Can You Drink the Water in Mexico?

So, you’re planning a trip to Mexico, and you were wondering, “Can you drink the water in Mexico?” If you’re from the USA or other countries with safe tap water, you might think this is okay since people do it every day, but the truth about Mexico tap water may surprise you.

Any first-time travelers will need to know about relevant health and safety protocols. Keep reading to find out if you can drink the water in Mexico and why you should or shouldn’t.

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Is Tap Water Safe to Drink in Mexico?

The answer to this is that it is definitely not safe. Tap water in Mexico is unfit for human consumption, and you should avoid drinking it when in the country.

When at a restaurant or somebody’s house, you won’t receive tap water. You can expect that the water comes from a filtration system or right out of a bottle. No one will ever serve you tap water since the locals don’t drink it either.

can you drink the water in mexico

Why Can’t You Drink the Water in Mexico?

The reason you can drink the water in Mexico is that there may be harmful bacteria and microorganisms in the water not typically found in US tap water. In addition, the water pipes can also contain harmful levels of lead and heavy metals that can be toxic to humans over time.

Bacterias such as giardia and escherichia coli could potentially cause ailments such as nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and cramps. There are numerous other bacteria, viruses, and parasites that aren’t indigenous to US waters and may be harmful to your health.

That doesn’t just go for Mexico; there are many countries with risky filtration systems where you should avoid drinking tap water.

While one sip is unlikely to make you sick, you’re at a higher risk when you drink unfiltered water in Mexico and should avoid it overall.

can you drink the water when you're in mexico
Jarritos soda is a popular choice instead of drinking water in Mexico

Where Should I Get My Water From in Mexico?

There are a few solutions you can turn to for water, so you don’t have to resort to drinking soda and alcohol entirely during your stay.

Bottled Water

Bottled water is available everywhere where there are people in Mexico. Restaurants, stores, and markets are likely to have them, and there are also numerous vendors that can be found all over who sell exclusively bottled water. 

Filtered Water

Some businesses and homeowners have water filtration systems built into their homes and buildings, which allows tap water to be safely consumed. 

You can also use mini-water filtration systems such as a Brita to clean your water.

Boiling Water

This method is generally pretty safe, though it most likely won’t be your first option. Boiling water can kill harmful bacteria and parasites and is a pretty good last resort option. 

Washing Your Hands With Tap Water

You’ll definitely want to opt for washing your hands with tap water over not washing them at all. 

Washing your hands with tap water will generally be okay if you use a high-power hand soap that kills most bacteria. 

Make sure to use hot water, plenty of soap, and sanitizer if you’d like to be extra safe.

Brushing Your Teeth With Tap Water

Is brushing your teeth okay with Mexican tap water?

Many locals brush their teeth with the tap water, and it should be fine just as long as you don’t ingest any. That’s not to say you’re not at risk using the tap water. If you have a small cut in your mouth, bacteria can get into the bloodstream and make you sick.

The best thing you can possibly do is to brush your teeth with bottled, filtered, or boiled water.

Bathing With Tap Water

This is the same deal as washing your hands with tap water. You’re certainly not going to spend your entire trip without showering, and you definitely won’t be taking the time to use boiled water to wash yourself.

Likewise, you won’t be using individual bottles to clean yourself either.

Taking a nice hot shower with the tap water should ultimately be fine. Just be sure to use plenty of soap, and make sure not to ingest any of the water.

Are Ice Cubes Safe in Mexico?

If you’re getting ice cubes at a restaurant, then most likely yes. People will make those ice cubes out of filtered water.

It would be best if you didn’t freeze your own ice cubes, thinking that the cold would kill the bacteria. Freezing temperatures don’t kill viruses and bacteria; only high temperatures do.

Commercial ice cubes have holes in the middle – if you see these, the drinks are safe!

FAQ – Drinking Water In Mexico

Here are some frequently asked questions around the web about Mexico drinking water.

Is bottled water safe to drink in Mexico?

Bottled water whose seal hasn’t been broken and is made by a major manufacturer is safe for consumption.  

If you’re buying from a street vendor, make sure they didn’t take the cap off earlier.

Is it safe to wash dishes with tap water?

Yes, dishes can and should be washed with tap water. Similar to washing your hands or showering, you’re going to want a potent disinfecting dish soap that’ll kill all the bacteria on your dishes.

What illnesses can I get from drinking Mexican water?

It’s hard to answer this definitively since there are so many different potential bacterias and viruses that you can find in Mexican tap water.

A common illness is known as “Montezuma’s revenge,” which refers to travelers who go to Mexico and experience severe diarrhea due to an intestinal infection. 

What should I do if I get sick in Mexico?

If you’re experiencing mild symptoms such as diarrhea or cramps, it’s best to rest and let it pass. If you’re feeling especially ill, don’t be afraid to go to the nearest doctor or hospital.

Remember, healthcare tends to cost a lot less outside the US and won’t break the bank.

Conclusion – Can You Drink The Water In Mexico?

So, can you drink the water in Mexico? In short, NO! You should never drink Mexican tap water as you can potentially get really sick from it. Opt for bottled or filtered water and use plenty of bacteria-killing soap when washing yourself.

We hope this article was able to provide you with everything you need to know about Mexican tap water and why you should be careful around it. 

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