One of the questions we get asked most often is whether or not it is safe to drink tap water while in Puerto Vallarta. Unfortunately the answer to this question is not a yes or no . Tap water is different in every place, which means that even if it is safe in, say, Guadalajara, it might not be safe in another part of Jalisco. For over 15 years Puerto Vallarta’s water has been certified for human consumption, making it one of the few places in the whole of Mexico to receive this certification, but what does that mean? It means that while the water that leaves the water treatment plant is safe, after going through the water pipes it might not be the case anymore.
Most large hotels have their own water purifying systems, and thus drinking tap water in them is usually fine.
For the purpose of this article we called SEAPAL, the official organism responsible for water treatment in Puerto Vallarta. Upon asking them if tap water is safe to drink I was told that ‘Water that comes directly from the pipes in the area covered by us is safe to drink, but if it is stored in a tank for later use it may not be the case”. In other words, if you’re in a tall building where water comes directly from a pipe you’re fine, but if you live in a house that has one of those black tanks where water is stored and then used through gravity flow it may not be any more. We were told too that they are certified by several official organisms that will prove their point.
We then asked about the water in Nuevo Vallarta, Bucerias, and other towns. It appears that these areas are managed by another official organism, AMAPAS, and in the subsequent call I was told that water in Bahia de Banderas is not apt for drinking. It can be used for cooking when boiled, but is not completely safe to drink (depending on where in Nuevo Vallarta you’re based the water system may be managed by FIBBA , but is still not safe to drink).
So, is it safe to drink? Our recommendation is not to if you’re outside Puerto Vallarta or in Puerto Vallarta and don’t know if the water comes directly from the pipe system.. Drink bottled water or purified water. Does that mean tap water is useless? Not at all. You can still use it for brushing your teeth, taking a shower, and even for disinfecting vegetables or cooking rice and pasta.
Water in Puerto Vallarta is, in theory, safe to drink, but that does not mean that you should. In order to avoid possible contamination do avoid drinking directly from the tap. However, as Puerto Vallarta’s water is certified you can use it for a lot of other things, like washing the vegetables, and even for brushing your teeth.