Avoiding the Worst Tourist Traps in Costa Rica

Tourist traps occur in any country where you can find tourists, and Costa Rica is no exception. To make sure you don’t become the victim of a shady operator, we’ve compiled a list of the worst tourist traps in Costa Rica. There are hundreds of them, but these are the ones we’ve seen reported on a regular basis.

Booking with a Travel Agent

This trap can get you even before you’ve got on the plane. It might be more convenient to book with a travel agent, but they always increase the price of the rooms by a significant amount as part of their cut. Go to the website of the hotel you want to stay in and book the rooms directly from them. This way you won’t be at risk of paying over-inflated prices. Shaka is no exception, contact us first for the best rates available!

Traffic Violations

Driving offenses are taken very seriously in Costa Rica. The police are always waiting to zoom out of hiding and catch you speeding over the limit. If you think you can get away with it, you can’t. The tourist trap here is the cop will say he can take care of the ticket for you if you give him the money for it now.

Never do this. You must visit any outlet of the Bank of Costa Rica to pay the ticket. And you can’t leave the country without paying the ticket now. They’re cracking down on this.

The Monteverde Cloud Forest

This location is the home of the Sky Bridge and Canopy Tour. Yet what they fail to mention is that this is a cloud forest. A cloud forest means the clouds are literally touching the tops of the trees. If you walk on these bridges or take a canopy tour you won’t see anything on a cloudy day. You’ll just see a vast sheet of white with some occasional signs of leaves and branches. They’ll still happily take your money, though!

The Appearing Items

At a restaurant you’ll eventually receive your bill and it will have the total amount you spent on it. Occasionally, you might notice an item which you never ordered. It came completely out of nowhere. This is an attempt at a scam. The waiter will add an extra item to the bill and pocket the amount he’s added. This is one of the most common tourist traps in Costa Rica.

You should carefully scrutinise the bill and raise an issue with it if there’s something you never ordered. Most restaurants will back down straight away because they know what they’re doing. If they don’t, threaten to call the police. Make sure you follow through on this threat. If you’ve done no wrong they’ll sort it out and deal with the restaurant owner in private.

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