Bobbing and Weaving the Price Gougers

February 28-29, 2008
Day 883-884

I took yet another bus to the town of Arenal, which sat on the Arenal Lagoon with a view of, you guessed it, the Arenal Volcano. It was a pretty area, but there wasn't a lot to do because the roads were set up for motor traffic only, and the consequently the lagoon wasn't very accessible by foot. Still I had to stop there for a night because there weren't any more buses that could take me through this region to the place I wanted to go.

The next day I took two more buses to get to Santa Elena. It looked close to Arenal on the map, but I still wasn't able to get there until late afternoon. That didn't much matter, though, because it was probably the biggest tourist trap I had seen in Central America so far. Basic necessities like restaurants and the Internet were three times more expensive than anywhere else I had been in Costa Rica, and even the grocery store did its best to gouge the tourists.

I was sure this place wasn't for me I met an English girl who said she had just gotten back from walking through the forest. She went without a guide, so I figured the experience would be cheap, or possibly even free. But when she showed me her entrance ticket for $15, I decided to leave the first chance I got. I could somewhat understand it when people paid $75 for a full-day guided tour, but $15 just to walk through a forest on your own for a few hours? Absolutely ridiculous. I calmed my nerves, called it an early night, and planned to leave tomorrow before my mildly good impression of the country turned really bad.

Share with your friends

More share buttons