how to get drinking water jugs (garrafons) when living in mexico

how to get drinking water jugs (garrafons) when living in mexico

One of the tricky things for newbies living in Mexico is how to buy water. If you’ve lived here for any length of time, you’ve no doubt seen water trucks driving around town. In Mexico, there are three common brands, Epura, Bonafont and Cristal.

I’ve met some people here that swear by one brand over the other, but for me, they’re all the same. I’m just happy to have fresh clean drinking water delivered to my front door.

So, how does one get those drinking water containers for their house? Well, to get one you have to have one. Most people, myself included, have several from more than one brand. I have six jugs (garrafons) from the two water companies that circulate in my neighborhood. This guarantees I always have water.

If you’re completely new and do not have any jugs yet, you can buy them directly off the truck. Just walk up and ask (they do not speak English). If you can’t wait, you can buy them new at most grocery stores via the regular cashiers. Again, in Spanish.

If you’re waiting for a truck and see one, when it stops you can approach the truck and request as many new jugs as you want to buy. They are just over 100 peso per jug new. Now you have them.

Some companies also see their other products like soft drinks and flavored waters off the trucks

To get a refill, wait for the truck again. When it arrives on your street simply go out with your empties and flag it down if it does not automatically stop. In my neighborhood, they automatically stop and wait, but in many areas, they simply drive around slowly yelling (water) “agua!”

That’s your cue.

You can also do what most of us do and leave the jugs at the end of your drive. In this heat, no one actually waits for the water trucks, but when it’s water day* and I’m in need, I just leave them outside. When the truck comes, the guys will jump out and exchange everyone’s jugs. You pay them in exact cash.

*These trucks always come on the same one or two days of the week, so you will always know when you can get refills off the truck. In my area, they come every Wednesday and Saturday between 9:00 a.m. and noon. This is especially handy if you’re without a car here in Mexico.

When you’re replacing an empty for a full, they cost around 40 peso each. Every brand is a different price, some are 36 peso, others are 39. Buying off the truck costs more (door-to-door service). You can bring yourself to a mom-and-pop shop, convenience store chain or grocery store to also exchange an empty for a full one.

Normally, the water delivery guys just bring the garrafons to the outside of your front door. It’s a social faux pas to enter the home of a person that is not your friend or family, so don’t be offended (or think lazy thoughts) when the water guy drops your jugs at the door. That’s custom.