Attention all Travelers!
No. 1 Rule: Drink lots of bottled water and wash your hands often
Follow this simple advise anywhere in the world your travels take you and you should be fine.
With that in mind, we have put together a few extra pointers for your vacation rental in Puerto Vallarta. We don’t want you to get sick either.
Water Filtration System at the Villa
All of our villas have some type of water filtration system and use purified ice.
The majority of our properties have a reverse osmosis water filter at the main source of entry into the house which purifies all tap water.
Puerto Vallarta Water
Puerto Vallarta’s water system is one of the best in Mexico. The water treatment plant is considered state of the art and wins many awards. The tap water in Puerto Vallarta actually tastes good too.
You can feel absolutely confident brushing your teeth and showering in Puerto Vallarta.
However, culturally speaking, you would never see a Mexican drinking water from the tap. All Mexican households buy purified water for drinking and cooking, stored in huge 5-gallon jugs called “garrafones” that sit in metal stands in the kitchen. You will hear the delivery trucks passing through the residential areas ringing bells and shouting “Agua!”
While on your trip to Mexico, plan to drink bottled water. We will add a case of personal sized bottles to your pre-stock grocery list and the staff will purchase more for you as needed.
Mexico is known for their mineral water. Topo Chico is one of the best. Penafiel is another good brand. These sparkling waters actually have health benefits. Apart from helping with digestion, the mineral compositions include magnesium, which has calming effects, potassium and manganese, an antioxidant.
Topo Chico is sourced from the mountains near Monterrey, in northern Mexico and was believed by the Aztecs to have healing powers. In 1440, Moctezuma I was looking for a cure for his daughter who was deathly ill. The royal doctors could not find the cause. His priests suggested the beautiful princess be sent to a mythical spring in the north that had warm waters and flowed from a hill shaped like a rodent, a mole (“topo” in Spanish). Travelers talked of leaving the springs feeling refreshed, even joyful.
The expedition found their way to the spring and after spending time there drinking and bathing, the entire party returned to Tenochtitlan with wonderful news. The princess and everyone else in the group was strong, healthy and happy. Her miraculous recovery became famous throughout the land and made the sparkling water of Topo Chico a sought after drink for centuries.
Eating Fresh Produce
In the old days, this was a problem. Mexico is rustic. Farmers used “natural” fertilizer – fresh manure from animals, mostly pigs and sometimes even human waste. Black water was used for irrigation. Sewage treatment in rural areas was primitive and refrigeration antiquated.
Thankfully, Mexico has come a long way in modernization. Issues with food contamination in resort towns like Puerto Vallarta are a thing of the past.
Washing fruits and vegetables in tap water is probably sufficient. But to be safe, any vegetables that grow next to the soil and are eaten uncooked, like lettuce and cilantro, should be soaked in an antibacterial solution. This is a common practice in Mexico. Every kitchen has a bottle of Microdyn.
The cook at your villa will purchase clean fruit and vegetables from modern super markets that carry pre-washed produce from national distributors. She will soak any fruit and veggies to be eaten raw or unpeeled in Microdyn.
It may not be Bacterial
It is helpful to remember that a simple change in diet when traveling to a foreign country can cause some digestive systems to experience an adjustment period. Stomach problems you may experience are not necessarily caused by bacteria from fresh produce or contaminated food. You may have picked up a virus in the airport. Overindulging in alcohol, dehydration and too much sun can be contributing factors to Traveler’s Diarrhea, which is not serious, just unpleasant.
How to Enjoy your Food and Travel Experience
Food goes hand in hand with travel. You want to experience the local food customs and traditional dishes. All of the established, popular restaurants serve bottled water and purified ice. The busy ones have a high turnover of the ingredients of their dishes. This can be one of the biggest culprits: food that becomes spoiled from sitting in a quiet restaurant’s creaky refrigerator for too many days.
When experimenting at some of the off-beat neighborhood cafes and street stands use your better judgment.
Here are some tips to follow when eating as the locals do:
- Don’t eat at an empty restaurant Look for the ones that are crowded; not only for the high turnover of food items but for the obvious reasons: the restaurant’s reputation is a reflection of proper food handling, cleanliness and fresh, quality ingredients. The locals go there not only because the food is good but because they know they won’t get sick.
- Check the salsa Does the bowl of salsa look like it has been out all day? Probably dipped into by multiple customers? Salsa is generally made of raw vegetables although for the most part the tomatoes are boiled or roasted. But salsa always requires refrigeration and should be presented at the table fresh. If the salsa looks questionable, don’t take a chance. The good news is limes are plentiful in Mexican cafes and food stands. Use generously on your street tacos; lime juice has flavonoids that have antibiotic effects.
- Walk out if not sure Are there lots of flies? Is the bathroom filthy? If there is no soap in sight, how is the kitchen staff washing their hands? And don’t insult the waiter or make a fuss. Because you do know what happens when you return food to the kitchen, right?