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Old 10-09-2010, 06:12 AM   #16
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That's correct, there is absolutely no way to become "accustomed" to drinking water that is suspect.
Anecdotal events going up against solid medical science.
As far as people having claimed to have only ingested tap water on their trips through Mexico, they are simply lucky enough to have chosen the right tap that was supplying filtered and pure water. You cannot simply approach just any tap in Mexico and start drinking the water, and yes, even the locals get sick some time, in fact, stomach illnesses and parasites are at the top of the list for Mexican citizens health problems. That is also why many Mexican families use a medication to eliminate parasites (never works on politicians unfortunately) at least once a year.
Sure you can play Russian roulette with tap water in Mexico, but why bother when safe drinking water is widely available from suppliers other than the local municipal water utility?
In the entire state of Veracruz there is not one water utility that supplies safe drinking water. Hotels and homes have filtration systems, yet even the hotels supply bottled water to guests.
From sealed bottles.
In fact, I would bet that not one water utility in all of Mexico supplies safe drinking water to their customers.
Getting sick enough to lose 10lbs in two days and be passing blood in your stools from drinking tap water might be worth the risk to some people.
But that's a kind of kink that I am not into.
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Old 10-12-2010, 07:46 AM   #17
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Tap water work for me

Tap water work for me


Last May I travel to Baja-Mexico to Argentina and back ,over 18 countries.I drink tap water from gas stations,garden Hoses,I would ask which hose,locals point which one is ok to fill up my camelback ,no problem must be my Polish iron stomach.

I save a lot dinero,for Mmm cold cerveza.

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Old 10-12-2010, 08:34 AM   #18
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An ounce of prevention...

30+ years ago I went overseas for the first time. In Afghanistan. I was taught that the best way to guard your health was to ALWAYS be careful where your water came from. That's worked for me ever since as I've lived and worked in various developing nations in Asia and Latin America the last 20 years and have rarely been sick. A lot of people I've known have called me foolish for being so vigilant about where my water comes from...until they've come down with one of the numerous maladies that thrive in contaminated water and have spent days or weeks trying to regain their health.

When I ride a motorcycle I have many hundreds of dollars worth of safety gear I wear. I spend more hundreds of dollars on trips on food, hotels, parts for my motorcycle, etc. Why wouldn't I spend a little extra money on bottled water when local water is often "questionable" at best?

Being sick from water borne "bugs" is a real SOB! Yeah, I've been there. Before I started living outside the U.S....when I lived in Colorado and the water in my apartment unbeknown to me came straight out of the "pure" mountain stream that ran next to it. My motto, "Better safe than sorry."

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
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Old 10-13-2010, 06:45 AM   #19
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I am nearing age 67 and one of many people that used to carry a "sierra cup" for water from streams- that ended a long time ago.Seems to have been in the 1970's maybe when most hikers/travelers stopped using them?
Don't chance the water thinking you have the "Polish iron stomach" alluded to above! Not worth it.
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Old 03-09-2012, 02:33 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by cu260r6 View Post
The water is not drinkable until you reach Argentina or Chile.
Well local People told me something else and so far i did not have problems in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia as well...

Greetings, Tobi

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Old 03-17-2012, 12:00 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by ta-rider View Post

Well local People told me something else and so far i did not have problems in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Columbia as well...
I like a few others here drank tap water throughout South America, including Cartegena. The only time I didnt was when it came out yellow from the tap, I drew the line.

Interestingly enough, I did get sick once, when I switched to bottled water in Lima for god knows why.
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Old 03-18-2012, 12:44 PM   #22
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Read an article some time ago about tests on bottled water. Results-- some brands were no different than the locally available tap water! And some unscrupulous vendors fill bottles directly from the tap. I bought a filter pump for traveling through CA, but never used it. I now live in the highlands of Panama, have been drinking the local water for years with no ill effects. The one time I got an amoeba, I suspected a large salad in a restaurant.
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Old 03-18-2012, 07:42 PM   #23
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I ve the luck to spend 10 years of my professional life working for a French Company that its heavily related to water and sewer systems (Suez Lyonnaisse des Aux, owner of Degremont, Nalco and several other Companies). Part of my job was to construct water pipelines , water threatment plants and Sewerage plants (for the Chileneans´Inmates, last one I participated in was LA Farfana, outside Santiago).
Apart from Argentina and Chile where the Tap water must be drinkable (its a Federal Law there) in other Countries the quality of the Tap service differ from City to city.

Some cities have "Current water" (notice that "drinkable" is not written, like Rio de Janeiro, or Maputo in Mozambique), while others can be drinked depending on the part of the city you are (like Santa cruz de la sierra in Bolivia or La Habana in Cuba).

Anyway, the South American system we use everyday, is the following:
  • First of all, and NO matter the status or quality of the tap water, priorize the use of beer.
    Remember, water is used by Fish in order to have SEX.
  • We ask the locals, if they tell you that the water is good, the first 2 days dont drink it (use bottled water instead), but use it to wash your teeth, ice cubes, MATE, coffe or tea. After 2 days, start using it for everything, but remember point 1.
  • If the local tell you that the water is no good, ask them what they do in order to drink and replicate their action.
    If that is insecure, drink MATE or any other infussion (hot or cold), but remember point 1.

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Old 03-19-2012, 12:09 AM   #24
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I drink filtered tap at the in law's house in Quito but down here at the beach no way. Our tap comes from various unknown sources and is put into tanks or cisterns that are not so clean. you should see how fast we get shower mold from the live water!
one tip if you are staying a few days somewhere-
pay the deposit on a 5 gallon and the 1.25$ish for the water. drop it off on your way out of town and get your deposit back.
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I'd rather be riding a 200 in Ecuador than any dream bike here.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:01 AM   #25
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I would never presume to tell you what things are like in the entire continent, but I recently visited Chile and Argentina and never had a problem with tap water. In fact, even in remote areas where there were signs telling you to put used toilet paper in the trash can, the tap water was still fine. I carried a bottle and filled it at hotels and gas station bathrooms.
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Old 03-19-2012, 07:12 AM   #26
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Originally Posted by MikeMike View Post
In fact, I would bet that not one water utility in all of Mexico supplies safe drinking water to their customers.
Actually I've heard that Monterrey is the only municipality in Mexico that supplies safe drinking water. Agreed though, too many macho cavalier travellers tell everyone it's ok to drink the water here because they did and they didn't have any problems. If you're just passing through and want to roll the dice, be my guest, but if you're living here long term the odds catch up to you pretty quickly. Believe me, there's a reason that everyone (and I mean almost literally everyone) here buys bottled water.
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:25 PM   #27
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Costa Rican tap water is, as a rule, safe to drink as long as it is provided by the government. I have done so since 2001 and had no ill affects that I can attribute to doing so. The majority of expats here do the same. In fact, the water here is far and away better tasting than the sulfer laden swill I almost never drank in Florida.

The CR national Minesterio de Salud is extremely powerful (and watchful) and the water authority, AyA, seem to be quite efficient. Most of the water comes from deep aquifer sources here and is monitored according to 1st world standards. Ticos take the safety of their drinking water quite seriously.

Costa Rica, yeah we're more expensive but you can drink the water.
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Old 03-26-2012, 12:25 PM   #28
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Ive drank the water from Alaska to Argentina with the exception of Mexico out of the fear struck into me from the US fearmongers.

I drank the Quito tap water for months before I was told I should not. Not sure why though. Sometimes I drink it, but usually get the huge water tanks.

Here is what I am wondering. Even if you don't get sick isn't it still possible to intake some parasites or other things that may cause damage down the line?
"the journey is the goal"
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Old 03-26-2012, 08:19 PM   #29
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During my travels I carried with me a Steripen. Didn't need it all the time as most places I stayed at had 5 gallon carboys of water to drink from. A few times I did use tap water from my hotel filling my liter bottle and sterilized it with my steripen... 90 seconds for a liter of water. I kept it more or less as a back-up. A long time ago during my backpacking days I use to boil stream water and never had a problem.

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