When planning a trip to Cuba, one of the fundamental considerations for travelers is the safety of the tap water.  In this blog post, we'll delve into the topic of drinking tap water in Cuba, exploring whether it's safe if you can brush your teeth with it, how clean the water is, whether tourists can drink water in Havana, and how to avoid getting sick from drinking water in Cuba.

Cuba is renowned for its rich history, stunning architecture, and vibrant culture. However, it's also known for having a water supply that may not be safe for consumption by visitors. Understanding the nuances of the water quality in Cuba can help travelers make informed decisions about their health and safety during their stay.

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Can you drink tap water in Cuba?

No. Despite ongoing efforts to enhance water treatment and distribution systems, tap water in many parts of the country, including urban areas like Havana, is not considered safe for drinking.

One of the primary reasons for this is the ageing infrastructure of the water supply system. Many pipes are old and corroded, which can lead to water contamination as it travels to homes and businesses. Additionally, water treatment facilities may not meet the standards necessary to remove all harmful bacteria and contaminants.

Can you brush your teeth with the water in Cuba?

Brushing your teeth with tap water is not recommended in Cuba. Instead, use purified or bottled water to brush your teeth and avoid ingesting any harmful bacteria or contaminants that may be present in the tap water.

How clean is the water in Cuba?

The cleanliness of the water in Cuba varies depending on the region. In urban areas like Havana, the water is treated to meet local standards. Local standards may not be the same quality as the standards you are used to at home however. It's always best to err on the side of caution and avoid drinking tap water altogether.

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Can tourists drink water in Havana Cuba?

For tourists, the risk of drinking tap water is higher due to differences in the local water supply compared to what they may be accustomed to. Travelers' immune systems may not be prepared to handle the pathogens in Cuban tap water, increasing the likelihood of illness.

To stay safe, it's strongly recommended that visitors to Cuba avoid drinking tap water. Instead, opt for purified water from a water filter bottle or bottled water. Bottled water is readily available but single-use plastic bottles contributes to a plastic pollution problem in Cuba and beyond. Consider using a reusable portable water filter for travel, such as the Water-to-Go bottle, which can filter dangerous water contaminants (including viruses, bacteria, parasites, lead, fluoride, chlorine, chemicals, pesticides, and microplastics) and provide safe drinking water anywhere you go in Cuba. Taking these precautions can help ensure a safe and enjoyable trip to Cuba without the risk of waterborne illnesses.

How can you avoid getting sick from drinking water in Cuba?

  • Use a water filter bottle for travel: A portable water filter bottle ensures you have safe water anywhere you go, without the environmental damage of single use plastic water bottles. One Water-to-Go filter replaces 400 of those single-use plastic bottles.

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  • Drink Bottled Water: The safest option is to drink bottled water. Ensure the seal is intact when purchasing, and stick to reputable brands.
  • Avoid Ice: To reduce the risk of contamination, it's best to ask for drinks without ice. This is because tap water can be used to make ice in beverages.
  • Use Bottled Water for Food Preparation: When dining out, inquire whether the food is prepared using bottled or boiled water. If not, it's wise to exercise caution with raw fruits and vegetables that might have been washed in tap water.
  • Boil Water: Boiling tap water for at least one minute can kill harmful bacteria and parasites. Allow the water to cool before consuming.
  • Be Cautious with Hygiene: Practice good hygiene, such as washing your hands frequently with soap and water, especially before eating. Never brush your teeth with tap water.
  • Seek Medical Attention if Needed: If you experience symptoms of gastrointestinal illness, such as diarrhea, vomiting, or fever, seek medical attention promptly.


While Cuba is a beautiful destination with much to offer, it's essential to be cautious about drinking tap water. Stick to purified water from a water filter bottle or bottled water, even when brushing your teeth, to avoid potential health issues during your trip. Taking these precautions allows you to enjoy your time in Cuba without worrying about the water quality.


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  1. World Health Organization (WHO): The WHO provides information on global health issues, including water quality standards and guidelines. Their website offers comprehensive resources on drinking water safety. Link
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): The CDC offers travel health information for specific destinations, including recommendations for safe drinking water and other health considerations for travelers to Cuba. Link
  3. United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF): UNICEF works to ensure safe drinking water for children worldwide. Their reports and publications often include data on water quality in various countries, including Cuba. Link
  4. Cuban Ministry of Health: The Cuban Ministry of Health may provide official information on the country's water quality and safety measures. Their website or publications could be a valuable resource for current information. Link
Written by Lalaine Altar

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