurant if they purify their water. If not, purchase a familiar bottled water brand with a sealed cap.
- Beware of ice cubes. Avoid ice cubes unless you are absolutely confident of the water source it is from. Days on the beach may be hot, but an icy drink is not worth risking your vacation.
- Think twice about that salad. Salad and its fresh ingredients could be washed in unfiltered water. Fruit and veggie wash is a great way to eliminate enzymes and bacteria left behind by tap water. Peelable fruit and veggies are also safe to eat. If you cannot peel it, it is probably best to avoid it. Eating fresh fruits and veggies without taking the proper precautions can put you at risk of getting sick.
- Use purified water to brush your teeth. Even a tiny drop of contaminated water can contain enough germs to send you to el baño instead of la playa. Play it safe. Keep a purifier filter bottle handy or a bottle with a sealed cap near your sink so you won't be tempted to use the tap source.
What to Do if You Are Feeling the Symptoms from Drinking Water in Mexico.
Make sure to drink plenty of purified water or electrolyte fluids to help keep you hydrated. Water is also great for flushing bacteria out of your system. Grab your Water-to-Go travel filter bottle, fill it with water or a purified water source and drink up. Your recovery depends on it.
Rehydration salts are also a great way to rehydrate. They replace the fluid you lost due to diarrhea and vomiting and can be found at most pharmacies. No one ever expects to fall victim to illness when traveling, making it difficult to predict. If you cannot get your hands on rehydration salts, do not worry. Use this simple hydration solution instead:
¾ teaspoon table
2 tablespoons of sugar
1 travel Water-to-Go bottle
Sugar-free flavor powder (like Crystal Light)
The aftermath of diarrhea and vomiting can be rough. In addition to non-contaminated water, you need food that you can stomach so your body can revert to its normal levels of function—ever heard of the bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast (BRAT) diet? If not, it still is a thing but is no longer recommended because it restricts the body of essential nutrients. Created by dietitians, this nutritional rule initially included four items thought to be bland enough not to cause more stomach troubles. However, there is one message that nutritionists can agree on, caffeine and dairy products are not on the "take" list when trying to battle against a sour tummy.
If you notice anything that is out of the ordinary, such as a fever or prolonged symptoms, call your local embassy or consulate for help locating a physician nearby.
Are filtered water purification bottles enough to keep you healthy in Mexico?
It depends solely on the bottle. Most filtered water bottles have charcoal filters that may be good for microbiological contaminants, but not all. They lack protection from viruses like Hepatitis A, chemicals, pesticides, and dangerous heavy metals like lead.
On the other hand, water purification bottles have advanced filters with multiple stages of filtration technology. Water-to-Go features a unique 3-in-1 filter that removes bacteria, chemicals, heavy metals, parasites, pesticides, and viruses in Mexico's water.
Why single-use plastic bottles are a bad idea.
Bottled water is easy to find in Mexico. Only buy familiar brands (E.g., Dasani, Evian, Fiji, Voss, Bonafont, Ciel) and check to see that the cap is sealed. Refilling your plastic bottle at any tap might be a habit at home, but it is not recommended in Mexico. When you are finished, toss or recycle your bottle. Do not refill it unless you are filling it from a purified water source.
While single-use plastic bottles may be convenient for us, that may not be true for our environment. All that plastic adds up. It causes damage to your wallet and the planet. Did you know that one million plastic water bottles are bought (worldwide) every minute? More than 17 million barrels of oil are required to produce enough plastic water bottles to meet America's annual demand, and 79% of that plastic is not recycled. It ends up in landfill, our oceans, and on our beaches. However, there are solutions. One Water-to-Go 25 oz. filter equals 400 single-use plastic bottles.
More water, less weight.
When touring sites of Mexico, the last thing you need is water bottles weighing you down. A water purifier bottle gives you the freedom to carry just one bottle. Fill this easy-to-use and versatile bottle with water from any source, and in seconds, you are doing your part to help with the world's plastic pollution problem.
When vacationing in Mexico, it's best to play it safe. Always avoid drinking local tap water unless your hotel or restaurant has a purified water source. Use caution when consuming ice cubes, fresh salads, and fresh fruit. Consider a water purifier filter bottle as an easy way to ensure access to pure water in Mexico. Caution and preparation can mean the difference between the Mexico vacation of your dreams and a gastrointestinal upset.
Readers of this blog can get a 15% discount on Water-to-Go bottles. Use coupon code “MEXICO15” at checkout.
1Mexico – Travelers health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
2Traveler’s Diarrhea. Mayo Clinic