Fast Fred Travels - Cost of Living in Panajachel Guatemala

Fast Fred Travels - Budget Travel Tips for Guatemala
Tips for Planning Your International Trip and Staying on Budget

I am Fast Fred Ruddock a wandering guide enjoying endless summers

Lake Atitlan Water Quality Issues

What You Should Know About Lake Atitlan Water Quality and Related Issues

Listen to the video. public tap water is relatively safe with regards to arsenic but beware of private wells. Water quality at Lake Atitlan and what you need to know. While many expats make a big deal about fecal matter and microbes in the lake as well as the tap water this is a more pressing concern. Arsenic present in both are a greater long-term concern. The more vocalized concerns about microbes and fecal matter can be addressed with proper hygiene and boiling water for drinking and cooking.

However you cannot remove the arsenic from the water. This it is wise to consider buying purified water for ingestion. Those of you that have been following me any length of time know I avoid bottled water and the plastic pollution it creates. For complete disclosure I have been boiling water or making coffee and tea during most of my time at Panajachel. I only learned recently from a friend about the arsenic present in the water. I hope this video and disclosure will make other aware of the heavy metal in the water supply. The arsenic is from the natural geologic source and related to the many nearby volcanoes.

While the low level of arsenic in the drinking water and fish from the lake are unlikely to cause acute poisoning it is likely impacting cancer rates in the area. You can read the study below for more regarding the cancer link. The studies are not all doom and gloom as it includes steps you can take to protect your health. However with a lack of certified labels on locally bottled water it is questionable as to its safety especially in regards to arsenic levels.

I am told one of the bottlers will entertain you and show the well and some test results they have. The big question no matter wherever you are on the lake is water is your water source at your apartment or hotel? For example many private wells in Panajachel have very high arsenic levels. The biological concerns can be easily dealt with as simply as boiling water before ingestion. Sadly some studies and many expats and tourists get hung up on microbes and miss the bigger story.

Nearly all tap water in Latin America should be boiled before ingestion. However most is not tainted with arsenic. Okay so this is the last livestream of this visit. I do plan to revisit Guatemala in the future at there are many cultural sites and ruins in the north I have yet to see. Stay tuned for more. Next week I may or may not be able to livestream as I will be on the move. Expect at least shorts if I am not able to provide the weekly livestream on January 11, 2023.


I primarily travel solo but you don't have to to enjoy this channel. Working as a river guide during summers in North America I don't earn a lot of money and live close to the federal poverty level. In spite of this I live a rich life on a frugal budget. If you would like to learn more about traveling in Latin America or maybe frugal travel tips visit https://fastfreds.com/travel and if you would like to come rafting with me check out https://fastfreds.com/raft for details.