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Chuck Bolotin of Best Mexico Movers – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
GarrafonNo one I know drinks the water out of the tap in the Ajijic / Chapala area.
 
Instead, people will either use garaafones (like a Sparklets or Arrowhead container of water), or they will have a house water purification system.
 
The garrafones cost about $1.50 for about a 5 gallon container, and we get free delivery.  We are renting our house, so we didn't opt for whole-house water purification, and instead, opted for one just under the kitchen sink.  I don't remember the exact cost, other than it was very reasonable.
 
I'm not certain how much whole house water purification costs, but I believe it is around $1,000.
 
None of this is a big deal, and you can choose which works best for you.  Just don't use that tap water!
 
We have never had a problem drinking the water at a restaurant, with or without iced cubes.
 
If you're interested in moving to the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area, check out Best Mexico Movers.
 
 
Jeff Smith of DocTours – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Egret on Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingEverybody you talk to in the Lake Chapala / Ajijic area recommends not drinking from the tap. So why chance it? Stomach ailments don't feel good. And bottled water is not so pricey at all. And there lots of tasty juices etc with which to quench one's thirst for a pleasant variety.
 
(Egret on Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Francisco Araiza of interlago realestate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Kitchen at an Interlago development, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIn my opinion, you need to have a water filtration system in your house if you live anywhere in Mexico. Water either comes from the municipal water or from wells. Either way, it is still recommended to have some sort of water filtration system at home.
 
You can have UV light or a reverse osmosis system or a softener. Once the water goes through any of these filtration systems, it is safe to drink. I do not recommend drinking unfiltered water.
 
In our development, when the houses are turned over to the owners, they already have UV light water treatment systems and a couple of cartridges for separating solids, but in order for you to be able to drink the water, you need to add more because the water in our area has more minerals than in other places.
 
A reverse osmosis water filtration system would cost around US $1,000. The maintenance for the system is not much.
 
(Home at Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Chris Gruenwald of Biencom Real Estate – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Lake view home, Ajijic, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingI drink water here in Chapala straight from the tap. Most of the houses here in Chapala and Ajijic have water purification systems installed, which the owner keeps up.
 
Different people subscribe to different ideas about water here. Mexicans usually do not drink tap water and prefer bottled water, while most of the expats do drink tap water when there is water filtration installed. Some of the subdivisions here pride themselves in having potable water just straight out of the water main. They usually have some sort of service test it once a month to verify that the water is potable. 
 
Generally speaking, people tend to use bottled water or their houses have some sort of purification system. I have never heard of anybody who got sick or died from drinking tap water regardless if they are drinking, brushing their teeth with it, or taking a shower with it. 
 
The old stories about non-potable water in Mexico were mainly in regard to large cities, impoverished areas, where the general water transportation infrastructure water pipes and so on are corroded and sewage may be getting in the water line but that does not happen in Chapala and Ajijic.
 
In my case, we do not have water filtration in our house and I drink water out of the tap. We have municipal water because each subdivision here has its own artisanal well. Sometimes these wells are run privately by each subdivision but more often than not, that is turned over to the municipality. You have to think about it logically. I know where our well is located and how deep it is so I know where the water is coming from and it is not being stored anywhere. It is coming directly from an artisanal well going directly to our house. There are no sewer systems that could be leaking into it. Everyone here is using septic tanks and these septic tanks do not percolate as deep as the well water. I am a biologist so I get it from a logical standpoint. There is no threat of contamination there.
 
(Lake view home, Ajijic, Mexico, pictured.)
Mirna Segura of Ajijic Rentals – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Bathroom in Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingWe have many wells in the area of Chapala and Ajijic but we are not 100% sure of the quality of the water that comes from these wells, which is why we buy bottled water. We use what is called a garrafón, which is a 5-gallon bottle of water, which is usually sold at 25 pesos (almost $1.50).
 
I do not think it is safe to drink the water right out of the tap. We wash our vegetables with bottled water or we wash it using tap water and then put some disinfectant on the vegetables. We also brush our teeth and cook using bottled water but we take the shower using regular water.
 
(Bathroom in Lake Chapala, Mexico, pictured.)
Anne Dyer of Casita Montana – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Vampiros, Lake Chapala, Mexico – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingYears ago, you had to be careful about drinking water in Chapala and Ajijic, but everybody has potable water now. In my care center and B & B, we have purified water. For those who want to be extra careful, we also have bottled water that they can buy.
 
Water served at all the restaurants is safe. Years ago, drinking water here in Chapala and Ajijic was something that you would worry about but it’s not so anymore. It’s very safe, the restaurants are clean and we never have a problem about the water any more. 
 
It might not be safe to drink water from the tap of a house that one would rent but if you are in a public place like a restaurant or a hotel, all the water is purified. I live here onsite at the care center where we have a pressure system and a water purification system, which is very safe. You can brush your teeth, wash your face, and drink out of the tap but if you want to be extra careful, we also have bottled water available.
 
(An iced vampiro, a fizzy, spicy, tomato and orange juice cocktail popular around Lake Chapala, Mexico, being served, pictured.)
Santiago Hernandez of Chapala Med – Best Places In The World To Retire User Account
Bacdyn disinfectant for vegtables – Best Places In The World To Retire – International LivingIt is probably unsafe to drink the water from the taps in Chapala and Ajijic. Most people here, even the locals, drink bottled water. It is not recommended to drink the water coming from the lake, either. However, people do brush their teeth using tap water. When you do that, eventually, people tend to colonize their digestive tracks with the local flora and they turn out to be okay. 
 
Public health standards here are different than they are in the US, Canada, and a lot of other developing countries in that the standards here are still developing. Drinking water, in particular, usually comes from big jugs called garrafons, which are 5-gallon jugs of water that you can buy at any local convenience store or have them delivered to your doorstep. It costs around US $2.50 per 5-gallon refill. Garrafons are generally used for making ice cubes. Some expats still do get sick even from bacteria that local people do not get sick from. It’s just about acclimating to the local bugs here. 
 
If you are washing vegetables at home, you may want to buy a disinfectant called BacDyn. You just put a small drop as you soak your vegetables and they clean the vegetables. Most restaurants use that same method as well.
 
The restaurants that cater to expats tend to have a higher standard of cleanliness than those that don’t. A lot of the locals and even some expats tend to eat at the local streets vendors, such as taco stands, hotdog stands, and hamburger stands, where food is also prepared on the streets. There is really no guarantee that those vendors use the same standards for food preparation and cleanliness that an established restaurant would use.
 
Here in Mexico, people are very open to passing, by word of mouth, positive or negative experiences. People tend to vocalize if they have gotten sick after eating somewhere. The community here in Chapala is quite small so word of mouth spreads rapidly. The last thing a restaurant wants is to get a reputation that people got sick after eating at their place so they make sure that their food is clean.
 
(Bacdyn disinfectant for cleaning vegetables available in Mexico, pictured.)

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