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 the 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 a 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 know about the drinkable water in Mexico, whether you can cook, brush, and shower using tap water, and 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. On the internet, you will find conflicting information about drinking tap water in Mexico. 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, it’s really not a good idea to drink tap water 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 just 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 just as unsafe for the locals as well.

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

One way to make it drinkable is by boiling it, but everyone here usually just 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 the 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 most 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 it’s better to choose a trusted one.

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 the 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.

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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 any other emergency, you can buy water in grocery stores or the OXXO convenience store that you will find everywhere and at every gasoline station.

Other convenience stores are 7eleven, GOMART, 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, the 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 not sufficiently enough 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 that accumulate in the pipes when they aren’t 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, the tap water in Mexico isn’t considered safe for drinking, because you are far more likely to get sick from it.

And 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 because 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, as well as 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

Just like all the 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 the 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 by eating salad, but it is also true that if you don’t feel comfortable eating it, just don’t. That’s so simple.

Honestly, in many local restaurants, they use to serve salad as a decoration and it doesn’t usually look nice. In that case, I just 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 the tap water can make it safe for use.

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

Tap water just 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 waters 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 watered bottles on their menu, so you won’t be given drinkable water from the get-go.

But 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, very small.

However, if you are coming to Mexico for the first time I would recommend you use bottled water instead, just to be on the safe side.

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

And just 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?

Definitely. Having to separately arrange purified water to shower would cause a ton of 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 in Oxtankah archeological site!

Also, read my article on Mexico travel tips: everything you should know before traveling to Mexico

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 an emergency, and your symptoms involve things like vomiting or diarrhea, you should go 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 make sure the pharmacy you’re going to has a walk-in clinic, because some of them might not have one.

In case of severe symptoms that would involve hospitalization, it would be far more expensive in Mexico and that is why I always recommend getting travel insurance before traveling to Mexico, just to stay on the safe side.

Here 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, which makes it very easy to get dehydrated if you don’t actively 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 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, some others have a more delicate stomach and they do get sick.

Not all street vendors 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 at the moment and it’s not touched by others. They are usually very good at it.

And the so-called Montezuma revenge (or traveler diarrhea) is a way for our system to get rid of bacteria that are not welcomed 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, just 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.

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.