Why you can’t drink the water in Mexico.


Most countries I have travelled to, especially the lesser developed ones, have a common and very prudent warning.

– Don’t drink the tap water! Only drink bottled water.

Water water everywhere, lets all have a drink.

Water water everywhere, lets all have a drink.

Of all of the travel warnings I have been given, this is the one I find most important, but why?

The case in Mexico is like this; The pipes that carry the water around Mexico aren’t of a quality to handle the shifting of the ground, as Mexico has a lot of seismic activity. This is particularly true in Mexico City as the entire area was built on a lake that has become a swamp, with all of the small earthquakes that Mexico City experiences, crack from in the pipes allowing for bacteria to seep in.

Another is is that there is no constant flow in the pipes, thus there isn’t enough positive pressure to force out contaminants.

Even-though you shouldn’t drink the water from the taps, bottled water is quite reasonable in price. A 1.5 litre bottle of water from a convenience store will run you around Mex$10. I buy my water in 20 litre bottles which gets delivered to my door for Mex$35 after an initial Mex$30 deposit. So as long as I give them the empty bottle Mex$35 gets me through the week.

Bars and restaurants use purified water and I have been told that the ice is safe to drink in most establishments.

4 Responses to “Why you can’t drink the water in Mexico.”

  1. About ice: block ice is still often delivered unwrapped, dropped at the curb, the sidewalk, or even in the street. So, unless the ice is in the form of cubelets, or cylinders, it’s best not to consume it. The cubelets are either made on premises in an ice machine, or delivered to the bar or restaurant in plastic bags.

    Don Cuevas

    • I couldn’t agree more, I should have been more specific regarding the ice. What I should have said that it is generally safe to consume if served in the form of cubes or cylinders.
      Thanks Don.

      Great blog by the way.

  2. Many times, even in Romania ( Member of U.E. ) we have this problem with water, so.. we are aware of this problem :))

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