They warn you before you travel to South America not to drink the water or brush your teeth with it or open your mouth in the shower, so we didn’t. All the hotels on the Ecuadorian mainland and Galapagos provided guests with bottled water. We were diligent in refilling our own bottles every day. We even drank from them at most restaurants, just to save the cost of new ones and to make sure we were not getting tap water.
Also, we learned that except for the most recent plumbing built into the fanciest of buildings, no one is allowed to put toilet paper into the toilet. It is placed in small trash cans next to the toilets, which are emptied daily by hotel maids. It is just unpleasant, unsanitary, and gross.
Even with all our precautions and self-imposed dining rules, something made its way into our digestive tracts, Rob to a lesser extent and I to a greater one. He had a short bout of distress, while the worst of mine lasted about 6 days, and then I was moderately uncomfortable for another week or so. We think the likely culprit for us both was probably a tap-water infused Batido (fruit smoothie) we had somewhere along the way – They were so delicious, I hate to think of missing them, but it bears consideration.)
I am pretty sure my more severe exposure to the microscopic wildlife of the Galapagos came when I accidentally gulped (yep, a big one) some sea water when first jumping into the water for snorkeling. It was colder than I expected and I gasped just as I was popping my head up the first time.
If you’re wondering, it tasted a little saltier than the Gulf of Mexico usually does. I guess you could say I’m a sea water connoisseur now, since I’ve tasted it in both the northern and southern hemispheres.