Best Caribbean Drinking Water Top 10 List…Sort of
If any kind of water is of any even remote concern when selecting a Caribbean travel destination, then said water is most likely the kind you’ll find at the beach. Gin-clear seas are a principal allure across our islands, and for very good reason. Caribbean tap water, however, is hardly thought of at all. Should it be? Should the quality of Caribbean drinking water impact your choice of island destination?
Ivy League Measurement
As a proud and decidedly biased West Indian, my quick answer is no. My Caribbean may not be Finland, Iceland, Norway, the Netherlands, Switzerland, or the UK. All six of those countries scored a perfect 100 on Yale University’s 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI) of the Best Water Quality.
At the same time, though, I’ve personally consumed tap water everywhere I’ve roamed in the Caribbean. (Yes, even Haiti!)
To date, no problems.
I do understand, though, that I am not the typical Caribbean traveler.
The Problem with Me
For one thing, I am a bit more adventurous than most. For another, said overly zealous adventurousness tends to land me in spots where tap water (or river water) is the only option.
Oh, and I’m very anti-plastic.
I mean, I’ll drink a Dasani if I absolutely have to. (Perhaps I shouldn’t!) I’d much rather, though, that plastic bottled water didn’t exist, particularly in our fragile island ecosystems.
All of which brings us back to the quality of Caribbean drinking water. Maybe you, like me, travel with a re-fillable water bottle or awesome tumbler like this one. Where can you find the safest drinking water in our islands?
For answers, me mined the 2022 EPI list and pulled out the top 10 destinations for the best Caribbean drinking water. This list, though, like all lists, carries a few caveats…
Flawed Caribbean Drinking Water Science
First of all, U.S. territories (i.e.: Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands) aren’t listed separately. I assume they’re included under the broad USA ranking, which at #26 surpasses all Caribbean destinations. Not sure how that would shake out in an apples-to-apples Caribbean destination comparison, but I think it’s worth noting either way.
Also seemingly lumped in with their former colonial masters are French Caribbean destinations like Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barts, and Saint Martin. Aruba, Bonaire, Curacao, Saba, Statia, and Sint Maarten are also not ranked separately. Neither is Cayman, St Kitts and Nevis, the Turks and Caicos, nor the British Virgin Islands.
So yeah, this list is more than a little problematic for our discussion. Here’s hoping the Yalies can provide us with a study that’s a little less rooted in old colonial norms in the near future. For now, though, here’s the top 10 list of destinations for the best Caribbean drinking water with their overall EPI rank in parenthesis…
Top 10 Destinations List for the Best Caribbean Drinking Water
- Costa Rica (42)
- Colombia (63)
- The Bahamas (68)
- Trinidad and Tobago (71)
- Mexico (73)
- Barbados (78)
- Antigua and Barbuda (82)
- Cuba (84)
- Jamaica (86)
- Dominica (90)
Dominica surprises me at #90 overall, what with the island’s 365 pristine rivers. So too does Mexico’s relative high ranking, which definitely flies in the face of conventional “wisdom.”
(Oh, and in case you were wondering, Haiti ranks #153, tied with the Solomon Islands.)
So yeah, this list sort of seems to confirm my bias, at least to me. What do you think?
Are you comfortable consuming Caribbean drinking water on your travels throughout the region..?