Can You Drink the Water in Mexico?

Faucet with water pouring from it
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You've heard it said repeatedly: don't drink the water in Mexico. But it's hot, and you're bound to get thirsty. So what will you drink? Don't worry: we've got the answers to these questions and any concerns you may have about drinking the water in Mexico.

Tap Water Dos & Don'ts for Mexico
Grace Kim / TripSavvy 

Tap Water Safety

Many first-time travelers to Mexico and those who have never been have heard that they shouldn't drink the water. But not to worry: you won't have to drink beer or soft drinks during your whole trip, as there's plenty of drinking water available everywhere in Mexico! You just need to avoid drinking tap water. Stick to bottled water to be sure the water you drink won't give you problems with your digestive system.

Stick to Bottled Water

As a rule, you should not drink tap water in Mexico. Generally, the water is purified at the source, but the distribution system may allow the water to be contaminated en route to the tap. Most Mexicans find the idea of drinking tap water somewhat repulsive: they buy water in five-gallon jugs called "garrafones," which are delivered to their homes (and recycled). Do as Mexicans do and stick to purified water. Some families may have water filters installed in their homes, but this is not the case for most Mexican families.

Most hotels provide bottled water or giant jugs of purified water for you to refill your bottle. Many resorts take this worry away from their guests by having their water purified on-site; if this is the case, there's usually a notice by the tap that the water is potable ("agua potable"). Some hotels may provide a bottle or two of water in your room and charge you for any other bottles you consume. Keep a lookout for a note to this effect, and if this is the case, you may be better off stopping at a corner store for water to avoid paying inflated prices for water at your resort or hotel.

Bottled water is readily available wherever you travel in Mexico and is generally very affordable. Order it in stores or restaurants by asking for "agua pura," or to specify that you want a bottle, you can ask for "un bote de agua pura." You'll find 500 ml, 1 liter, or 2 liters bottles. There are various brands. Stick to local brands to ensure you won't be overcharged (imported water can be costly). 

Ice in Drinks

Ice is generally made from purified water; in hotels and restaurants that cater to tourists, you shouldn't encounter any issues with the ice or water. Purchasing drinks from market stands and food stalls may be riskier. Ice in the form of a cylinder with a hole in the center is purchased from a purified ice factory, and you can feel safe consuming it.​

Brushing Your Teeth

Residents in Mexico may brush their teeth with tap water, but they'll rinse and spit, careful not to swallow. As a tourist, you may be better off taking the precaution of using bottled water to brush your teeth, and do try to remember to keep your mouth shut when you shower. 

You should also practice some safety measures when choosing foods and drinks in Mexico so that your digestive system doesn't act up during your trip. 

Frequently Asked Questions
  • Can you drink the water in Mexico?

    As a rule, you should avoid tap water in Mexico. While the water is purified at the source, the distribution system may allow the water to be contaminated en route to the tap.

  • What should I do if I accidentally drink water in Mexico?

    In most cases, you'll likely be just fine. If your stomach begins to feel a little upset, an over-the-counter medication like Pepto-Bismol or Immodium can help.

  • Can you drink the water in Mexico hotels and resorts?

    Many hotels and resorts provide bottled water or giant jugs of purified water for guests, while some hotels and resorts have their water purified on-site, making it safe to consume.