Tap Water Safety in Panama

Can you drink the tap water in Panama?

In general, no.

The US Center for Disease Control's travel advisory recommends avoiding tap water and drinking bottled or disinfected water in Panama (source).

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 Panama think about the tap water?

Tap water in Panama City is safe to drink, as is the water in most other parts of the country. However, you’re better off buying bottled water or purifying your own water in the provinces of Bocas del Toro and Guna Yala. If you have the means, vigorous boiling for one minute is the most effective method of water purification. Another option is to disinfect water with iodine pills, or add 2% tincture of iodine to one quart or liter of water (five drops to clear water, 10 drops to cloudy water) and let stand for 30 minutes. If the water is cold, longer periods may be required.


Tap water is safe in virtually all cities and towns, with the exception of Bocas del Toro, where bottled water is recommended.

The most commonly searched cities in Panama are:

For a full list of cities in Panama, scroll to the bottom of this post or click here.

World Health Organization Panama Water Summary

The World Health Organization estimates that 96 percent of Panama have access to drinkable tap water.

World Health Organization's 2017 Panama Water Data

The World Health Organization data on water quality and availability throughout Panama includes the national average, averages for urban population centers, and averages for rural areas.

Safely ManagedA location that safe, drinkable water that is free of biological or chemical contaminants available on premise.
At Least BasicSafe drinkable water is available within 30 minutes from the location
LimitedIt would take more than 30 minutes from the location to access safe, drinkable water.
YearPopulation in 1000sSafely managedAt Least BasicLimited

What Do People In Panama Think About The Tap Water?

Travelers and residents of Panama 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.

Drinking Water Pollution and Inaccessibility34%Moderate
Water Pollution66%High
Drinking Water Quality and Accessibility66%High
Water Quality34%Moderate

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View our tap water report on all cities in Panama

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