If you have read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, you know that the most important thing to take with you is a towel. Let us be your Hitchhikers Guide to Peru. We recommend, no, we order, that you take toilet paper with you everywhere while traveling in Peru. If you value your hygiene, sanity, and ability to steer clear of awkward social situations, you will always keep copious amounts of toilet paper handy wherever you are. While many tourist restaurants and other services often have toilet paper in their bathrooms, many do not. Non-tourist locations have all signed an oath to never provide toilet paper in their bathrooms. It's just a fact of life here, provide your own toilet paper or suffer the consequences.
Public toilets in Peru
Some places do offer the opportunity to buy toilet paper from a dispenser, and you normally have to pay to use public bathrooms in places like bus terminals and markets. It's normally S/.0.50 ($0.16) to use the loo and this comes with a good sized piece of toilet paper as well. For the many places that just don't offer paper at all, for a fee, free, or otherwise, you will instantaneously become the most popular person in the travel group if you pull out your beautiful, glorious roll of toilet paper. In this moment it is worth more than gold and you are the Conquistador of the baño.
For those on a low budget, you don't necessarily have to opt for toilet paper. As a traveler, you'll probably be dining out most nights and many places provide way too many napkins, especially on planes. Who needs a napkin for their drink, another napkin to put it on, a napkin for their peanuts, and a napkin for whatever other airline delicacy they serve you? Has no one heard of deforestation? Put those murdered tress to good use. Tuck all your unused, or slightly used, napkins into an outer pocket of your backpack. Whenever you find yourself in a tricky situation you won't be reduced to despair and sticky solutions.
Don’t Flush Toilet Paper in Peru
Despite having to adhere to a Bring Your Own Rule when it comes to toilet paper, you can expect very special treatment for your precious paper once you are through with it. Rather than disposing of your treasured friend in the toilet bowl where it is flushed down with common waste, in Peru your toilet paper receives royalty treatment. There will be a specific trash can, or overflowing trash pile that might harbor a can somewhere at the bottom, for you to reverently dispose of your used paper. Humor aside, you don't flush your paper in Peru for a very important reason. The Peruvian plumbing and septic system is not equipped to process and deal with paper waste. You must dispose of all toilet paper, sanitary items, and diapers in the allotted trash can located next to the toilet.