Photo from "A Walk of Faith to the Cartago Basilica"
Photo from “A Walk of Faith to the Cartago Basilica

(qCOSTARICA) Is the holy water from the Basílica de los Ángeles safe to drink? Yes, says the Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AyA) – the national water utility – assuring that the liquid coming out of the tubes in the fountain is drinkable.

The utility says tests from samples taken on Thursday from five tubes reveals the water is safe for drinking.

“The water is of very good quality; it is potable. People can drink it with confidence. We’ve already taken three samples,” said Darner Mora, head of the AyA national water laboratory.

The water flows from a spring located north of the Basilica. At the Basillica, visitors often take the opportunity to drink the blessed water, even fill a container or two to take home.

According to the pastor of the Basilica, Francisco Arias, the fountain dates back to colonial times and have never shown signs of going dry.

However, last year the fountain experienced a drop in the flow due to a scarcity of rain, causing worry among the faithful.

To ensure a safe pilgrimage, controls start today, when some 261 traffic officials (Transitos), begin their shift at 2:00pm diverting traffic flow between San Pedro and Cartago, allowing “romeros” a lane of their own.

On Saturday, starting at 10:00am, a number of road closures along the route will be in effect.

In 2012, about two million people visited the Basilica on August 1 and 2. A study that year by the Universidad de Costa Rica (UCR) estimated that some 800,000 people make the pilgrimage every year.