Water & Health

While the tap water in Huatulco is purified, you should use discretion when drinking the water in Huatulco. It is best while at the condo to use bottled water to make ice cubes and to brush your teeth with bottled water. When going to restaurants you can be reasonably sure that the ice cubes are safe, but remember that what the native people’s stomachs are use to is not what Canadians are use to. We are not saying you should not have a margarita (or two), but when possible use bottled water to mitigate any attention from Montezuma. If you are nervous about the ice – “No ice” is “sin hielo”.

You can put a small amount of bleach in your dishwater to kill all the bugs to wash fruit, vegetables and dishes … or special drops are available in all grocery stores.

We have had no problems with traveler’s tummy in our travels to Huatulco … but it is always best to err on the side of caution. Check with your Health Unit at least a month prior to departure to find out what their recommendations are for you regarding Hepatitis A, Hep B, Typhoid and other tropical disease immunization. If you plan to do more tours into the outlying areas, plan accordingly. I can guarantee that your doctor or travel nurse will recommend that you have at least your Hepatitis A immunization prior to traveling.

Note: I was just told I can’t donate blood for the next year as I traveled out of the resort area into the Sierra Madres and up to Oaxaca City. Although I was only in the van and in the city … and didn’t get out to do any quad tours or visit the Magic Falls … I still hit the Canadian Blood Services screening filter.

Everyone wants to get into the pool or ocean as soon as they arrive in Huatulco. Use your discretion here also. Your ears have just been through a lot and you should be careful of getting water into your ear drum. The ear drums will contract by the next day or so – so be careful not to submerge your head on the first day or so. This goes double for children – which is how we learned.  A cold before the trip went into her ear.

There are spiders, snakes and scorpions in Huatulco. They are only rarely seen and we have read that none have the ability to kill a person. They do bite and a person should most definitely go straight to a doctor if this happens – mostly to avoid the complications of an allergic reaction. There is also a small poisonous frog that one should not lick and should avoid at all costs. To avoid bug bites bring some repellent or buy some when you get there.  “Off” is available, and the local brand – I think Aktion - seemed to work really well on the sand flies.  I’ve also used Lemongrass essential oil with some success.  You may want to spray yourself and your kids as you climb into bed or when sitting on the patios in the evening.  Bug bites are common throughout Mexico and this helps to avoid the itches in the morning.

Remember to bring sandals or aqua shoes for swimming, as the coral may cut or abrade skin. Although you can find a good selection of shoes and great prices in Huatulco, shoes (and specialty shoes like aqua shoes) in larger sizes may be difficult to find.

Keep in mind that even if you are used to the heat your body will still need a lot of water. Keep up the fluid intake to reduce dehydration. Remember the heat. Alcoholic beverages can really sneak up on you!

Again watch the sun!  It is not what you are use to in Canada and can really burn.  Tan in the shade … it works here!  Families may want to consider taking at least one day off to just hang out at the condo and condo pool.  One day away from the direct sun can help everyone's mood.

Beware the lime!  It is served with everything, and tastes and smells FABULOUS.  It is great squeezed on tortillas, or stuffed into a Corona (although that’s not a locals thing to do!).  But lime and other citrus juices can bleach you … so watch for splashes on your hands or around your mouth before heading into the sunshine (or at least be able to identify the cause of your white splotches without heading in a panic to the nearest medical facility).  Comes in handy for putting some hi-lights in your hair though!

If you need to see someone about a medical issue when you are in Huatulco we have some recommendations. Your insurance company may want you to go to someone else, and you should respect that if you have the time, but we have used the following and were reassured and appreciative of his English language skills as well as his medical knowledge:

Dr. Andres Gonzalez Ayvar – 044 958 587 6065 — office located in the Barcelo.

I can not stress the importance of good medical coverage when going to Mexico in general and the Huatulco area specifically. As the nearest big hospitals are in Oaxaca City or Acapulco any major health issues will almost certainly need some sort of air transfer.  The cost is also an issue.  A child’s ear infection – with a visit to the doctor and antibiotics – can come to $190.00 USD.  Also vehicle insurance is not mandatory, so if you are involved in an accident, even if it is “their fault” you can’t rely on the other party to pay your bills.  Liability for slips and falls, or injuries on tours tend to fall into the same category.

If you need to see a dentist, we were referred to Dea. Reyna Rangel – Dentist – 958 583 4051.

Eating out

If you suffer from food allergies, like I do, use EXTREME caution depending on the severity of your reaction.  The only Spanish phrase I practiced (one of the few I speak!) is “sin leche por favor, soy alergico de leche”.  However, if you are very allergic, DO NOT rely on the service staff nodding, or the listing of items on the menu.  I spoke extensively about allergies with a few locals, and they had never heard of it.  I would think it still remains largely unidentified, with children being sickly or slow to thrive, or whatever previous generations in Canada were labeled.  Also, the locals have a very basic diet and likely have less incidence of allergies than we do – with our access to such a large variety of foods (and additives).  If you are at a restauraunt like the Onix or The Tipsy Blowfish where the owners are fluent in English and aware of our culture and society, and speak with Louis or Joe or Courtney, you can discuss your needs and they can guide you.  Just please be careful!  Even discuss and inspect packages with Ana before she prepares your breakfast, if necessary.  For example, I am sure that my fish was prepared without milk … but after the delicious meal I would guarantee that either the margarine the rice or vegetables were cooked in had whey powder, or the vegees were slathered in good old butter.  The benefit of the condo is that you can hit the grocery store and the market and prepare your own meals if you are sensitive enough to warrant it.

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