Don't Drink the Tap Water in Mexico!
Not even Mexicans do.
In February 2023, I met another digital nomad in Mexico. He was thinking of moving to Costa Rica and had come to Mexico to see whether he could handle “third-world living.” He asked for tips and whether I thought it would be a good idea to drive south rather than fly. He was road-tripping in his Subie and lived in Airbnbs.
One night, we met up for dinner, but it was so freakishly cold that we high-tailed it to his Airbnb to play video games. He was a lead developer on a video game that reached cult-level popularity over the pandemic.
“Do you want something to drink? Maybe a beer or some water?” he asked while I checked out the $30,000 unit his company let him travel with.
“Water is fine,” I answered.
I heard him fill a glass and instinctively looked up to see where he had gotten it from. He was already handing it to me.
I looked at it suspiciously but didn’t take it.
“Where did you get that?” I asked.
“The Brita,” he answered.
I took the glass and poured the water down the sink. “Please tell me you haven’t been drinking that. You can’t drink the tap water here.”
“I know!” he said. “So, I filtered it. You said you had a filter, too.”
“Yes, I have a virus filter rated for Mexico,” I responded. “Not a Brita! That doesn’t filter viruses.”
Luckily for both of us, I had bottled water in my car. I went to get them and handed him one. He thanked me for telling him and promised he would buy bottled water in the morning.
What’s in the water in Mexico?
The truthful answer is probably nothing or probably everything. There’s no way to tell for sure, but why would you want to be the guinea pig?
People say Mexico doesn’t treat its water properly, and that is false. It absolutely does that. The issue is that the water then enters old supply systems that can contaminate water as it passes through.
But what’s in the water?
Some older pipes contain lead, but the country has made significant efforts to improve this. Of more immediate concern to most, however, is giardia. You can read about giardia here on the CDC website.
Because of these contaminants, you shouldn't drink the water or use it to wash fruits or vegetables. People do use it to wash dishes, but you must ensure they dry properly before you use them.
I could use the water straight from my tap in Mexico because of the filter I installed. Paid subscribers will receive another email where I’ll tell you about my in-line filtration system and what I used as a backup. Finally, I’ll tell you how people get cheap, clean water in Mexico.
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