Travel tip #20: Don't throw paper in Guatemala toilets

Don't throw toilet paper in Guatemalan toilets

Don't throw toilet paper, or anything else, into Guatemalan toilets. The plumbing systems in Guatemala aren't held to specific construction standards, which means their pipes are often narrower compared to plumbing systems in the west. Toilet paper, female hygiene products, condoms or other trash should be disposed of in trash bins -- otherwise you run a high risk of stopping the toilet. Stopping a toilet, especially in shared bathroom situations, can put a real damper on your and other people's day.

It can be hard to override habits like throwing toilet paper into the toilet. You're likely to see signs (some rather creative) explaining not to put trash in toilets at just about every hostel you visit, but still many people will make the mistake. It's best to know ahead of time that there are no toilets in Guatemala built to flush trash or other debris, even in higher-end hotels.

More travel tips

The Livingston to Río Dulce water taxi runs at 9:30 AM and 2:30 PM and costs Q125 ($16.65).

The Litegua bus from Río Dulce to Guatemala City takes about six and a half hours and costs Q80 (

You can often save money on Guatemala travel by choosing local hotels over foreign owned hostels.

No tap water in Guatemala should be considered potable. Municipal water supplies

Haggling over prices in Guatemala is normal.

Settle prices with taxis, tuk-tuks, motorcycles and boats before getting in (or onboard).

The chicken bus from Xela to Zunil costs Q4.95 ($0.66) and takes about forty min

Los Siete Altares (the Seven Alters) is a popular attraction in Livingston, Izabal.