Home Travel The Countries Where You Can & Can’t Drink The Water

The Countries Where You Can & Can’t Drink The Water

by SharonKurheg

Joe and I don’t make a secret of the fact that we live in Orlando, FL. With that, people have mentioned to us several times that the water at Disney World tastes nasty (yes, we know) and therefore, is it safe to drink?

Water in the U.S. tastes different depending on where you are, based on the local minerals that get deposited into the water. But tasting better or worse and potentially making you sick are 2 entirely different things.

If you ever go to Mexico, chances are you’ll get the advice, “Don’t drink the water! You’ll get Montezuma’s Revenge!”

Montezuma’s Revenge is, of course, the unofficial name for a type of diarrhea travelers get when traveling south of the U.S. border. It occurs due to drinking tap water or eating food with a microorganism to which locals are immune.

Traveler’s diarrhea isn’t limited to Mexico, though. As per WedMD, “Areas where there is the highest risk of contracting traveler’s diarrhea include the developing countries of Africa, the Middle East, Latin America, and Asia. The risk of infection varies depending on the type of exposure — from a fairly low risk from eating hot, cooked foods and drinking factory-sealed beverages to a higher risk from eating raw vegetables and fruits and drinking tap water.”

The main goal of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is, of course, to keep Americans safe and healthy, both at home and abroad. To that end, they maintain a list of every country in terms of:

  • Travel Health Notices (in relation to the country you’re visiting. i.e. if a country is experiencing Ebola)
  • Vaccines and Medicines (the ones they recommend you get before visiting. Hepatitis, Polio, Malaria, Cholera, Rabies, Yellow Fever, etc. tend to be common recommendations)
  • Non-Vaccine-Preventable Diseases (illnesses to be aware of for which there are no vaccines to prevent it. i.e. avoid African Sleeping Sickness by avoiding bug bites, avoid Leptospirosis by avoiding contaminated water and soil, etc.)
  • Stay Healthy & Safe (Usually by avoiding the things that could make you sick. So prevent bug bites, keep away from animals, avoid sharing body fluids, know how and where to get medical care wherever you are, etc.)
  • Packing List (things you might need above and beyond clothes and your phone. Stuff like altitude sickness medicine, meds to prevent malaria, etc.)
  • After Your Trip (be aware that some illnesses from certain places might not show up for a year [i.e. Malaria], to go to a doctor if you show symptoms, etc.)

However if you look at the “Stay Healthy & Safe” section of each country, you’ll notice that the CDC includes recommendations of whether or not to drink:

  • Tap or well water
  • Ice made with tap or well water
  • Drinks made with tap or well water (such as reconstituted juice)

If it’s safe to drink the water

If the water is safe to drink, the CDC will generally say:

Food and water standards in [name of country in question] are similar to those in the United States. Most travelers do not need to take special food or water precautions beyond what they normally do at home. However, travelers visiting rural or remote areas that are served by unregulated water sources such as private wells should take special precautions to ensure the safety of their drinking water.

These are the countries that the CDC says are generally safe to drink the water:

  • Aruba
  • Australia
  • Austria
  • Bahrain
  • Belgium
  • Bermuda
  • Canada
  • Chile
  • Cook Islands
  • Costa Rica
  • Croatia
  • Curaçao
  • Czech Republic
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • France
  • Germany
  • Greece
  • Greenland
  • Guadeloupe
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Kuwait
  • Liechtenstein
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Martinique
  • Monaco
  • The Netherlands
  • New Caledonia
  • New Zealand
  • Norway
  • Palau
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Puerto Rico
  • Réunion
  • Saint Helena
  • San Marino
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Singapore
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • United Arab Emirates
  • United Kingdom
  • United States
  • U.S. Virgin Islands

Of course, be alert and double check anywhere you go. i.e. although the water in Flint, MI is said to be OK now, it didn’t used to be (and some people are still hesitant to drink it). As the good blog says, Your Mileage May Vary.

If it’s not safe to drink the water

If the water is not safe to drink, the CDC will generally say:

Unclean food and water can cause travelers’ diarrhea and other diseases. Reduce your risk by sticking to safe food and water habits.

These are the countries that the CDC says are generally NOT safe to drink tap or well water, to use ice made with tap or well water, or to drinks made with tap or well water:

  • Afghanistan
  • Albania
  • Algeria
  • American Samoa
  • Angola
  • Anguilla
  • Antigua & Barbuda
  • Argentina
  • Armenia
  • Azerbaijan
  • Azores
  • The Bahamas
  • Bangladesh
  • Barbados
  • Belarus
  • Belize
  • Benin
  • Bhutan
  • Bolivia
  • Bonaire
  • Bosnia & Herzegovina
  • Botswana
  • Brazil
  • British Indian Ocean Territory
  • Brunei
  • Bulgaria
  • Burkina Faso
  • Burundi
  • Cambodia
  • Cameroon
  • Canary Islands
  • Cape Verde
  • Cayman Islands
  • Central African Republic
  • Chad
  • China
  • Christmas Island
  • Cocos (Keeling) Islands
  • Colombia
  • Comoros
  • Republic of the Congo
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Cuba
  • Cyprus
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • Djibouti
  • Dominica
  • Dominican Republic
  • Easter Island
  • Ecuador
  • Egypt
  • El Salvador
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Eritrea
  • Eswatini
  • Ethiopia
  • Falkland Islands
  • Faroe Islands
  • Fiji
  • French Guiana
  • French Polynesia
  • Gabon
  • The Gambia
  • Georgia
  • Ghana
  • Gibraltar
  • Grenada
  • Guam
  • Guatemala
  • Guinea
  • Guinea-Bissau
  • Guyana
  • Haiti
  • Honduras
  • Hong Kong
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Iran
  • Iraq
  • Jamaica
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kenya
  • Kiribati
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Laos
  • Latvia
  • Lebanon
  • Lesotho
  • Liberia
  • Libya
  • Lithuania
  • Macau
  • Madagascar
  • Madeira Islands
  • Malawi
  • Malaysia
  • Maldives
  • Mali
  • Marshall Islands
  • Mauritania
  • Mauritius
  • Mayotte
  • Mexico
  • The Federated States of Micronesia
  • Moldova
  • Mongolia
  • Montenegro
  • Montserrat
  • Morocco
  • Mozambique
  • Myanmar
  • Namibia
  • Nauru
  • Nepal
  • Nicaragua
  • Niger
  • Nigeria
  • Niue
  • Norfolk Island
  • North Korea
  • North Macedonia
  • Oman
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Philippines
  • Pitcairn Islands
  • Qatar
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Rwanda
  • Saba
  • Saint Barthelemy
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Martin
  • Saint Pierre and Miquelon
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Samoa
  • São Tomé & Príncipe
  • Senegal
  • Serbia
  • Seychelles
  • Sierra Leone
  • Sint Eustatius
  • Sint Maarten
  • Solomon Islands
  • Somalia
  • South Africa
  • South Georgia & the South Sandwich Islands
  • South Sudan
  • Sri Lanka
  • Sudan
  • Suriname
  • Syria
  • Tahiti
  • Taiwan
  • Tajikistan
  • Thailand
  • Timor-Leste
  • Togo
  • Tokelau
  • Tonga
  • Trinidad & Tobago
  • Tunisia
  • Türkiye
  • Turkmenistan
  • Turks & Caicos Islands
  • Tuvalu
  • Uganda
  • Ukraine
  • Uruguay
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vanuatu
  • Venezuela
  • Vietnam
  • British Virgin Islands
  • Wake Island
  • Yemen
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Traveling can be awesome. But coming down with Traveler’s Diarrhea? Not so much. Stay vigilant and be careful out there.

Feature Image: PXHere

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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary

5 comments

Track-jumping train, the real White Lotus hotel photo tour and more - Miles For Family December 16, 2022 - 7:36 am

[…] Countries Where you Can and Can’t Drink the Water: This is an educational post on Your Mileage May Vary. I can personally vouch for not drinking the water in Russia and Guatemala. It’s not just […]

Reply
Double Hook December 24, 2022 - 1:22 pm

Dubai is not a country. Did you mean the UAE?

Reply
SharonKurheg December 24, 2022 - 1:29 pm

Ha! I don’t know how Dubai got in there – I already had UAE on the list. Fixed. 🙂

Reply
Colin H December 25, 2022 - 9:48 pm

England, Scotland and Wales are the three Kingdoms which, along with Northern Ireland comprise the United Kingdom, You therefore don’t need to list them separately.

Reply
SharonKurheg December 25, 2022 - 11:35 pm

Fair point. Updated accordingly.

Reply

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