Should We Drink the Water?
Besides being a personal choice, the debate over drinking water in Puerto Vallarta is one that resembles something like a double side sword. After living here for decades, going back to when drinking tap water was a sure recipe for a good bellyache, we have stuck with water from garrafones (5-gallon, usually blue or clear glass or plastic jugs). It’s an easy solution, cheap and worry-free.
You can buy your garrafon in Puerto Vallarta in a store (they carry them in big and small markets; Walmart, Oxxo, your corner bodega) or from trucks that come through neighborhoods on a regular basis. You rent the bottle (garrafon) from the company you choose, and it costs the equivalent of about $2/3 dollars for a full one. They will bring them up the stairs for you if there’s no elevator, clean them and open them and plop them on your portagarrafon. Say what? A portagarrafon is a ceramic container that you can place on a counter or a stand. Stands come in more than one size, countertop, and floor model; in various designs. Tip the driver; we do $10 pesos.
We continue to brush teeth with tap water and of course, it is safe for bathing, laundry, etc, but we have always erred on the side of caution. Hotels claim to have safe drinking water with state-of-the-art filter systems, but then they have garrafones in lobbies and often bottled water available in rooms. Restaurants in Puerto Vallarta will serve you water from a garrafon; it doesn’t come from the tap. You can always order a bottle of water, but that’s wasteful and they will charge you, whereas a glass (vaso con agua) is free. Ice cubes are delivered to restaurants the same as garrafones.
We use our own 18-ounce water flask when out and about. We fill it at home and then refill during stops in the day. Restaurants will gladly do this for you. We can’t stress enough how important it is to drink water in Puerto Vallarta; this climate is very dehydrating. To avoid cramping, headaches, bowel irritations; hydrate, hydrate, hydrate.
Upset tummies on vacation are normal. You eat different foods, you’re acclimatizing to different weather, doing crazy things like ziplining, surfing, and hanging out in the jungle. If you’re an adult, you’re also drinking more alcohol than usual and there’s nothing quite so dehydrating. More than likely, you’re getting lots of sun, and your primary thought should be on replenishing your body fluids.
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