One of the joys of visiting or living in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is having an abundance of wonderful fresh fruits and vegetables available. Mexican food was the first national cuisine to be recognized by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on the “List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage” items in the world. Many visitors to the area, who rent condos or vacation homes, enjoy shopping for fresh produce and cooking at home. Many have discovered the Central Market and the many small vendor shops in Zihuatanejo, where you can stroll down the streets and buy wonderful tropical fruits and fresh vegetables.
Whether you eat out or cook at home, don’t miss the chance to taste our delicious fruits and salads just because somebody told you not to eat raw vegetables while in Mexico! Mexico has the unjustified reputation of giving people “Montezuma’s Revenge,” blamed on drinking water and consuming vegetables. But, in fact, most of the time, foreign tourists get sick from the change of food and habitat. Tourists often indulge in different foods, sea foods, extra beers and too much sun. This change of diet and climate is often the cause of most stomach problems.
There are some precautions that foreigners should take in regard to fruits, vegetables, fish and drinking water in Mexico.
Wash Fruits, Vegetables and Fish in Anti-Germ Solution
Fruits, vegetables and fish should be washed in a commercial anti-germ solution before preparing them for fresh salads or before cooking. Ixtapa Zihuatanejo is a tourism destination, so most restaurants and hotels take this precaution when preparing your food. If in doubt, ask! Also, look for restaurants and hotels that display the “Distintivo M” sign (SECTUR :: Distintivo M), which is a recognition by the State Secretary of Tourism for their hygiene and operational standards.
If you cook at home, you can buy anti-germ solution at the grocery store, OXXO or most convenience stores. It is usually found in the produce section in grocery stores. There are several brands available, like “BacDyn” or “Microdyn.” (See photograph)
First, rinse your fruits, vegetables or fish to remove any dirt. You can use water from faucet in Ixtapa; it has been treated. Then, immerse your fruits, vegetables or fish in tap water (in Ixtapa) or “garrafon” water (see below), add the anti-germ solution (10 drops per 1 liter of water) and soak for 10 minutes. Some people say that they can taste the anti-germ solution, which is iodine based. If so, after soaking your fruits, vegetables or fish in the anti-germ solution, rinse them again in purified water (see below). Do not re-rinse in tap water. Dry and store your produce and fish in plastic bags until consumption.
Drink Purified Water / Use Purified Water for Final Rinse of Fruits, Vegetables and Fish
Although the faucet/tap water in Ixtapa is treated with chlorine, most hotels perform a second in-house treatment with ultraviolet rays and sediments filtration to assure good quality drinkable water. Businesses will display signs advising you that the faucet water is 100% drinkable. If you are concerned, order bottled water in restaurants and hotels.
You can use faucet/tap water in Ixtapa to brush your teeth, or to rinse and treat your fruits, vegetables and fish with an anti-germ solution, as above. But, if you rinse again after using the anti-germ solution, use purified water. Purified water in Ixtapa and Zihuatanejo comes in “garafoons” (large bottles) for household use or in bottles. You can buy bottled water at any store. “Garrafons” are delivered by trucks that service the neighborhoods. Manufacturers of anti-germ solutions (see above) recommend adding 1 capful (7 ml.) to each “garrafon.”
If You Get Sick
Too much sun and too many Margaritas . . . you can still get sick. If you wind up with a minor case of diarrhea, you can purchase “Pepto-Bismol”® or “Lomotil”® (stronger pills) at any pharmacy without a prescription. If you need to see a doctor, one is available at most hotels in Ixtapa Zihuatanejo and there are many medical clinics available in town.
For more information about the Ixtapa Zihuatanejo area, see: