Please Don't Poop in a Sacred Temple at Machu Picchu

Six tourists were arrested after authorities found feces inside the UNESCO World Heritage Site's Temple of the Sun.
Drew Schwartz
Brooklyn, US
January 14, 2020, 7:11pm
Machu Picchu
Photo by Rodolfo Pimentel / Wikimedia Commons

Here's a scenario for you: You've made the long, difficult journey to Machu Picchu, taking a variety of planes and trains and buses to get there, and now finally, you're inside the grounds. You begin to explore the more than 500-year-old site, marveling at its ancient, towering rock spires, its surreal terraces and ramps. Life is sweet; the world is bountiful and mysterious; your day couldn't get any better. But at some point, you're hit with a terrible, inescapable feeling: You have to poop. You've got two options—either hike back down to the entrance and find a bathroom, putting an end to your time there; or sneak into a sacred temple constructed half a millennium ago, drop trou, and deface one of the greatest marvels this world has to offer. What do you do?


If you chose "shit inside the hallowed grounds of an Incan worshipping room," congratulations: There's something deeply and irredeemably wrong with you.

For some inexplicable reason, that's exactly what a group of tourists allegedly did over the weekend, France 24 reports. Six people in their twenties and early thirties were arrested on Sunday after Peruvian authorities caught them in a restricted area of Machu Picchu's Temple of the Sun, a revered part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Park rangers and police found feces inside of the temple, which had also been damaged after a piece of stone had "broken off a wall and caused a crack in the floor," regional police chief Wilbert Leyva told Andina, a local news agency.

"The six tourists are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage," Leyva said.

It seems like something that should go without saying, but apparently we have to say it: Don't do this! Just go find a goddamn bathroom!

Here's a helpful rule: If you're ever struck by the urge to do anything remotely untoward at a one-of-a-kind historical site—like, say, boning on top of an ancient pyramid, or taking a butt selfie in front of a Buddhist temple—just don't. You'll thank yourself later, when you're spending the evening guilt-free in some plush hotel instead of languishing in a jail cell in a foreign country, racked by the unbearable shame of having taken a literal dump on history.

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