There is no way to guarantee that you won’t get sick from the foods you eat and drink on your next trip to Mexico, but there are a few things you can do to minimize your risk of getting sick. Here are some quick tips for eating safely in Mexico.
Wash Your Hands Often
One of the easiest ways to stay healthy when traveling is to wash your hands often – preferably with soap and water but an alcohol-based sanitizer will do in a pinch. Wash hands after handling those vacation pesos and before and after meals.
Never Drink Tap Water
The majority of hotels, restaurants and even food stands only cook and serve purified water, but it is important to double check. Simply ask, “agua pura?” or when ordering water in restaurants you can request “una botella de agua pura, por favor” (a bottle of water, please). Drinking purified water sounds easy, right? Usually. Where most people get tripped up is when they make the habitual mistake of brushing their teeth, or making coffee or ice cubes with tap water.
Wash Your Fruit and Veggies
If your accommodations have a kitchen you may plan on cooking, or at least keeping some snacks in the room. When it comes to your fruit and veggies buy pre-washed greens from the markets or supermarkets when possible. If you purchase fruit and veggies from the local mercado and fruit stands be sure to wash them with an iodine rinse such as Microdyn. As delicious as they look, many tourists avoid fruit stands that sell chopped fruit. If you are going to indulge, watch to see what their sanitation process looks like. For example, are they washing the knife between chopping different types of fruit?
Check The Online Reviews for Restaurants
Head online to check Google and Facebook reviews of restaurants from other tourists and travelers. Pay the closest attention to tourist reviews as locals have built-up immunity to many of the bacteria that make travelers sick. Don’t worry, this won’t limit you to the tourist areas as lots of travelers go off the beaten path. This is not foolproof as not all negative effects are immediate. For example, it can take weeks before you experience the symptoms of an intestinal parasite.
Picking The Right Street Food Vendors
One of the best ways to enjoy authentic regional cuisine is to dine at local markets and street food stands. No matter where you are in the world hygiene and sanitation is of greater concern when dining outdoors. To reduce your risk of getting sick go to the vendors with the longest lines. It’s not a no-fail solution but the longer the line the better the vendor’s reputation.
Take A Food Tour
There are so many reasons to take a food tour when you travel, one being to identify multiple restaurants that have a high standard for food safety. Take your tour on the first day or two of your trip so that you can return to the restaurants you enjoyed most. And be sure to ask for additional restaurant recommendations from your tour guide. If you will be traveling to Oaxaca, Oaxaca Eats Food Tours can help steer you in the right direction! And check our Facebook and Instagram for other local restaurant recommendations.
Here is to enjoying all the delicious food and drinks Mexico has to offer!