Can You Drink the Water in Mexico? – All You Need to Know

Can you drink the water in Mexico? The short answer is NO, referring to the TAP water. But Can you wash your teeth, or drink iced beverages? or Can you eat salad? I am going to answer all of that and more in this post.

Getting sick is definitely one of the worst things that could happen, especially if you are on vacation away from your safe environment and your family.

So, if you’re planning a trip to Mexico, one of the first things you may wonder is whether to drink the water or not.

In this post, I’ll answer all your questions related to drinking water in Mexico so that you can enjoy a safe and memorable trip!

Planning a trip to Mexico for your next holiday can be a little intimidating, especially for those who are traveling to a country where the language and culture are vastly different.

Can you drink the water in Mexico

However, once you get comfortable in your accommodations, there is a lot to see and do in this awe-inspiring country.

Read below to learn about the drinkable water in Mexico. Whether you can cook, brush, and shower using tap water, you can also find answers to questions regarding the water served in resorts and restaurants.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Mexico?

You shouldn’t drink Mexican tap water. You will find conflicting information about drinking tap water in Mexico on the internet.

Some of the answers mention that tap water in Mexico is safe to drink if it’s coming from a running line (i.e., the line has been in continuous use).

However, the risk is the same with tap water regardless of the condition of the waterline.

This is because the water system in Mexico only cleans the water to a certain degree, unlike most Western countries, where it’s thoroughly purified to make it drinkable.

So, to put it simply, drinking tap water is not a good idea if you’re in Mexico.

An exception is when you see hotels or homes where they installed their own filters, in which case you can drink it, but in doubt, I would avoid it.

Do Locals Drink the Water in Mexico?

No. The locals avoid drinking tap water in Mexico because it’s not clean enough to drink. Everyone who knows about tap water and its risks here will avoid it.

Since the tap water in Mexico isn’t good enough for human consumption, it’s also unsafe for the locals.

Some don’t even use tap water for their animals.

One way to make it drinkable is by boiling it, but everyone here usually prefers purified water either purchased and stocked in five-gallon containers or supplied by a home water delivery service.

What’s the Best Bottled Water in Mexico?

Since tap water in Mexico isn’t drinkable, bottled water is one of the top alternatives that would come to anyone’s mind.

You can find many bottled water brands easily available wherever you go in Mexico, but if you want to know the best ones, Epura and Bonafont are the best-selling purified water brands with the best reputation in the country and the cheapest.

Another great brand to go for if you’re looking for the best quality is Santa Maria. It is natural spring water sourced from the mountains of Central Mexico, and also my favorite bottled water!

Of course, there are also many other brands, but choosing a trusted one is better.

Also, you can buy a refillable water bottle. These are designed to be reusable and refill your water in cafes, restaurants, or hotels so you can stay hydrated wherever you go.

They’re also great for the environment, considering how single-use plastics (including regular water bottles) are causing so many issues and polluting the environment.

Many hotels offer a refilling service and place the water tanks at easy reach for the guests to refill their water bottles.

Where Can I Buy Bottled Water in Mexico?

In Mexico, you can buy bottled water basically everywhere. I always recommend getting your own water bottle and getting a refill in any restaurant or your own hotel.

However, in case you are in a situation where your water bottle is empty or in any other emergency, you can buy water in grocery stores or the OXXO convenience store. You will find it everywhere and at every gasoline station.

Other convenience stores are 7-Eleven, GOMART, and EXTRA.

You will also see “abarrotes” which are local grocery store shops, and all the pharmacies will have water bottles, just like in the United States

Why Can’t You Drink the Water in Mexico?

As I mentioned earlier, tap water in Mexico isn’t safe to drink for many reasons.

Getting sick from water-borne organisms like bacteria, viruses, toxins, and parasites isn’t uncommon, but the major factor in deciding the risk of diseases is how well the water is filtered in a given region.

In Mexico, the water is purified to some extent at the source but insufficient to make it safe for drinking.

Also, it may get even more contaminated in the distribution system depending on the condition of the pipelines. For example, some bacteria accumulating in the pipes when not used for a while can cause sickness.

Also, it was mentioned that it can contain heavy metals that are not exactly good for our system.

So, generally, tap water in Mexico isn’t considered safe for drinking because you are far more likely to get sick from it.

Filtered water is only available in very few private homes.

Is Montezuma’s Revenge Mexico Sickness a Thing?

MOntezuma revenge in Mexico
Avoid this!

It is. Montezuma’s Revenge is the local name in Mexico for Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD). If you don’t know about it, TD is a sickness caused by the change in microscopic organisms in the water you drink.

For example, drinking water in a different region can cause Traveler’s Diarrhea.

This happens when your body is used to the organisms that live in the water of your home country and has not yet built up a tolerance for the organisms found in the water of another place.

Just like anywhere else in the world, the organisms in the water of Mexico might cause Montezuma’s Revenge, but the chances of that happening are rare.

Millions of people visit Mexico every year and have a fun vacation. Just make sure to drink clean water and avoid tap water to minimize the risk of sickness.

Can You Drink Iced Beverages in Mexico?

You can. Almost nobody uses tap water in Mexico, so the ice cubes and the iced beverages you will find in the various bars, cafes, restaurants, and hotels here are all prepared using purified water.

But, just to be extra cautious, try to research the bars and eateries you visit and read some reviews from other tourists to make sure you only go to the tried and trusted places for your food and drinks.

Can You Drink Coffee in Mexico?

Mexican coffe

Like all other drinks in Mexico, coffee is also prepared using purified water. The added benefit of coffee is that heating it would kill off any microorganisms that might have caused sickness.

What’s more, it’s one of the popular drinks here, so you can, and definitely should, have Mexican coffee.

Mexican coffee can also make one of the most original souvenirs from Mexico that you can take home.

Can You Eat Salad in Mexico?

Salad dish In Mexico

I am sure you have read many times that you should not eat salad in Mexico, and that is because, in the majority of cases, raw vegetables are washed with tap water, which, as we mentioned above, it’s not drinkable.

However, you need to keep in mind that salads and fruits, in general, are washed not only with water but with other cleaning products or other natural ones, such as vinegar or bicarbonate.

I don’t think you can get sick in Mexico by eating salad, but it is also true that if you don’t feel comfortable eating it, don’t. That’s so simple.

Many local restaurants used salad as decoration, which doesn’t usually look nice. In that case, I leave it on the plate.

In more upscale restaurants, you can tell that the salad is fresh and, hopefully, well-washed.

Check out our article on the best Mexican food.

Cooking with Tap Water in Mexico

Preparing your meals using tap water in Mexico is one of the exceptions. As I mentioned earlier, boiling tap water can make it safe for use.

However, to be on the safe side, if you are cooking your meal, just use bottled water. Restaurants and bars use it too.

Tap water doesn’t taste good, either, so it’s not worth the risk. Besides, bottled water is really cheap.

Can You Drink the Water in Mexico Resorts?

Not in the majority of cases. Usually, most 5-star hotels and resorts in Mexico provide purified water plastic bottles in the hotel room or in the form of bottled water or in 5-gallon containers to refill your bottles.

Only in a few of the resorts will you find that they have their own filtration systems installed, in which case the staff will tell you it’s safe to drink the water there, but it’s very rare.

Can You Drink Water in Mexico in Restaurants?

The restaurants have premium water bottles on their menu so that you won’t be given drinkable water from the get-go.

However many restaurants offer complimentary water for their customers. If you don’t want to purchase bottled water, ask for complimentary drinking water, and you will get a glass of purified water.

Alternatively, you can always bring your own bottle of water.

Glass of water

Can You Brush Your Teeth with Tap Water in Mexico?

Given the little amount of water you might ingest while brushing and rinsing your mouth, the chance of getting sick from brushing your teeth using tap water in Mexico is very small.

However, if you are coming to Mexico for the first time, I recommend using bottled water instead to be safe.

Keep a bottle of water beside the faucet so you don’t forget.

And rinse your mouth using the bottled water you keep by the faucet. After all, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

Can You Shower in Mexico Water?

Having to arrange purified water to shower separately would cause many issues for both the tourists and the hospitality industry in Mexico. Fortunately, that’s not a problem, and the tap water here is 100% safe to shower in.

me dressed up to go to the archeological site oxtankah
Me, covered up to avoid mosquito bites at Oxtankah archeological site!

Read my article about Mexico travel tips.

What to Do If You Get Sick from the Water in Mexico

Despite taking good care, there is always a small chance you can get sick. If that happens, there are a couple of things you can do.

In case of severe symptoms, go to the nearest hospital ASAP! But if it’s not that big of an emergency, and your symptoms involve vomiting or diarrhea, you should see a doctor instead.

How to See a Doctor in Mexico

Finding a good doctor in Mexico is not that hard. You can look up big pharmaceuticals like Farmacia Similares, Farmacia Yza, and Farmacia Guadalajara on Google Maps and visit the nearest one.

These pharmacies usually have walk-in clinics where you can easily see a doctor.

The process is very fast, straightforward, and not at all expensive. You will see a doctor and get your diagnosis and prescription in less than 15 minutes.

Since you’re already at a pharmacy, you will find the medication prescribed to you readily available there as well.

All of this costs a surprisingly low sum of money (usually less than $10). Just ensure the pharmacy you’re going to has a walk-in clinic because some of them might not.

In case of severe symptoms involving hospitalization, it would be far more expensive in Mexico, so I always recommend getting travel insurance before traveling to Mexico to stay safe.

Below are my recommendations.

Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens, I am covered. I have been using  Safety Wing, and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet, you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.

Drinking Water in Mexico to Avoid Dehydration

Drinking tap water in Mexico isn’t the only way to get sick. The country has a tropical climate, so the temperatures here usually remain warm throughout the year.

On top of that, the sunlight and the heat can be quite intense in the daytime, especially during summer, making it very easy to get dehydrated if you don’t drink lots of water throughout the day.

The usual climate aside, the hot beaches and all-inclusive hotels of Mexico with lots of free drinks are also where you might get dehydrated if you don’t drink lots of water.

So, all in all, make sure to hydrate more than usual in Mexico to avoid sickness from dehydration as well.

stay hydrated

Can You Drink Ice in Mexico?

Yes, you can definitely have ice in your drink in Mexico because they’re not made with tap water.

What to Do if You Accidentally Drink Tap Water in Mexico?

You’ll most likely be fine, but you might get an upset stomach or diarrhea. To avoid dehydration, go and see a doctor if you’re not feeling well. And if you’re really sick, go to the nearest hospital immediately.

Can You Use Tap Water to Make Coffee in Mexico?

While theoretically, boiling water should be enough to kill most bacteria, it’s not always reliable and I wouldn’t risk it. Even if you boil tap water, the taste may still be off-putting so it’s best to use bottled water for your coffee.

Can You Drink Tap Water in Cancun?

No, you can’t drink tap water in Mexico and that goes for Cancun as well. However, you can buy bottled water easily at stores and restaurants or you can bring your own filtration system.

Can I Drink Water at My Hotel in Cancun?

You can’t drink the tap water in any hotel or resort in Cancun. More luxurious hotels will provide bottled water in your room, but don’t worry if your hotel doesn’t provide this service, plastic bottles of water are readily available in stores and restaurants.

Is It Ok to Shower in Cancun?

Yes, it’s definitely ok to shower in Cancun. Just don’t go drinking the water from the tap while you’re showering ;).

Can You Drink Water in Tulum?

No, you can’t drink water from the tap in Tulum. It’s not safe to drink unless it has been purified by boiling, filtering, or some other method. Drink bottled water or bring a filtered water bottle.

Can You Drink the Water in Mexico: Final Thoughts

So, to sum up, what we have been talking about in this post. NO, you cannot drink tap water in Mexico, but you can drink iced beverages, coffee, or salad, and fruits.

Make sure you take a refillable water bottle with you and stay hydrated because drinking TAP water is not the only thing that can make you sick in Mexico.

Dehydration due to lack of water and too much alcohol intake can also make us sick.

On another note, I believe that our immune systems work differently for all of us, and you should know well enough about how your body works and just be careful.

For example, street food in Mexico is one of the most popular delicacies, and while I haven’t heard of many people getting sick from it, others have a more delicate stomach and get sick.

Not all street vendors in Mexico operate in good hygienic conditions, so make sure you know where you are buying from.

Especially if you are attracted by the fresh fruit sold on the street, make sure they slice it now, and others do not touch it. They are usually very good at it.

And the so-called Montezuma revenge (or traveler diarrhea) is a way for our system to eliminate bacteria that are not welcome in our body.

It’s uncomfortable and not exactly pleasant, especially if you are on a boat trip or somewhere away from the toilet, but it isn’t usually a terrible issue.

Just look after yourself, pay more attention to what you eat or drink, and if it doesn’t go away, go and see a doctor.

Make sure you get your travel insurance so that, in the worst-case scenario, you will have your expenses covered.

Before You Go…

Here are some useful posts that you may be interested in!

Do I need travel insurance in Mexico? Yes, you do! I can never stress enough what a lifesaver it can be in unexpected situations. Although I hope I never need it, it gives me peace of mind to know that whatever happens, I am covered. I have been using  Safety Wing, and I find it quite fair, covering a lot for its pricing level. Depending on your needs or you can compare different insurance companies on this useful site, TRAVEL INSURANCE MASTER. Make sure you read carefully what’s included before making the purchase. If you are undecided yet, you can read my post on the best travel insurance for Mexico for more clarity.