Written by Kieran Proctor

Can I Drink The Tap Water In Cuba?

Don’t drink the tap water in Cuba. Here’s what you should do for drinking water in Cuba and everything you ...

Don’t drink the tap water in Cuba. Here’s what you should do for drinking water in Cuba and everything you should know about using the tap water. Including how I filter my drinking water, when I’m in Cuba.

Can You Drink The Tap Water In Cuba?

The tap water in Cuba, has a very high mineral content and can be contaminated with heavy metals, due to old and dilapidated plumbing. Lead plumbing still exists and is common in Cuba. And you can get lead poisoning, from older pipes.

The high mineral content in Cuba’s tap water, can lead to the development of kidney stones and other painful conditions. If you let the tap water dry out, you will see a white crusty powder, that forms as the water evaporates.

Generally, the tap water in Cuba is treated for bacteria and microorganisms, by the state owned water corporation. So bacteria and microorganisms are less of a concern, than the minerals and heavy metal contaminates.

What Can I Use Unfiltered Tap Water For?

It’s safe to shower, brush your teeth, do laundry or clean dishes with the tap water in Cuba. For consumption (swallowing), you should choose to either filter your tap water or buy bottled water.

The tap water in Argentina or other Latin American countries, often tastes atrocious, but it is generally safe to drink, if you’re desperate. Yet, unlike the other countries in its region, Cuban water should never be consumed straight from the tap. You should never drink it, cook with it or swallow it.

If you use Cuban water in your coffee maker, you may even find that you need to purchase your Cuban airbnb host a new coffee maker, when the minerals and heavy metals block the machine and cause it to break down.

Where To Get Drinking Water In Cuba?

Bottled water can be found everywhere in Cuba. Bottled water is easily accessible and you should stick to drinking bottled water.

A bottle (600ml) of water costs 110 CUP, as I write this. 110CUP is approximately $0.66US cents. So you should budget approximately $2USD per day, for drinking water in Cuba.

In Cuban ‘casa particulares’ (Airbnb’s), there will often be water filters. These are large glass jugs, like the one in my own casa, pictured below.

To use these water filters, you place the tap water in the top. And the filter element scrubs out all the minerals and heavy metals, as the water makes its way to the lower compartment. The water from these water filters, is generally safe to drink.

Water filter in Havana Cuba

Do I Need A Filter Straw Or Filtered Water Bottle In Cuba?

Most travel blogs recommend taking a water purification straw, or filtered water bottle. And they will drop affiliate links, so you can go and buy a filtered water bottle or a straw, from places like Amazon. You should not buy these items or take them with you to Cuba.

Bottled water is plentiful and cheap. And anyone wearing a $20 filter straw around their neck, or carrying a self-purifying water bottle, is going to be a target for scams while in Cuba. It’s an obvious mark of someone who knows nothing about Cuba and is ‘fresh’ to the island.

The scammers and street hustlers (jineteros) will pick-up on your naiveté, if you’re carrying a filter bottle or life straw and they will become much more annoying. You’ll be marked out as a sucker. And they will try harder to scam you.

Where Can I Get More Information About Cuba?

I’ve made my Complete Guide To Traveling Cuba available on this website. And I recommend you read it, before traveling to Cuba. It will help you navigate Cuba and Cuban society.

My Cuba travel guide will save you a lot of time and money on your next trip to Cuba. Cuba is not the sort of destination in which you can arrive unprepared. Read the most complete Cuba Travel Guide.