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Old 11-12-2011, 05:50 PM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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The real danger in Mexico is not murder (all those gruesome killings you see reported in the media are drug-related), kidnapping (although my female friends remain perpetually in fear of being kidnapped), or even theft (easily preventable if you take the right precautions). It's stomach problems, especially diarrhea. This is especially true if you eat at street vendors without washing your hands before consuming food, or if you have a weak stomach, eat at street vendors (or market vendors - they don't seem too much more hygienic) at all. Even locals are wary of street food. Also, certain drinks tend to cause diarrhea. Horchata is famous for this. Avoid consuming tap water too, even incidentally in the shower (locals do this as well). Antibiotics, though, are available in the case that you get diarrhea. I had very bad, persistent diarrhea and my friend's dad gave me an antibiotic (I believe its name was something like "Bactrim"), which almost instantly cured my diarrhea.
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Old 11-12-2011, 09:06 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
It's stomach problems, especially diarrhea. This is especially true if you eat at street vendors without washing your hands before consuming food, or if you have a weak stomach, eat at street vendors (or market vendors - they don't seem too much more hygienic) at all. Even locals are wary of street food. Also, certain drinks tend to cause diarrhea. Horchata is famous for this. Avoid consuming tap water too, even incidentally in the shower (locals do this as well). Antibiotics, though, are available in the case that you get diarrhea. I had very bad, persistent diarrhea and my friend's dad gave me an antibiotic (I believe its name was something like "Bactrim"), which almost instantly cured my diarrhea.

Whether you are affected by the food in Mexico depends on how anal you are in your own kitchen. If you put every spoon in the dishwasher as soon as you use it, and constantly wash your hands or cook in rubber gloves, you'd get sick just by visiting my house, with no need to go as far as Mexico. You will have denied yourself the chance to build up any immunities that you would need to counteract any bugs that might be floating around where real people live.

A lot of Mexicans drink bottled water, but drinking tapwater for a few weeks will do you no harm. Mexican tapwater is safe from pathogens that can cause immediate problems, but over a lifetime, there could be a cumulative effect from water that might not be adequately purified, such as heavy metals, nitrates, etc.

If you are constantly terrified at home that your children will be kidnapped and put through a meat grinder by leering perverts, or that if your child falls down in the back yard, his bones will never set and he'll be an invalid, or that Muslims are going to force you to speak Arabic and wear a burqa, or that your neighbor's Japanese car is going to spontaneously explode and take you with it, then every moment you are in Mexico will be a white-knuckle minefield of terror, and your trip won't be very relaxing.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-12-2011 at 09:19 PM..
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Old 11-17-2011, 10:24 AM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
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"A lot of Mexicans drink bottled water, but drinking tapwater for a few weeks will do you no harm. Mexican tapwater is safe from pathogens that can cause immediate problems, but over a lifetime, there could be a cumulative effect from water that might not be adequately purified, such as heavy metals, nitrates, etc. "

Water quality varies by municipio, by state as well. While much of the tap water available in the country leaves the filtration/treatment plants safe to drink there are damaged water mains and poorly maintained water storage facilities on buildings which clearly cause many people GI or other problems. I've been traveling in Mexico for more than 40 years and during that time and during the 6 years I lived in Mexico City I never drank tap water. Bottled water for drinking. I do boil water when cooking, before using it for food consumption purposes. Of course, people with compromised immune systems or who are chronically ill should probably stick to purified water and not take a chance with tap water. One answer doesn't fit all situations in Mexico, however.
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Old 11-24-2011, 06:42 AM
 
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Its always been my dream to visit Mexico. Too broke, can't even pay attention! Love the positive description of visiting Mexico. Always knew it must be cool!
Quote:
Originally Posted by axixic2 View Post
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Old 11-25-2011, 07:22 AM
 
Location: Axixic, Jalisco, MX
1,285 posts, read 3,131,737 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gomexico View Post
"A lot of Mexicans drink bottled water, but drinking tapwater for a few weeks will do you no harm. Mexican tapwater is safe from pathogens that can cause immediate problems, but over a lifetime, there could be a cumulative effect from water that might not be adequately purified, such as heavy metals, nitrates, etc. "

Water quality varies by municipio, by state as well. While much of the tap water available in the country leaves the filtration/treatment plants safe to drink there are damaged water mains and poorly maintained water storage facilities on buildings which clearly cause many people GI or other problems. I've been traveling in Mexico for more than 40 years and during that time and during the 6 years I lived in Mexico City I never drank tap water. Bottled water for drinking. I do boil water when cooking, before using it for food consumption purposes. Of course, people with compromised immune systems or who are chronically ill should probably stick to purified water and not take a chance with tap water. One answer doesn't fit all situations in Mexico, however.
Yes, one wouldn't want to drink dirty water like found in the U.S.:

Report: Millions in U.S. Drink Dirty Water - CBS News

Quote:
An analysis of federal data shows that since 2004 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act, which requires communities to provide safe tap water, have been found at 20 percent of U.S. water treatment systems, but only six percent of those systems were ever fined or punished by state or federal officials.
Millions in U.S. Drink Contaminated Water, Records Show - Series - NYTimes.com

Quote:
But since 2004, the water provided to more than 49 million people has contained illegal concentrations of chemicals like arsenic or radioactive substances like uranium, as well as dangerous bacteria often found in sewage.
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Old 11-25-2011, 11:24 AM
 
Location: CHicago, United States
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I've always thought it was a good idea for the USA to establish the EPA. I wish the regulations were stronger and enforced more strongly. Such reports of the agency are wise to consider for both tourists and residents. The information is available publicly.

Best I can recollect, though Mexico has a similar environmental protection agency (not considered very effective) there are no comparable standards. If there are I'll appreciate it if someone will post the information - specifically the (tap) water quality testing reports.

I suspect, but don't know with certainty, that if such tests were applied to drinking water throughout Mexico exactly as they are in the USA and some other countries, Mexico's tap water, almost entirely in some large regions of the country, would be considered unsafe to drink.

Travelers and residents with compromised immune systems and/or chronic illnesses face the greatest danger from contaminated water. Children, too.

I don't drink the tap water in Mexico, though. And given the choice, and money to purchase bottled water, I doubt many Mexicans would drink tap water either.
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Old 11-26-2011, 08:30 AM
 
836 posts, read 2,764,623 times
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I drink tap water, but I live in Monterrey Mexico.

This city has a very reliable company that distributes the water.

The company is owned by the state government and through the years has earned a reputation for its programs for cleaning and water conservation.

Still many people in my city prefer to buy bottled water and do not blame them, if they feel good this way, is ok for me.

When I visit other cities in Mexico or USA I only drink bottled water, the truth is that it is very cheap and accessible.
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Old 11-27-2011, 04:59 PM
 
Location: Limestone,TN/Bucerias, Mexico
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Although they've [Puerto Vallarta water system]won certifications year after year for safe water, we always buy bottled water in the Vallarta area where we live. But we also only drink bottled water here in the US.. In our little Mex town of Bucerias we buy the big bottles for between $1.50 to $2 US - but in the US the same size bottle is at least 5-6 times more costly. Mexican workers would generally prefer to drink the bottled water, too, and we always provide it for folks who work on our property. It's always better to err on the side of caution - and in Mexico it's not terribly costly to do so.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:00 AM
 
1,726 posts, read 5,503,040 times
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The problem is that Mexican bottled water brands all taste horrible. None of them are actual spring water, they are all purified drinking water, and they all taste like minerals. Similar to Southern California tap water.
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Old 11-28-2011, 09:22 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ > Raleigh, NC
17,636 posts, read 23,412,818 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
The real danger in Mexico is not murder (all those gruesome killings you see reported in the media are drug-related), kidnapping (although my female friends remain perpetually in fear of being kidnapped), or even theft (easily preventable if you take the right precautions). It's stomach problems, especially diarrhea. This is especially true if you eat at street vendors without washing your hands before consuming food, or if you have a weak stomach, eat at street vendors (or market vendors - they don't seem too much more hygienic) at all. Even locals are wary of street food. Also, certain drinks tend to cause diarrhea. Horchata is famous for this. Avoid consuming tap water too, even incidentally in the shower (locals do this as well). Antibiotics, though, are available in the case that you get diarrhea. I had very bad, persistent diarrhea and my friend's dad gave me an antibiotic (I believe its name was something like "Bactrim"), which almost instantly cured my diarrhea.
I agree that diarrhea is the biggest worry for most areas of Mexico. I do not agree that street vendor food is always unsanitary--there are crowds of locals eating at the good onebs in the non tourist zones.

However, since August 2010 antibiotics are not available without a prescription. You visit a doctor (whose office is sometimes in the pharmacy), pay $300-500 pesos (higher than locals would pay) then get your scrip. Or get the Mexican equivalent to lomotil over the counter.
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