Wondering what to expect in regards to public washrooms in Nicaragua? This quick guide will help you be prepared when “nature calls”.
The most commonly used word for washrooms in Nicaragua is baño.
You can walk into most restaurants and bars, politely and confidently, and find a bathroom. Assume it’s somewhere in the back. If you are so inclined to ask for permission, just smile and say, “Baño?” Sometimes as a courtesy I’ve bought a drink in order to use the facilites. Other times I’ve left a small tip. Generally neither is necessary.
Men’s restrooms will most usually be marked “Hombres” or “Caballaros”. Women’s restrooms are usually titled “Mujeres” or “Damas”.
A WORD ABOUT TOILETS IN NICARAGUA
Almost all public washrooms in Nicaragua have sit down flush toilets.
But water is sometimes sporadic – even in cities – and you may be required to manually flush the toilet (el inodoro).
The manual flush maneuver is pretty simple. Just look for a large barrel of water with a bucket floating on top. These are usually found in – or just outside – the bathroom. Fill the bucket with a gallon of water and dump it into the toilet bowl. For best results try to provide as much force as an ordinary flush.
Occasionally – in very rural areas of Nicaragua – you may encounter an outdoor toilet (aka outhouse) with no plumbing.
PUT YOUR PAPER IN THE TRASH, NOT THE TOILET
Most plumbing systems in Nicaragua can’t handle a lot of paper. It is common practice to put your used paper in the trash, not in the toilet.
Even if you don’t see a sign in the washroom like the one shown above it is still the norm to put your toilet paper in the trash. The exception to this rule is in mid-range to expensive hotels, where it is probably safe to flush your paper.
PUBLIC WASHROOMS IN NICARAGUA ARE NOT USUALLY WELL STOCKED
Public washrooms in Nicaragua aren’t always stocked with the essentials like toilet paper, soap and paper towels. It’s a good idea to carry some tissue or a roll of toilet paper (papel higiénico) with you. You may also want to carry some wet wipes and hand sanitizer in your bag.
Some public toilets have attendants who charge a small fee (5 – 10 Córdobas) and provide paper. This is most commonly seen at markets.
Additionally, public washrooms in Nicaragua rarely have purse hooks or baby change tables. You may even find yourself in a washroom where the toilet has no seat. Be prepared to hover!
THE BOTTOM LINE
Using a public washroom in Nicaragua may not be the most elegant experience but when you gotta go … you gotta go … right?