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Is it Safe to Eat in Mexico?

If you’re planning on having your wedding in Mexico, you’re bound to get lots of fearful (and may I say funny) questions from your guests. Safety concerns are some of the most common questions I hear that seem a bit odd to me. In reality, you and your wedding party have nothing to fear from staying at Cancun or Riviera Maya. Perhaps the craziest questions I get asked when working in Mexico is, “Is the ice safe?” and/or “Is it safe to eat in Mexico?”

It’s very common for travelers to worry about the safety of the water. And once a year I get this silly question about the ice and if it is safe to drink drinks with ice. The simple answer is, YES! There’s no reason to order your drinks without ice.

Resorts have a vested interest in making sure you are safe, healthy and happy. They want you to go home and tell your friends and family what a great time you had. They want you to be so happy that you come back next year and the year after. Happy customers are how they make their money, not by saving a couple pennies and cutting corners when it comes to safe food and drink.

I’ve been working and living here in Mexico for five years – eating 1-3 meals a week at different resorts and have never once been sick as a direct result of a meal at one of them. So, in my opinion, it’s completely safe to eat and drink as you please while in Mexico. Much like the general safety of Mexico, there are lots of misconceptions out there that may cause your guests to think twice about sending their RSVP.

A perfect example is in the “Sex and the City” movie. There’s a scene where Charlotte reflexively drinks the water while in the shower. Cue the dramatic run to the bathroom! This simply is not true. Personally, I have the same shower habit and have never gotten sick in five years. I think the real reason Charlotte gets sick in the movie is that she refuses to eat anything other than pre-packaged chocolate pudding…what a waste not indulging in delicious Mexican food and margaritas!

Close up of food at Akiin in Tulum

Are there bugs and bacteria in Mexico that aren’t in the U.S.? Yes, but they’re not as harmful as the horror stories would have you believe. So…why do so many people get sick in Mexico if it’s not a result of bad water or contaminated food? I have a few theories:

  • People eat too much. Geeze, even I’m prone to eating too much at the resort buffet, it’s hard not to! But, overeating can leave you and your guests feeling less than great.
  • The food is very rich in fat. Eating unhealthy or altering your diet can definitely effect your digestion.
  • Sugar, sugar, sugar. The downside of all those frozen drinks and margaritas? There’s lots of sugar in them. Extra sugar combined with alcohol sometimes doesn’t settle so well in your stomach.

So, long story short, please reassure your guests that there’s no reason to be afraid of staying at a big Mexican resort. They are in the business of making people happy and I would bet most of your guests will be just that – happy.

In fact, I always find that the people who are most hesitant to come end up having the best time! I hear this all the time at weddings. Uncle ‘Joe’ made such a fuss about not wanting to come to Mexico because he thought it would be unsafe. And he’s the one enjoying it the most. This is literally without exception! Not only will their fears not come to light, but I guarantee their experience will exceed their expectations. So if you are home right now thinking of these people. Just smile and know they will have a great time.

Be confident in your decision to get married in Mexico and please, oh please, enjoy the food and drinks while you’re here!

-Dean Sanderson
Mexico Wedding Photographer

Guests walking to wedding reception location