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Old 6 Oct 2010
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drinking water in Central- and South-America

So far drinking water was not a problem for us during the last half year in NORTH america.

How did you cope with that in Central- and South America?

I consider to buy a filter pump (is that the right english word?).
Disadvantage: takes space and adds weight.
Is it really necessary?
Or can we buy drinking water nearly everywhere cheap?
Or is the water drinkable (with ion-tabletts)?

What´s your experience?

greetings from Las Vegas

(klick on the English flag on the left to get an awful Google-translation)
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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Unless you have a weak system, forget buying bottled water, it just adds to the billions floating around in our oceans.

I drank tap water from Alaska to Ushuaia and all points in between, with no stomach complaints directly linked to water, but some from the food. The only place I did not drink tap water was a Mexican hotel, but they had a sign over the sink advising not to.

Water is cheap to buy and is everywhere, so if you feel inclined that way, you will have no problems going thirsty, but consider the environment.

Water filters and tablets are not really needed, unless you are drinking from rivers and streams, or other non reticulated services. If it comes out of a tap, it is drinkable, sometimes not very tasty though

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Old 6 Oct 2010
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TS neglects to mention that he also practiced gastro-intestinal purification by many times daily! Beer also serves as a means of hydration without risk of giardia, cholera, cryptosporidium or amoebas....and as a bonus it is served in recyclable bottles, greatly lessening the resulting environmental degradation.

But seriously.... those of us lacking a cast iron stomach--or with previous experience being colonized by intestinal parasites--might want to consider carrying a filter. On my most recent trip, in part shared with TS, I used a gravity-fed model which was awkward to use but otherwise worked well and effortlessly. On previous journeys I've always used pump models.

Personally, I don't want to contribute more than very minimally to the ridiculous number of used, non-recyclable plastic bottles which litter the world. Plus the total cost of buying bottled water on a long trip--say, US$3 per day--adds up quickly. I've got better ways to spend my money.

Hope that helps.

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Old 6 Oct 2010
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Drinking water.

We used a SteriPEN for year in Central and South America.
Water Purifier Portable Water Purification System - SteriPEN

Brilliant little device. Purified 6 to 8 liters every day drawn from hotel taps. Eliminates all the plastic from bottled water. Get rechargeable batteries and a recharger.
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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We carried purification tablets and an MSR hand-pump filter for emergencies, but never needed them.

Bottled water was available cheaply everywhere for very little cost in my experience.
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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have look at this
MSR® AutoFlow™ Gravity Filter

this is MSR's gravity water filter. We have been using this through central Asia and its perfect. it links onto the MST water bags directly and is so fast!

throughout south america we never once used our ceramic water filters or tablets that we carried and had no problems. In Mexico we were a little more careful and did actually buy water. but as others have said here - we really dont like to contribute to the world wide problem of the millions of used bottles.

truely these work really well. and we have tired them all...!!
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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This same question came up on ADVrider last week , so I'll just dirct you to that Water in CA/SA/Mexico ? - ADVrider

Can't say enough about getting the oral vaccine DUKORAL BEFORE going into"danger zones"
Sure you may drink tap water and never get a dose of turista- but then all it takes is one bad experience to put a damper on the travel fun for a few days or worse.
Waiting till you do get the problem and then dosing up with Imodium or Cipro is too late, you may already be in deep doodoo, literally.
And treating your own stash of tapwater with chlorine is cheap and effective and does not take up a lot of storage.Then you can guzzle away at your pleasure whenever you get thirsty(<--- = H2O ! ) make up a new supply right away.Please, don't buy the single serve size bottles.
Act like a camel- drink a liter or more when thirsty and you wont need to traipse around with a water bottle sipping every two steps, as I seem to observe is the case at many a tourist site.
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Old 6 Oct 2010
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Working in South America for the last 11 years I drank tap water everywhere except Potosi in Bolivia, where the mining has led to contamination of the water table. Only ever seemed to get sick in Cuzco, Peru, and who can say, but that might have been more to do with too much poorly cooked "european style" food. Certainly wouldn't blame the Cuba Libres at Paddy's or Norton Rats Tavern!
On a trip from Senegal to Somalia this year we used a single Doulton ceramic water filter with a small caravan pump. One case of giardia (Uganda) in 9 months (don't think it came from our tanks) and we used some pretty rank sources in Angola with no ill effects, but I guess this is a bit bulky for a bike. We did have a couple of filter bottles ( Lifesaversystems.com) which you fill from wherever, and shake to filter. Worked really well for our cyclists, but much more hassle than filling their bottles from the support car. As I said though, it's not a big issue in SAm.

Last edited by mossproof; 6 Oct 2010 at 21:40. Reason: more info
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Old 8 Oct 2010
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Thanks a lot

Thanks a lot for all your answeres!

I think I´ll give the steripen a chance, though the other advices sounded good, too!

Startseite - Krad-Vagabunden.de
(klick on the English flag on the left to get an awful Google-translation)
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