Jump to content
Chapala.com Webboard

Question from a Newbie Visitor


Recommended Posts

6 minutes ago, Hope said:

We are visiting next week.  I am wondering if it is safe to eat the food in area restaurants and drink area water.

Also, is ice cream safe?  We would hate to get sick on our trip.  Thanks for the info

 

 

Be somewhat selective about restaurants: the well established ones are fine, but even then, stuff happens occasionally...just as it does up North.  Avoid food that's been sitting out a while.

Do not drink tap water.  Get bottled water or assume the restaurant (chosen as above) uses purified water. The restaurants will sell you bottled water if you request it.

Wash hands very frequently, especially if you've used railings.

Consider the fact that thousands of expats live and have been dining happily in this area without dying of food poisoning.

The most dangerous thing you will encounter will be the cobblestones, so look down rather than up when walking across them.

Have a fine visit!

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Eating food in restaurants, especially the ones popular with expats, are safe.  Eating street food is an individual drcision.  Don't drink tap water unless you know there is a filter system installed.  Drink bottled water.  Water served to you in restaurants come from bottled water, which is also used for drinks like agua fresca and limonadas.  Ice served in restaurants is made from purified water so safe.  Ice cream is safe as are paletas (popsicles.)

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the most part, if you follow the above advise you will be fine.  The problem you may have is that your stomach is not use to the food.  My advise, put some stomach/bowel medicine in your suit case.  Better to have it and not use it than not to have it.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Charcoal pills are a good thing to travel with. One of my guests came equipped with them and took one every day as a preventative. She never got sick, whereas all my other guests have experienced some sort of stomach upset. Not food poisoning, but you can get stomach upset just from different kinds of foods anywhere.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, you may experience stomach/gastro upset your first few days. (I advise visitors to brush their teeth with the tapwater, but don't drink it, and rinse with bottled water.) But, when you head back north, you will also experience a reaction to water you once were used to.

  • Like 1
  • Sad 2
Link to post
Share on other sites

Avoid salads unless you checked with restaurant that they wash there lettuce, avoid street food, they have limited access to toilets, they rinse there hands , but lack good sop and water washing.   drink bottled water,  check a restaurants toilet out first if its clean ,

avoid street ice cream vendors, they may not a good sanitary place to make ice cream.

due your due diligence and you should be okay

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here are a few of the restaurants where I've eaten, enjoyed the food and haven't had stomach problems afterwards.  Most of them have a variety of menu choices and reasonable prices. These are all close in between Ajijic and San Antonio, to the East.

On the main road: (San Antonio)Panino's: popular with expats.  Lunch. Open weekdays. 

(Ajijic) Gosha's: breakfast, lunch and dinner. Closed Tuesdays.  Dona Lola: breakfast and lunch.( Good Mexican food). 

Downtown Ajijic: Tango. lunch and dinner. 

On the Ajijic plaza:  El Jardin: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Also on the Plaza: an ice cream place.

In the main shopping mall food court:  Trip's, for an "American burger" and a shake.

Enjoy!

Link to post
Share on other sites

My daughter who travels constantly internationally says to  suspend water drinking and salad eating for short trips of a week or so.  Instead drink, tea or coffee or lemony type drinks where you see the lime/lemon squeezed into the glass with a shot of vodka in them that she gets from her flask because she travels to muslim countries regularly.  In some countries even bottled water is still risky. Only consume meat that has been well cooked and nothing like a casserole that has many handlers even in preparation - cooked vegetables alone are the best choice. . The simpler you keep your food the less risk.  Of course she is not on vacation and wanting to enjoy her food.  

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, crynoutloud said:

Bring a jug of peto bismo and a case of tums (the gummies are the best). Take some before you eat if you're worried and then after if you need too. Most people will get a bad stomach at some time so just be prepared and you should be ok. 

I think you mean Pepto Bismol.  Neither it nor other stomach soothers will help if you get the bugs. The locals favor Vermox, which addresses them. Over the counter.  If that doesn't do it, by all means see a doctor. Most of the doctors in the area are bilingual and the cost of an office visit is very low, compared to the U.S.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

been here 17 years and never got the bugs. We eat salads in recognized restaurants and never eat street food. Drink bottled water because you won't be used to the local minerals. We get stomach upset when we go north. Pepto, imodium are readily available here. Enjoy, no need to fear, we're not in the jungle.

 

BTW those who come wearing their safari duds crack us up. 

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

" BTW those who come wearing their safari duds crack us up. "

They "blend in" about as well as a lady of the evening at a Sunday school picnic.  😎

Anyhow, good for you never getting the bugs, Harry, but in spite of following the advice you offer, I've been in Mexico over 14 years and have definitely had my fair share of the bugs.  The worst was in San Miguel with a cooked chicken from the "health foods" purveyor there at the time. Groan.  Every body is different and yours is obviously a tough one!  However, your advice is absolutely valid.

Link to post
Share on other sites

As they say, Pepto and Imodium won't have any effect on the stomach bugs, but they will help prevent the squirts. I just got a bug from an unwashed tomato (my own fault) at a local fruit stand. Never happened before.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Studies support taking Pepto Bismol as a preventative.  I have always had a sensitive stomach.  We travel a lot and I started using PB tabs about a year ago as a preventative with great success compared to no preventative measures.  I take 2 a day starting the day before we travel.

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/05/22/528802722/tips-for-staying-healthy-when-traveling-abroad

 

 

Quote

 

Pack the pink pills

Let's start with what you're most likely to suffer from while traveling: food poisoning. About a quarter of travelers will get gastrointestinal problems within the first two weeks of an international trip, studies have found.

The major advice clinics give is, "Watch what you eat." The CDC even has an app to help you decide whether or not to put that raw cheese or carnitas into your mouth.

That strategy won't hurt, but also might not help. Science just doesn't back it up, says Daniel Leung, an infectious disease doctor at the University of Utah.

"There have been only a few studies on the topic, and they've shown that dietary discretion does not seem to change the risk of getting traveler's diarrhea," Leung says. "Even people who are eating street food or aren't being very careful may not be at higher risk."

But science does support another strategy; a prophylaxis that clinicians often overlook. We even missed it when we reported on this topic back in 2015

It's cheap, safe and ... it's a beautiful pink color.

Yep, I'm talking about Pepto Bismol, or any generic alternative with the same active ingredient, bismuth subsalicylate.

Back in 1987, a study found that two tablets of Pepto Bismol tablets, taken four times a day, cut the risk of traveler's diarrhea by more than 60 percent. The pills dropped the risk from 40 percent to only 14 percent.

The study wasn't super big, just 182 students traveling to Guadalajara, Mexico, but it was a randomized, placebo-controlled study, which is the gold standard design for medical trials. And it showed a dose-dependent effect. A lower dose of one tablet, four times a day reduced the risk by 40 percent rather than 60 percent.

"The findings showed fairly clearly that Pepto Bismol is effective at preventing diarrhea," Leung says.

So why don't we hear more often about this strategy?

"For one thing, the study is old," Leung says. "A second might be because drug companies don't widely market Pepto Bismol."

And some travelers might find it tough to take pills four times a day, he says.

But even less frequent doses might be helpful, Leung says. Bismuth subsalicylate is known to have antimicrobial properties, and it may actually form a protective layer on top of the intestinal wall.

 

 
  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

These two studies of bismuth included e Coli and other bacteria (shigella, c-diff, etc.).

Quote

 

Bismuth Revisited

The most common causes of TD are bacteria,including enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli, Campylobacter jejuni, Salmonella spp. and Shigella spp. In 10% to 40% of cases no pathogen is isolated.  

Bismuth subsalicylate is a non-antimicrobial medication and the active compound in Pepto-Bismol.It has been used for many years to prevent TD and is widely available in North America without a prescription in both liquid and tablet forms.

“Revisiting” the four studies analyzed in this systematic review, all of which were published 15 years ago, reveals that bismuth subsalicylate is effective in preventing TD.

 

 

Quote

 

NIH Study of Antimicrobial Activity of Bismuth

Bismuth subsalicylate (BSS), an insoluble salt that contains a trivalent heavy metal and salicylic acid, has been used for over 100 y to relieve several digestive ailments including diarrhea. Several studies have shown that BSS is safe and effective in preventing and treating traveler's diarrhea (TD). Dupont et al. found that US students that acquired diarrhea in Mexico and treated with BSS had significant reduction in number of unformed stools and severity of associated symptoms.1 In similar cohorts, BSS prophylaxis prevented TD with a protection rate >60%.2,3 Significant reduction in diarrhea rates also was detected in Swiss travelers to West Africa and volunteers challenged with enterotoxigenic Escherichia coli (ETEC), a primary cause of TD, when taking BSS prophylactically vs. placebo.  To help explain the effectiveness of BSS in relieving infectious diarrhea, in vitro experiments published in the 80s and 90s have demonstrated this active drug possesses antimicrobial properties against bacteria and viruses.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites
On 9/18/2018 at 4:47 PM, Hope said:

We are visiting next week.  I am wondering if it is safe to eat the food in area restaurants and drink area water.

Also, is ice cream safe?  We would hate to get sick on our trip.  Thanks for the info

 

 

There is a lot of good info from these BBers. I would add that the ice from ice plants is safe as well as ice cream both on the malecon and in restaurants and stores, Don't miss the wonderful paletas, popsicle of fruit juice that are safe as well. A study from University of Texas found that the most common source of bacteria in restaurant food is the salsa left out on the table as people dip and bite and re dip the same chip. Then the sauce bowl sets in the warm and you've got a petri dish. Hope you have a great visit.

PS: even I wipe the top on on beer bottles very rigorously.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For "street" food we look for the places with lots of people. The local folks know the places with good food and they don't want to get sick either.

For more "gringoized" restaurants you have a lot of good suggestions and there are many, many more.

We have been here for nearly 15 years and have had a few bouts of upset stomachs but for the vast majority of the time we haven't had any problems. But we have also had a few problems when visiting the U.S. In fact, after we had been here for a while we had some problems when we visited the U.S. Our joke was "when you go to the U.S. don't drink the water".

I can't think of any place that I would specifically suggest you should avoid based on food safety. My suggestions is to use common sense and enjoy the many places with good food you will find during your visit. Hope you enjoy your trip.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...