Drinking water in Cancun

Jul 6th, 2003, 11:04 AM
Original Poster
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Drinking water in Cancun

We are going to Cancun in late July, and staying at the Cancun Palace. Our travel agent (who has stayed there) cautioned us not to drink any water except bottled, to only drink canned soft drinks, not to eat uncooked fruits or vegetables, etc. Is this a valid advice or is she being overly cautious? Thanks!
nyllrap is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 11:43 AM
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Although it'e up to you, I'd say overly cautious.
I'd not drink tap water, but we travel all over Mexico (most of the time to more off the beaten path areas, but also to Cancun and Cozumel) at least 3 or 4 weeks per year, and we've never had any problems with salads, drinks with ice or vegetables.
It's totally up to you, but unless you are more sensitive than usual to food and drink, I would not go overboard or worry excessively about problems.
You are more likely to have trouble with food that has been sitting out for hours in the heat at a buffet and picked over by people than anything else.
Diana is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 12:53 PM
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Is this the same travel agent who told you there is no transportation between the Palace Resorts? Everybody knows "Don't drink the water". If the Cancun Palace was getting every American sick from eating fruits and vegatables then their business would dry up soon. I can assure you that their tap water is purified but that doesn't mean you should drink it because how many people drink tap water in the sates anymore? Not too many. Even if you don't drink it you will get it in your mouth when you take a shower, so it better be purified because everybody will be sick and the Cancun Palace would be out of business. They even wash their fruits and veggies with purified water.

What you shouldn't do is if you leave the Cancun Palace and go to some little rinky dink dirty Mexican restaurant someplace then do not drink the water or anything else because you will get sick. Even if you take one of the tours on a bus out of town and they give you drinks with ice then don't drink it I have heard of people getting sick this way. To sum it up inside the Palace resorts No Problem outside the Palace resorts CUIDADO. Also I would think about getting a new travel agent when you get back sounds like she is giving you a lot of misinformation, make your travel plans on the internet sounds like she is trying to offer you some extra customer service but at a price and the price is she is alarming you and sending you in the wrong direction.
Dondiega is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 04:28 PM
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Sorry, can't agree with the last post. Use some common sense, but I think you miss out on a lot if you don't go to some smaller more 'authentic' Mexican bars/restaurants. I've only been to Mexico a few times, but have eaten and drank every where I went and have never gotten sick.

We don't stay in all-inclusives, but reports have been that just as many people get sick there, from eating buffet food that's been left out too long.

Go to the CDC website and read about their advice for traveler's diarrhea. Pepto Bismol does indeed help to prevent it.
JeanH is offline  
Jul 6th, 2003, 05:23 PM
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I agree totally with JeanH.
Some of the best food to be had in Cancun is at the local restaurants, and I have found the cleanliness level at everything from the least to most pricey Mexican-owned restaurants in that area to far surpass what is found in the U.S.
The owners take extreme pride in their food quality and the appearance of their places.
You have to leave the Hotel Zone and go to downtown Cancun to find the best local food, but it can't be beat.
Try Labna or El Pescador or La Habichuela for a real gourmet treat.
If food quality is not as important a factor to you in your vacation plans as convenience and/or familiarity, you will find the food at the resort and in the hotel zone to be adequate.

Diana is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 05:08 AM
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Diana and Jean, please lets not turn this thread into another AI VS. non AI again. This is not about how good the food is in downtown Cancun, who cares, its about should we drink the water or the veggies that are washed with the water. OK fine Im sure there are alot of great Mexican restaurants in Cancun and it looks like you know them all but this person is not concerned about them and thanks for naming them, this person is already booked at the Cancun Palace so what is your point?
Dondiega is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 07:02 AM
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Dondiega, Reread the thread. You're the one who first advised the original poster not to go to 'some little rinky dink dirty Mexican restaurant' So, don't jump on my case. I cannot imagine someone would actually go to a resort in Cancun and not venture off the property. What's wrong with a little off site restaurant advice?

JeanH is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 07:59 AM
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I have stayed at 5 star hotels along the "Cancun Strip" called Kukulkan Blvd.
We drank bottled water but brushed our teeth with tap water.
I have done the AI and the non AI, it is a matter of prefernce and other things like maybe you have family with you etc.
Usually with the AI you can also eat in the dinning room twice / week ala carte, I have done this and found that a fancy dinning room was not always and assurance that everything is "better."
It is cheap to travel to downtown Cancun and have lunch or dinner at one of the many places to eat there.
All I can say is that I would drink bottled water.. why? ,because you want to lessen your chances of becoming ill.
I will not go into the whole thing about salads and peeled fruits versus unpeeled fruits..
I have been going to Mexico for 20 years now, got sick twice...and I did everything I was suppose to do to avoid getting sick!!..... the law of averages has to catch up with you!!!!
Have a nice time

Percy is online now  
Jul 7th, 2003, 09:40 AM
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I would definitely *not* take the advice of anyone with such a disrespectful attitude as to use the words ... "little rinky dink dirty Mexican restaurant".

I agree with the poster who says it's a roll of the dice. I've been to Mexico 16 times in the past 10 years, now and then you get a bit sick from something you ate. This can happen in a fancy resort restaurant or a humble homecooking family place. Personally I'd rather take my chances with nice hot fresh food from a taco stand!
suze is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 09:47 AM
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Drinking water in Cancun and other tourist areas of Mexico isn't about cleanliness - its about bacteria. All water has some bacteria in it - yes, even your very own home tap water and that fancy bottled water we pay so dearly for - but our digestive systems are used to our own bacteria and don't reject them. When a new bacteria hits the system, it thinks "hum...maybe this is a bad thing...I'd better just get rid of it QUICK to be safe" and that is known as "tourista". Some people have digestive system that are more sensative than others, hence the "I ate and drank everywhere and didn't get sick" syndrome vs. the "I only brushed my teeth with tap water and died for a week" syndrome. Since there's no way of knowing how your system will react, I recommend using caution. Use the bottled water for ingesting and don't worry too much about the rest. After all Cancun has a huge water treatment plant and all the water is "safe".

And by the way - DO try some of the little funky places to eat. They are great fun and make a trip worth while. Just don't drink their tap water.

TC is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:21 AM
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Thanks for all of the advice. I decided to go with the all-inclusive because my husband tends to obsess over every cent he spends while on a vacation and wanted to enjoy myself without fighting about money (particularly since I am paying for this one). This seemed to be the best way to ensure my daughter and I have a good time. At any rate, I will take the advice and drink bottled water, try to be prudent, but not worry too much otherwise. I have also heard that taking pepto bismol tablets before and during the trip can help. Has anyone tried this?
nyllrap is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 11:27 AM
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Never tried the Pepto preventative myself but have seen posts from people who thought it worked. Also yogurt or acidophilus to calm stomach bacteria is the other suggestion (I've never tried).

A couple times I traced my problems to bad dairy (cream sauced pasta, sour cream on chili relenos) so that's my personal no no.

For an all inclusive I'd try to pick the freshly prepared options over something that has been sitting out on the buffet.

for what it's worth ...
suze is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 01:50 PM
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We are also going to the Cancun Palace in August. I have heard the same stuff about the water, ice, salads, etc. I have no problem drinking bottled water, but love those "frozen" drinks, salads and fruits. How does one really know how long food has been sitting on a buffet? I'm a little apprehensive. I don't like being sick especially when I'm only vacationing for 6 days.
shellyl55 is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 02:07 PM
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The couple of times we did A/I, we made sure and get to the buffet shortly after it had just opened. We also took advantage of the cook to order stations, whether it be omelettes, quesadillas or fajitas. We eat all kinds of fruits, but make sure it has been peeled (that includes tomatoes). Taking 2 Pepto tabs daily for about 5 days prior to the trip, daily during and a few days after have usually helped keep us from getting sick. We also love yogurt, which I ate every breakfast and I think that helped me. When we stayed in large resorts, and were told the tap water was purified, we had no problems with using it to brush teeth, ingesting during showers or even the quick drink. I do look to see if the ice in drinks is formed, instead of looking like it was picked off a block of ice. With frozen drinks you take your chances, but I've never personally had any problem with them. I would not use Immodium unless you need it to make the plane ride home, because all it does is block up what's got to eventually come out. Good luck and just use common sense.
dp is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 03:10 PM
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You can take some Pepto Bismol with you and use it if you d get cramps or diarrhea.
What you can do is this:
Take Bactrim( this drug is cheap, but not if you have a sulfa allergy) take 2 pills daily for two days before you go and 2 pills daily while you are in Cancun.
You can take Cipro 500 mgm .You have to see a doctor for this. Take the pills twice ,12 hours apart.
For cramps and diarrhea you can take Lomotil with you. I know you have to see the doctor for this medication but it is good for about 3 years after purchase so you can save it for further trips.
You take Lomotil like this:
2 tablets at onset of diarrhea and cramps and one tablet after each diarrhea motion , to a Maximum of 8 tablets a day..I am sure you will never need 8!!(I hope)
Don't worry about constipation, when you have acute cramps and you are on the toilet all day , the last thing on your might is constipation.!!!
You will ,I know do the usually precautions of not eating unpeeled fruit and use bottled water , avoiding raw vegetables etc.
While all this is sensible it may not be enough!!!
Most risk factors extend beyond your control.
One culprit is the restaurant that uses the same cutting board for bothraw vegetable and raw meat.!!
Also warmer climate have more disease carrying flies.
And do not forget that immunity places a role...growing up or living in the endemic area is certainly protective... if see a Mexican get sick from his own food!!!( I suppose they can and do at times)
nyllrap, you will do allthe right things I am sure and you will enjoy Cancun.
I have never been sick staying at an all inclusive(but that means little)
A very clever Mexican Tour Guide told me this:
"You tourist get sick at times because of too much Ahhhhhh."
Like in
Pina Coladahhhh
We all laughed but maybe it is not that funny.
Have a great time there nyllrap
Percy is online now  
Jul 7th, 2003, 04:15 PM
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I have also heard to eat yogurt for 2 weeks before traveling. Also good advice about not using anything to alter what needs to come out. It is bacteria, it needs to come out. Dr. told me that is the worse mistake people make. (unless you are on a plane coming home.)
diann is offline  
Jul 7th, 2003, 07:46 PM
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Hi me again.
I just wanted to mention this and this is for all the other readers also that contributed information to your questions.
There is now an ORAL VACCINE for this travellers diarrhea problem.
It will protect you from
enterotoxigenic Escherichia Coli. Do not let this word scare you it just means "toxic to the gut" and E. Coli is the most common and aggravating bacteria that causes this diarrhea.

Remember this vaccine is oral. you take two doses , one week apart and it offers protection for THREE MONTHS!!!!
I am going to look into this further and will take it, because then it will mean no more pills to bring along.
The Vaccine is called DUKORAL and Aventis Pasteur distributes this drug in Canada.. do not know about the US yet...
I am right now looking at the article in a medical journal entitled "Oral Vaccine Prevents Travellers Diarrhea."
Sound good...your local doctor will know about this.
nyllrap, this perhaps has little do do with your request about drinking water but I just thought I would pass this information on....and I will be looking into this vaccine.
Percy is online now  
Jul 9th, 2003, 05:05 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 94
Been to Mexico dozens of times and have never been sick. I eat fresh fruits & veggies, as well as salads while in Mexico (rinsed with my own bottled water). I never drink the water & never brush my teeth with it.

However, my husband was violently ill for 7 days from drinking a soda that had ice from Mexican tap water. My dad was sick from brushing his teeth with Mexican water. And my mom got mildly sick from drinking a fresh fruit smoothy.

Drink bottled water & use it to brush your teeth. I say try the fresh fruits & veggies - but take them to your room and rinse them with your bottled water. Why take a chance on ruining a trip because you are sick from Mexican water?

And definitely venture out of your hotel. Cancun is so touristy along the beach and you will miss the Mexican culture. If you go into town, you will find the most wonderful taco bars, restaurants, shops, and bed and breakfasts. It is safe and fun if you use common sense.
twoinluv is offline  
Jul 9th, 2003, 11:31 AM
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Here's my 2 cents: been to Cancun several times - usually stay at Cancun Palace - my personal favorite. I do not eat yogurt or anything else "special" prior to going to Cancun nor do I take, eat or use Pepto Bismol and have yet to be sick on any of my trips.

I love Cancun Palace's all inclusive - their food is GREAt! I also love to sit by the pool and sip sweet frozen drinks to cool off in the afternoon. They use purified water throughout the hotel. I usually load up on their fresh fruits for breakfast. The kiwi and pineapple are wonderful.

Bottom line: if you tend to have a sensitive stomach, bring along some Pepto or Pepcid. Otherwise, stop worrying and enjoy your vacation. I bet you won't lose any valuable time by getting sick - maybe by worrying though. You will love everything about Cancun Palace.
1Mandy1 is offline  

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