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

Haggling over prices in Guatemala is normal.

Guatemala is a well known coffee exporter, and yet there are many local eateries and restaurants

Hot showers in Guatemala mostly rely on electric shower heads.

People in Guatemala carry machetes.

Lychee fruits are tasty, reasonably high in vitamin C and fairly cheap.

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

The Livingston to Puerto Barrios water taxi (colectivo) leaves the Livingston main dock

Cashew apples are considered a delicacy in Guatemala.