Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Caribbean Islands
Reload this Page >

Pregnant & where can I drink the water & not be worried?

Pregnant & where can I drink the water & not be worried?

Old Jun 27th, 2012, 05:33 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Pregnant & where can I drink the water & not be worried?

My family in I are in the planning stages of a caribbean vacation. I will be in my second trimester of pregnancy so I am a little more prone to food born illness, etc. We are considering the following islands: Bahamas, Turks & Caicos, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Aruba. We considered Mexico (cancun or playa del carmen) but I am a little hesitant due to the water issue. We've been there before and last time I had a little GI upset and I didn't drink the water so maybe it was due to fruit that was washed there (or maybe not washed, who knows!). I know the resorts are supposed to have filtered water but I am still a little hesitant. That being said, are there any islands that the water is considered "safer". Or what precautions can I take other than strictly drinking bottled water? The things that I think of are fruit, ice, etc. We want the stereotypical turquoise blue waters of the Caribbean. We stayed in Riveria Maya last Caribbean vacation and were really disappointed with the beach since turtle grass was blooming. The ocean water was murky and yucky. Any tips, recommendations are appreciated! Thanks to all the more experienced travelers!
drako is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 05:52 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,716
DR and Mexico definitely are prone to stomach issues
Jamaica and Bahamas are in the middle, most times fine, but can get some
Aruba and Turks are both pretty safe for the water

Others that are safe, Anguilla, St. Barth, and the lovely Virgin Islands.
blamona is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 06:19 AM
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks blamona! What island(s) would you recommend regarding the Virgin Islands? Considering we will have a 3 year old with us and want that beautiful turquoise clear water? And don't want to break the bank!! Easy access to restuarants and stores if the hotel has kitchen facilities (which would be a plus with a 3 year old). I haven't even considered the Virgin Islands so it's all new to me!
drako is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 07:13 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,128
Drako,

I would avoid Mexico and dominican republic. I always have issue there and I am not a person that is prone to this. I love Mexico but I always say it doesn't like me! That being said Aruba has the one of if not the best water filtration systems ever. The water is great tasting tap or bottle and have been there 4 times and neither my husband or myself have experienced any problems. I also love the safety of Aruba, and the fact that I can get a starbucks/dunkin doughnuts coffee if I choose. Some people feel it is to americanized but alas the place feels wonderful to me. There are many convenient stores,huge grocery stores just what you are looking for with a 3 year old. turks and Caicos is nice a little quiet for me, but the water is beautiful. St. Thomas st. Johns is pretty in terms of greenery, where Aruba and Turkes are more of a dry island (cactus)but I think there is no safer island in terms of water food, and frienldy people then Aruba. St. Thomas might be a consideration. Depends what time of year you are planning to go? Hurrican season is upon us till Dec. (?) Aruba won't have that issue.
diann24 is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 10:17 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,938
I agree with blamona. I would stay away from Mexico for sure. My husband and I have been to 4 different locations, staying in pretty upscale places, and we've both come home a little sick each time. We've been all over the Caribbean and only once did I have a problem and I think it was from fish rather than the water. We've decided to avoid Mexico for a bit.

Aruba and Grand Cayman both have desalination plants to supply their drinking water so both islands have very safe water. (There are probably other islands that rely on desalination plants but these are the ones I know about.)

Aruba mostly has large hotels for accommodations. Grand Cayman offers both large hotels and small condo resorts right on the beach which may be preferable to you with a toddler. There's a nice, modern grocery store right across the street from Seven Mile Beach and you will most certainly find the beautiful blue water you are looking for. Turks & Caicos also has mostly condo-style accommodations with an equally beautiful beach. T&C rely on wells and cisterns, however, for their water supply so maybe not quite as safe as water from a desalination plant.

We didn't have any trouble with the water in Jamaica last year. We haven't been to the DR yet, mostly because of the water safety issues. I'm not a fan of having to use bottled water to brush my teeth.
sharona is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 10:35 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,716
Cramp, if it's all about the turquoise water, the most beautiful turquoise water is in Turks and Caicos

Other bonuses:

Big airplanes to get there
Family friendly, most resorts are condos with full kitchens, yet treated like resorts with restaurants and services

Sapodilla and Taylor Bays will make your toddlers giddy! Those beaches were made for little ones with hundreds of yards of knee deep water.

Huge supermarket with every brand of things you can think of, plus organics and free range.
Excellent doctors that actually make "house calls"

Did I say the most beautiful turquoise you'll ever lay eyes on?

What is your budget? Through move ever there are some amazing specials going on
blamona is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 10:36 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 218
Hi-

I love DR and loved Secrets where we stayed!!! I would go back to both places in a heartbeat!! However, you cannot drink the tap water. Even to brush your teeth, you had to use bottled water. This was not us being paranoid. We were told by hotel employees to do this. Neither of us had any issues but I would not chance it with your condition.
Lmaev is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 11:00 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 256
We were in Aruba a few months ago with our 5 and 7 year old children and stayed at the Divi/Tamarijn resort. I would definitely return for a family vacation. The beach was gorgeous and uncrowded and there were pools right next to the beach. While the ocean is great, my kids love swimming in pools. Our room was ocean front and we walked right out of our room onto the beach. It was perfect with kids.

I had never stayed at an all inclusive before and I know this place is not like the mega resorts on other islands, but it was very convenient with the kids. It is a low key resort, not the kind with constant entertainment, which was perfect for us. It is not fancy but was clean, the staff were friendly and there were several restaurants to choose from. Pizza, sandwiches and other snacks were available throughout the day.

Aruba felt very safe. We went around the island and visited an animal farm, spent an afternoon in Oranjestad and even had a few meals off the resort. We drank the water and none of us experienced any health problems. There is a hospital right near the resort and from what I have been told, the medical care in Aruba is excellent. As I mentioned, I would definitely go back for a family vacation.
genio67 is offline  
Old Jun 27th, 2012, 11:31 AM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,350
I don't drink the tap water anywhere. And definitely not the Dominican Republic, that seems to have more issues than even Mexico. Which as far as getting sick, you never know if it's from water, fruit washed in water, or always more likely imo something bad in a meal you ate.
suze is online now  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 04:30 AM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,813
We drink tap water with no problems on Turks & Caicos Islands. As Blamona said if it's the beach and beautiful water then Turks & Caicos hands down, 12 miles of sugar white sand...Take a look at The Somerset, www.thesomerset.com Great location, staff and beautiful suites !
Caribzack is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 05:03 AM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 6,336
I think since you're pregnant, you should err on the side of caution and stick to bottled water wherever you go. I'd also recommend skipping the ice in drinks. BTW, we loved Turks and Caicos, and would pick that over some of your other choices. Have fun!
Weadles is offline  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 07:20 AM
  #12  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 93,350
(don't know you location but...) How about Hawaii? No worries at all there either for water or food safety.
suze is online now  
Old Jun 28th, 2012, 09:49 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,224
Bonaire's water is also desalinated -- it's a long flight but outside of the hurricane zone and the island offers pretty nice accommodations with kitchens for only $100/night. I considered staying at this 1 br condo:

http://www.vrbo.com/101320

If you click on my screen name, that's a pic from Bonaire and you can see the water behind me. The island is surrounded by that ring of turquoise blue and then you can see the edge of darker reef -- amazing snorkeling. No beaches though unless they're manmade. A 15 min boat trip out to Little Klein is wonderful and you do have a beach there all day along with snorkeling alongside turtles and schools of fish.

Bonaire was charming, great restaurants, a huge brand new Dutch supermarket with organic options, and relatively inexpensive. If you have airline miles, it's a great place to use your award tix.....
fishee is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 06:16 AM
  #14  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks everyone! We are on the east coast so I need a flight that is nonstop and no more than 4ish hours. I am leaning towards T&C and Aruba if we go. The one problem is we plan on going in Aug or Sept. and obviously the height of hurricane season, so trip insurance is a must. I know we may have a bit better luck with Aruba since it is supposedly out of the hurricane belt. We need the insurance anyway since I am pregnant. T&C is on my bucket list of places to go, I just get a little worried since the water isn't filtered. I know many people haven't had trouble but being pregnant your immune system is weaker. I would only drink bottled water where ever we go but that would mean that I shouldn't eat any raw fruit or vegetables since it was most likely washed with the island water. So frustrating since I love fresh fruit and would probably have sway against it if we were out. Obviously, if I have it at our unit it's different since I would wash it and peel it on my own. Maybe we should stick to domestic travel...considering gulf side of Florida too.

Thanks for all the help!
drako is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 06:28 AM
  #15  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 3,066
We're heading to Aruba for a couple of nights in December, before going to Bonaire. I'm not expecting turquoise blue water. Will I be pleasantly surprised to find some?

Anyway, I'd drink bottled water where ever you go, although I drink tap on Bonaire.

If you're concerned, perhaps avoid lettuce. My travel clinic doc said there's no way it can really be cleaned well enough to be considered 'safe'. (I ignore that advice, but, I'm not pregnant). Limit yourself to fruits you peel yourself, and wash the outside with Microdyne or similar before peeling. That goes for cutting into melons as well.

I'd buy the trip insurance and head for Turks and Caicos, especially since it's on your list.....
JeanH is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 06:47 AM
  #16  
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 3,716
The water in Turks and Caicos is safe.
Your much closer to USA if need be. (1 hour to Miami)
Aruba can still get hurricanes

The fruit and veggies are safe n Turks
Yu can also get fruits, veggies, even organics at IGA supermarket, which is huge and a supermarket like in the states

Doctors in Turks actually make house calls! Email dr Menzies and tell him your hesitations.

I was 5 months pregnant on a trip to Turks and Caicos.

I say pick Turks and Caicos.
blamona is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 07:02 AM
  #17  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks blamona! You bring up all good points! Also, staying in Turks would allow us to cook most of our meals so I would know exactly how it's prepared.

Obviously, you didn't have any troubles on your trip when you were pregnant? I will google Dr. Menzies and send him an email. I did get the clear to travel from my ob-gyn so I don't know why I am being so nervous...pregnant people travel all the time!! I guess since I had two miscarriages in a row, I don't want to jeapordize this one in any way. Thanks again for all your help! I will be about 5 months pregnant too If we decide to go.

Besides the threat of hurricanes, how is the August weather? Is it a humid island? I thought someone posted that it was more desert like so a hot dry climate. As long as we have pool and ocean we will be happy!!
drako is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 07:02 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 20
Thanks blamona! You bring up all good points! Also, staying in Turks would allow us to cook most of our meals so I would know exactly how it's prepared.

Obviously, you didn't have any troubles on your trip when you were pregnant? I will google Dr. Menzies and send him an email. I did get the clear to travel from my ob-gyn so I don't know why I am being so nervous...pregnant people travel all the time!! I guess since I had two miscarriages in a row, I don't want to jeapordize this one in any way. Thanks again for all your help! I will be about 5 months pregnant too If we decide to go.

Besides the threat of hurricanes, how is the August weather? Is it a humid island? I thought someone posted that it was more desert like so a hot dry climate. As long as we have pool and ocean we will be happy!!
drako is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 07:56 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,938
I'm going to have to be a bit of a contrarian here. I appreciate that Turks and Caicos have a lot of fans here. Grace Bay Beach is probably one of the more stunning beaches I've seen anywhere. But since you are pregnant and worried about the water I really do think you need to be a little more cautious than the average traveler. I said upthread that I've only been sick on one island out of about 13 that we've visited. Well, that one island was Provo! I'm pretty sure it was from food as no one else in my party got sick. But still, I DID get sick there and I haven't been sick anywhere else other than Mexico.

Here's what WikiTravel has to say about the water in Turks and Caicos:

"The Turks and Caicos have a few fresh water reserves at ground level. Therefore, most water comes from either wells or cisterns that have collected rainwater. Cistern water is almost always safe to drink, but unless well water is purified, it could be contaminated or have unpleasant taste. It is generally a good idea to use bottled water when possible, but tap water can be used if necessary. The beaches are very soft and warm and welcoming."

http://wikitravel.org/en/Turks_and_Caicos_Islands

Here's the link from the CDC although it doesn't give specific water information for T&C:

http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/destinat...and-caicos.htm

and here's other information from a web site called Can I Drink the Water?:

"Can you drink the water in Turks and Caicos? No.

Use only tap water if you have no other choice. But if there are other options, go for them. Practice of boiling and purchase of bottled water are both good ideas. The major sources of water are wells or cisterns that stored rainwater. These are only safe if purified. “Is the water safe to drink in Turks and Caicos?” Mostly, no."

http://canidrinkthewater.org/select/...rks-and-caicos

On the other hand, here's what Can I Drink the Water has to say about Aruba:

"Can you drink the water in Aruba? Yes.

Aruba is a country with the second largest desalination plant in the world. Because of this, it is perfectly safe to drink running water from the tap. It is even called “Sweet Water” due to its unique good taste. People visiting this place need not spend their money on bottled water. “Is the water safe to drink in Aruba?” Certainly, Yes."

From WikiTravel:

"The running water in Aruba is absolutely safe to drink. It is referred to as "Sweet Water" because it is very good."

http://wikitravel.org/en/Aruba

Info from TravMed:

"Food & Water Safety: Tap water is considered safe to drink. Aruba has no natural source of fresh drinking water and very little rainfall. The Water and Energy Company produces drinking water by desalinating marine water. Tap water is distilled water, filtered through coral stone beds. It is safe for consumption without further treatment. Aruba has an adequate sewerage system: sewage is put through a water purification system and then drained into one of the largest inland waterways.

Food safety: Almost all food is imported. Every year, the Public Health Laboratory tests all workers in the food preparation or sale for shigellosis, salmonellosis , and tuberculosis. Milk is pasteurised and dairy products are safe for consumption. Local meat, poultry, seafood, fruit and vegetables are generally considered safe to eat."

http://www.travmed.com/guide/country.php?c=Aruba

Okay, this is me talking now and obviously just my opinion. But for absolute water safety I would go to an island with water from a desalination plant. You're pretty much assured of safe water from those sources.

I'm also not afraid to go back to Turks and Caicos and we will soon. Truly, the beaches there are gorgeous by any standards. But I'm not pregnant. The next time we go, however, I'll be a little more careful of the water, just in case.

Why not go to Aruba on this trip and then for a future trip with the baby head to T&C. The condo-style accommodations there are great for families.
sharona is offline  
Old Jun 29th, 2012, 08:11 AM
  #20  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,938
drako, I was composing my last message when you posted. You sound like you are leaning toward T&C. I don't mean to confuse you or make your decision harder. I just wanted to make sure you have the facts. I'm sure many people have successfully traveled to T&C while pregnant without any problems. But with your history, well, personally I wouldn't chance it. T&C isn't going anywhere and will still be there for a future trip.

If you want anecdotes I've been to Aruba twice and had no problem either time.
sharona is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Do Not Sell My Personal Information

FODOR'S VIDEO