I thought I would take a quick second to talk about where we have been told that the tap water is drinkable and our experiences with drinking it. As we travel further, we will add to the list.
Bolivia: We did not drink any tap water in Bolivia and would not recommend doing so.
Colombia: We drank the tap water in the following cities: Medellin – The water there was perfect and tasted pretty good. Have not heard of anyone getting sick from it. Bogotá – The water didn’t give us any problems but didn’t taste perfect and we were told that it bothers some peoples’ stomachs. Cartagena – we drank tons of tap water there but one time I did have a pain that felt water related. Taganga: We drank the tap water there but my stomach did feel a little weird a few times. San Agustín – The water was pretty good and we had no problems. Cali – We filled up our water bottle in the bathroom there and had no problems. Popayan – We filled up a bottle in the bathroom at the bus terminal and had no problems. Basically all the cities and population centers seemed fine. However, out in the country and the places where the bus lets you off to eat lunch are questionable and you should always ask a local before doing anything stupid.
Ecuador: The water there is not good. Don’t drink it. Baños – As of now the water is not safe but in the next few years they hope to have a new purification system running. I did drink some water one night in Chugchilan when I was really desperate but it wasn’t a good idea.
Panamá: We drank the tap water in Panamá City and had no problems. Don’t drink the water in Bocas del Toro.
Perú: We did not drink any tap water in Perú and would not recommend doing so.
Since we are always trying to save money, we try to buy as little bottled water as possible. We always boil some in our hostel kitchens (at least three minutes of hard boiling to purify it) when we get a chance and if someone tells us we can drink from the sink we always do. Yes, sometimes this comes back to haunt us but with the money we save I think its worth it. Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?