Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How To Vacation In A War Zone – Part 3 of a 5 part series..

By Posted in - North America & Travel Blog on January 30th, 2010

In our previous posts, we talked about the dangers of traveling in Baja, Mexico and also about how beautiful the country is and how it should not be overlooked just because of  the current media hype. It also happens to be a budget travelers wonderland with a variety of activities to partake in that are all easy on the wallet.

To Read Part 2 click here: Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How To Vacation In A War Zone – Part 2 of a 5 part series.

To Read Part 4 click here: Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How to Vacation In A War Zone – Part 4 of a 5 part series.

To Read Part 5 click here: Blood, Drugs & Sangria – How to Vacation In a War Zone – Part 5 of a 5 part series.

This is the third post in our series of 5 and highlights our second tip for hanging out in one of the busiest & dangerous  border cities in the world – Tijuana, Mexico.

Randy & Mike wait for a street taco.

Randy & Mike wait for a street taco.

We want to encourage you to head south of the border so while our tips may start with a “Don’t”, they are followed up by several “Do’s”. It can be scary to drive or visit any foreign country so we invite you to comment or contact us by email if you have any other specific questions before embarking on your own adventure. We would love the opportunity to answer your questions and give you the confidence you need to begin your journey.

Tip #2 – Don’t drink the water

I know you’ve probably heard this before but it’s true. You don’t want to end up with Montezuma’s Revenge because you had a mixed drink that wasn’t made with purified water. When we traveled to Oaxaca recently we learned that there is a state law there that mandates all ice must be made with purified water. We have never heard of a law like that for Tijuana so it’s always best to be on the safe side.


1. When you order a water check to be sure that the restaurant or bar is opening a brand new bottle and not just re-opening one that is half empty. You may be told that it is half empty because they gave the other half to the person before you. Don’t fall for this. Request a new bottle be opened. It will be a non issue and you’ll be glad later on. It is always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to drinking water.  50 cropped

2. The same rule goes for salads. Eat salad only if it has been made with purified water. Don’t be shy about asking, this is a common question and some restaurants (the more touristy ones) will even advertise that fact on their menus so you don’t have to ask. You definitely don’t want a salad that has been rinsed with tap water because the bacteria can make you very ill and ruin your trip. If there is any doubt skip the salad and order well cooked veggies instead.

3. A trip to Mexico wouldn’t be the same without a couple margaritas right? Just make sure the ice is also made with purified water (de hielo purificado). Again if there is any doubt order a beer instead and save the mixed drink with ice for a time when you can be sure that it is safe. You can’t be 100% sure all the time but it’s best to hedge your bets the best you can.

4. When it comes to brushing your teeth, I guess it is personal preference. Some people use tap water, other people use bottled water. Randy and I usually start out our trips with bottled water then we get lazy and switch to tap water. That being said Randy never gets sick and I usually end up with some sort of stomach bug. I have no idea if that is from brushing my teeth with tap water but now that I think of it I should probably stop and use bottled water the entire time.

5. Definitely eat the street food! Not only is it good but it’s cheap and we’ve eaten it many times without any repercussions.You can get everything from corn on the cob (Mexican style with lime & chile sauce – yum!) to spicy hot dogs and cotton candy on the streets of Tijuana. Don’t be afraid of eating the street food – it’s usually fantastic and has never made us ill.

40 cropped

Stay tuned for tip #3 coming up in the next post which will give you all the tips you need for safe car travel through Baja!

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*Please remember all photos on this website are copyrighted and property of, & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me to ask first because I love to share. Thanks!

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