Drinking Water Safety in Cancun

Old Feb 16th, 2000, 11:09 AM
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Drinking Water Safety in Cancun

Considering a trip to Cancun - never been - and am concerned about water safety. I know
that one should drink bottled water, avoid
ice, etc. but what about vegetables and fruits and brushing your teeth?
Do the resorts ensure that the tap water is safe to drink?
Old Feb 16th, 2000, 12:44 PM
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Jackie, We just got back from Cancun on Sunday. We avoided the water at all cost- we made sure we had a huge bottle of water next to the sink in our hotel room to drink from or brush our teeth with. Even though our hotel said they had only filtered water-I didn't want to take a chance. I did however, have drinks with the hotel's ice and had no problems. I wouldn't worry about vegetables that have been cooked in big restaurants or reputable restaurants but i avoided all fruits (anything that is just washed and eaten-who knows what water they used to wasn it). I was probably somewhat of a spaz when it came to the water-but i did not want to get sick and ruin my vacation. A suggestion that someone gave us when we went down to Cancun was to get $50 in ones. You use them for tips and $1 will get 2 people on the public bus.
Old Feb 16th, 2000, 08:51 PM
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Hi Jackie, you can drink the water in Cancun and you can also eat the fruits and veg. with no problem whatso ever. Trust me you will not get sick. Cancun is like being in the States.
Old Feb 16th, 2000, 10:46 PM
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I am pregnant and we are going to Cancun for our first time next week. I am okay with the drinking water and fruit as we are staying at a big hotel but what I have heard is the food in the airplane going home can be risky. I won't be eating that. Thanks for the above poster's tip on carrying dollar bills. I have no idea what to do about exchanging money etc. I have traveled all over the US but never outside and am more than naive on what to expect.
Old Feb 17th, 2000, 06:39 AM
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Bottled water is incredibly cheap in Mexico, especially if you buy it at the grocery store, so why take the risk and ruin your vacation? I know several people who have gotten sick in Cancun, possibly from eating fruits or vegetables. We drank alcoholic beverages with ice but that was it.

Great tip about the small US bills. We found in Puerto Vallarta that cab drivers couldn't give change for larger bills, whether they be pesos or dollars.

Old Feb 17th, 2000, 07:47 PM
d motl
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the water is safe. but we still stick to
bottled water exceot for brushing our teeth which is a pain with bottled water. we feel the food down there is as safe as in minnesota.
the loose stool problem a lot of people get from drinking too much fruit based drinks such as pina coladas
take 3 acidolpholis tablets each day and you will have no problems--they are in the vitamin section
Old Feb 18th, 2000, 09:14 AM
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It's about time that people got it that the water situation in the more touristy areas of Mexico is no longer a problem!
A lady in our office just came back from Cancun and told me that the tour rep spent 15 minutes at the orientation explaining that the water is safe to drink even out of the taps! She also told me that, along with the rest of her family, she indeed did drink the water from the taps and there was nary a problem.
We've been to 8 ai's throughout the Caribbean, the Yucatan side of Mexico and Cuba and have had no more problems with the 'runs' in Mexico than we've had on any other vacation. My husband ALWAYS packs a bottle of Pepto Bismol anyhow (he has more of a tender tummy) so it only follows that when travelling outside of U.S./Canada (yes folks we are a country too!) one should always be prepared for the worst. As Melinda mentions in her post, you can sick on the airplane food. Folks, you have just as much of a chance of getting sick from your undercooked turkey dinner on Thanksgiving as you do in Mexico!
We've been to Mexico three times now and not had a problem - they want your business and practically all resorts provide plenty of bottled water to allay any old fears still lurking about! They are also going to insure the best in food preparation as they cannot afford to lose business because of a breakout of food poisoning.
However, just like anywhere else in the world you will be taking your chances if you're eating or drinking beverages sold in some obscure, non-touristy out of the way place.
Go and enjoy.
P.S. dmotl - the 'loose stool' thing you mentioned makes sense now - on our last trip to the Mayan Riveria, I had a bit of a problem on the last day of our vacation and had already put it down to 2 weeks of rich food, creamy lattes, the p.c.'s, etc, etc - so I guess that kind of confirms my suspicions that it couldn't be the water!
Old Feb 19th, 2000, 02:16 PM
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Reasons why people traveling abroad "have intestinal difficulties," from the perspective of an American physician:
1) They drink too much alcohol, because they're afraid to drink water. Alcohol itself is a laxative.
2) They drink too many fruit juices or soft drinks, because they're afraid to drink the water. Sugar-containing substances cause osmotic diarrhea, even in the US (my pediatric patients here in Illinois get diarrhea when they drink 16 oz apple juice daily.)
3) They swim/sunbathe/hike in jungles/climb pyramids and get dehydrated, and again are afraid to drink water. Dehydration combined with warm sun causes electrolyte imbalances and muscle cramps; if your intestinal wall musculature decides to cramp, this produces pain and other "difficulties."
4) They don't eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, which provide fiber and bulk and help with intestinal regularity, because they've heard they shouldn't eat local fruits and vegetables.
5) They are on vacation and tend to eat richer foods than usual: three helpings of dessert, etc. Dessert is awfully tasty, but can cause tummy upsets too.
6) The local bacterial flora can be different than at home.

Drink lots and lots of water. Bottled water is fine, especially since it's portable. But for every hour in the sun, drink 250 ml of water. For every ounce of non-water you drink (milk, juice, alcohol), drink at least that much, preferably more. You'll be making a lot of extra urine, but believe me, #1 is a lot easier than #2 in a strange country.
Old Feb 20th, 2000, 08:12 AM
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If you are at a resort in Cancun and drink bottled water "at all costs" but then either decide to brush your teeth with tap water or drink drinks with ice in them, is that really considered a preventative measure? I dont understand the logic, if there WAS a water problem, you'd get sick from brushing or drinking iced drinks. There is no problem in Cancun. Don't waste costly vacation time obssessing over bottled water. The only time I showed any caution was during a trip to Chichen Itza, when we stopped to eat in a small village, then it was Cerveza and cooked foods only for me. The truth is, Ive had more GI problems eating at local restaurants in my hometown than Ive ever had abroad.

Have a good Time.
Old Feb 23rd, 2000, 04:18 PM
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The water is condisered "safe" in Cancun. However, the water in the area is from underground rivers in limestone (I believe) and as such can be hard on a person's digestive tract if you are un-use to drinking water of this hardness and mineral content. Therefore, I would use bottled water for drinking purposes. It's very reasonably priced and available throughout Cancun. There is no harm using the water for brushing your teeth, drinks with ice and from eating the food. Suzanne is correct in her response as to why you tend to have digestive problems in the tropics while on vacation in particular. I also agree with Tiguy and would definitley drink bottled water on excursions away from the latger resorts. I've been to Cancun twice and have had no problems. Enjoy and have a great time!
Old Feb 23rd, 2000, 04:33 PM
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the water is fine but it tastes like pool water so why drink it? the ice usually comes from the same plant that delivers the water so dont worry about it. I rarely get the runs in Cancun or PDC and when I do, Lomotil from the farmacia always does the trick. I personally think most people infect themselves by not washing their hands after using the potty, so scrub scrub scrub after touching your butt or any others.

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