Is Mexico’s water safe to drink?
Updated: April 2017
I’m sure that if you are considering moving to Mexico, or even just visiting, you have by now heard that Mexico has some water problems. You probably read that it is only safe to drink bottled water and have been advised to also brush your teeth with it. Someone may have even told you not to eat ice in Mexico.
So, you are probably wondering: “What is up with Mexico’s water?”
A very valid question. Here is the scoop: Mexico has (and still does) suffered from water quality problems. There are many reasons for this. Of which, the most notable are inadequate water treatment facilities and outdated water delivery infrastructure.
Unfortunately, this means that majority of potable water delivered to Mexican households is either odd in color, weird in smell, or carries unspecified impurities (including bacteria).
The problem is not just that potable water is inadequately purified. The problem is also in the pipes; they are old and rusty and introduce impurities into the water that can make it unsafe for drinking.
So, What Does This Mean?
All this adds up to both locals and tourists getting sick when drinking from the tap. And so, Mexico has become a “bottled water country”. Bottled water is used everywhere for drinking, cooking, and even bathing babies. According to NY Times, in 2011 “Mexicans used about 127 gallons of bottled water per person a year, more than four times the bottled-water consumption in the United States and more than any country surveyed.”
When I travel, I usually like to stay in small, boutique style hotels and I can tell you from personal experience that most of them provide bottled water. My Mexican friends buy bottled water in five-gallon jugs and use it in everyday life. Certainly, they cook with bottled water.
Many of the mega hotels advertise that they purify their water. But I gotta tell ya: I’m not taking any chances, especially with my super sensitive stomach.
Another factor that affects visitors getting sick after drinking Mexico’s water is simply that our bodies aren’t used to it. Every part of the world handles water purification differently. And it’s not even that U.S. facilities are so much better. It’s because when we grow up with local water, our bodies are used to the bacteria present in it. If you move to Mexico or any other country, the locals may be able to safely drink some of the water but you can’t because your body is not accustomed to it.
Tips For Drinking Mexico’s Water:
So, all that, is to say that Mexico’s water isn’t great. If you’re traveling there or moving there, I would advise that you opt for bottled water. I personally use bottled water even to brush my teeth. I have however, safely consumed ice. This is because most ice in Mexico is purchased from ice manufacturing facilities and they all use purified water.
If you’re extra paranoid, like myself, you could consider bringing one of these Potable Aqua Water Purification Tablets with you and treat any water you drink. Or, if you prefer no iodine, try LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. They are cheap and easy to transport with you.
Oh, and don’t worry, it is perfectly fine to shower and bathe in the water in Mexico, it is only internal consumption that’s the problem. Besides, you can just drink alcohol instead of water – wasn’t that always the plan anyway? 🙂
I hope this helps shed some light on the water issues in Mexico.
Photo credit to Supertrooper at FreeDigitalPhotos.net