Water in Mexico City

Can You Drink Tap Water In Mexico City? CDMX Locals Reveal

Can you drink tap water in Mexico City? It’s a question that many first-time visitors ask, especially if they come from countries like Germany, the US, or Australia, where it’s the norm to have purified water flowing through the faucet. After all, there’s nothing worse than getting sick soon after your plane lands down due to something as seemingly harmless as a glass of agua!

We spend a few months every year in CMDX and are very familiar with all the concerns associated with both short-term and long-term living in Mexico, including those related to drinking water. 

In this post, we’ll plumb the depths of Mexico City tap water, not just answering the question “Can you drink the water in Mexico City?” but also whether you should use it to make coffee if you can trust a glass of water in a restaurant, and ways you can purify the water to combat health concerns.

So, Can You Drink Water In Mexico City?

Can I drink the water in Mexico City

Basically, no! We would not advise anybody to drink the water in Mexico City. 

The majority of water in Mexico City comes from abstracted groundwater, while the rest is largely obtained from rivers and springs. This water is purified and cleaned at the source or in nearby water treatment plants, which sounds all well and good. In fact, CDMX’s government claims that around 95% of water is fit for consumption.

However, by the time it gets to homes, restaurants, and coffee shops, it has flowed through metres and metres of pipes, some of which are affected by rust, bacterial contamination, or viruses. In essence, the plumbing system needs an update.

Plus, in some cases, the storage tanks where the water is held are also far from ideal, contributing to issues with purity.

As a result, bottled water is the norm for most of Mexico City’s population. 

For ourselves, we don’t normally drink tap water. Instead, we purchase big 10-litre carboys (known locally as garrisons) that we use for drinking water in Mexico City, as well as for cooking, making coffee – pretty much anything that involves water that we plan to ingest in some way!

Giant water bottles are super common in Mexico, to the extent that the nation has the highest per capita consumption of bottled water in the entire world. 

Is It Safe To Drink Water At Mexico City Restaurants?

Is the water in Mexico City safe to drink

Can you drink tap water in Mexico City restaurants? In theory, yes. Restaurants around the capital have been legally required to supply filtered water to diners ever since 2015 in an effort to try and reduce the amount of plastic pollution that enters the environment. 

Do all CDMX restaurants actually do this? That’s impossible to say. Obviously, if you go to a very high-end restaurant like Quintonil or Pujol, you won’t need to worry at all. It’s also safe to say that, in general, restaurants don’t benefit from deceiving customers about water and making them sick, particularly if the eatery relies on good reviews to ensure regular diners.

Another factor to consider is flavour. Even if the filtered water at a restaurant is safe to drink, in our experience, it won’t have the best taste. Sure, bottled water often has a kind of sterile banality to it, but that’s better than some of the alternatives.

Is it safe to drink coffee in Mexico City?

Is it safe to drink water in Mexico City

We’ve never suffered any ill effects from drinking coffee in Mexico City. Does that mean we’ve checked whether every café we’ve ever been to uses filtered water or bottled water to make their brews? Honestly, no, but the results speak for themselves!

Plus, you definitely don’t want to miss out on all the hip cafes that CDMX has to offer, particularly around La Condesa and Roma Norte. We’re also big fans of Cafe El Jarocho in Coyoacan, which you should stop into either before or after a visit to the Frida Kahlo Museum.

At home, we must admit we usually use bottled water to make coffee, mainly because it just tastes better. However, you can, of course, use the tap. Just make sure you boil it for at least five minutes.

Can I have ice in Mexico City?

Can you drink ice cubes in Mexico City?

Essentially, the same answers to “Can you drink the water in Mexico City?” apply to ice cubes. We absolutely do not recommend you make ice from tap water and then put it in your drinks. Use only bottled water.

However, as we’ve already mentioned, most restaurants in CDMX these days do have a filtration system installed, so it’s fair to expect that in most respectable joints – and certainly in the numerous trendy cocktail bars – the ice cubes won’t cause any stomach troubles, and on hot summer days you’ll definitely be grateful for a cold beverage!

You may want to play it safe at your neighbourhood food stall since these places are exempted from the 2015 law regarding filtered water. It also pays to be a little more cautious once you head outside of CDMX, as the State of Mexico has a number of cities that rank amongst the worst in the country for quality of tap water.

Is salad safe to eat in Mexico City?

Is it safe to eat salad in Mexico City?

It really depends on where you go. We have a favourite salad shop, located just off the Zocalo, called Downtown Ensaladas. It’s a simple, hole-in-the-wall kind of place but with a really good, make-your-own-style salad offering. It’s always busy with locals, and we’ve never had any issues after eating there.

On the other hand, we wouldn’t necessarily trust the salad in places where it’s just an afterthought. That’s not so much a commentary on how safe we feel it is to wash salads in Mexico City water as it is on the fact that getting food poisoning from carelessly washed salad is a common issue almost everywhere in the world.

It’s actually quite common for Mexicans to wash their salad leaves in Microdyn, which acts as a sterilising agent, so you might actually be better off with salad here than in some other countries.

What is the most common food poisoning in Mexico?

You really don’t need to be as concerned about getting sick in Mexico as urban legends about Moctezuma’s Revenge would have you believe. Especially in CDMX, the level of food hygiene is perfectly acceptable and unlikely to cause you any serious illness.

Of course, you should still take sensible precautions unless you want a nasty surprise! On the whole, it’s never a good idea to consume things that have clearly been sitting around for ages or dine at places where foot traffic is sparse. 

Raw salad and fruit can obviously pose a risk since they’re completely uncooked, but as we already noted in the last point, we regularly eat salad at select places and have yet to suffer any ill effects. It’s all about using a bit of common sense. 

The most frequent cause of food poisoning that we hear about from friends is the salsas that accompany food stalls since they often sit about in the heat for ages, particularly if the place isn’t particularly busy. 

On the other hand, these condiments can be absolutely delicious, and we wouldn’t want you to miss out entirely on this foodie experience! Just use your discretion – and perhaps do a swift Google search into a restaurant or stall’s reviews beforehand.

Can You Drink Water In Mexico City Hotels?

is it safe to drink the water in Mexico City hotels
Ritz-Carlton via Booking.com

Drinking water at Mexico City hotels offer varies greatly. Of course, it travels through the same questionable pipes as all the other agua in CDMX, but many places, especially 5-star spots, have their own filtration systems installed in specific places throughout the property. The best thing to do is to ask up front whether it is filtered or not. 

We can’t say that we’ve ever risked drinking straight from the tap in a hotel room in CDMX, but quite a few places will supply you with a bit of complimentary bottled water, at least for the first day. 

If you’re planning to stay in an aparthotel or an Airbnb, as we usually do when in town, you can obviously purchase a massive water bottle to keep you going for the duration of your stay.

Can you brush your teeth with tap water in Mexico City?

We always brush our teeth with tap water in Mexico City and have never had any problems. The fact is that even if you do swallow a little bit, it’s likely to be in such small quantities that you’d be very unfortunate to suffer any ill effects.

Still, if you have a sensitive stomach or just want to play it extra safe, you can always use bottled water or filtered water to brush your teeth instead.

In short, while the answer to “Can you drink tap water in Mexico City?” is a resounding no, you definitely can use the tap water to brush your teeth.

Is it safe to shower in Mexico City?

Yes, definitely. In fact, we hope you shower regularly while in Mexico. Otherwise, it is going to be one pungent vacation! 

The biggest problem with the water supply in CDMX is impurities that leech in from the pipes, but none of these impurities should cause you any skin irritation. And in case you swallow a small amount of water, that also shouldn’t cause any stomach issues.

How To Purify Water In Mexico?

Can you drink tap water in Mexico City after you’ve purified it? You sure can, and there are lots of different ways you can make it safer for consumption.

Our LARQ water purifying bottle.

LARQ Bottles 

These beauties come with us everywhere we go because they give us the confidence and freedom to know that, in a pinch, we can have access to a safe supply of potable water wherever we are. They’re compact and stylish and just so good!

How do they work? The bottles have a built-in UV light that “deactivates” bacteria, destroying their DNA so they don’t cause any sickness in humans. There are two different modes: normal, which runs for a minute once activated, and adventure, which activates a deeper cleanse that takes three minutes. 

The bottles are self-cleaning as well as rechargeable, so you don’t need to keep buying disposable batteries to use the UV-C function. Plus, they are thoroughly insulated, which means you can put inside fridge-chilled water or hot coffee if you want to use your LARQ as a thermos.

GRAYL GeoPress

These water bottles use a filtration cartridge system to remove all kinds of bacteria and viruses from water sources. They’ve been specifically designed for hikers who might have to rely on suspect groundwater, so they are pretty heavy-duty.

The way it works is a little different from the LARQ: instead of just pressing a button, you fill the outer container with water before pushing the inner container with its filtration cartridge down into the outer container. This takes about eight to 10 seconds. 

Yes, it does involve a bit more manual effort, plus you’ll have to handwash the parts at the end of your vacation and then let them dry out afterwards for a couple of days, but hey, it’s a small price to pay for safe drinking water!

Purifier Sachets

Like the GRAYL GeoPress, purifier sachets and tablets remove bacteria, viruses, and protozoa, turning discoloured water with all kinds of questionable floating bits into translucent liquid.

It’s all pretty simple in terms of usage: drop the contents into the water, leave for half an hour, and hey presto, you’re good to go! It’s not as quick as the water bottles that we’ve already highlighted, but the sachets/tablets are pretty handy for when you want to bulk purify water back at your accommodation.

Is the water safe to drink in Mexico City after you’ve used these sachets? You bet! How much water can be sterilised using one sachet depends on the brand, but most will manage at least a litre.   

Sawyer Water Filter

The Sawyer Water Filter is a tiny little device that’s super easy to fit in your luggage. By itself, it weighs just 2 ounces, though it does come with a hydration pack if you want to use that as a water storage container, or you can just attach the filter directly to a standard water bottle opening.

What’s most nifty about this gadget compared to the other options we’ve tested is the convenience and speed. You don’t even have to wait eight seconds for it to clean water, as you are basically just drinking straight through the filter. For example, you can attach the filter to the straw that comes with the device and drink water through that. 

The Sawyer Water Filter claims to be able to filter up to 100,000 tonnes of water before it needs to be replaced, but before you ask, no, we have not put that to the test!

Can You Cook With Tap Water In Mexico City?

Is it safe to cook in Mexico City?

The tap water Mexico City has may not be ideal for drinking, but cooking with it is absolutely fine. After all, you’ll probably be heating it to more than 100 degrees Celsius if you are planning to use it to cook pasta or boil an egg. 

On the other hand, we have already touched on the funky taste that the local tap water can have, so you might want to stick to bottled water if you have a sensitive palate.

How Can I Eat And Drink Safely In Mexico?

The short answer is, by using common sense. Don’t drink water straight from the tap. Eat at places that have good reviews and seem to be well-frequented by locals. If in doubt, stick to bottled water or use your own purification device to ensure there aren’t any residual contaminants.

We don’t want to spoil sports and tell you not to eat that questionable-looking meat from that authentic-seeming food cart, but if you do, just be prepared to suffer the consequences! The safer option is obviously to go on a food tour to get some tips from an expert – it’s what we do everywhere we go, and it’s never steered us wrong.

Can You Drink Tap Water In Mexico City?: FAQs

Can you drink water in Mexico City restaurants.

Are tourists in Mexico recommended to drink bottled water?

Can you drink tap water in Mexico City? We wouldn’t advise it, unless you know there’s a filtration system installed, and even then, the taste isn’t great, so maybe just in an emergency! In other words, we would definitely recommend sticking to bottled water, especially since you might not want to risk the local supply on a short stay.

Can you make coffee with tap water in Mexico?

Can you drink the water in Mexico City if it’s been boiled? Yes, and it’s perfectly fine to use to make coffee. Of course, it might taste a little strange, but to be honest, if you like your coffee strong as an ox, you probably won’t notice either way! If you feel like you are getting some rusty notes, revert to bottled.

What to do if you accidentally drink water in Mexico?

Look, it’s not the end of the world. If you accidentally drink the water in Mexico City, you probably won’t suffer any ill effects at all. Even if the immediate results are… unpleasant, they are unlikely to last longer than a day or so. If your symptoms persist, the sensible thing is obviously to take yourself to the hospital, but that’s an extremely unlikely scenario.

Do locals drink tap water in Mexico City?

No, not really. Of course, some people have filtration systems installed at home, but most people in CDMX do not drink directly from the tap if they can help it. That’s why Mexico is the largest consumer per capita of bottled water in the world.

Can you drink boiled tap water in Mexico?

Is it safe to drink tap water in Mexico City if it’s been boiled? Boiling the water may kill viruses and bacteria, but it won’t remove any sediment that’s in the water, which may be harmless but is still unpleasant if you’re throwing back a glass or two.

What bacteria is in Mexico’s water?

Why not drink water in Mexico? Well, mainly because of the bacteria! If you ask an expert why is Mexican water bad, the answer is likely to be because it can be tainted with bacterial strains of Campylobacter and E. coli, both of which are common causes of diarrhoea.

Can You Drink Tap Water In Mexico City?: Conclusion

So, can you drink tap water in Mexico City? The short answer is no! However, there are several ways you can purify the water that comes from the faucet. In most cases, you can feel secure in knowing that when you eat out in CDMX, you’ll have access to water that has already been filtered or comes from a bottle.

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