Most tap water in Ecuador is NOT chlorinated, which means it isn’t safe to drink. However, the tap water in Cuenca is chlorinated, as well as in parts of Quito, so you can drink it in those areas.
The tap water in Cuenca is very nice; it tastes like mountain spring water. However, some people still choose to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking it straight from the tap.
The low level of chlorine added to tap water is enough to kill any bacteria or parasites that make their way into the plumbing systems. Without chlorine, you either need to boil the water before drinking it, buy bottled water, or install a water filter.
Water filter systems are difficult to find in Ecuador, and the filters are very expensive. We know a couple who installed a filtration system on their kitchen sink for $1,500, making it cost prohibitive for most people.
Most people in Ecuador opt to buy 5 gallon jugs of purified water to use for drinking. A jug costs around $2 and last 2 to 3 days for 2 people. We have ours delivered to our house because they weigh 40 pounds (20 kilos).
Even though it’s not safe to drink throughout most of the country, the tap water in Ecuador is very clean. We use it to brush our teeth in areas without chlorinated water, but some people avoid that practice as well.
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