Tap Water Safety in Costa Rica

Last Update8:58 pm, May 8, 2020

The estimated price of bottled water

N/A in USD (1.5-liter)

Can you drink the tap water in Costa Rica?

The US Center for Disease Control’s travel advisory confirms the safety of the tap water in Costa Rica (source). However, it would be best if you take special precautions toward the unregulated water sources in some areas. Like all countries though, water accessibility, sanitation, and treatment vary widely from location to location, so we encourage looking for specific city information.

What do people in Costa Rica think about the tap water?

  • It’s generally safe to drink tap water in Costa Rica, except in the most rural and undeveloped parts of the country. However, if you prefer to be cautious, buying bottled water is your best bet.
  • If you have the means, vigorous boiling for one minute is the most effective means of water purification. At altitudes greater than 2000m, boil for three minutes.
  • Another option is to disinfect water with iodine pills: add 2% tincture of iodine to 1L of water (five drops to clear water, 10 drops to cloudy water) and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cold, longer times may be required.
  • Alternatively, carry a SteriPen that destroys most bacteria, viruses and protozoa with UV light.

Wikitravel

Most places (such as cities) have potable water, so don't worry about drinking tap water. Bottled water is also available at low prices. Nevertheless, exercise caution about places with doubtful water sources. These places tend to be away from population centers or near the beach/coast.
Tap water in urban areas of the country is almost always safe to drink. However, being cautious may be in order in rural areas with questionable water sources.

How do People In Costa Rica Rate The Tap Water?

Travellers and residents of Costa Rica have rated the water quality and pollution as follows, according to subjective survey data. A score of 100% is considered very high, and a score of 0% is very low. Please be cautious that "moderate to very high" water pollution is bad and the higher the rate of water quality the better.

Tap water ratings

  • Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility 19% Very Low
  • Water Pollution 46% Moderate
  • Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility 81% Very High
  • Water Quality 54% Moderate

Reminder

Always take extra precautions, the water may be safe to drink when it leaves the sewage treatment plant but it may pick up pollutants during its way to your tap. We advise that you ask locals or hotel staff about the water quality. Also, note that different cities have different water mineral contents.

Sources and Resources


Check tap water safety for other countries in North America

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