Written by Kieran Proctor

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Bogotá?

The tap water in Bogotá is potable. You can drink it and I do. And it tastes better than the ...

The tap water in Bogotá is potable. You can drink it and I do. And it tastes better than the tap water in Buenos Aires. Plus, it’s far less likely to make you sick like Cuban tap water.

You can drink tap water in Bogotá. You just need to be sure that you’re not in an older building with aging plumbing. If it’s a building in a major urban center that’s less than 20 years old, I won’t hesitate to drink the tap water in Colombia.

Can I Drink Tap Water In Bogotá?

The mains water in Bogotá is chemically treated to a first world standard. If you’re in any of the neighborhoods frequented by tourists and foreigners, the tap water is almost certainly drinkable. Yet, you should make sure you’re in a newer building.

Older buildings may have corroding water tanks or lead based materials in the pipes. For example, I noticed that the tap water in Hotel Tequendama would on occasion run yellow.

I personally drink the tap water in Bogotá. But I only drink the tap water in newer buildings. Everywhere else, I opt to purchase bottled water. Bottled water in Bogotá is both cheap and easily accessible.

Colombia tap water
The tap water in Bogotá is drinkable

What Does Bottled Water Cost In Bogotá?

I buy 6 litre bottles from Rappi delivered to my door and I pay $5240COP ($1.08USD). Or about $0.18USD per liter for drinking water when I’m in older buildings, based on the current exchange rates.

In older buildings, I find that the tap water is sufficient for everything except drinking. And this is because I cannot be sure the pipes are lead free or that the water tanks are well maintained, in older buildings. So I won’t drink water from the faucet if I’m in an old building.

Travel tip: You don’t need a water purifying straw or self-purifying water bottle in Bogotá. Don’t but that stuff and don’t bring it to Colombia, unless you’re going out to the Amazon.

Washing Or Brushing Your Teeth With Tap Water

Showering or brushing your teeth with tap water isn’t a problem in South or Central America. And it certainly isn’t a problem in Colombia.

Most tap water in Latin America is chemically treated with chlorine, chloramine and a host of other chemicals that will remove any biological contaminants from the tap water. Yet, older buildings may still have remnants of lead based pipes. Or remnants of the use of lead based solder on pipes.

Lead and other heavy metals are not a problem unless ingested (swallowed). Don’t drink the water while in the shower and don’t swallow the water while brushing your teeth and you’ll be fine. However, if you’re in a newer building with lead free pipes, you can drink the tap water in Bogotá. I do!

Should I Worry About Ice In My Drinks In Bogotá?

In Bogotá the tap water is chemically treated. You need not worry about getting sick, if the ice in your drink is made from tap water. I’ve never been sick from the ice in my drinks in Bogotá.

Where the tap water could become a problem, is if you’re drinking liters of tap water everyday and the building its coming from has lead pipes. Heavy metal contaminants build up over time (months to years).

A few ice cubes in your drinks here and there isn’t going to make you sick. And because the water in Bogotá is chemically treated, you can drink the tap water. Just be sure your pipes don’t contain lead if the tap is your main source of drinking water.

Where Can I Get More Information On Bogotá?

If you’re planning to visit Bogotá on your next vacation, or you’re simply interested in Colombia in general, you should read my Bogotá City Guide.

My Bogotá City Guide is updated regularly. And it seeks to answer all of your questions regarding Bogotá and Colombia in one place. Read my Complete Bogotá City Guide.