Search 57,387 Camino Questions

A donation to the forum removes ads for you, and supports Ivar in his work running it


Advertisement
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.
John Brierley Camino Frances Guide
This guide is one of the ones that has been around for over 15 years. Updated yearly. Please read the reviews.

Drinking water..

despina

New Member
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Create your own ad
€1,-/day will present your project to thousands of visitors each day. All interested in the Camino de Santiago.

piogaw

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..

Hello despina,

Water from the fountains along the camino frances is safe to drink unless it is mentioned that the water is non- potable. If in doubt, you can always ask the waiters or owners at the cafe-bars to replenish the water for you.

Buen camino.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Water from the fountains along the camino frances is safe to drink unless it is mentioned that the water is non- potable. If in doubt, you can always ask the waiters or owners at the cafe-bars to replenish the water for you.
The other sign you might see is 'sin purificado' or something similar - essentially that the water has not been treated. I found these in the first few days between Roncesvalles and Pamplona. I didn't have to use these, but you could carry a couple Puritabs or the like, just in case. Once past Pamplona, I don't recall having any particular problem finding water in towns or villages, but did find that many of the fonts along the way were dry.

I consistently drank local tap water and didn't have any problems. I do know of a couple of Australians who did have gastrointestinal problems. It's always difficult to tell how they might have arisen. It could be just as easily be from unfamiliar food or inattention to personal hygiene at some point as from water.

Regards,
 

Pelegrin

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2019
As Dougfitz said, there shouldn't be any problem drinking tap water. But, there is some risk in fountains and springs, specially in Galicia. The reason is because farmers pour out animal manure in liquid form into the meadows as fertilizer, and this fact can contaminate the phreatic layer.

This is the theory but, as an example, in my Primitivo this year, I drank in almost every fountain I found and no problem at all.

So, is your decisión, if you want total safety don't drink water from fountains and springs.

¡Bo camino!
 
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.

Olivares

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
I replenished my water bottle plenty times on water fountains along the Camino as most villages have one or more fountains for the pilgrims, typically by the entrance of town. Never fel sick. I did find the one ocassional water source with the "NO POTABLE" sign, which means not suitable for drinking, although it may be suitable for washing clothes or other domestic uses. Spain drinking water standards are very comparable with water standards set by the federal EPA (USA) and Northern Spain water quality in particular is good and monitored. I wouldn't drink from rivers or streams, though. Typically, runoff from agricultural areas end up on surface waters carrying pesticides and other contaminants. Dilution is often NOT the solution to pollution. ;)
 

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
I used the water fountains as far as Logrono, after that the water tasted pretty awful IMO, even from taps along the park area, tasted chemicaly if I can use that word, after this I switched to bottle water, its pretty cheap anyway in Spain.
 

StuartM

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
Not a very scientific test but if the fountain is a tap with a decent amount of pressure then there is a very good chance this is running from the mains supply that feeds everyone else. If it is a pipe in the wall with water trickling out then there is a good chance this is run off or ground/spring water.
 

jl

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances('05, '07), Aragonese ('05), del Norte / Primitivo ('09), Via Tolosana (Toulouse '05), Via Podiensis (Le Puy '07), Via Lemovicensis (Troyes '09), VF ('12), Winter Camino ('13/'14) Cammino d'Assisi ('14) Jakobseweg (Leipzig - Paris '15) San Salvador/Norte ('15) Ignaciano ('16) Invierno ('16)
there is some risk in fountains and springs, specially in Galicia

That is interesting, because I generally fill my bottles from the albergue, and then get them topped up at a bar when in Galicia (providing I have served them with the courtesy of purchasing either food or drink). It has always looked to me as if the water table is pretty high in Galicia and because of the number of farms around I am always more careful there. A good test of the quality of the water is "have I seen locals filling up their water bottles?". If the locals drive to the fountain with a crate of large bottles you can be pretty sure that the water is of a good quality - both in safety and in taste! I have often turned up to a fountain and had to wait a while for a local to fill the large water bottles - in France, Spain and Italy - it happens everywhere.

We come from Sydney

I can understand the doubt if you are used to our water sources out in the bush, but I think you will be pretty safe and just need to take normal precautions such as reading the signs. Cheers, Janet
 
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Tap water in Spain is perfectly fine for drinking and, as has been said, the water from the Fuentes that the locals use is usually even better. If you do choose to use only bottled water please don't add to the layer of discarded plastic bottles that serves as an alternative way-marking of the route. There are recycling facilities in virtually every settlement.
 

Phillypilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
C F Sept.(2013) Camino de Madrid & Finisterre/Muxia Sept. (2014)
Finisterre/Muia June (2017).
Hi, Just walked September, October 2013. I did become ill. Awoke in Calzadilla de la Cueza unable to walk, stayed another day in a private room and slept the entire day. Thank goodness I had Imodium with me and antibiotics too (Z-Pack), which I took. My next stop (as I could barely walk 8 miles) was Hostal Moratinos, in Moratinos. When I checked in there the owners told me that it is common knowledge not to drink tap water on the Meseta (they don't drink their own tap water), because it is "iffy". I had never heard this on the trail or on this forum. I lost my appetite and was exhausted for another 3 days. I had it easy though. I know of 5 other people who were much sicker, and one who had to receive IV fluids in the ER. After this I only drank bottled water. Also, I did not drink from the fountains at all, as I had enough H2O at the start of the day. Of course as dougfitz says, you never really know what causes these illnesses and I may have not actually needed to take an antibiotic but I had them, so I did.
I have never been sure what to make of this information about water on the Meseta. I'm interested if anyone else heard this.
 

Olivares

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
May 1997 (Leon to Santiago); Sections Camino Frances: May 2011, May 2012, May 2013, October 2013, June-July 2014 (Sahagun to Santiago).
I was at the Meseta this (early) October as well. Stayed overnight at Calzadilla de la Cueza as a matter of fact; I am certain I drank plenty tap water as I drink water constantly, even at night. I never got sick, but again, that does not mean that NOBODY ought to get sick; obviously sensitivities vary and so does how the body responds. I did not heard of warnings about the tap water while on the Meseta and I speak Spanish and interacted with locals every chance I got. That said, the region is called "the Granaries of Spain" and it would not be unheard of to have agricultural runoff reaching drinking water conveyances. Fair warning Phyllipilgrim; You brought an excellent point of been prepared; so many people take off without minimal basic medical kit. As important as a good pair of shoes!
 

annakappa

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Part frances jun 07/rest frances may- jun 2008/Frances sept-oct 2009/ Sanabres Oct 2010/Frances sept-oct 2011/Aragones Sept-Oct 2012. Hospitalero Sept 2010, Amiga in Pilgrim's Office Oct 2013. Part Primitivo Oct 2013. Portugues from Porto June 2015.
YES, I did become ill. Never been so ill in my life. However this was on the Primitivo, where I drank from a fountain in the mountains. Adriaan drank the same water as me and ate the same food. I still wonder if it was because I had just recovered from having my appendix removed and my body still wasn't up to big changes. I was too weak to walk for several days and in fact was only able to eat a proper meal 5 days later ( therefore too weak for walking normal Camino distances). Although in the past, I have always drunk for the fountains, this little episode has changed my ideas!
Anne
 
W

whariwharangi

Guest
I found tap water in larger cities to taste awful due to chemical processes used to treat the water. I found tap water and fountains in the villages to taste very good. I had no problems due to water quality.

A more likely source of gastronomic problems is from flies landing on food and people that handle food not washing hands after using the toilet.
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store

despina

New Member
Thanks everyone, interesting opinions. A couple of years ago I was in Greece and became very ill, was unable to move for about a week so I don't want this to happen again. I am thinking of perhaps buying bottled water , but I am hoping that there will be ample places along the way to buy water in short distances. I too will be taking medical tablets with me, I always do. My moto is if I have them then I will not need them.
 

homa_bird

Member
Hi, Just walked September, October 2013. I did become ill. Awoke in Calzadilla de la Cueza unable to walk, stayed another day in a private room and slept the entire day. Thank goodness I had Imodium with me and antibiotics too (Z-Pack), which I took. My next stop (as I could barely walk 8 miles) was Hostal Moratinos, in Moratinos. When I checked in there the owners told me that it is common knowledge not to drink tap water on the Meseta (they don't drink their own tap water), because it is "iffy". I had never heard this on the trail or on this forum. I lost my appetite and was exhausted for another 3 days. I had it easy though. I know of 5 other people who were much sicker, and one who had to receive IV fluids in the ER. After this I only drank bottled water. Also, I did not drink from the fountains at all, as I had enough H2O at the start of the day. Of course as dougfitz says, you never really know what causes these illnesses and I may have not actually needed to take an antibiotic but I had them, so I did.
I have never been sure what to make of this information about water on the Meseta. I'm interested if anyone else heard this.

I too got very very sick on the Meseta from drinking tap water, in Carrion de los Condes. I always stayed away from potable fountains, but did fill up with tap water, being told it was safe... Anyways, I was out for 3 days in Carrion with some of the most violent vomiting and diarrhea I've ever had...and I have an iron stomach. Must have been a particularly strong strain of e-coli, imo. Took nearly a week to get my strength totally back. I limped along, eating Digestivo crackers and drinking Aquarius.

I heard later there was a tap water advisory in Carrion during that time, but no pilgrims were told. I know of at least 4 others that were very very ill with same symptoms during this time....towards the end of September 2013.
 
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
So sad to hear of so many with bad experiences from drinking the water on the Camino!
I did it all - tap water, fountains, bottled water - and never got sick.
I started with two small bottles of water on my pack. By the end of each day, they were usually dry. At the albergue, I would refill the bottles with new water (if I forgot, I'd fill up at the bar/restaurant I had breakfast at he next morning) and go on for the day.
If I needed water along the way and there was a fountain with potable water, I grab a few sips to get rid of thirst. I wouldn't drink endlessly at the fountain because, a.) I'm a girl and I didn't want to have to go to the bathroom until I got to the next village and, b.) if I was going to get sick, I only wanted to get a little sick.
Turns out, I never had a problem.
If in doubt, check with the locals (a little Spanish goes a long way).
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Such incidents are unfortunate but it seems to be a sporatic problem and maybe some are just more prone to pick up bugs than others. I always drink tap and fountain water and in the last 4 years never had a problem, including this past summer as a hospitalera for 2 weeks in an albergue on the Meseta. I have never heard that you shouldn't drink water while there.
 

LarryBC

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances from SJPP (2013)
Camino Finnisterre (2013)
Caminho Portugues (2014)
We drank tap water and from fountains. I did get sick (my wife didn't) but I have no reason to point a finger at the water -- more likely poor handling of food in restaurants or perhaps a virus. After being sick, I continued to drink from taps and fountains. Not a fan of bottled water -- and it's more often more expensive than wine or beer!

-- Larry
 
Camino Magnets
A collection of Camino Fridge Magnets
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

fraluchi

RIP 2019
Year of past OR future Camino
One every year since 2007
Such incidents are unfortunate but it seems to be a sporatic problem and maybe some are just more prone to pick up bugs than others.
I have the distinct opinion that this is true. Water from a fountain? If in doubt, NEVER!
 

Bajaracer

Camino Frances 2013 Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013) Jun-Jul SJPDP to Finisterre
At the beginning of the Camino Frances in June of this year, I saw water samples being taken from a local fountain after Pamplona, so it is inspected on a regular basis.
One thing I noticed was the taste of chemicals in the water in the bigger cities like Pamplona, it is mentioned in the Brierley guidebook as well, it started tasting better after Puente la Reina.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
As soon as you find a fountain or cafe-bar out of the bigger cities/pueblos, throw away the water and replenish them, especially if it is spring water coming down from the mountains. Many of the water supplies from bigger cities are chemically treated as a method of purification with chlorine.

Also would like to mention if you come down with stomach bugs, drink plenty of soda with gas like seven up, sprite, even mineral water with gas to get rid of the harmful impurities in your stomach. You will recovered quicker.

Buen camino.
 
Last edited:

Stacy08

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Walked it in 2012
Drank from all the fountains except those that specifically said non-potable and had no problems. Bars are generally good about filling up bottles for you as well.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

Tumbleweed

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
Yes, drank from fonts and regular indoor taps all the way from SJPdP to Santiago de Compestela. My water bottle had a screw on filter that filtered the taste, so for me the water always tasted fine. Never any tummy problems. :)
 

BenedicteOR

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances September-October 2013
I got sick on the Meseta at Carrion, and at least six others I knew got sick the few days around there. I can't be sure but I think it was the water that did it - I'd been warned about the water there from another woman but stupidly ignored the advice... But to avoid spending a night on the albergue's toilet floor I would suggest not drinking the water around that area of the Meseta.
 

homa_bird

Member
I got sick on the Meseta at Carrion, and at least six others I knew got sick the few days around there. I can't be sure but I think it was the water that did it - I'd been warned about the water there from another woman but stupidly ignored the advice... But to avoid spending a night on the albergue's toilet floor I would suggest not drinking the water around that area of the Meseta.


Yep, yep and yep...and it wasn't, as someone suggested a few posts up, that those of us who got sick were somehow more "prone" to pick up bugs. There was some bad bad water in and around Carrion this late summer/fall... I think they might have a stressed or outdated water system there or something.
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Hi Piglow

Can I ask how drinking soda "con gas" but with sugar (e.g 7 up) can help with tummy bugs? I was told that you should avoid sugar as the bugs feed on this.

Is it the bubbles that assist?

Sodas like seven up, sprite work like dioralytes which is recommended by chemists for treatment of stomach bugs. This is used for rehydration of the body to replace the electrolytes and salts lost. And also replaces the carbonhydrates in the system. It also helps clean out the system. This was recommended to me by a medical doctor when i got sick with a stomach bugs and diarrhea.
 
Last edited:

Thomas1962

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2010/2011/2012/2013: Madrid -Salvador -Primitivo 2014: EPW 2015: Amsterdam - SdC
I always drink from taps and fountains in spain, Never had any problem.
 
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.

Canucks

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, SJPDP to Santiago (2013), Le Puy to SJPDP (2014), Porto to Santiago (2019)
We were drinking tap water until a couple of days after Leon when I went to a farmacia for my vomiting and diarrhea and the lady explained that she would never drink the tap water....only bottled, and she was both a resident and a pharmacist.
Regardless, I don't know if it was food or water that did me in in Leon, but that is what I was told. We did bottled water after that.
 

NicoZ

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2013
I got to ask where do the bottled water companies get their water from?

You'll likely find a fair bit of bottled water is just bottled tap water. There is no reason to think the rest is better controled then the tap water.

It's already been mentioned but different people have different needs. Are you already at risk? Jet lagged. Not eating enough. Overly tired? If so you're more likely to get obviously sick. The person sitting next to you might feel perfectly fine drinking the same water. They might still have a low level reaction.

Beer and wine are going to be safer. But unless you know the local tap water is bad bottled water isn't going to be better for you. It might just be the exact same water
 

Canucks

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances, SJPDP to Santiago (2013), Le Puy to SJPDP (2014), Porto to Santiago (2019)
Yes, I agree. That's why I was shocked that a pharmacist who was a resident in the town said that she only drinks bottled water and she would get sick if she drank the tap water.
My gut feeling, literally and figuratively, is that it was some fish that I had in Leon. However, anything is possible and it was interesting to hear what the "local expert" said. We chose to minimize the risk by going bottled based on that.

Throwing up on the streets of tiny towns in Spain is decidedly uncool, as is walking 25 km while doing so. I speak from experience.
 

grayland

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Yes
Like the majority of pilgrims...I have never had a problem drinking water from official sources..fountains, taps, etc.

I served as a hospitalaro in Carrion (Santa Maria) at the same time as some of the posts above and drank water from the city sources for a week. We had no complaints in the albergue that I am aware of and neither my wife or myself had any problems. There were 4 young people from Madrid working with us and they had no problems either.

Not sure if water is automatically considered the culprit when a person gets sick. It seems to me that if a water source was contaminated in some way that there would be a rather large group of people affected...not just the individuals as is usually reported here.
 
I was told that open bottles could be tap water, but a sealed bottle should be what it says it is and as such would not be from a tap. Always have the bottle opened at the table, not brought to you open already. If unsure ask for a fizzy one, as that has to be a new bottle. Seemed like good advice to me.

Years ago we were told that Coca-Cola was good for stomach upsets, with a little sugar added to remove the fizz. It worked well. However noting the post above about this I think one would need to be sure that the drink was the 'normal' variety, ie with sugar not artificial sweeteners, so not the diet type.

Being used to filtering water at home I would stick to bottled water personally, rather than from a tap or fountain.
HH
 
Camino Maps
A collection of Camino Maps from the Camino Forum Store
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.

pudgypilgrim

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
voie de tours 2015
I was told that open bottles could be tap water, but a sealed bottle should be what it says it is and as such would not be from a tap. A
HH

At least in the US, when you buy bottled water, it's almost always municipal water from another place, in other words, someone else's tap water.

EDIT For example:

http://www.tampabay.com/news/enviro...le-can-spring-from-just-about-anywhere/418792

Last year, PepsiCo came under fire for its Aquafina brand because the label featured mountains, suggesting the water came from a mountain spring. It's actually processed tap water.
 

susanawee

susanawee
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino Frances-(2013/14/18
Camino Salvado Perth -(2015)
West Highland Way (2016)
Lyon France 2017
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..
Y
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..
Yes, I drank both local water from Bars, Cafe's, hostels etc. and re-filled my bottle from the local Fuentes along the Way. I did get a 24hour bug when I was at Castrojeriz, along with a few others who were staying at the Albergue, but, I don't necessarily blame the water for this....the bug could have come from anywhere. I stayed at the Albergue for another night and was really well looked after by the Hospitilero.
 

alexwalker

Forever Pilgrim
Year of past OR future Camino
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
---drink plenty of soda with gas like seven up, sprite, even mineral water with gas to get rid of the harmful impurities in your stomach.
Let me know the name of the albergue you're staying in please.;) After sharing a room with 3 French guys on VdlP, I have learned to hate gas...
 

piogaw

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino frances (05/06 2012) sjpdp-sdc; vdlp/camino sanabrea (02/03 2013) sevilla-sdc; hospitalero sdc june 2013, august-september 2013; caminho portugues (03 2014) lisboa-sdc
Let me know the name of the albergue you're staying in please.;) After sharing a room with 3 French guys on VdlP, I have learned to hate gas...

Hi alex walker, this was not on the camino. I picked up stomach bugs and diarrhea as a result of eating contaminated breakfast in hong kong. I was seemed by a medical doctor who advised me to drink plenty of carbonated drinks like sprite and seven up. I was downed for 2 full days until the impurities were washed out of my system.
 

supersullivan

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sarria-Santiago 2012. SJPP-Santiago-Finisterre-Muxia 2013. Ponferrada-Santiago June 2014. Leon-Santiago-Finisterre September 2014. April-May 2015: SJPP- S de C- Finisterre -Muxia- S de C.
I found the vino tinto and cerveza perfectly potable even if it meant I had to carry a reasonable supply of Solpadeine too. :rolleyes:
 
Camino Cups
Browse our selection of Camino Cups on the forum store
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop

stevenjarvis

Active Member
Jl above said, " A good test of the quality of the water is "have I seen locals filling up their water bottles?" "
I recall arriving in a town (somewhere noth of Tui ) , very thirsty , and noticed numerous local residents converging on a fountain with every size and shape of bottle and container, in the early evening. I checked with them about drinking it and they explained that they preferred it to the tap water, which was why they undertook this daily ritual. Having said which, it was also clearly an enjoyable , social occasion.
 

despina

New Member
Thanks everyone loved reading all your different experiences regarding Water...... Who would think a simple question like that would involve so many opinions. Thank you all again x
 

Bozzie

Continuing to walk my camino daily. Blessings!
Year of past OR future Camino
2012/2016
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..
Last year, we were warned not to drink from the fountains between Burgos and Leon due to pesticides in the water. Evidently, there hadn't been enough rain last year in that section. You can check with people along the way or at the pilgrim offices. But if it says "aqua potable" in the villages, you're generally safe to fill your bottles there. If in doubt, the bars will fill your bottle for you.
 

jimkaszynski

RIP 2014
Year of past OR future Camino
First step June 1st 2013
Yes I did hear about this problem it may have been the 5 people I heard about, but it was in early July. One had to fly back to the US to be treated. When they went to the hospital, the blood test did show water poisoning. This is very unusual, but can happen. I had no problem on my walk and heard of no one else who did.
 
how to successfully prepare for your Camino
This book's focus is on reducing the risk of failure through being well prepared.
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.

wayfarer

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Sodas like seven up, sprite work like dioralytes which is recommended by chemists for treatment of stomach bugs. This is used for rehydration of the body to replace the electrolytes and salts lost. And also replaces the carbonhydrates in the system. It also helps clean out the system. This was recommended to me by a medical doctor when i got sick with a stomach bugs and diarrhea.
We are told the same here for the treatment of stomach bugs ..... but the the 7up must be flat, eg shake it up or leave the cap loose to get rid of the gas. It is to insure you are not drinking contaminated liquid plus getting the added value of electrolytes etc. We still use it when the grand kids get a tummy bug.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I posted this reply about a week ago on a related titled conversation. However, it contains useful information IMHO and bears repeating. So, here goes:

Based on experience I recommend a two-part strategy to obtain drinkable water on the Camino:

1. If you suffer from any chronic health condition, symptom or problem that would be made worse, or which would seriously harm your health, if you drank water that was not fully sterilized and completely potable, I recommend you stick to purchasing bottled water. However, this should include only a relatively low number of pilgrims.

2. For everyone else, including me with a sensitive digestive system and several chronic health problems, Spanish tap water (in hostals, hotels, and cafes), or any outdoor fountain was fully potable. The exception is any outdoor fountain marked "Aqua non potable" or having a sign showing a spigot / tap in a red circle with an international diagonal line through it. On my Camino, and whilst traveling as a tourist around Spain, I used tap water exclusively with no ill effects. In fact, it surprised me that I suffered no GI problems at all in two months... go figure!

The only time I purchased bottles water was to obtain the empty bottles to use as canteens for the rest of my journey. FYI - IMHO the single best water bottle for the Camino is the .5 liter (500 ml) water bottle. It is ubiquitous, inexpensive, light weight, recyclable, easily replaceable, and can be stashed virtually anywhere, and several can be moved about your pack, pockets, belt, and rucksack hip belt or harness to balance weight. Remember, 1 liter of water weighs about one kilo (or just over two pounds). The smaller .5 liter bottle weighs half that much. So, four full bottles would weigh about 2 kilos or 4 pounds.

That is why I prefer to use them, in conjunction with this handy gadget: http://www.niteize.com/product/Drink-N-Clip.asp (SEE PHOTO)



Using these clips (with large silicone / rubber "O" rings to ensure the clip never pops off - rubber bands work too), I carry four .5 liter plastic water bottles with me. I distribute them around the FRONT of my harness and waist belt to shift up to four pounds (@ 2 kilos) of weight from my back to my front.

As the day progresses these bottles end up empty. Having four bottles also permits me to have plain water in several, while using others to mix my daily required supplements, and or cool instant coffee (buy singles packets in any tienda or supermarket) or a sports rehydration drink made from a single serving powder (brought from home). Using a larger, 1 liter or 1.5 liter bottle would not afford me these conveniences.

Some New Zealand pilgrims showed me just how wonderful this approach was at counterbalancing the overall weight and making each day's walk more comfortable. They were using Aarn rucksacks (http://www.aarnpacks.com) with specialized front packs to counterbalance the rucksack weight. It was very interesting. The concept is identical.

On my next Camino (Late April - into May/June 2014), I am combining the water bottle solution here with a chest pack I obtained from Zpacks: http://www.zpacks.com/accessories/backpack_lid.shtml (SEE PHOTO)



I will store other small items that now require that I remove my rucksack in here for rapid access during the day. After the day's walk, the bag unclips to become a city bag. Rebalancing the weight makes a HUGE difference in comfort and convenience. I no longer have to ask others to hand me a water bottle from my rucksack side mesh pockets.

As others have stated here and elsewhere, if you are dubious about the water supply, you can use water purification tablets. Bring them from home. In fact, experiment at home before you come to the Camino. You might have to include a packet of Crystal Light or a similar product to flavor the water to cover the taste of the chemicals. That, in my opinion negates any cost savings. I also used a rehydration powder from Tang called "Tang Sport" to ensure my salt levels were okay on the few hot days I encountered and where I felt water alone was not adequate..

So, the bottom line is, the cost of using bottled water or purification systems or tablets is not worth the expense UNLESS you have a medical condition that specifically precludes taking the risk - however small.

I do hope this helps someone - anyone...
 

obinjatoo@yahoo.com

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2012 Dieppe, FR Bici CF.
2014 Ruta Vasco/CF/Primativo
I drink water like a fish so I drank it from all kinds of sources. I did hear at times that some water from some sources was not very good but never from inside an albergue, cafe or restaurant. I did not drink from questionable looking fountains. I also travel with a tiny bottle of household bleach. When in doubt 3-5 drops in a quart should render it safe. You can find lots of info online. It's also related to our immune systems. Sometimes new water sources while safe for locals just has stuff that our own flora and fauna has not encountered before. So, it's a matter of introducing new but not necessarily unhealthy micro organisms to our systems. I don't suggest buying water. It gets expensive and then there is a plastic bottle to toss.
Buen Camino
 

BeatriceKarjalainen

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Finished: See post signature.
Upcoming: Nothing planned
I too got very very sick on the Meseta from drinking tap water, in Carrion de los Condes. I always stayed away from potable fountains, but did fill up with tap water, being told it was safe... Anyways, I was out for 3 days in Carrion with some of the most violent vomiting and diarrhea I've ever had...and I have an iron stomach. Must have been a particularly strong strain of e-coli, imo. Took nearly a week to get my strength totally back. I limped along, eating Digestivo crackers and drinking Aquarius.

I heard later there was a tap water advisory in Carrion during that time, but no pilgrims were told. I know of at least 4 others that were very very ill with same symptoms during this time....towards the end of September 2013.
I met 10 persons that got I'll of tap water in Carrion de los Condes in the end of august 2013. They all filled up at a fountain or at the same albergue. I stayed at Santa Clara and filled my bottle from their tap without getting sick. 4 of them got really sick and had to go to hospital in León.
 
Last edited:

Wotever

New Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances (2012) Portugues (2013)£
Knocked out of action for 2 days in Carrion Sept 2012. I drank water from the fountain at the entrance to town and was violently ill in bed. I noticed that for most of the day on the approach to Carrion that there was a strong unpleasant (chemical/urine/pig muck) smell in the air. There were many tractors muck spreading and the amount of flies around my face was almost unbearable. I chose bottle water from there on in and also on this years camino in Portugal.
 
Camino Socks
Browse the Camino Socks collection on the forum shop
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.

ajp

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Sept-October (2009), Sept-Oct (2013)
Has anyone had any stomach problems drinking the local water from fountains etc along the camino Frances . Should we just buy bottled water ?? We come from Sydney and are wondering if any other fellow Aussies have had any problems ..

I just completed the Camino Frances and drank the local water and nothing else. Fountains are marked if they are not potable, but most are, and the water was fine. Tap water in the villages and towns was also fine for drinking. No worries about water.
 

jimkaszynski

RIP 2014
Year of past OR future Camino
First step June 1st 2013
Do you mean pesticide or water poisoning? I thought water poisioning meant drinking too much water. I forget the latin/medical term for this.
Sorry can't answer that, but it was the water that caused the problem , don't think the over drinking of water.
 

Silvester

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
I'm wondering how ancient some of the surviving fuentes might be - and whether the piping is lead from Roman times or more recent galvanised iron or something completely different. I'm thinking especially of fuentes from a natural spring.

Also I noticed that fuente termal (would that be fuentes termales plural?) occur as well and I wondered if there were any thermal springs on the Camino del Salvador, Primitivo or on the way to Muxia or Fisterra.

Mary
 

mspath

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Frances, autumn/winter; 2004, 2005-2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
I'm wondering how ancient some of the surviving fuentes might be - and whether the piping is lead from Roman times or more recent galvanised iron or something completely different. I'm thinking especially of fuentes from a natural spring.

Also I noticed that fuente termal (would that be fuentes termales plural?) occur as well and I wondered if there were any thermal springs on the Camino del Salvador, Primitivo or on the way to Muxia or Fisterra.

Mary

Mary,

There is an antique thermal spring on the Portugues Camino within Galicia at Caldas de Reis. You can read the city's history here. For more about spa tourism in Spain see this web site.

Margaret Meredith
 
Last edited:

Silvester

Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
Mary,

There is an antique thermal spring on the Portugues Camino within Galicia at Caldas de Reis. You can read the city's history here. For more about spa tourism in Spain see this web site.

Margaret Meredith
Thanks for this link Margaret. I googled some of the locations and some even look to be not too far from Oveido or Leon. Maybe a quiet soak is just the thing on a rest day! Even a warm puddle to soak feet in is a luxury.
Mary
 
Donation to the Forum
A donation to this forum helps it continue to exists and also removes all ads for you.
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Felipe

Veteran Member
The concern about safe water apparently is not new. A legend says that in the heights of Sierra del Perdón the devil offered water to a desperately thirsty pilgrim if he reneged from God and the Virgin. The pilgrim heroically despised the tempting offer, and prayed to the apostle until the Evil One ran away and a source miracously appeared. It is somewhat ironic that this source still exists, but has a "non potable" sign...Did the devil come back, or the pilgrims' faith has waned? I don't know...
 
Last edited:
Year of past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
I think some people just have strong stomachs and others weak.
I've walked the Camino for many years, various routes and portions of routes, and so far haven't had any problems with the water.
I think sometimes people (who are in close contact in albergues) pick up bugs from each other and then blame it on the water.
I think one must follow their own gut instinct.
If there's been flooding or in severe drought, one might want to take a bit more caution.
 

koilife

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
CF w/ son #1 (2013); Logrono-Leon/Salvador/Primitivo w/ son #2 (2016); Portugues w/ son #3 (2020)
As a general comment for those who might consider the use of water purification tablets/drops or bleach drops, these can take up to four hours to achieve full effect depending on the viruses/bacteria involved. The number of four hour stretches between safe water sources (even if we exclude ALL fountains, including those explicitly marked as potable) are relatively limited in number on the more frequented routes. Unless we were empty when we left our starting point, or failed to refill when we had a source we trusted, then we should have limited reason to ever need recourse to purification treatments. Additionally, tablets and drops as well as Products like Steripen DO provide instant purification by using UV to kill viruses and bacteria do nothing to address chemical toxicity (e.g. pesticides, dissolved metals, etc.); for that, we need mechanical filtration (e.g. membranes, charcoal). Mechanical membrane filters, especially with charcoal post filters, vary widely in weight and quality. They are usually quite good at filtering out bacteria, taste, possibly pesticides and heavy metals, but may not get viruses. Also, mechanical filters tend towards the heavy side.

The key thing always is to know how far we are from the next source of water that we choose to trust, and to know what the conditions are like, and plan accordingly. Moreover, in the case of water, we probably need to carry extra water as a precaution in the event that something unexpected happens (e.g. twisted ankle turns a one hour trek to the next water source into a three hour limp under the blazing sun).
 
Last edited:

Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Year of past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
Despite my father's advice that water was only good for washing in, I generally find that I stay healthier when I drink the water than when I don't.
 
Camino Jewellery
A selection of Camino Jewellery
2021 Camino Guides
Most all Camino authors have decided to use 2020 guides for 2021, with free PDF files with updates coming in the spring. Get yours today.
Year of past OR future Camino
2012
Despite my father's advice that water was only good for washing in, I generally find that I stay healthier when I drink the water than when I don't.
My father's view of water was that, "having tried it [he] didn't like it..." Maybe a generational thing. I find more flavours in my scotch when "loosened" with a little water and always carry a litre of the stuff in case of need.
 

weekjchammings

KEITH JOHN
Year of past OR future Camino
GR10 HENDAYE - BANYULS SUR MERE 600+ MILES 2002 WITH MY SON.
ABERGAVENNY - BEAUPREAU TWIN TOWN 2009
ENGLISH SOUTH WEST COASTAL PATH 630 MILES 2010.
LE PUY EN VELAY -SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE 2011 1,000+ MILES
ABERGAVENNY WALES - MONT ST MICHEL - ST JEAN PdP - CAMINO FRANCES FRANCE - FINISTERRE 2013 1,400+ MILES.
SEVILLA - SANTIAGO VIA DE LA PLATA 2014
LISBON - PORTO - SANTIAGO - MUXIA - FINISTERRE CAMINO PORTUGUESE. 2016.
CAMINO DE LEVANTE PLANNED 2017.
My father's view of water was that, "having tried it [he] didn't like it..." Maybe a generational thing. I find more flavours in my scotch when "loosened" with a little water and always carry a litre of the stuff in case of need.

Exactly how much water do you carry to accompany one litre of scotch ? Or do you carry it in the dehydrated format ?
 

hunsta

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2015
Having read most of the replies, this was a question I have asked several past pilgrims, with as many different replies as have been here. I however have not seen anyone comment about taking a water filtration system. There are a couple of very light ones that would add very little weight to ones pack. As I hike a bit I have a Sawyer Squeeze filter that weighs about 200g with the large ltr bag. I have always filtered any water that I drink in the field whether it says its potable or not.
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
Having read most of the replies, this was a question I have asked several past pilgrims, with as many different replies as have been here. I however have not seen anyone comment about taking a water filtration system. There are a couple of very light ones that would add very little weight to ones pack. As I hike a bit I have a Sawyer Squeeze filter that weighs about 200g with the large ltr bag. I have always filtered any water that I drink in the field whether it says its potable or not.
In the Australian bush, I would carry a filter and purification tablets. I also carry purification tablets when travelling overseas, including on the Camino, but I have never felt the need to carry a filter as well.
 
Learn how to Get "Camino Ready " 2nd Edition. In English, Spanish, German and Korean
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
Having worked with two Municipal water providers for very close to 40 years, I pass the fountains by. Water in bottles is extremely inexpensive and I will err on the side of caution when it comes to what the water quality might be. It only takes one bad fountain to foul three to four days. This is not to say that the water in Spain is not safe, but I walked through many little villages and didn't see many water treatment facilities. It can also depend on where you are from and what the water regulations are back where you call home and also your digestive health.

I will stick with bottled personaly .
 

Scott Sweeney

Active Member
What drew my concern on my first Camino was while crossing the Pyrenees and starting down towards Roncesvalles. There is a fountain that almost everyone stops at, to fill up their water bottles and eat something. Now I had just passed by horses, sheep and their leavings, I know there is no public water line up that mountain side and people are drinking from a spring? Many thousands do enjoy the water in these fountains, I dont like the taste of the water and feel more In control of possible tummy issue with bottled water. I prefer caution.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
Additionally, tablets and drops as well as Products like Steripen DO provide instant purification by using UV to kill viruses and bacteria do nothing to address chemical toxicity (e.g. pesticides, dissolved /QUOTE]
Anyone have any experience with the Steropen? I had no problems on the CF with tap water but am planning some other treks where water may an issue. Tablets take 4 hours to kill Cryptosporidium, and filtration systems are bulkier and heavier. Anyone actually used the Steropen?

Karl
 
D

Deleted member 3000

Guest
Anyone actually used the Steropen?
Steripen. Yes. It is light, and it works. It was not really necessary; there are just too many secure water sources, but if I insisted on drinking out of random water supplies, I would use it.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
Camino Way Markers
Original Camino Way markers made in bronze. Two models, one from Castilla & Leon and the other from Galicia.
Holy Year Credential
Get the HOLY YEAR Camino Credential (Passport) here.

tominrm

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
In my case I had no problems with tap (treated) water but had a problem with fountain water. Nothing major but some grumbling stomach in two out of three tries. So in the environment where finding a washroom is not easy, I would not take chance. Carry a water bottle and fill with tap water to save some money. Buy one or two bottled water every time you pass a supermarket. Most store will sell you cool water for one euro per bottle -supermarkets sell un-cooled water a fraction of that. Carrying one day's supply of water is too heavy in the morning. I have a camelback but many times it was not enough to last all day.
 

kmrice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
Steripen. Yes. It is light, and it works. It was not really necessary; there are just too many secure water sources, but if I insisted on drinking out of random water supplies, I would use it.
Thanks. I agree it's not necessary on the Camino but we're thinking of doing the Annapurna Circuit where I think water will be more of a problem.

As always, thanks for your prompt and helpful advice.

Karl
 

Patch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
I never bothered with carrying any water at all - walked from Leon to Santiago in June. When I was thirsty enough i just stopped, very occasionally, at the many bars along the way and had a flat white with a glass of water. Also had a good drink before I set out in the morning.
 

camino-david

RIP 2020
Year of past OR future Camino
Caminos Frances (x4), Finisterre, Aragon, Via de la Plata, Portuguese 2011 -2015. Hospitalero 2015
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the drinking water purification method used in the mountains in Nepal, where any water is definitely sus. The golden rule is either water that you have SEEN being boiled for at least 5 minutes, or iodine purification tablets, or 2 drops of medical iodine to 1 litre of water. Iodine in drinking water is ok healthwise for up to a month or so.
Having said that, I have never been sick on a Camino, but have taken care from where I get drinking water - normally water taps at Albergues or bars. And I hate the thought of yet more plastic water bottles littering the Camino, or indeed anywhere else. It is not necessary and it is an unnecessary expense.
 
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).
Published on Amazon
Guide to the 16 main caminos with maps, pictures, hyperlinks and other information.

kmrice

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Santiago - Fisterra 2008
St. Jean Pied de Port - Santiago 2013
The golden rule is either water that you have SEEN being boiled for at least 5 minutes, or iodine purification tablets, or 2 drops of medical iodine to 1 litre of water
As far as I can tell, iodine tablets are not effective against Cryptosporidium, a major water problem, at least in the US. I'm don't know if medical iodine would be any better. Chlorine based products are effective but take 4 hours.

Boiling works but takes a long time, too.

So, I'm pretty interested in the Steripen if we do the Annapurna Circuit, in Nepal. Seems almost too good to be true. It weighs less than 4 ounces, with batteries, is very quick, and is supposed to be effective against all biological water borne hazards.

Karl
 

Patch

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
St Jean to Santiago and Porto to Santiago
How creepy is that, for someone to remember you have a thermoflask. Yep I carried a Thermos and a water bottle but never used them as either a bar turned up or very occasionally I used a water fountain. Should have thrown the Thermos away but I was just to tight :)
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
Taking all the above postings on board, here is the summary:

On the Camino Frances:
  1. Fountains are safe unless they have a sign nearby that says "no potable," "agua non potable," or a water tap symbol in a red circle with a diagonal line through it.
  2. Mountain springs ARE NOT safe potable water sources no matter how pure they look. They contain surface runoff with manure and pesticide residue in them. Yes, they are beautiful. But take nothing away but the photo, video and the memory.
  3. Public water sources at albergues and cafes can be assumed to be safe unless otherwise posted. Be careful in toilets at cafes as the toilet sink may NOT use potable water for handwashing purposes. A rainwater cistern may be the water source. This is especially the case if the toilet is located in an outbuilding or a separate structure.
  4. As a general rule, and except for public water systems that come from a water treatment plant and not a private well, Carrion de los Condes is generally the last assumed safe water source until you reach Leon. Generations of agriculture, farming and shallow private wells caused this problem.
  5. Moratinos obtains its potable water from a regional water treatment authority. Thus, water from the tap in the hostal, albergue, cafes, or most private homes that are CONNECTED to the public system, may be assumed to be potable.
BTW, When I left Carrion the first week of May this year, I carried three 1.5 liter water bottles I bought at the Dia supermercado in Carrion (2 in side mesh pockets and one lashed at the bottom of my pack) AND four .5 liter water bottles. By the time I arrived at a friend's home in Moratinos, 31 Km later, I was down to less than .5 liters in one small bottle. I did share water with other pilgrims who did not know this. To prevent them from using fountains in the agricultural area, I gave away water. It's what pilgrims do for other pilgrims. But, had I not given the water away, I would have drunk most of it.

Yes, water is heavy. But consider the alternative. The WORST thing that can happen to you on the Camino, at least IMHO, is to contract a serious gastrointestinal infection. Broken bones, blisters, sun burn, sprains, bed bug bites, and tendonitis are all painful and are inconvenient. Some injuries can even end your Camino.

But serious diarrhea is not only a headache to deal with in the middle of nowhere. No bathrooms, no pharmacies, no bus stop of taxi stand. Aside from the esthetic issues, you MUST consider that diarrhea causes serious dehydration. The dehydration can lead to heat stroke, organ impairment, organ failure, and eventual death. It is more serious than most people consider.

All you can do is be prepared. Read the forum. Carry more water than you think you will need over those stretches where it is better to be smart than brave. You can always give away or dump the unused potable water. But if you are in the middle of the Meseta and NEED it, you do have a problem with no ready solution.

I hope this helps.
 

DLJ

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2018
Having read most of the replies, this was a question I have asked several past pilgrims, with as many different replies as have been here. I however have not seen anyone comment about taking a water filtration system. There are a couple of very light ones that would add very little weight to ones pack. As I hike a bit I have a Sawyer Squeeze filter that weighs about 200g with the large ltr bag. I have always filtered any water that I drink in the field whether it says its potable or not.
I carry and use a steri-stick. I bought it at REI, but it is made in Germany. It is about the size of a Churchill cigar, operates a ultraviolet light from two small batteries. Purifies a liter of water in 45 seconds. On one of our day hikes here at home, we took a liter of water from runoff water crossing the trail, we used the steri-stick on it, then took it to be tested, it tested cleaner than the city's water. We have used it everywhere on the Caminos for all of our drinking water. One set of batteries reportedly will do 50 liters.
 

normandog

patti
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2014
Taking all the above postings on board, here is the summary:

On the Camino Frances:
  1. Fountains are safe unless they have a sign nearby that says "no potable," "agua non potable," or a water tap symbol in a red circle with a diagonal line through it.
  2. Mountain springs ARE NOT safe potable water sources no matter how pure they look. They contain surface runoff with manure and pesticide residue in them. Yes, they are beautiful. But take nothing away but the photo, video and the memory.
  3. Public water sources at albergues and cafes can be assumed to be safe unless otherwise posted. Be careful in toilets at cafes as the toilet sink may NOT use potable water for handwashing purposes. A rainwater cistern may be the water source. This is especially the case if the toilet is located in an outbuilding or a separate structure.
  4. As a general rule, and except for public water systems that come from a water treatment plant and not a private well, Carrion de los Condes is generally the last assumed safe water source until you reach Leon. Generations of agriculture, farming and shallow private wells caused this problem.
  5. Moratinos obtains its potable water from a regional water treatment authority. Thus, water from the tap in the hostal, albergue, cafes, or most private homes that are CONNECTED to the public system, may be assumed to be potable.
BTW, When I left Carrion the first week of May this year, I carried three 1.5 liter water bottles I bought at the Dia supermercado in Carrion (2 in side mesh pockets and one lashed at the bottom of my pack) AND four .5 liter water bottles. By the time I arrived at a friend's home in Moratinos, 31 Km later, I was down to less than .5 liters in one small bottle. I did share water with other pilgrims who did not know this. To prevent them from using fountains in the agricultural area, I gave away water. It's what pilgrims do for other pilgrims. But, had I not given the water away, I would have drunk most of it.

Yes, water is heavy. But consider the alternative. The WORST thing that can happen to you on the Camino, at least IMHO, is to contract a serious gastrointestinal infection. Broken bones, blisters, sun burn, sprains, bed bug bites, and tendonitis are all painful and are inconvenient. Some injuries can even end your Camino.

But serious diarrhea is not only a headache to deal with in the middle of nowhere. No bathrooms, no pharmacies, no bus stop of taxi stand. Aside from the esthetic issues, you MUST consider that diarrhea causes serious dehydration. The dehydration can lead to heat stroke, organ impairment, organ failure, and eventual death. It is more serious than most people consider.

All you can do is be prepared. Read the forum. Carry more water than you think you will need over those stretches where it is better to be smart than brave. You can always give away or dump the unused potable water. But if you are in the middle of the Meseta and NEED it, you do have a problem with no ready solution.

I hope this helps.
 
Original artwork based on your pilgrimage or other travel photos.
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

normandog

patti
Year of past OR future Camino
July 2014
I wonder if the water is safe for those with a strong immune system. I had to cut my camino short in July due to a face infection! I do have an auto-immune disorder... but did contract something in the first five days of my camino that did this to my face... oh so painful... did get morphine and antibiotics at the hospital. I will never really know what it was..it was in my mouth, my gums, my cheeks, and my eye. in hindsight...knowing my compromised immune system, I would probably have done bottled water. That being said, laying low and having the lovely people of spain take care of me was so very special. I have not been tucked into bed for a number of years!!
 

Attachments

  • IMG_1599.JPG
    IMG_1599.JPG
    1.9 MB · Views: 6

marbuck

Active Member
Year of past OR future Camino
Condom to Pamplona April 2016.
Le Puy to Condom France - April-May 2015.
Roncesvalles to Santiago April - May 2014
Finisterre to Muxia May 2014
DSC03716 - resized.jpg

We are from Australia and never bought a bottle of water in Spain unless it was at a restaurant to have with a meal. We bought 2 X 600 ml empty plastic water bottles from Australia (they are stronger than the EU ones) and filled them up whenever we could, and never got sick. We re-used these bottles for the entire Camino.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
I wonder if the water is safe for those with a strong immune system. I had to cut my camino short in July due to a face infection! I do have an auto-immune disorder... but did contract something in the first five days of my camino that did this to my face... oh so painful... did get morphine and antibiotics at the hospital. I will never really know what it was..it was in my mouth, my gums, my cheeks, and my eye. in hindsight...knowing my compromised immune system, I would probably have done bottled water. That being said, laying low and having the lovely people of spain take care of me was so very special. I have not been tucked into bed for a number of years!!

For what it is worth, bottled water is readily available along, at least the entirety of the Camino Frances. For persons with chronic illnesses or impaired immune systems, you CAN plan ahead then just relax and enjoy your Camino.

All tiendas (small village general stores), cafes and restaurants sell bottled water. I have a chronic disease and need to avoid getting any GI diseases. So, I use mostly bottled water. If I have a choice, I go with bottled water. If not, I am scrupulous about the source.

For a real emergency, I carry a Sawyer, bottle-mountable water filter that will filter any water I find into drinking water if need be. My entire "emergency potable water treatment kit" weighs 4 ounces (@ 113 grams), including filter, tubing, spare bottle fittings for various bottle threads, and a half-liter, collapsible water bladder. It resides in a ziploc bag in my rucksack. I have not needed it yet. But it will come with me on every Camino. Remember, you can live three weeks without food, three days without water, and three minutes without air. One is NEVER that far from potable water on any Camino. But this is part of my "insurance policy."

See here: http://www.rei.com/product/866577/sawyer-mini-water-filter

Also, bottled water is ridiculously cheap along the Camino. I common bought 1.5 liter bottles for less than one euro. As long as you stay away from the major name brands: Vittel, Perrier, Pellegrino, Volvic, Spa, Evian, etc. the prices will be very low.

In fact, when I got to large towns or cities with supermercados as opposed to tiny tiendas, I would buy the three-liter "jug" with a handle if I was staying more than overnight. They commonly cost less than 2 Euros. As needed, I decanted from this huge jug into 1.5 or .5 liter reusable bottles. Or, you could share with your fellow pilgrims.

In the worst case, you end up with a brand not of your preference, or a size larger than you planned. But, purified or mineral water is purified or mineral water...period. Even if is with "con gas" (bubbles) as opposed to sin gas (flat), you can deal with that by shaking the bottle and cracking the cap to expel the gas. Repeat as needed.;)

If the bottle you bought is larger than you prefer, decant it into your multiple smaller (.5 liter) bottles. Alternately, share the contents of a large bottle of water with others. Or, do what I did...

Schlep it along with you until you find a good use for it. It is far better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it.

Do NOT forget to recycle the empties!

I hope this helps.
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Year of past OR future Camino
2022
View attachment 13346

We are from Australia and never bought a bottle of water in Spain unless it was at a restaurant to have with a meal. We bought 2 X 600 ml empty plastic water bottles from Australia (they are stronger than the EU ones) and filled them up whenever we could, and never got sick. We re-used these bottles for the entire Camino.

Here, in the States, many bottled water producers are redesigning their bottles to use less plastic resin, reducing the "weight" of the bottle while holding the same volume. This is good for the environment but less good for those who would reuse the empties as canteens. The bottles are flimsy. When full they are fine. But when empty, they are very crushable.

In Europe, I commonly found the name brands of bottled water using more resin, with concomitantly thicker bottles. It must be a quality or perception thing. My non-scientific observations both in France and Spain were that the off-brand bottled water companies appeared to be using less plastic resin, yielding thinner and less reusable plastic bottles. Again, good for the environment, but less so for pilgrims.

The other noticeable difference was that the throat and bottleneck / top of all European bottles appears to be a couple of millimeters wider than the US neck size. So, filter or tube fittings made for US bottles would be too small for European bottles. Conversely, European tube systems and filters would be too large in diameter for US bottles.

My solution is to use four Vittel bottles that I buy as soon as I can after leaving the airport. I affix my Nite-Ize "Drink-n-Clips" to each of the four bottles so they can be hung from my pack harness, sternum strap or belt. These four bottles usually last the entire month or more on the Camino Frances. My emergency filter system has a Euro adapter.

I hope this helps.
 

Did not find what you were looking for? Search here

Popular Resources

“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf ivar
  • Featured
“All” Albergues on the Camino Frances in one pdf
4.95 star(s) 100 ratings
Downloads
15,117
Updated
A selection of favorite albergues on the Camino Francés Ton van Tilburg
Favorite Albergues along the Camino Frances
4.83 star(s) 35 ratings
Downloads
7,778
Updated
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances ivar
Profile maps of all 34 stages of the Camino Frances
4.88 star(s) 24 ratings
Downloads
7,600
Updated

Forum Rules

Forum Rules

Camino Updates on YouTube

Camino Conversations

Most downloaded Resources

Top