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U.S. Warns Americans Not To Drink The Tap Water In Cancun 

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It is no secret that Cancun remains the number one destination for American tourists after experiencing what has been an unprecedented year in the tourism sector. 

But while it remains extremely popular, there are certain things tourists need to be careful about when visiting.

View of beach in Cancun

Warning Regarding Drinking Water

The U.S. State Department warns travelers to be careful regarding the water quality of popular tourist destinations, including…you guessed it…the ever-popular Cancun and Mexico itself. 

If you are a frequent traveler, you will be no stranger to warnings to not drink the local tap water and instead stick to drinking bottled water only.

However, if you are a less frequent traveler, these precautions may not be common knowledge and just one drink from the tap could leave you feeling pretty unwell; something you don’t want.

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As the ‘revenge travel’ trend took hold of Americans this year, in an attempt to ‘make up for lost time’ following the years after the pandemic, more and more people have chosen the Mexican Caribbean and Yucatan Peninsula as their top destination to travel to, hence why we are highlighting the message: don’t ingest the water!

The recommendation is that all tourists drink bottled water, whether in their hotel or at any bar/restaurant, something that is extremely common and you will see everybody else doing. 

While you may think that drinking bottled water will be enough to stop you from being sick, it is also advised to remain cautious when eating and drinking out at restaurants.

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Though it can certainly be tempting to have the coldest margarita on the menu, consider asking for one without ice, as the water inevitably will melt into your drink and could make you just as sick.

All of this is not to say that this is becoming a huge problem and hospitals are being inundated with patients from drinking the tap water; they aren’t. 

The worst of it will be that you get an upset stomach and spend a few days making best friends with your toilet, but nothing more than that. 

In the most extreme cases, you might find yourself in the hospital if you are suffering side effects like dehydration, highlighting the importance of purchasing your travel insurance ahead of your trip, as this type of situation could happen to you. 

cancun hospital sign

Tips And Tricks 

Generally, most hotels and resorts are likely to have safer options available to you, but in most cases, we recommend:

  • Purchasing bottled water from groceries, pharmacies, and markets. 
  • Use filtered water for drinking and brushing your teeth.
  • Avoid swallowing any water when you shower. 
  • When eating fruits and vegetables, check if they have been washed with purified water, and opt for cooked, steamed or grilled as the serving option in restaurants.
shopping area in Cancun with tourists

Final Thoughts

Look, we are not saying become completely obsessed with making sure that the only water you come into contact with is filtered or sterilized or bottled or…whatever!

We don’t want to hinder your experience of being in one the most amazing destinations on earth for your vacation, but just be cautious when drinking water, ordering ice-y drinks, eating food washed and cooked in water, brushing your teeth, and having showers; it will be worth it in the long run. 

Stick to our tips and tricks and you will not have to spend half of your vacation in the bathroom!

Aerial view of Cancun resort with ocean front

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Monday 18th of December 2023

How is this newsworthy? Americans have made a joke out of México in this regard for decades. Even us Mexicans know not to drink tab water, here NOR in the US! It's almost as well known as the fact that it's not safe for kids to go to school in the US for fear of being shot!

Wayne Keenan

Sunday 17th of December 2023

This article is completely wrong...I've lived here 20 yrs and showering , brushing your teeth with tap water is not a problem..The water is high in mineral content but not bacteria that will make you sick. You don't drink it whole as you could cause kidney stones. They don't make ice out of tap water or mix drinks with it. That's all bottle water. If you get a glass of water at a restaurant,it is not tap water, it's garrafon bottle water. Many hotels have triple filtering systems and say you can drink from the tap, but I wouldn't.