Safety warning for Antigua
Replies: 33 - Last Post: Nov 16, 2007 11:36 AM Last Post By: latina alma
Nov 12, 2007 7:50 PM
30rationalizing - good move , most Guatemalans are excellent, honest people.
but don't rely on the tourist police for anything, and take care even in Antigua it's easy to get lost. I walk home blocks an blocks at night, prob shouldn't but still, bandits are everywhere, but I walk quick and confidently and have had no bother.
Nov 13, 2007 1:18 PM
Nov 15, 2007 3:46 PM
32Well I hope you did not pay that guy. You had an agreed on price so tell him here it is and that is it. I had that happen to me going to the airport in Cancun, Mexico on time with a taxie driver who claimed he needed more than we agreed to . I already had my bag as I dont pay till I have it in my hands and I told him I am going to call the police you thief and left.
Nov 16, 2007 11:36 AM
33dlkbc....sorry this happened to you. It is awful having a string of negative experiences.... it is not pleasant and this often happens on trips. We had a string of unpleasant incidents when we first moved to Guatemala...alot of just little things that irritated but nothing like your original confrontation.
Sadly sometimes tourists get bombarded with a lot of "little cons" such as you describe...it puts one off wherever they are for awhile. Even shoeshine guys will try it...especially in the park, but also many other people. They look at you, size you up and then decide whether they can con you into paying more than the going price. It happens in the market where prices are not fixed, in the turistica market, with all street vendors and almost everywhere except where prices are posted like restaurants and the pricier shops. People who have just arrived have no idea of prices and then there are many tourists who do not care what price is charged, they will pay it. Some because they are "on vacation" and people tend to care less about prices then; some because they feel sorry for Guatemalans and actively WANT to pay more than the going rate for everything because it makes them feel better. So many tourists ARE willing to pay whatever is asked that it is worth it to many Guatemalans to try to get the most they can. This leads to dozens of little techniques used to get maximum money from tourists.....many people just don't care, they think Guatemala is cheap when compared with where they are from.
Some people like to bargain and want to get everything for the lowest price possible. It is fun for me to watch them in action and they can be quite good at getting prices way down. Personally I want to pay "the going rate" which requires me to learn what current prices to locals are...that is what I want to pay. Unless I HAVE to have something I won't pay a "gringo tax" and just walk off...I am almost always able to find what I want at the going price. But this takes work and willingness to walk off and knowing prices...for a tourist, most don't want to bother which is why all these little techniques to extract extra money develop. WHen I am on vacation I don't want the hassle either as I am not buying much anyway so it is pretty much human nature all this wherever prices are not fixed...and prices are not fixed in GUatemala for the most part....you can almost always get a "discount".
A few little local tricks:
Shoeshine guys will tell you 2q (that is the correct price) then when done say 2q per shoe.THis is a variation on your horse trip. I was startled and upset the first time this was tried on me. Now I just laugh and often start the transaction with "How much for a shine, 2q?.....For both!" and they are good natured about it...they have a "nothing ventured nothing gained" attitude about it all;
When you agree on a price, and go to buy whatever, the price can shoot up as happened to you. We have had this happen many times with items small and large even with two houses here...when we got serious about buying, the price suddenly went up....if a gringo wants it, it has to be worth more!Normally we just walk away as we did then.
The best way of dealing with these situations is a good sense of humor....sometimes they will say it costs more because it is a certain day of the week, and I am not kidding....once I had a vendor tell me a pineapple cost more that day than the last time I bought one because it was raining! So I just joke back...we have a good laugh and sometimes the price comes down...sometimes not, but then I don't buy I just go find it from someone else at the going rate. YEars ago in Mexico City I learned to ask "how much to ......" when hiring a non-metered taxi and then paying them at the beginning of the ride. I do this if I take a taxi in GUate....first question I ask is "Do you know where "address" is?" THen I ask, How much and pay them then. NOw I don't get," but it is further than I thought and costs more, etc., etc."....
It can be tiresome dealing with all the little negotiations for every little thing here when one is coming from a fixed price culture......My sympathies are with you....
San FranciscoBook now
(0 star Hotel)
From US$21.40 per night
Mexico CityBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$168.57 per night
San FranciscoBook now
(3 star Hotel)
From US$219.00 per night