Inca Trail Toilets - What to Expect When You Are Bursting!
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Inca Trail Toilets – What to Expect When You Are Bursting!

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If you like your modern plumbing and your the sort of person that needs to be prepared for everything, finding out what the toilet situation is like on the Inca Trail is vital.

It is not a well documented topic and a few of our readers always wish to know the answer before they depart on their trek.

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Inca Trail Toilets

Toilet Paper

The first thing to note is that flushing toilet paper is not allowed anywhere in Peru, let alone on the Inca Trail. Instead of flushing, all used toilet paper is placed in a bin near or next to the toilet. It sounds strange to the Western mind, but in Peru this is just how it’s done.

This does of course mean that you need to prepare yourself for a fairly strong smell when entering a toilet in Peru! Most toilets along the trail will not have toilet paper provided. It’s therefore critical to bring your own!

Inca Trail toilet locations

There are toilet blocks located intermittently along the Inca Trail. The blocks are usually hidden from the trail. These toilet blocks are not frequent though and, if you can’t hold it, the only other option will be to go behind a bush. Most camp sites have some form of toilet facility.

Depending on the route you take, the toilet you use may be a part of a local house near the camp site. Your guide will usually stop for lunch near a toilet block. Bear in mind that many of the toilet blocks require a small fee to use – usually 1 sol.

So make sure you bring some change. There are often toilet attendants who will give you a napkin size piece of toilet paper to use – another reason to bring your own!

Inca Trail toilet quality

This is where the bad news begins. Inca Trail toilets are not the most hygienic, clean or private affairs. You’ll be lucky if your toilet has a lock. On the first day the toilets are usually fairly decent and clean. However, as you venture further along the trail the quality rapidly decreases.

By the second day you will be using floor toilets in which you squat over. The flushing mechanism often floods meaning that toilet waste is found on the floor of many Inca Trail toilets. Be sure to wear your hiking boots when going to the toilet.

There is often no light and you’ll want to make sure you bring a headlamp for those night time toilet visits. We have even seen toilet blocks with no bin or container in which to place used toilet paper. Piles of used toilet paper inevitably builds up in a pile in the corner of the toilet.

This does not make for a pleasant experience!

You will also be lucky to get a sink to wash your hands. Luckier still to get soap. Therefore it is highly recommended that you bring your own hand sanitizer. Most camp sites will have a tap where you can wash your hands.

Inca Trail toilets – Portable option

Personally, I believe the best option on the Inca Trail is to hire a tour company that provides a portable toilet all the way up. These are known as ‘toilet tents’.

Although not as common, this is probably one of the most important things I would recommend when deciding on what tour operator to use. You’ll probably have to book with a western operator and it may cost slightly more, but it’s definitely worth it! The toilet tent is carried up with you by porters.

They are clean and only used by your group. You’ll be able to sit on a toilet drum within the privacy of a tent, and if there are any issues, your operator will sort them out immediately. Click here for our recommended operator service.

FAQ

If you have any further questions or queries regarding Inca Trail toilets then please just leave a note below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

About the Author Mark Whitman

Hi, I'm Mark! Welcome to Machu Picchu Trek Guide - the Web's No.1 Trekking Guide to Machu Picchu. I started this guide to help trekkers like yourself get the information you need to plan for an awesome Machu Picchu trekking experience. Over 1 million people have used Machu Picchu Trek to plan their adventure to the famous Incan ruins. We hope we can help you too! If you have any questions don't hesitate to drop a comment below! Happy Trekking!

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Leave a Comment:

5 comments
Elena says February 23, 2016

My husband and are are going to visit our daughter who is travelling in s America. I am 66 years of age, my husband 60, we are both fairly fit, not over weight, go to the gym etc. But I am worried the trail will be too much for my fitness?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says March 1, 2016

    Hi Elena, as long as you can walk 5-7 hours a day for 3 days on end, you should be fine. Just make sure you build in some acclimatisation time in the Sacred Valley or Cuzco, before you hit the Inca Trail. All the best!

    Reply
Jhon says April 17, 2019

The Inca Trail was one of the greatest challenges I have ever faced in my life. When I went with my cousins there were moments when we wanted to leave the trek but in the end we got the reward that was the satisfaction of having achieved it and to know the wonder of the Machu Picchu world.

Reply
Karen says September 4, 2019

Couple of questions please. Doing the hike from a think it’s called the Sun gate on the Inca Trail which I understand is 3 to 4 hours with a bathroom at the beginning of the week but nothing for the rest of the four hours, if my husband has colitis and I have to urinate usually once an hour and assuming we’re drinking to hydrate, I don’t think I can last 4 hrs…What options do we have?

2) I just read an article that said carbohydrates are very important to eat instead of fats and proteins and other people say carbohydrates are the worst things to eat. Others say no salt so I was going to unpack my salted peanuts but then I just read you should actually add salt to water to create a hydration drink so I am confused… Some people say salt is dehydrating… Do you think salted peanuts are a good snack food to take? What Else would you suggest bringing? Leslie, I read that plastic water bottles are now prohibited that that was a really enforcing that at Macchu Pichu or can I still bring? Thank you very much. Also do you have guys that we could hire just for our own family of three or where we could join another small group?

Reply
    Mark Whitman says September 4, 2019

    Hi Karen,

    1. I’m not sure what trek you are referencing, but if you mean the final section of the hike from Wiñay Wayna to the Sun Gate and into Machu Picchu, then yes, this takes around 2-3 hours. Once in Machu Picchu there are only toilets outside the entrance. It’s possible to go for a wee on the trail towards the Sun Gate, but once inside Machu Picchu I believe the only way to go to the toilet would be to exit and re-enter. One used to be able to do this, however, the rules are forever changing so I’m not 100% certain if one can exit and reenter today. It’s worth checking with your tour operator.

    2. It’s important to eat a balanced diet. I wouldn’t worry about the proportions of carbohydrates to proteins and fats. Just make sure you eat healthily and get enough food intact as you will be burning 2000-3000 calories hiking each day. Personally I would limit your salt intact as it will only make you thirsty and could potentially lead to dehydration.

    3. Here is a complete packing list: https://www.machupicchutrek.net/inca-trail-packing-list-machu-picchu/

    4. Yes, single use plastic water bottles are not allowed in Machu Picchu. Instead just bring in a proper hiking water bottle.

    Reply
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