The most common health problem for travelers in Bolivia is “traveler’s diarrhea”, caused by nasty bacteria found in contaminated food and water. With tap water being unsafe to drink throughout most of the country, paying for bottled water in Bolivia is often the only viable alternative, the cost of which can quickly add up, not to mention be detrimental to the environment. Fortunately there is a convenient solution which negates the need for bottled water. Before heading off on our 2 year trip though Latin America, we invested in a SteriPEN. This was without doubt one of the best travel purchases we made, saving us both time and money, not to mention the planet from harmful non-biodegradable products.

About SteriPEN

Harnessing the power of ultraviolet light to make water safe to drink, the SteriPEN is proven to be safe and effective, eliminating over 99.9% of bacteria, viruses and protozoa that cause water-borne illness. Having earned the Water Quality Association’s Gold Seal certifying its effectiveness, the pen is a great choice for those seeking an alternative to time consuming boiling, bad tasting purification tablets and heavy portable filters. Featuring a user-friendly OLED display, clearly indicating treatment and battery status, as well as UV lamps that last for up to 8000 treatments, the SteriPEN is one of the most advanced UV water purifiers on the market. Easy to use, all you have to do to make water safe to drink is turn on the SteriPEN, wait for the LED light to indicate when its ready to purify, hold the wand part in 1 liter or less of clear water and slowly stir until indicator light turns green (approx. 90 seconds). For travelers who are planning on backpacking in the great outdoors, there is also a filter option which you can buy separately to filter out larger particulates (dirt, leaves, etc.).

safe to drink water in bolivia steripen


  • Compact handheld UV water purifier designed specifically for travelers
  • Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.9 x 1.3 inches ; 3.2 ounces
  • Reusable for up to 8,000 liters
  • Destroys more than 99.9 percent of harmful microorganisms
  • Safe and effective without altering taste, pH, or other properties of water
  • Chemical-free
  • Water sensor doubles as an LED flashlight
  • Comes with two disposable CR123 batteries and a neoprene case with belt loop

Bolivian Life Quick Tip:

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Fast, light and eco-friendly with at a great price of only $63 US, SteriPEN provides the ultimate protection from water-borne illnesses. It’s an excellent product that allowed both of us to drink water safely in Bolivia without getting sick. Lightweight and compact, the SteriPEN fit with ease into our 30L backpacks. It comes in a little nylon pouch with a Velcro fastener loop which is great for those wanting to clip it onto a belt or backpack. I also like that the SteriPEN doesn’t change the taste of the water, unlike iodine/chlorine tablets.  It works like magic, performs flawlessly, saves us money and lowers our eco-footprint when traveling long-term. The one downside I can think about the SteriPEN is that it can only handle one liter at a time. It works great for 2 people, however for a larger group or family you might like to look into a gravity filter/device. I would also recommend packing a wide-mouth water bottle to make stirring the SteriPEN easier.

Would I Recommend It?

Water-born illnesses are no joke and can ruin your trip if you become infected. Allowing travelers to drink water safely and with ease, this innovative piece of technology is well worth the investment for piece of mind and healthy travels. Worth every penny, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend the SteriPEN to all travelers heading to Bolivia. Have you used the SteriPEN while traveling? Share your experience in the comments below: