You need to know a lot of things before doing international travel to improve your safety. One of the most important of them is knowing if the water in the country that you’re traveling to is safe to consume. It brings the question: can you drink the water in Brazil?
As a general rule, drinking tap water in Brazil is very safe in most cities. Since 1974, the water treatment needs to comply with the Ministry of Health policies. However, most restaurants in Brazil only serve bottled mineral water.
In this article, you’ll learn in which places you can drink water safely and when it’s better to avoid drinking straight from the faucet. Also, you’ll learn how to order water in Brazil in specific situations.
Tap Water in Brazil is Safe
Since 1974 the quality of water in Brazil needs to comply with the Ministry of Health policies, including fluoridation and complex water treatment. That means that nowadays the quality of the water in Brazil is pretty good, but for a long time, it wasn’t.
Because of the “old days” when was common to get sick while drinking tap water in Brazil, part of the Brazilians doesn’t have the habit of drinking straight from the faucet. But it’s past.
Particularly, when I’m home, I only drink tap water. And I do it because I trust that the quality of the water is good enough for me and my family to drink it.
Some say the taste is not good, but honestly, it’s not that bad. The most important thing to know is that it’s safe and free from parasites.
I’m 27 years old and I have never got sick because of drinking tap water in Brazil. However, there’s one exception that I have covered in the next section that you need to be aware of.
Avoid Drinking Tap Water in Beach Destinations
Based on my personal experience I have one more piece of advice about the quality of the water in Brazil. My favorite kind of travel around here is visiting beach destinations (there are thousands of great paradisiac beaches in Brazil).
Unfortunately, in this kind of destination, there is one bad thing: the quality of water.
I’m not quite sure about the reason for this, but it’s common to be infected by some viruses in the tap water in beach destinations, especially in periods of high season.
If I’m not mistaken only in my family we had 5 cases of rotavirus caused by tap water in our travels through the past 27 years. I never got infected but my wife has been 2 times, one of them only for using the water to brush the teeth.
Usually, the infections are simple, nothing that will put your life at risk. But trust me, is enough to keep you in a room (or in the toilet) instead of enjoying paradisiac places in Brazil.
In a nutshell, in beach destinations avoid drinking tap water if there’s not a filter in your faucet. If you ever need to drink straight from the faucet, just boil it before and you should be fine.
It’s also a good idea to stock some mineral water at home/hotel room. Prefer to buy bottled water in supermarkets, because the prices in the “sand” are way higher than usual.
In Restaurants You’ll Only Find Bottled Water
One of my favorite things in restaurants in the United States and some other places is when you sit at the table and the waiter brings a jar of fresh tap water. I know that this is something simple for some of you, but as It never happens in Brazil it was surprising for me.
Brazilian restaurants don’t offer tap water to the clients and It’s not a problem of water quality or even businesses trying to force you to pay for water: it’s just a cultural matter.
As Brazilians never ask for tap water and prefer to buy a bottle of mineral water, that’s the only option you’ll find in most restaurants and bars around here.
Bottled water is super affordable (except for imported brands). In both restaurants and bars, it’s a little more expensive than supermarkets and grocery stores, but nothing that you should worry about.
In hotel mini-fridges, on the other hand, it’s way much more expensive than in markets so a good way to save some money is buying a pack of bottled water and taking it to the hotel room.
How to Order Water in Brazil?
Ordering water in Brazil is quite different than in other countries, not only because of the language (Portuguese) but also because of some cultural differences.
For example, when you order something “ice cold”, expect your drink to be near-freezing temperature. Because Brazil is a tropical country, it helps people dealing with heat. If you’re asking for beer, that’s how it’s going to be as well.
As there are different ways to order, in the following table you can check the most usual ways of ordering water in Brazil.
|If You Want||This Is How You Order in Brazil|
|Regular Water||Uma água SEM gás, por favor.|
|Sparkling Water||Uma água COM gás, por favor.|
|Ice Cold Water||Uma água GELADA, por favor.|
|Ice Water||Uma água COM GELO, por favor.|
|Room Temperature Water||Uma água SEM GELO, por favor.|
With this information you’ll be able to order water anywhere in Brazil, in restaurants and streets and tourist spots as well.
About the brands of bottled water, most of them are great and kinda the same. Just pick the one that is more accessible for you.
The safety the water in the country that you’re traveling to is one of the first things you need to check before traveling. This is very important and even so some people forget about it.
In a nutshell, it is safe enough to drink the water in Brazil. But keep in mind that in beach locations is better for you to drink only filtered or bottled mineral water.
Also, use the table in the article to know how to order water in Brazil.
That being said, I hope it gave you all the information that you needed about the question: “Can You Drink the Water in Brazil?”
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I see you next time.