Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Potable Water
One of the most persistent worries I hear from prospective travelers to Cuba is that
the water is unsafe to drink. On occasion, even local Cubans will warn travelers to
only drink bottled water, as the tap water is of poor quality. Both of these claims are
unsubstantiated. Save for a few very limited exceptions, the tap water on the island
is perfectly safe and is of similar quality to tap water in most North American cities.
Cuba has a sophisticated network of desalination plants operating around the
island as well as many extremely clean freshwater sources close to most large
cities. Moreover, a cornerstone of the revolution was the promise to provide all
citizens with clean, drinkable tap water. In any event, despite the fact that the tap
water is perfectly safe, if you still have concerns, you can always simply buy
bottled water in any Cuban supermarket at a very low cost. Water quality should
never be used as an excuse to avoid visiting Cuba.
On occasion, as can happen in any city, a localized boil water advisement will be
issued, usually due to construction work or a broken water main. This is rare and
the advisement is issued usually as a precaution rather than a warning.
Interesting Note: There have, in the past, been a few, very limited, cholera out-
breaks, usually affecting no more than half a dozen people, and always localized in
the extremely poor outskirts of the far eastern provinces. These were proven to
have been caused by poor sanitation within crowded living quarters rather than
contaminated water sources. So, unless you anticipate sleeping on the floor of a
crowded ghetto in a remote village located at the eastern tip of the island, you
should have no worry at all about contracting cholera.
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