Can You Drink Tap Water in Costa Rica?

The answer is yes. You can.  In Costa Rica drinking tap water is a normal thing to do. Hundreds of thousands of people do it every day. It’s a huge privilege. Although I must admit that, for most Latinos, drinking tap water is synonymous of poor hygiene.

It is very easy to imagine a thousand things while drinking tap water, if in the country you live drinking tap water it’s not a good thing to do.  And even if you are in a country like Costa Rica, doubts can always invade you.

Imagine that you arrive in Costa Rica and you are very thirsty and you do not have a bottle of water with you, you see a water tap and you are left wondering if you can or can not drink water from the tap. And the reason is.

In most Latin American countries, drinking tap water is not something you normally do, as sanitary standards do not allow it, and you may end up getting seriously ill.

Some articles related to the topic state that there are only two countries in Latin America with these health standards: Costa Rica and Chile.

The rest of the Latin American countries are labeled as “Avoid Drinking Tap Water”.

In Costa Rica it is very normal to see people carrying a bottle of water and filling it anywhere public or private.

My sister lives in Cartago, she has been drinking tap water for years, just like her children who are adults today, have been drinking tap water since they were kids. 

If you visit San Jose, you should also know that you can drink tap water in San Jose, and it is good quality water.

Can you drink tap water in the rural area in Costa Rica?

Drinking tap water in Costa Rica is not limited only to urban areas or large cities, but also to rural areas.

It is quite common to drink tap water on the beaches of Jaco or drink tap water in Limon.

Or you can drink tap water at the “Rincón de la Vieja

Usually the tap water at any hotel in Costa Rica is safe to drink. And if there’s a problem, which is unusual. You would see a label like “Please don’t drink tap water.”

Why do tourists in Costa Rica drink tap water?

Because they know it is safe to drink. As simple as that. And that speaks highly of Costa Rica as a  country.  It is not strange to see many tourists all over Costa Rica carrying bottles of water and filling them in the restroom, or in public or private places.

Advantages of being able to drink tap water in Costa Rica

  1. You save money: A clear advantage is that it helps the economy of the people because its people are not forced to buy bottled water so that they can drink and be able to cook among other things.
  2. It is Healthy: The tap water is analyzed numerous times in the day to ensure its consumption and, if it is not, the municipalities should inform consumers of the problems found.
  3. You take care of the environment: Plastic waste is destroying our oceans and ecosystem.   Less than 10% of the plastic produced worldwide is recycled, everything else ends in nature, where it normally breaks down into microplastics, and these seep into groundwater, in our rivers and oceans.

In addition to this, there is a carbon footprint associated with bottled water, some reports estimating about 82.8 grams of CO2 per half-liter plastic bottle. An alarming figure when considering the number of people drinking bottled water. In addition to this, one (1) liter of bottled water produced involves the expenditure of at least 4 liters of water in production and packaging. With tap water, the environmental impact is almost zero.

4. It is Convenient: It is there, and you do not have to go out and buy it. It is an unlimited source of water, for drinking, for cooking, for making a coffee or tea. You don’t have to load or discard plastic bottles to do all these activities.

What if my stomach is sensitive to tap water?

Tap water in Costa Rica is among the best in the world.  As in North America, there are few cases where it is recommended not to drink drink drinking water from the tap. In Costa Rica bottled water is available. If you have a sensitive stomach and do not want to risk this is an option.

How Much does bottled water cost in Costa Rica?

It is not a cheap option, as a small bottle of pure water can cost you in Costa Rica $1.00 (One dollar). Many people who visit Costa Rica for the first time do not know that they can drink tap water and end up buying bottled water, which can be very costly.

Once they know it, they keep their plastic bottle and simply fill it in anywhere. You may think, well, but it’s only $1.00. Yes, but when you go with family and consume lots of water, you can spend a considerable amount of money only on the water to drink.


Millions of people around the world still lack a clean, safe, and stable source of drinking water. Aside from hitting the family economy, it also damages the environment. And the most serious thing is that it hits the health of those who have the least,  men, women, children and the elderly who are obliged to drink bad water, because there is no money to pay for bottled water.

More than 4.6 million people drink tap water in Costa Rica.

What an amazing gift!


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