Giant water bottles on a truck in Ajijic Mexico


Can you drink from the tap? It’s an important question to ask when traveling. In Mexico, the answer is … no. Here are some simple rules regarding water use in Mexico:

  1. Don’t drink from the tap
  2. Don’t open your mouth in the shower
  3. Don’t brush your teeth with tap water
  4. Don’t wash food with tap water

You’re probably thinking, What a pain in the ass. Let me start by saying, this is not my first don’t-drink-the-water rodeo. I didn’t drink from the tap in Antigua, Guatemala, or anywhere in Guatemala for that matter. I didn’t drink the water in many places in Colombia–not in Jardin, not in Jerico, not in Santa Marta. Nope. I didn’t drink the water in Argentina, Chile, or Uruguay.

You simply get used to it. Eventually, it becomes second nature. Some newer houses (only one in my vast, 100K-mile experience) have water filtration systems in the kitchen. Everyone else uses jugs of drinking water delivered to your house by these guys, like this:

In my current location, Ajijic, Mexico, this runs about 23 pesos ($1 US) for five gallons, tips appreciated.

I shared a TikTok post of these trucks in action with Miguel from Guadalajara. You mean in the states they don’t have this kind of water delivery? No, mostly we drink from the tap. Wow! I am Mexican. I never tried that!

Live. Learn. This advice is not just for foreigners!

If you want your water chilled, decant a bit into a pitcher and store it in the refrigerator. I keep potable water in a little glass bottle in the bathroom for brushing my teeth. I wash my breakfast papaya and blackberries with drinking water. There are other ways, but this seems to be working for me.

WHY? you might ask. What will happen? Short answer: Montezuma’s Revenge! If you consume the water you will probably get sick–diarrhea, vomiting, and more. The common culprit is a bacteria, E.coli.

I’ve been taken down by this little creature before. It was over ten years ago in Guanajuato, Mexico. The memory is still quite vivid. I remember a violent cleaning out of the system over several panicked hours hovering just a few feet from the toilet–Bill and Terry were there–also very sick. No repeats, please.

So far I’ve been careful and lucky. Note: I’m sure some fancy hotels have filtration systems. I’m not taking any chances.

In other news, after noticing things were upsidedown, I’ve done some rearranging.

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