mexico travel playa del carmen akumal canucn tulum
mexico cancun playa del carmen akumal mexico

Even locals don't drink the water

The cliche about Mexico is that tourist shouldn't drink the water. South of Cancun, even the locals don't drink the water. The water table in the Yucatan is very close to the surface, and is contaminated by garbage dumps and runoff. Even in the poorest sections, the corner store sells huge bottles of purified water and kids drag carts filled with bottles to sell. You can buy bottled water anywhere, but when you buy water, make sure it is factory sealed to guarantee it is safe to drink. Crystal is one popular brand in the Mayan Riviera.

Use bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth. Most ice in the area comes from factories and is purified. If you are uncertain about the ice, ask your waiter.

Many travelers take risks with food and water. If you are on a long trip, being sick for a few days isn't such a big deal. If this is a week long vacation, do you really want to spend half of it sick just because you were too lazy to get the bottled water when you brushed your teeth? Some hotels and restaurants filter their water so you can drink it. If a hotel says they filter the water, ask them if they ever send it in to a lab for testing. Don Emilione does, but some others never do. Another way to stay safe is to rent a house and cook for yourself.

Getting cured - don't wait

Sun and surf - agua mala ouch

Biting Things - mosquitos and other things that bite

Earaches - swimmers ear prevention

Check the experts

This page is written from a non-medical perspective. Nobody here is a doctor, but we've traveled a lot and have been cured of amoebic dysentery, campilobactar, shigela, giardia, and a few other traveler's diseases. Lovely. Having learned from our mistakes, we know some common sense ways to avoid getting sick. If you want the real facts, check out the Centers for Disease Control page.

Watch for fruits and vegetables (salsa counts as a vegetable)

Fruits and vegetables usually come direct to the store from local farms and are not washed well. Many vegetables are contaminated by fertilizer (usually pig or human dung) and will make you sick. Most of the restaurants catering to tourists purify their fruits and vegetables with iodine drops before serving them. If they go through this process, there will be a note about it on the menu. If it isn't written on the menu, ask or don't eat uncooked or cold fruits and vegetables.

One culprit for illness is salsa. In some restaurants it sits out all day and the same salsa is used for multiple customers. Even if the salsa is changed with every patron, remember that salsa is RAW VEGETABLES which is on the list of no nos. Resist, unless the menu says "our vegetables are purified".

Seafood can also get you sick if it is spoiled or mishandled. Cooked seafood is safest. Only eat raw seafood in nicer, very busy restaurants.

Look for the soap

When you pick a restaurant, use common sense. If there are flies on all the tables, you can bet the flies are on the food in the kitchen, too. Before sitting down, ask to wash your hands first. If there is no soap, hit the road. You can't wash your hands, so it is a good guess that the staff handling the food can't either. Since you can get cholera, dysentery, giardia, hepatitis, typhoid and a whole list of nasty diseases from unsafely handled food, don't take your chances in a dirty restaurant. There are plenty of well kept, sanitary restaurants around so keep looking.

Ask About Distintivo "H"

Distintivo "H" is an award from the Mexican Tourism Board. This award is given to restaurants which have highly trained staff who passed international tests of quality and hygiene. Distintivo "H" is the most important award given to restaurants in Mexico.

Fodor's Cancun, Cozumel,Yucatan Peninsula
Up to date and practical travel guide.

mexico dream villas vacation rentals akumal and xpuha beach mexico
puerto aventuras mexico charter fishing  
back to the main page mexico cancun south travel guide to mexico
[ Search | Site Map | Reservations ]
[ About Cancun South | Clients | Awards ]

© Property of Cancun South ™ and PlayaLink SA de CV with offices in Playa del Carmen, Mexico
Cancun South ™ phrase, website content and images not to be used without permission from the webmaster

vacation mexico travel playa del carmen cozumel cancun mexico