Water Lago Atitlan Guatemala

How is the drinking water on Lago Atitlan Guatemala?

"Please tell me where the water testing laboratory is located?
You tell me the water is good for drinking,
then prove it, please test it."

- Andy Lee Graham

Test the WAter

Water is expensive for Guatemalan people to buy, but purified bottled water is cheap for a foreigner. Many questionable organizations offer solutions, and want donations. Note, there is no water crisis, it is a problem  Please find on this website the laboratory they use to test the water, and we at MyLagoAtitlan.com will send a a reporter to the testing lab.  Ecofiltro.org

Please make all organizations prove they tested the water, water needs to be tested to the lab quickly, within 48 hours of taking the sample, or the water will self-purify. Purdue.edu University

Lago Atitlan Drinking Water

There are thousands of water purification projects on the planet. As foreigners we trust our home country to protect us from bad water, you are in a foreign country, there is nobody to protect you in Guatemala or on Lago Atitlan. You need to make the decision on whether to trust a water company yourself, or not, and there are plenty of problems with water on Lago Atitlan, many people find they have Giardia Lambia.  Wikii Giardia Lamblia

The chance of you dying from water problems is almost nil, but you can become sick, diarrhea and other problems. If you are only living on Lago Atitlan for 7-14 days, and have the day you are sick, this is too much.


1. Make sure all the plates, dishes, glasses in restaurant are 100 percent dry. The restaurants on Lago Atitlan are not using purified water to clean dishes, generally 100 percent dry dishes are safe. This is one reason to eat foods that are in plastic bags, and served directly to you from the food vendor.

2. Eat only food that is served on plastic plates, and plastic glasses.

3. Eat only food that you prepare yourself, with dishes you wash, dry, and hang in dry location, the best solution is to hang them on a line in the sun.

4. Accept that you are going to have water borne problems, and will need to take medicines.

Purified Water versus Water Projects
The cost of a five gallon bottle of water is 15 Q, or about two U.S. Dollars. There is 18.92 liters in five gallons of water. The standard recommendation is we drink three liters of water per day, therefor a five gallon bottle will last you six days.

15 Q /6 = 2.5 Quetzales per day

2.5 Quetzale is. .32 cents USA.

This is easily affordable by a foreigner living on the lake, therefore there is no need to drink the water from filtered water systems. Unfortunately, in many hotels to save money, they have started using the five gallon water systems above. When you encounter that, please ask your landlord to get you a bottle for you room, and make sure to sanitize the dispenser weekly.

Cheaper Water from the Make Water for Donations Projects
If you want to help Lago Atitlan to have cheaper water, two things need to happen.

1. Testing of all the water purification systems.
- Please go to the laboratories, the report in the comments below.

2. Proving that people are cleaning water dispensers, and explain sanitary ways of cleaning these water dispensers.

List of Water Laboratories on Lake Atitlan?
If you know of water testing laboratory on Lago Atitlan, please submit in the comments below, complete with name, directions, and telephone numbers, and why you know they test water.

Doctors or Pharmacies?
Note: the cure is going to cost between 3 and 20 USD dollars, but if you know more about the solution to water caused problem, please submit in comments.

List of Questions about water for Lago Atitlan.
1. Cost per five gallons?
2. Cost per liter?
3. Which companies supply purified water for Lago Atitlan?
4. How do you arrange for five gallon bottles of water to be delivered to you home?
5. Which laboratories test water?
6. Who is selling water filters, and other devices that have water tested by the laboratories?
7. What are the local problems with water?
8. Are the NGO's, Volunteer Organizations, and ones accepting donations testing the water.

EPA List of Drinking Water Contaminants

Please write in the comments the Pros and cons of drinking water in Lago Atitlan?

Drinking Water Defined: Drinking water or potable water is water pure enough to be consumed or used with low risk of immediate or long term harm. In most developed countries, the water supplied to households, commerce and industry is all of drinking water standard, even though only a very small proportion is actually consumed or used in food preparation. Typical uses include washing or landscape irrigation.

Over large parts of the world, humans have inadequate access to potable water and use sources contaminated with disease vectors, pathogens or unacceptable levels of toxins or suspended solids. Such water is not wholesome, and drinking or using such water in food preparation leads to widespread acute and chronic illnesses and is a major cause of death and misery in many countries. Reduction of waterborne diseases is a major public health goal in developing countries.
Water has always been an important and life-sustaining drink to humans and is essential to the survival of all organisms. Excluding fat, water composes approximately 70% of the human body by mass. It is a crucial component of metabolic processes and serves as a solvent for many bodily solutes. The United States Environmental Protection Agency in risk assessment calculations assumes that the average American adult ingests 2.0 liters per day. Drinking water of a variety of qualities is bottled. Bottled water is sold for public consumption throughout the world.

View Panajachel Guatemala Utilitiy Companies in a larger map

Contact Page for Lago Atitlan, Water Testing

Autoridad para el Manejo Sustentable de la Cuenca del Lago de Atitlán
y Su Entorno
Calle del Frutal 01-79 zona 2,
Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala C.A.

Photos Water Lago Atitlan Guatemala

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Comments 4


AMSCLAE is responsible for water testing in the Lake Atitlan region. They have an office on Calle del Frutal in Panajachel.

Phil J

So which water systems in Panajachel are tested and safe? And who is deciding which systems to test. And where can you see the results of the tests. How often is the water tested. What if any tests are run on the municipal water that no one wants to drink?
Is the testing facility just for people who walk through the door and say, please test this water from my home well so I will know if it is safe?
How many different municipal water systems are there in Panajachel? I have to be extremely careful of the water I drink and also the dishes I eat off of. My system does not and will not tolerate water borne parasites. I have no naturally developed immunity against them. So I consequently sometimes irritate or offend the food venders/restaurants when I try to explain that I have to have sanitary food. This is especially a problem since I do not speak Spanish.


There are no safe water systems in Guatemala. Municipal water can, and probably will make you sick, if you drink it. In my compound, we use both well water and municipal water.

AMSCLAE is tasked on the Federal governmental level, with cleaning, and maintaining Lake Atitlan. Does it do a good job? No, it doesnt. Pollution levels are quite high in the lake because all of the water treatment centers were destroyed in Hurricane Mitch in 2005. Panajachels water treatment system will come on line in the next year or so, after extensive investment by the Dutch government.

I fully understand your concerns as an immuno-compromised person. I also fall into that category, as I have Hashimotos disease. Do I get sick from time to time? Certainly, but not often. I also eat far more than my share of street food, and from lower end restaurants. I do sterilize my vegetables for home, if Im going to eat them raw, and Im careful in my food handling. That said, Id say its a safe bet Im gonna get sick 2-3 times a year. Its no problem. I walk around the corner and up the street to the pharmacy, buy 4 pills, (usually), and Im usually fine the next day.

You cant really compare sanitary standards in other countries, with the United States. Hundreds of americans get ecoli every year. We rarely have a problem with it here, because lime juice is widely used, and is a natural neutralizer to ecoli. Speaking from personal experience, after being away from the United States for any period of time, I always became violently ill every time I re-entered the U.S., because of the water. You see diseases break out in countries like the U.S., because people in those countries are beginning to lose any sense of immunity to common pathogens.

Thats certainly one of the many reasons I prefer not to return.


Autoridad para el Manejo Sustentable de la Cuenca del Lago de Atitlán y Su Entorno Calle del Frutal 01-79 zona 2, Panajachel, Sololá, Guatemala C.A.

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