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water on the Camino

Hi there, Folks....

Greetings to all....
I would like to ask you about drinking the water along the trail...I am used to walking in Nepal where the water is lethal...Do you purify your water on the Camino before you drink it?

Go Well,

WS
 
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peregrina2000

Moderator
Staff member
Hi, WS,

I've never had a problem drinking tap water or water from a fountain (so long as it's not marked "no potable") and I've walked a number of different caminos. My 25 year old son walked the Camino Frances a few years ago, though, and several people in his group who drank out of a fountain near Belorado all got sick, while those who hadn't drunk out of the fountain were fine.

Based on what annie and others have said about the Via de la Plata, purification isn't the problem, it's the long intervals without water that's the problem. I once spoke with a Brazilian man who walked the Via de la Plata in mid summer (foolish, some would say) and he carried one of those big 5 liter plastic jugs with him over the long stretches.
Laurie
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
wayfaring stranger said:
purification isn't the problem, it's the long intervals without water that's the problem.

Well yes and no Laurie. Yes, the long intervals between water sources is the main problem. We carried 2L camel, a back up bottle and usually juice as well (each) and filled up where ever we could - bars are great as they will fill up your camel with cold water which stays cold and refreshing in the camel - bliss.

But we still ran out a couple of times, once heading into Fuente and infamously when we got lost (following damn Alison Raju guide) outside Aldanueva del Camino. Given this is a 42km section its a long dry day, while you can fill up with water at the visitors centre in Cáparra there's no potable water elsewhere on the trip and using the infeed from the cow trough isn't a good idea. We've drunk dodgy water in Central America, Asia and other parts of Spain without problems but not in this instance!

Stick to the beer, it's great for hydration at the end of the day :wink:
 

SandraF

New Member
We walked the Camino April/ May 2012 and drank from any potable water we found on the way (fountains included. We never had any problems with the water.
 
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ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
I always carry water bought in bottles, on the Via the la Plata at least 3 l every day, on other caminos 1,5l. I never drink tap water in Spain. In France, if I am served water at the table in a gite, I drink a little, but not much. I have never been sick, but fellow pilgrims that has been drinking the tapwater, have had stomachproblems. It must be a reason why you are served bottlewater at Spanish bars/restaurants to your menu del dia and not water in a mug. I have asked Spanish people on the camino whether they drink tap water, and most people say no.
To get really stomachproblems on the camino is really bad. Therefore I always buy bottlewater and save money on other cost instead.
Randi
 

ranthr

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
C Frances 2005, 2007
Le Puy en Velay -SdC 2009
Via de la Plata 2011
gr 653 from Oloron to Puente la Reina 2012
Gr65 from le Puy to Figeac 2013
Irun to Santander 2013
Porto to SdC 2014
Astorga to SdC 2015
By the way, I guess it is more expensive to bring things to purify the water from home than to buy 1,5 l water for 0.50 euro in a shop.
Randi
 

dougfitz

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Spain: Mar 2010, Apr 2014, May/Jun 2016. Norway/Sweden: 2012, 2018. Other: 2011, 2019. CP (tbc)
ranthr said:
By the way, I guess it is more expensive to bring things to purify the water from home than to buy 1,5 l water for 0.50 euro in a shop.
Randi
I don't know that it would necessarily be more expensive. In Australia, a pack of 50 Aquatabs is about $13, or about 25c a litre. Bottled water is much more expensive than that.

I suspect the issue is more about the inconvenience of treating your own water. If you choose that option, the treatment takes about 30 minutes, during which time it is still risky to use the water. Some treatments also leave an unpleasant after taste.

Remember that in general, Spain is well supplied with potable water. I cannot recall a day when I couldn't find a potable source. What was more an issue was whether I was carrying enough to reach it. There were a few occasions when fonts were dry. I was walking early in the year, and it may well have been that these have been turned off over winter, eg to protect against freezing pipes or the like.

Regards,
 

alipilgrim

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Listed in my signature
On the VdP (I walked Seville > Salamanca) it was easy to find 1.5L of bottled water for under 30c, just look in the larger grocery stores which are in most villages. Bottled water is NOT expensive in Spain and worth not worrying over catching a stomach bug.
 

Espero

Member
Past OR future Camino
April 2014
I just want to bump this thread to the top and ask what is the longest stretch on the VDLP where there will be no sources for potable water from either taps, fountains, bars, or buying in a tienda? As an additional question to VDLP veterans, what was the maximum and minimum water you carried at the start of any one stage of your VDLP walk?
 
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t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
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)

DrinknClip.jpg

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, 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)

ZPack Chest Pack.jpg

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 hope this helps someone.
 
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
It depends on when you walk, is my answer.
In spring, I had no problems finding or carrying enough water.
When I tried walking in August, I (literally) had emergency situations.
The weight of the water necessary to carry in such heat, and the length of the stages, made it impossible for me (I"m not saying for everyone, but for me) to continue. Many fountains were bone dry - even though listed in the guides.

When I walked this past spring, water was not a problem. The fountain and faucet water was good. I drank it and never bought water.
But as someone mentioned, bottled water is available in the villages.
 

LTfit

Veteran Member
Water was a major concern for me as I walked in July. Whereas 2, 750 ml bottles were sufficient on the Francés (refilled in albergue/cafe or at fountains) I took a 2L platypus AND 2, 750 ml bottles on the VdlP. Rarely if ever was there a functioning fountain and on many stages no cafe between stages. Although I did not experience any serious consequences this was in fact not enough. In the 3 weeks I walked from Sevilla-Zamora the colour of my urine (sorry folks) was dark yellow to orange and I did not have to pee even once while walking - clear signs of dehydration. At the end of each stage I rehydrated with more water and a clara con limón or two.

This past summer I walked again in July, this time finishing the VdlP/Sanabrés from Zamora-SdC. Once again 2, 750 ml bottles were sufficient.

So as Annie says, it really depends when you plan to walk and in addition which section of the VdlP you are going to cover.
 

alansykes

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Except the Francés
I just want to bump this thread to the top and ask what is the longest stretch on the VDLP where there will be no sources for potable water from either taps, fountains, bars, or buying in a tienda? As an additional question to VDLP veterans, what was the maximum and minimum water you carried at the start of any one stage of your VDLP walk?

When I walked starting in Andalucia in late October I was getting through up to 8 litres a day as the temperatures were very still very high (carrying a 2 litre bottle and filling it at every opportunity). Even when it cooled down a bit later on I was finding I needed 3 litres. I got worryingly low a few times, but the only time I ran dry was in the stage from Casar de Cáceres to Grimaldo, and that was mainly because I'd by-passed Cañaveral, where I would have been able to fill up my bottle. On the 40+km stretch to Aldeanueva del Camino, I filled up in the streams north of Cáparra (and at the visitor centre at the arch).

In 1000 km, the only fountain I found that was dry (twice) was in Otero de Sanabria. There was the sinister fascist emblem of the falange carved onto the fountain at Calzada de Valdunciel, but the water from it was cool and delicious. One of the nicer sights of the camino is a couple of hours north of Guillena, where a kind landowner has put a sign up saying "water" in 5 languages, pointing to a little water pump in a field just off the path - it was on one of my 8 litre days, so most welcome indeed.

I may have been lucky or just have a cast iron stomach, but I found the fountain water usually excellent (I hate chlorinated town tap water, and am fortunate to have my own spring at home), even the ones in Galicia marked non potable.
 
Past OR future Camino
cycled from Pamplona Sep 2015;Frances, walked from St Jean May/June 2017. Plans to walk Porto 2020
I just want to bump this thread to the top and ask what is the longest stretch on the VDLP where there will be no sources for potable water from either taps, fountains, bars, or buying in a tienda? As an additional question to VDLP veterans, what was the maximum and minimum water you carried at the start of any one stage of your VDLP walk?
From my limited experience be prepared for regular 20km stages. So the suggestion is to carry at least 1 lt for every 10 km - but add an extra 500ml if the temperature is going to be over 30-33 C (86-90 F). Water based foods - bananas or oranges or watermelon (if in season) can also help with the dehydration - but that's just a personal choice!
 
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