limpio y saludable…we’re not so sure…

Chinchero sign

Chinchero is a small town about 30km outside of Cusco.  This sign was posted where Chinchero’s main street meets the highway.  Roughly translated to English it reads, “I want Chinchero clean and healthy.  With my little bathroom our family is happy and lives better.  This is your opportunity to easily have your bathroom inside your house.”

As it turns out, many households in Peru – especially those outside of the major cities – still lack functioning bathrooms in their homes.  One of the first things we noticed upon arriving in  Peru after departing Ecuador was the differences in sanitation and cleanliness between the two countries.  In Peru many people still use the streets as a toilet and the few public bathroom facilities (around $0.15 – $0.30 per use) leave much to be desired.  As you might imagine, much of Peru smells of pee.  And it’s not only the men who are to blame.  Arriving in Cusco we were shocked to discover that many of the indigenous women do likewise from underneath their wide, ankle length skirts.  The guidebooks all seem to avoid the topic, but in my opinion it’s definitely something visitors to Peru should be prepared for.  And I’ve been told the situation in Bolivia is much worse.  I guess we’ll see…


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