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When looking through travel guides and websites, I often see the statement that tap water is not safe in Nicaragua. For example, the US State Department says:

Tap water is not considered safe in Nicaragua. All persons should drink only bottled water.

Expats living in Nicaragua have told me that travelers should only drink bottled water, but only because it's common to get Traveler's Diarrhea (TD) from the water, not because it's dangerous. In fact, they mentioned that it is so highly chlorinated that it's probably very safe (other than the standard results of drinking tap water in a foreign country).

Is tap water in Nicaragua actually dangerous to drink for reasons other than TD, or is that what the various advisories mean when they say it is "not considered safe"?

  • This isn't an answer to your question, but since you've mentioned TD I thought I'd provide this link to the CDC's website on the topic: wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/yellowbook/2016/… ; in particular see the secion "Nonantimicrobial Drugs for Prophylaxis" – Sean Sep 15 '16 at 14:31
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As TD can kill (through dehydration, usually) I would definitely consider it unsafe even if that was all you could get.

Your problem is that you don't know what organisms are present in that water. What is it that is giving people TD? Obviously something that isn't prevented with chlorination.

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DO NOT DRINK THE TAP WATER IN NICARAGUA. I went to Diriamba, it is west of Managua. I drank bottled water, but brushed my teeth with tap water. Tap water made me sick with TD. The Hospitals are not as clean as in the States either, and they choose who the treat. Please keep this in mind. Spend the money on bottled water, and use it to brush your teeth also. Be safe, and enjoy that beautiful country in good health.

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Yes of course it's safe, but the US embassy keeps saying that probably for extra caution, but water in Nicaragua is as clean as any other Latin american country. Of course it depends where are you getting the water, the case that the embassy might be concerned with is the rural environment where water supply is difficult (which is ironic since Nicaragua has more water resourcces than any other country in Central America).

You can check Agua para la vida

My advice? Stay with what your embassy told you. If you live in Nicaragua or Central America you might not be able to have the luxury of paying for bottled water.

  • Do you generally drink the Nicaraguan tap water yourself? Do you know foreign tourists who've drunk it without problems (or indeed, with problems)? – Jonik Dec 27 '11 at 20:34
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    of course I do I am one of the guys that doesn't have the option of buying bottle water. I had several US friend who drink from my home tap water without any issue but again follow your embassy advice. I've never seen anyone that had gotten sick by drinking tap water. – Necronet Dec 27 '11 at 22:02
  • I am from Nicaragua also, we drink the water. My former roomate an american girl came to visit us and while she was here she drank the water. She never had a problem. But I will follow the us embassy as necronet suggested. – cayerdis May 19 '12 at 16:20
  • water in Nicaragua is as clean as any other Latin american country -- In every Latin American country I've lived in, the locals don't drink tap water (Mexico, Guatemala, and Brazil), so I'd say that "standard" is completely bogus, even if it is safe in Nicaragua. – Flimzy Aug 9 '15 at 3:54
  • Again it depends where you are Mexico and Brazil are huge countries, just like in the US depending on where you are you might or not stick to bottle water – Necronet Oct 15 at 20:40

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