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Avoiding stomach illness for first timers to Mexico

Posted by Oliver Weickardt on 2015-11-26
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Avoiding stomach illness, traveler’s diarrhea or as commonly known, “Montezuma’s Revenge”, is one of the things to have in mind if this is the first time you visit Mexico. This country is magical, and its food is so good that UNESCO decided that it had to declare it as Immaterial Heritage of Humankind. However, as delicious as it is, Mexican food can be a bit strong for some foreigners and if you are not used to it, you might want to follow a few considerations.It is important to keep in mind that the “Montezuma Revenge” is usually caused by bacteria found in water and food.

Some people believe that this is because Mexicans improperly handle and storage food; but that’s completely wrong! How could the creators of the first cuisine considered Immaterial Heritage of Humankind don’t know how to handle food? The truth is that Mexicans eat all kind of things and they don’t get any “Montezuma Revenge”, because their organisms are used to these bacteria.

But that’s not reason to not enjoy the fascinating and colorful dishes of the traditional Mexican cuisine. Any established restaurant in major tourist destinations throughout the country, is as reliable as those in the States or Canada. Remember that these towns make a life from tourism, so they understand the importance of avoiding any health related issues. Street food is a complete different story, and even when some of the best things you can eat in Mexico come from street vendors, you may want to avoid eating on the streets, unless having a strong recommendation from a reliable source.

Forget all that non-sense about not eating salads or fruits, seafood and raw meat. Once again, if you are on an established restaurant, you can feel completely safe. If you buy fruits or vegetables in the market, you might want to disinfect them with a few drops of Microdyn. This product can be found in grocery stores across Mexico.

The quality of Mexican tap water varies widely from town to town, so remember the wise say that “When in Rome, do as Romans”. Mexicans usually don’t drink tap water, they drink bottled water, and that’s the recommendation here. But please, drink a lot of bottled water not only soda, beer and cocktails, as dehydration is a more common ailment on tourists than the “Montezuma Revenge”. And don’t worry about keeping your mouth closed while your shower or being too cautious while brushing your teeth, those are just exaggerated remarks by people that probably have never been in Mexico before.

There you have it, in order to avoid the famous “Montezuma Revenge” all you have to do is to eat in established restaurants, avoid street food, disinfect your vegetables and don’t drink tap water. Enjoy Mexico and its food without any fear and let this country surprise you!

Villa Experience founder is German born but loves all thing Mexico! He has lived in the country since 2003 and has experienced Mexico´s premier destinations at first hand. His favorite destinations are the Yucatan Peninsula, Baja California Sur, and Puerto Vallarta.