Drinking water in Bolivia

by Denise Bedoya
(Boulder, CO usa)

Since the tap water is not safe to drink do people drink bottled water as in Mexico? My husband says everyone boils the water and then filters it. This seems tedious especially when you need a lot of water for drinking and cooking daily.

Comments for Drinking water in Bolivia

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Jul 29, 2015
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Bolivia
by: Anonymous

Bolivia has my name in it

Jan 15, 2013
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OK to drink in Santa Cruz
by: Anonymous

The water is safe to drink in Santa Cruz from the tap but not in any other Bolivian city.

Jan 07, 2013
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Drinking water in Cochabamba
by: Uncle Darrell

The drinking water in Cochabamba is highly contaminated, under no circumstances drink it. I won't go into details but the history of Cochabamba water involves lead, heavy metals, sewage, and chemical runoff from manufacturing. Everyone and I mean EVERYONE except the poorest drink bottled water. Residential bottled water comes in 20 liter returnable jugs. If you are concerned about plastic pollution buy one of these returnable jugs for 12 Bolivianos and a 60 Boliviano deposit on the jug. Another problem with untreated water is parasites especially Giardia Lamblia. Do yourself and everyone else a favor and drink bottled water. Giardia not only affects you but everyone you come in contact with...I know from experience!

Aug 23, 2012
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drinking water
by: Jeff Flarity

dont worry as much about the water. worry about vaccinations. Get hep A & B for sure and you should be fine but getting everything else you can get would be very wise. also take at least 1 multi vitimin daily to suppliment your immune system. most everywhere the water is safe and drinkable but not always due to rain and such.

May 16, 2012
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H2O
by: Denise

Thank you for all the advice! We are going to be living in La Paz for 3 years. I have stayed several months in Santa Cruz and am familiar with the water there. Coming from eco-conscious Boulder, Colorado I am adverse to plastic bottled water but I was referring to the large glass ones--didn't know if those existed. A Bolivian friend has told me people in la Paz either boil water or have a filter system in their homes.

May 14, 2012
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Water in Bolivia
by: LorriAnne

A lot of people drink the tap water in Bolivia. We did when we were there, and never got sick. That's not a guarantee that you won't, though. You should do what makes you comfortable. We took a couple of steripens, but only used them once. We never boiled the water, except for tea. We drank water from the tap everywhere we went, except outside of Ixiamas, where the water was brought directly in from the stream on the property, with minimal filtering done. If you're unsure, boil it, though, or drink bottled. Bottled water's readily available, even in the smaller towns.

May 14, 2012
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WATER
by: Teresa J, Brown de Peña

Hi Denise!
I can only speak from my personal expereince.

I am very happy to say that the city water in Santa Cruz, Bolivia is exactly like the city water in Suffolk County,(eastern Long Island)NY.
It is consistantly good!

It tastes exactly the same as the water in my hometown.
I had no problems adjusting to the water when I moved here to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, 5 years ago.

Actually, water quality in was an issue for me too, because I drink alot of water and I did not want to have to buy it from a store!

I hope that this helps you in some way!

May 14, 2012
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Water
by: Carol

I must admit I often drink tap water when in cities and bigger towns (and have never been ill). I also carry water purification drops and treat tap water - otherwise feel bad about chucking so many plastic bottles. These days the neutraliser works really well and it only tastes of swimming pool water when it gets warm.

May 14, 2012
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santa cruz water is clean, others not so much
by: Anonymous

The water in Santa Cruz has been tested as the cleanest water in all of South America. It's not really necessary to boil it. People filter it because it contains small white flakes sometimes. These are from the fluoride and calcium that are added to the water and are not harmful.

However, not so in other Bolivian cities, where the water systems are run by other companies. The water in La Paz and Cochabamba isn't considered very clean. There people do boil and/or filter their water.

So it depends on which city you plan to arrive at.

Please consider that bottled water may be convenient, but it's horrible for our environment. We contaminate 20 times more water making the plastic bottle than the water it contains.

May 14, 2012
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Drinking water
by: Tara

I lived in Bolivia for 6 years. I've lived in the Beni and in Santa Cruz. I've consumed bottled water, straight tap water, filtered tap water, spring water, river water, creek water, well water, etc. When I first arrived, I was very particular about the water I drank or used. I only used bottled water. (And I was still regularly sick with what we always affectionately called "mal de gringo"). But after some time, I eventually started cooking with the creek water (we lived 30 km outside of Guayaramerin) when the water needed to come to a boil (i.e. pasta, rice, etc.) Eventually I used the creek water straight even if it wasn't going to boil. I also began to use it to brush my teeth and even drank it on occasion. I was more opposed to the flavor than anything else about it.

In Santa Cruz, we typically filtered the water with a ceramic filter. Sometimes the filter had just been refilled and I didn't feel like waiting for filtered water, so I just drank the tap water. I also enjoyed the street vendors' drinks nearly every day. I'm just guessing they don't use bottled water ;)

I suppose it depends on a few different things. How long do you plan to stay in Bolivia? If it is only for a couple of weeks, I would avoid the tap water, the ice, the street vendors' drinks, etc. If you plan to stick around a while, use your best judgement.

May 14, 2012
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Bolivian tap water
by: Steve Baker

Our water in Santa Cruz tests as some of the best in all of South America. I've drunk it for years with no problems. You seem to be suffering from some additional misinformation. Boiling water would kill all organisms, so filtering would be unnecessary, if you're talking about tap water. Muddy water from a stream might be a diffeent matter. And bottled water is an ecological disaster, so...

In my experiene, it's not the water or the meat or the cooking that will make you sick in Third World countires--it's the fruits and vegetables!

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