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Drinking Water in Mexico: Can You Drink the Tap Water?

Can you drink the water in Mexico? The answer is no. The tap water in Mexico is not safe to drink. Locals don’t drink it and neither should visitors. Luckily, bottled water and purified drinking water are widely available. You can also filter your water or boil it.

You can use the tap water for brushing your teeth, making coffee, cooking, showering, and more. It is also generally safe to drink beverages with ice and eat salads that were washed with tap water. Some resorts have purified tap water that is safe to drink.

In this guide, I will explain where to get clean and safe drinking water in Mexico so you don’t get sick. I’ll cover bottled water, purified water, water filters, and more. I’ll also explain exactly when it is safe and when it is not safe to use tap water in Mexico.

I’ve been traveling to Mexico for decades at this point. I also spent the past three years living in Mexico. So far, I have never gotten sick from the water. If you take some basic precautions, you can have you can pretty much eliminate the risk. Hopefully, this guide helps you stay healthy and hydrated during your next trip to Mexico.

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclosure policy for details.

Quick Answers

  • Can you drink the tap water in Mexico? No.
  • Can you brush your teeth with the tap water in Mexico? Yes.
  • Is it safe to drink beverages with ice in Mexico? Yes.
  • Is it safe to eat salads in Mexico? Yes.
  • Can you make tea and coffee with the tap water in Mexico? Yes, if you boil it.
  • Can you cook with the tap water in Mexico? Yes, if you boil it.
  • Is it safe to shower in the water in Mexico? Yes.
  • Can you wash dishes with the water in Mexico? Yes.

Can You Drink the Tap Water in Mexico?

No. Tap water in Mexico is generally not safe to drink. Pretty much everyone drinks filtered or bottled water instead. The tap water is not fit for human consumption.

You will get some conflicting information about this. Some people will tell you that it is safe to drink the tap water. Other people will tell you that it’s not even safe to brush your teeth with it. It’s best to just drink bottled or filtered water to be on the safe side.

There are also some cities and towns that have a great public water system where tap water is safe to drink. The problem is that it’s hard to know whether or not the water is potable without trying it out or getting it tested.

There is one exception. Some resorts, hotels, homes, and apartments have a plumbed-in water filtration system on-site. In this case, there will be a separate tap that dispenses clean drinking water. If the property you’re staying at has this system, there will probably be a sign next to the tap indicating that the water is safe to drink (agua potable in Spanish).

a Mexican man drinking bottled water

Why Can’t You Drink Tap Water in Mexico?

Most municipal water departments across Mexico purify the water so it is perfectly safe to drink when it leaves their facility. They use the same purification technology that is used in the United States and other developed countries.

The problem is the water distribution system. The water supply can become contaminated on its way from the water treatment facility to the tap.

The water might flow through old water pipes or sit in holding tanks where heavy metals, bacteria, parasites, protozoa, and viruses can contaminate the water. Some microorganisms that may be found in the water in Mexico include E. coli, Giardia, and Cryptosporidium.

In some cases, the tap water may be perfectly safe. Sometimes it’s not. Without testing the water in a lab, there is really no way of knowing whether it’s safe to drink or contaminated.

The microorganisms found in the water in Mexico are different from the microorganisms found in the water in your home country. This makes visitors more susceptible to getting sick if they accidentally ingest contaminated tap water. Your body may tolerate the microorganisms it’s used to.

Drinking Mexico water that is contaminated with unfamiliar microorganisms may cause Montezuma’s Revenge or traveler’s diarrhea (TD). More on that later.

The Mexican government is working on improving access to clean drinking water.

Do Locals Drink Tap Water in Mexico?

No. The locals don’t drink unfiltered tap water in Mexico. They drink purified water or bottled water instead. The tap water in Mexico is unsafe for everyone to drink, including the local people. Nobody wants to get sick. Even when Mexican tap water is potable, most locals prefer not to drink it. This means that nobody will ever offer you or serve you unfiltered tap water.

Guanajuato, Mexico

How to Get Drinking Water in Mexico: 3 Options

Because the tap water in Mexico is questionable at best, you’ll have to get your drinking water elsewhere. Luckily, clean and safe drinking water is readily available everywhere in Mexico. After all, everyone needs drinkable water and Mexican people don’t drink tap water either.

In this section, I’ll outline three ways to get clean drinking water, wherever you are in the country.

1. Buy Bottled Water

Buying bottled water is the safest and most convenient option. Every supermarket, convenience store (OXXO, 7-Eleven, Extra, etc.), gas station, restaurant, hotel, pharmacy, and street vendor in Mexico sells bottled water. Most water bottles are 500 ml, 1 liter, 1.5 liter, or 2 liters. You can also buy 5 liter, 10 liter, and 20 liter jugs.

There are a couple of drawbacks to buying bottled water. Most importantly, single-use plastic bottles aren’t great for the environment. Most single-use plastics end up in landfills where they sit for decades. The cost can also add up.

Some hotels and resorts include a free bottle of water with the room. Many smaller hotels and hostels have a water dispenser with a big jug of bottled water where you can refill a water bottle.

Some hotels stock bottled water in the minibar and charge for it. Be sure to check before you drink so you don’t get surprised with a big bill.

If you ask for water at a restaurant, the server will assume you want to buy a bottle of water. You’ll never be served water from the faucet. To order bottled water at a shop or restaurant, you can ask for ‘agua embotellada’ or ‘una botella de agua’.

When buying bottles of water, always check that the seal on the cap hasn’t been broken. People will sometimes collect old bottles, refill them with tap water, and sell them. This scam is uncommon in Mexico but not unheard of.

What is the Best Brand of Bottled Water in Mexico?

A few of the most common bottled water brands include Bonafont, Cristal, Ciel (bottled by Coca-Cola), Epura (bottled by Pepsi), and Santa María (bottled by Nestlé). You’ll also find some of your favorite international brands including Dasani, Evian, Fiji, VOSS, Smartwater, etc.

All of these brands are safe to drink. The brand doesn’t really matter. Drink whatever you like the taste of or drink the cheapest water if you’re on a budget.

Generally, Bonafont and Epura are the most common and the cheapest brands of bottled water. These brands both have good reputations. I usually drink Bonafont. It comes from wells near Monterrey. It’s soft and low-sodium.

How Much Does Bottled Water Cost in Mexico?

Assuming you drink 2 liters per day, you’ll spend around 20 pesos ($1) per day or 600 pesos ($30) per month on bottled drinking water while traveling in Mexico if you drink bottled water exclusively. The price varies by region and where you buy it.

The cheapest place to buy bottled water is in a supermarket. 1 liter water bottles cost 8-12 Mexican pesos (around 50 cents). 2 liter bottles cost about 10-20 pesos (50 cents-$1) each. If you want to save some money, you can buy a 5 liter jug for about 20-30 pesos ($1-$1.50) and refill a smaller bottle. A few major Mexican supermarket chains include Soriana, Chedraui, and Casa Ley.

Prices are a bit higher at restaurants, street food stands, resorts, large hotels, convenience stores, and around tourist attractions. Expect to pay around 20 pesos ( $1) for a 1 liter bottle. Premium or international brands also cost more than local brands.

A 20 liter garrafon

2. Buy Purified or Filtered Drinking Water in Mexico

Many Mexico hotels, hostels, and Airbnbs offer filtered water from a water dispenser for guests to refill their own water bottle. The water comes from a 20 liter jug called a garrafón.

This water is delivered by a water company. It is the same as bottled water, just sold in large containers. If you see a water dispenser in your hotel lobby, you know the water is clean and safe to drink. That’s what it’s there for.

How much does it cost to buy purified drinking water in Mexico?

A plastic 20 liter jug costs around 80-100 pesos ($4-$5). Refills cost about 25-40 pesos ($1.20-$2.00) including delivery.

If you have the delivery man bring the heavy water jug into your home, they will expect a tip. Assuming you drink 2 liters per day, you’ll spend around 90 pesos ($4.25) per month for the water alone. This is the cheapest way to buy drinking water.

Purified Water Refills and Delivery

If you’re staying in Mexico long-term or living in Mexico, you’ll probably want to buy your own 20 liter water jug (garrafón) and have it refilled or swapped with a full jug periodically. You can buy these jugs at many convenience stores, grocery stores, as well as directly from bottled water companies.

This is much cheaper than constantly buying bottled water. It’s also more convenient because you can get the jugs delivered so you don’t have to drag the heavy 20 liter jugs to your accommodation. You always have plenty of water on hand as well.

Mexico has 3 main water companies that offer delivery including Crystal, Bonafont, and Agua Pura. It’s important to note that once you buy a bottle that is marked with one of these company’s brand name, you must swap it out with full bottles from the same company. If you want to switch to a different company, you’ll have to buy a new bottle.

You can also purchase generic, unmarked bottles and have them refilled at a convenience store or a purified water shop in your neighborhood. Some of these local water businesses offer delivery as well.

Several times per week, a water truck or man on a cargo bicycle will come through the neighborhood with full jugs and swap out your empty jugs for fresh ones. They yell out the name of the water company they deliver for. Sometimes they are independent. You can just flag the guy down and purchase a full bottle and hand in your empty. You pay the delivery guy directly in cash.

In some cases, you can schedule a delivery or call your delivery person when you need a refill. The water delivery service works a bit differently in different parts of the country or even in different neighborhoods. Some companies offer better service than others. It’s a good idea to buy several bottles so you always have plenty of water and only have to get delivery every couple of weeks.

If you prefer, you can also refill the jug yourself. Every neighborhood has a shop that sells purified drinking water. Sometimes they have a vending machine that operates with coins and sometimes there is an attendant to fill the jug for you. You just bring your jug in, fill it up, pay for the water, then carry it home.

Water Dispensers

If you buy a 20 liter jug, you’ll probably want to buy a water dispenser. That way, you don’t have to lift the massive jug up to pour your water into your glass or bottle.

Starting at around 100 pesos, you can buy a small hand pump to attach to the top of a 20 liter jug. Most supermarkets sell these. Another option is a dispenser like the one below that holds the jug upside down and dispenses water with gravity. For around 1000 pesos, you can also buy nicer electric dispensers that cool and heats the water. Other styles are available as well including stands that allow you to tilt the jug to pour your water.

water dispenser with 20 liter bottle

3. Filter Your Own Water

Some homes and hotels in Mexico have their own water filtration systems plumbed in. These filters may use a carbon filter or a multi-stage filtration system with ultraviolet (UV) light. Sometimes tap water is filtered and sometimes water is delivered with a truck and stored in water tanks.

If you’re staying in a property with a water filtration system, you’ll see two taps. One is for regular tap water and the other is for filtered water.

There are also standalone water filters that attach to the faucet or to a water jug (like a Brita filter). These do not provide sufficient filtration to make tap water potable in Mexico.

You can also filter your own water with a handheld water filter or a water bottle with a built-in filter. These can filter tap water and make it safe to drink. As long as the water isn’t contaminated with chemicals or viruses, drinking tap water is fine after it’s been properly filtered.

These days, I often filter my own water when traveling. I have used my Sawyer Mini water filter in Mexico many times. For more info about the Sawyer Mini, check out my full review here.

The LifeStraw Go Water Filter Bottle is another popular option. The water filter is conveniently integrated into a reusable water bottle. You simply fill the water bottle and drink directly through the filter.

These filters remove all bacteria, debris, microplastics, and other contaminants that are larger than 0.1 micron. They do not remove most viruses, chemicals, pesticides, or heavy metals. With a filter, you know that you can have safe water to drink wherever you are.

It’s important to note that water has a high mineral content in some regions in Mexico. Most water filters can’t remove minerals. If you will be living in Mexico, it’s best to buy purified water.

Water filter cost

A decent water filter costs around $20-$30 and will last for many years as long as you periodically clean it and don’t lose it or break it. After filtering 40-50 liters your filter will have paid for itself. These filters are designed to filter thousands of liters of water before they need to be replaced.

You can get water to filter for free pretty much anywhere including hotels, bathrooms, gas stations, restaurants, etc. You can also get free water from streams, rivers, puddles, and lakes.

Boiling Water

You can also boil water to make it safe to drink. Boiling water kills bacteria, viruses, parasites, and protozoa, and makes it safe to drink.

Ideally, you want to boil water for 3 minutes to be safe but 1 minute is generally sufficient.

What water do locals drink in Mexico?

Locals and tourists drink the same water in Mexico. If the water is unsafe for a tourist to drink, it is also unsafe for a local to drink.

While staying in Mexico City, I asked a few acquaintances if they drink the local water. Most do not. They usually buy a few 20-liter bottles and a dispenser and have fresh water bottles delivered once every other week. I have met a few people who claim to drink from the tap.

Some people just don’t drink much water. Coca-Cola is incredibly popular in some regions where the water isn’t potable. You could also just sample some of Mexico’s excellent craft beers.

FAQ About Drinking Water in Mexico: What’s Safe and What’s Not?

Can I Drink the Water that Restaurants Serve in Mexico?

Yes. Any water that a restaurant serves will be safe to drink. Restaurants don’t want their customers to get sick. They will never serve tap water. If it makes you feel better, you can ask your server if the water is purified, but that isn’t necessary.

Every restaurant also sells bottled water. If you ask for water in a restaurant in Mexico, you will receive a bottle of water in most cases. They usually charge around 20-40 pesos for a 1 liter water bottle. In touristy areas, you might be charged more.

Many restaurants offer complimentary purified water by the glass with the meal. You’ll usually have to ask for a glass of water if you don’t want to buy bottled water. This will be either purified water from a bottle.

If you don’t want to pay for water at the restaurant or drink purified water, you can bring your own bottle with you. Nobody will care.

Can I Drink the Water from the Dispenser in the Hotel?

Yes. This is purified water that the hotel has delivered. It’s the same as bottled water. It is perfectly safe to drink. It’s there for customers to refill their water bottle.

Should I Avoid Ice Cubes While Traveling in Mexico?

No. It’s no longer necessary to avoid ice in Mexico. Many tourists avoid drinks with ice cubes. The idea is that the ice may be made from tap water. When the ice melts, it could contaminate your drink.

Lemonade with ice
These days, you no longer need to avoid ice in your drinks in Mexico

While this was a problem in the past, it’s not really anymore. Pretty much all ice is made from filtered water. You don’t have to deny yourself a cold drink out of fear of contaminated ice. Feel free to order an iced cocktail or ice water in restaurants, bars, and your hotel. There is very little risk. You can safely drink ice in Mexico.

There are some exceptions to this. If you’re buying an iced juice, agua fresca, or other drink from a small stand in a market or a roadside stand, there is some risk. It’s possible that the vendor made their own ice with tap water. This is extremely rare but it does happen.

In this situation, try looking at the ice. If it appears to be made in a machine, it’s probably safe. For example, cylindrical ice with a hole in the center comes from a factory. If the ice looks homemade, skip it or order your drink without ice.

Can I Brush My Teeth With Tap Water in Mexico?

Yes. It is fine to use tap water to brush your teeth in Mexico. There is no need to waste perfectly good bottled or purified water. You can use tap water to wet your toothbrush and rinse out your mouth.

You should be careful not to swallow the water while brushing. Avoid gargling because you’ll probably swallow some accidentally. When you rinse your mouth, spit a couple of times to make sure you get all of the water out.

Some people will disagree with this but I have used tap water to brush my teeth all over the world including India, East Africa, Latin America, and Southeast Asia, and have never gotten sick from brushing my teeth with tap water. Swallowing a few drops of water isn’t going to do you any harm.

If you want to be extra cautious, you can use filtered or bottled water to rinse your mouth out. This really isn’t necessary though.

Can I Drink Coffee and Tea Made with Tap Water in Mexico?

Yes. As long as you bring the water to a boil for at least one minute first, it is perfectly safe to drink coffee and tea made using tap water. Boiling water kills any bacteria and viruses that may be present.

The only problem is that some water has a funky taste. This could be from excessive mineral content or other contaminants. In this case, you may want to use purified water or bottled water.

To boil water, you can use an electric kettle. Another option is to pack an immersion water heater. Some drip coffee makers don’t heat the water long enough to kill all bacteria. If you’re using the coffee maker in your hotel room, consider using bottled or purified water just to be safe.

If you order a coffee or tea at a restaurant or cafe, it will be made using purified water. You don’t have to worry about getting sick in this case. It’s perfectly safe to buy tea and coffee in Mexico.

Can I Cook with Tap Water in Mexico?

Yes. As long as you bring the water to a complete boil for at least one minute, it is fine to cook with tap water in Mexico. Boiling the water kills all bacteria and viruses. Your food will overpower any poor taste that the water in Mexico leaves. There is no reason to waste purified water on cooking rice or pasta.

One issue you may encounter is that the water can leave some white residue on your pots and pans. This comes from the mineral contents in the water. Some parts of Mexico have harder water than others. Try to clean this off after cooking so it doesn’t build up on your pans.

Can I use Tap Water to Wash Food in Mexico?

Fresh fruits and vegetables

Yes. Most people rinse their fruits and vegetables in tap water before eating them or preparing them for cooking.

Washing your fruits and vegetables is particularly important in Mexico because produce generally isn’t cleaned thoroughly during processing. E Coli is a risk. Pesticides may also be present. Some produce is still covered in dirt that needs to be washed away.

To be safe, try to dry your foods off after washing so you avoid ingesting too much of the remaining water. Ingesting a few drops of remaining water won’t make you sick. If you’re going to cook the food anyway, it doesn’t really matter if it’s dry. The water will boil during cooking.

One type of food to be extra careful with is leafy greens like lettuce. These tend to hold quite a bit of water after washing. Shake them off well before you eat them or pat them dry with a paper towel.

If you are worried about getting sick from the remaining water on your food, you can wash your food with a vinegar and water mixture or warm soapy water. This helps to kill bacteria in the water.

Another option is to use a produce wash. This product is designed to kill any harmful bacteria in the water in Mexico. You simply mix it with tap water before washing your food. It is also available in pretty much every Mexican supermarket.

Can I Eat Salads in Mexico?

Yes. Salads are safe to eat in Mexico. You may have heard the advice to avoid salads in Mexico. The rationale is that the produce was washed with tap water and that the remaining water may make you sick.

This really isn’t an issue. Restaurants in Mexico properly wash and dry their produce. They don’t want to make their customers sick. You can safely eat salads.

Most restaurants in Mexico will use a vinegar mixture, soapy water, or a specialty produce wash to wash their fruits and vegetables. They don’t just rinse them off with straight tap water.

Tap water filling glass

Can I Bathe in the Water in Mexico?

Yes. There is nothing to worry about when taking a shower or bath in Mexico. The water is perfectly safe to bathe in.

To be safe, you should avoid getting water in your mouth while you bathe. Try to keep your mouth shut while rinsing the shampoo out of your hair. If some water splashes in your mouth, just spit it out.

You should take this precaution even if you’re staying in a resort that claims to filter the water. Even if the water is filtered, chances are the shower water is not.

If you wear contact lenses, always take them out before taking a shower. Bacteria can get trapped between the contact lenses and your eyes and cause issues.

Is it Safe to Wash Dishes with Tap Water in Mexico?

Yes. Washing dishes with tap water is perfectly safe. Dish soap will kill bacteria and viruses in the water. You will want to make sure your dishes are dry before using them. The remaining water could make you sick if your dishes are still wet.

Should I Give My Pet Tap Water in Mexico?

Almost all pet owners in Mexico give their dogs and cats tap water. The tap water isn’t suitable for human use but pets can drink it. Some pet owners who really want to pamper their furry friend may serve them purified water.

This choice comes down to personal preference and how bad the water quality is where you are. Generally, pets can drink water in Mexico without any issues. Their immune systems are stronger than ours. For more info, check out my guide to traveling to Mexico with a dog.

What is Montezuma’s Revenge?

Montezuma’s Revenge is a funny term used to refer to traveler’s diarrhea in Mexico. It is caused by drinking water or eating food that is contaminated with bacteria strains that travelers aren’t immune to but locals are.

It is named after the 16th-century Aztec emperor Montezuma II, who was besieged by Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés and his men. Traveler’s diarrhea is considered ‘revenge’ for the killing of Montezuma.

Today, Montezuma’s revenge is still a problem in Mexico, particularly for travelers who are not used to the local cuisine. The best way to avoid the bacteria is to eat only cooked food and drink only bottled or filtered water.

20-50% of travelers suffer from stomach problems at some point during their trip. Even if you take every possible precaution, sometimes you just get unlucky and get sick anyway. For example, Maybe you went to the one sketchy restaurant that used tap water to make ice. Maybe you didn’t bring your tea water to a complete boil.

Symptoms of Montezuma’s Revenge or Traveler’s Diarrhea (TD)?

Symptoms of Montezuma’s Revenge include diarrhea, cramping, nausea, vomiting, and dehydration. Some people experience fever, headache, and abdominal pain.

How Long Does Montezuma’s Revenge or Traveler’s Diarrhea Last?

How long traveler’s diarrhea lasts depends on the strain you caught, your health, and your body. It’s different for everyone. In most cases, it will pass on its own in 1-2 days. Sometimes it only lasts 12 hours. Sometimes it can last 3 days or more. If you catch a severe case, it can last longer.

Chichen Itza, Mexico

What to do if you get an upset stomach or traveler’s diarrhea from drinking tap water in Mexico

If you spend enough time traveling in Mexico, you will pick up a case of traveler’s diarrhea or ‘Montezuma’s Revenge’ at some point. It’s unavoidable.

It’s not the end of the world if you get sick. Traveler’s diarrhea is common in Mexico and is usually easily cured. If you get sick from drinking contaminated water you should:

  • Drink plenty of clean water- Buy some bottled water that you know is clean and drink plenty of it. Your body gets dehydrated quickly when you have diarrhea. You need to stay hydrated.
  • Drink rehydration salts- You can buy these in most pharmacies. Rehydration salts help your body rehydrate if you’ve lost too much salt or other minerals from vomiting or diarrhea. You don’t want to let yourself get dehydrated. Extreme dehydration can lead to organ damage.
  • Follow the BRAT diet- BRAT stands for bananas, rice, applesauce, and toast. These foods are easy on the stomach and may help to reduce your symptoms.
  • Try taking some over the counter anti-diarrhea medicine- Imodium or Pepto Bismol are good options. you can get anti-diarrhea medicine at any pharmacy. It can provide some relief while the sickness passes. You might also consider packing some in your toiletries kit just in case.
  • If the sickness is particularly severe, visit a doctor- Many large pharmacies have a clinic where you can get a prescription for medicine to treat traveler’s diarrhea.

Try to take every precaution you can to avoid getting sick. Even though traveler’s diarrhea isn’t all that serious for most people, a bad case can put a major dent in your trip. The last thing you want is to spend half of your vacation sitting on the toilet rather than the beach.

At the same time, there’s no need to be paranoid about getting sick from drinking tap water in Mexico. As long take the precautions listed above, you’ll stay healthy. If you do end up getting a case of traveler’s diarrhea, it’s not the end of the world. The condition is very treatable.

How to Visit a Doctor in Mexico

If your traveler’s diarrhea doesn’t pass in a day or two, it’s time to see a doctor. Luckily, going to the doctor in Mexico is quick and affordable.

Most large pharmacy chains have an attached walk-in clinic, called a consultario. The biggest Mexico pharmacy chains include Farmacia Similares, Farmacia Guadalajara, and Farmacia Yza. Not all pharmacies have clinics but many do.

At the clinic, a doctor will evaluate you, make a diagnosis, and write you a prescription. You can get the prescription filled in the attached pharmacy. The whole process takes around 15-20 minutes. It’s extremely convenient.

The consultation only costs just 60-100 pesos. The antibiotics might cost another 100 pesos or so. You can get the treatment you need for less than $10. For more info, check out my step-by-step guide to visiting a clinic in Mexico.

If you want to be prepared, you could also ask your regular doctor at home to prescribe you some antibiotics that you can take with you just in case. Some doctors will write you a prescription and some won’t.

It’s a good idea to have travel insurance, just in case you experience a serious sickness while traveling in Mexico. I recommend SafetyWing travel insurance.

A cenote in Yucatan, Mexico

My Experience Getting Traveler’s Diarrhea in Mexico

I didn’t get sick from the water. I got sick from eating some bad tacos. After a couple of days, I wasn’t feeling any better so I decided to go to a doctor.

I walked into a clinic, filled out a simple form, and paid 60 pesos. Within 5 minutes the doctor saw me. He asked me a couple of questions and wrote me a prescription for some antibiotics.

I had the prescription filled at the attached pharmacy for around 80 pesos. The whole visit cost me $7. They even gave me a free bottle of water. My traveler’s diarrhea started clearing up later that evening.

Dehydration in Mexico

Drinking Mexico water isn’t the only way to get sick. You can make yourself sick by not drinking enough water. It’s easy to get dehydrated while you’re traveling in Mexico.

Mexico has a hot climate. While you’re out and about sightseeing and or sitting on the beach on hot days, you will sweat more than usual. You might also be drinking more alcohol than usual. You’re on vacation, after all. You’ll get dehydrated if you don’t drink enough water while you’re in Mexico.

To stay hydrated, always bring some water with you when you’re out and about. Continue drinking water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated. If you’re feeling dehydrated, buy some hydration salts at a pharmacy and mix them into your water.

Water Shortages in Mexico

Water scarcity is an issue in parts of central and southern Mexico. According to this study from the National Autonomous University of Mexico, around 6 million people lack access to potable water. Only 58% of the population has running water in their home on a daily basis.

Water resources are limited. There are a number of reasons for this including drought and inefficient wastewater treatment. The Mexican government is working to improve this.

For tourists, water availability is never an issue. Hotels and resorts always have plenty of water available. Bottled water is widely available in tourist zones. This water scarcity is only an issue for those living in low-income communities in certain rural areas of Mexico.

Palacio de Bellas Artes, Mexico City

FAQ About the Water in Mexico

In this section, I’ll answer some frequently asked questions.

Can You Drink the Water in Mexico City?

No. The tap water in Mexico City is not safe to drink. Some people assume that the water will be safe in the capital and largest city but this isn’t the case.

Can You Drink the Water in Cancun?

No. The tap water in Cancun is not safe to drink. Some travelers assume that the water in a major tourist destination like Cancun will be safe to drink. This isn’t the case.

Can You Drink the Water in Cabo San Lucas?

No. Again, the tap water is not safe to drink.

Can You Drink the Water in Tijuana?


Can You Drink the Tap Water in Oaxaca?


Can You Drink the Tap Water at Resorts in Mexico?

No. In most resorts, it is not safe to drink the tap water. Some tourists also assume that the water in their luxury resort will be safe to drink. This usually isn’t the case.

There are some exceptions to this. Some five-star resorts have water filtration systems that purify water on site. This is rare but it does exist. If your hotel has this, there will be a sign indicating that the water is safe to drink. If you’re in doubt, ask at reception first.

Many resorts provide drinking water. They may leave you bottled water in the room or have water dispensers located throughout the property.

Final Thoughts About Drinking Tap Water in Mexico

Upset stomach or traveler’s diarrhea is the most common travel sickness, according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s so common that there is a cliché joke you’ll hear pretty much every time you mention traveling to Mexico. ‘Remember, don’t drink the water!’ or ‘Don’t catch Montezuma’s Revenge!’

As a general rule, you should not drink tap water in Mexico. Even though the water was most likely potable when it left the city’s treatment facility, it may or may not be potable when it arrives at your tap. Even if it is potable, it probably doesn’t taste that great. Luckily, purified and bottled water are cheap and easy to come by in Mexico.

After spending over a year living in Mexico, I have never gotten sick from drinking water in Mexico. Admittedly, I have drank water straight from the tap in Tijuana and Mexico City on a couple of occasions when I have run out of bottled water. Usually, after a night out I couldn’t be bothered to go out and buy a bottle of water. Maybe I just got lucky or maybe my immune system is strong.

Do you drink the water in Mexico? Share your tips and experience in the comments below!

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Monday 13th of May 2024

As a heads-up, it’s good to be aware that Bonafont water delivery by garrafon is very deceptive and, in my opinion, corrupt.

They charge you for the initial plastic garrafon, and also charge you an additional fee for the water. So, first purchase might be 115MXN, and then a fill up is now 60MXN. This suggests you are paying a deposit and will one day be able to get your money refunded when you move or install a filter or for some other reason want to return the empty garrafones. But they do not accept the empties. They claim that once you’ve bought the product(s) they are yours. Bonafont direct you to their terms and conditions here:

T&C say at the very bottom: Devoluciones y Reembolsos: No se aceptan devoluciones ni reembolsos

You’re not paying a returnable deposit on those garrafones, you’re buying them permanently!

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