As you've probably heard, it's not uncommon for people from other countries to get diarrhea when travelling in Mexico. Our bodies are only used to the types of fertilizer and foods and germs common to where we live.
You have several options for dealing with this: 1) you can try to only eat and drink in certain places (in la Zona Dorada) where they have water purification systems in place. 2) you can try taking PeptoBismol or something similar on a daily basis as a preventive measure. This works for some people, but not for all. 3) you can ask your doctor for a prescription for a sulfa drug to take as a preventive measure - it's a mild antibiotic. I usually do this so I don't have to constantly be thinking about whether or not every place I want to eat or have a drink has a water purification system in place. This way I can just relax, enjoy my meals, and not have to think about it.
There are jellyfish in the water at Mazatlan. I was stung by one and there were some in the water by the our hotel. There was a flag up indicating that there were jellyfish. So watch the flags for warnings. The thing that helped when I got stung was lime juice I just squeezed the juice onto the sting and it stopped stinging. I took it in stride. I was only stung once and it wasn't sore long. It goes with the territory I guess. I was just happy to swim in December and be on the beach!!!!
We in the United States are warned to be careful when drinking water or eating fresh produce in Mexico, as it can make us ill (we call this Montezuma's revenge). Buy bottled water when available, and check with your hotel or restaurant to see if they filter their water. In our hotel room the tap water was not purified for drinking, but was safe for showers. There was, however, a spigot that provided purified water in the room just for drinking. All of the restaurants in the “Golden Zone” that I researched did serve purified water, purified ice, and their salads were advertised as safe to eat. We were told that it is generally OK to eat salads, fruits and vegetables in the better restaurants of the “Gold Zone”. Even so be aware that the chemical content of water and food is different in Mexico, and therefore it is strongly suggested that you do not over indulge for the first couple of days until you get use to it. I read in an article that most people who get sick do so around the fourth day. My husband did become a little ill while we were there even though we were very careful about what we ate and drank. The only thing we could figure out is that he often ordered Mexican Beer. Sometimes the glass would come out of the kitchen slightly wet from the dishwasher. It is possible that the dishes were not being washed with purified water, therefore he got a shot of unpurified water each time he drank a beer from one of these wet glasses. At least this is our theory!
Be sure you are aware of the colors of flags flying on the beaches of Mazatlan. They are as follows:
Yellow Flag: Caution
White Flag: Jellyfish
Red Flag: Danger (usually a stong undertow, but could mean other dangers, as well) - Do NOT go in the water!
Green Flag: Calm - Enjoy the water & safe for swimming.
This happened this last trip to the Dominican Republic. Since it upset me sooooo much I am posting it in all my locations because it can happen anywhere.
This is something that makes me sick. This is not a place specific concern.
While at the pool I notice a little girl about 2 – 3 yrs old. She had water wings on and was in water over 5 feet deep. There was absolutely nobody watching her. I stayed within a couple feet of her while with my son. After 30 minutes (I thought her parents would come back) I asked her if her mother was around. The girl said yes and quickly left to run to her mother. (I was a stranger so she ran away). I noticed who her parents were.
My dilemma was this; do I make an attempt to tune her parents into reality??? Or do I turn a blind eye and pray nothing happens ??? I know that if something happened to her, I would feel guilty.
I decided that I would keep an eye out for her. The next day, she was left alone in deep water for over 1 hour while her dad was at the other end of the pool reading a magazine. He looked for her every 20 – 30 minutes. Her mother was sleeping on a pool chair the whole time.
The following day an announcements was made that parents must watch their kids and not leave them alone in the pool. Guess what…….
A friend of her family walked to the edge of the pool to check up on her….it took 3 minutes for him to find her. When he did, he said to the father, “oh she is with my son” (who was about 4 – 5 years old). He went back to his chair and they ignored the kids for another hour.
PEOPLE WATCH YOUR KIDS…..AN ALL INCLUSIVE DOES NOT MEAN THEY WILL WATCH OUT FOR YOUR KID.
I took the opportunity to speak very loud to my wife (loud enough for the parents to hear).
I mentioned how parents that do not look after their kids in situations like that should have family services take their children away from them. That is neglect as far as I am concerned.
As many times as I have traveled in Mexico, to as many different locations, and eaten in many out-of the way places - I had never experienced Montezuma's revenge. Our last day in Mazatlan, we didn't leave our beautiful top-notch resort, relaxed in the pool, and took advantage of the happy hour special - strawberry margaritas. You guessed it - violently ill by evening, carrying over in the morning. The only upside - the hotel doctor makes room calls and could inject me with something to stop the vomiting so we could make it to the airport and our flight. The moral of the story - fresh fruit and ice is ALWAYS possibly a risk, regardless of how nice your surroundings! Stick with Beer or straight tequila!
This is kind of common sense, but I was warned by a friend that I made in Mazatlan that a lot of guys will slip date rape drugs in girls' drinks when they leave them unattended even for a second. So, never ever leave your drink!
Mazatlan is fairly clean except for a bit of air pollution in town with all the vehicles driving around & also depending which way the wind is blowing, there is also some air pollution because of the electrical power generating station south of town that runs on coal.
I'm sure that in the USA & Canada the regulations wouldn't allow such a large power plant to run on coal.
You are best to stay around the tourist areas & not wonder to far off the beaten path at nightime. The old part of Mazatlan is safe enough during the daytime as long as your not alone & I would not recommend that women wonder off on their own, you are best to go as a group.
Another thing to avoid is on the beach or on the streets locals may come up to you wanting to know if you are interested in buying drugs. Best to avoid that altogether because you do not know what you are getting & the drug laws can be a lot harsher that the laws back home. I don't think you want to see what the inside of a Mexican jail is like!
Other than that we find Mazatlan to be a very safe place, you just have to use common sense just like you would anywhere else.