It’s about the bathrooms, folks. If you are going to explore off the beaten-tourist-path in Mexico (and I recommend you do), you will need to know a few things about bathrooms here. They aren’t scary (mostly)! They are just bathrooms, like anywhere else. However, as a traveler, here are some things no one will think to tell you in advance.
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First, Don’t Flush The Toilet Paper
First, watch for signs that indicate that toilet paper should be thrown in the trash and not into the toilet. It’s really common to see these signs in public and I occasionally forget. Believe me, I feel lucky I haven’t been the cause of a toilet paper clog already.
Second, Carry Pesos (which is a good general rule)
Second, sometimes it costs a few pesos to use the bathroom (5 per person usually). There will be an attendant outside who will collect the money and will give you toilet paper to use. It’s usually a decent amount, so don’t worry too much about not having enough and if you feel it isn’t, you can pay additional pesos for more.
There are multiple countries where bathrooms cost a little bit of money in order to use. I remember carrying around francs in France, just in case we needed to use the bathroom.
Third, Notice if there is TP in the stall
Third, sometimes, there will not be toilet paper in the individual stalls in public restrooms. This has happened to me multiple times, hence why I carry toilet paper in my purse. I’m getting better at remembering to look around the main bathroom for the giant toilet paper dispenser before heading into the stall. It’s even better if the stalls don’t have toilet paper roll holders at all because it’s an easy reminder to GO GET TP before proceeding.
Fourth, carry hand sanitizer
I also carry hand sanitizer because I’ve run across one bathroom that didn’t have a working sink. Of course, carrying hand sanitizer is a good rule of travel anyway. Just in case. It’s especially important if you are traveling with children.
Bathrooms here are just like everywhere…
Also just like in the US, bathrooms will be in varying conditions. Most I’ve come across are clean, even if old. Only one I deemed unusable because it was a very dark bathroom, with toilets that didn’t flush, and wet (wet exactly how you imagined) toilet seats. BUT! We were close to the visitor center at that particular attraction. We waited to use their bathroom, which was brand new, clean, and everything you can ever want in a public bathroom.
The above items are things people didn’t mention to me, I had to learn on my own. Once a person has been in Mexico awhile, I think they forget all those little differences. In fact, I only think about the differences of public bathrooms in Mexico versus the US when I’m actually inside one. I’ve wanted to write about what to expect for those who are planning to do something less American touristy next time they visit Mexico.
Go forth, travel, and don’t fear the toilets!