This is My Visa Run to Costa Rica Part II HUGE Drama
So My Visa Run to Costa Rica Part II continued to be a MASSIVE stressful drama, and since I had just arrived in Panama, I wasn’t aware that drama is part of every day life in Panama.
Cell Phone 8861-21-40
E-mail: [email protected]
Cell Phone 8828-81-10
E-mail: [email protected]
Hotel Main Phone: 2775-01-92
As you know, I am on a limited budget & I knew exactly what I’d have to pay (minus food & entertainment) for everything.
Reminder: You also know that Andres told me and Hernan’s sister that the taxi from Rio Claro was $6, & I shouldn’t have to pay anymore than that. Andres is the brother of the owner for hotel Mar y Luna in Golfito, Costa Rica.
So after a rough bus ride where my back & neck were killing me, plus a confusing immigration experience as I was exhausted & had no idea where I was going, the bus driver let me off in Rio Claro Costa Rica. I remembered that Andres said to get a taxi that has the yellow triangle with the word Golfito in it. What confused me is that they ALL had that on them, but anyway, I tried to get a taxi, & every guy I talk to said it was going to be $25.
I laughed like… Yeh right, you ain’t ripping this baby off!!! I even told them $6 (sais dollar) to see if they’d change their mind & they said no, which isn’t surprising. Panamanians will often walk away from making money if they can’t rip you off.
Then I remembered I have to change my US money, since I wasn’t able to earlier at the border, as the bank that was SUPPOSED to open at 8 am never did, so I still only had USD on me. Again, nothing every works or runs on time in Panama & obviously it’s the same in Costa Rica.
I had to walk a long ways to get to the gas station as that was the only place I could see to exchange my money.
I was trying to do the math in my head on how many colones (Costa Rica currency) I should be getting, but I just couldn’t do it on the fly & my brain was barely working.
I tried to convey that I needed coins for the phone booth to call Andres to tell him all the taxis are trying to rip me off, but that didn’t work. They wanted me to go across the street to get coins.
Just as I was trying to cross that long street, another taxi came by & I told him sais dollar. He responded with something that sounded like what I had just said. I said sais again, we agreed & I get into the taxi.
The ride was a bit of a distance which surprised me.
We get to the hotel & I hand him the $6 & that’s when the REAL drama in Costa Rica begins.
No, he wants more money, so I’m thinking he wants $16 because that must sound like $6 in Spanish right?
I’m yapping away in English saying… “no way are you ripping me off!”, & I walk into the hotel thinking they were going to tell the guy to get lost, you ain’t ripping off my customer, it’s $6 & you know it’s $6.
No one was around, just women in the kitchen prepping food. I saw no one behind the front desk. Then one woman there walks behind the counter, but didn’t speak a word of English. I kept telling her I was TOLD it was $6, he’s trying to rip me off. Call Andres.
She tried, got no answer & gave up. I tried to give her the cell number I had, but she wouldn’t dial it.
Then I remembered Daniel’s name, so I told her to call him & she gets him on the phone. I think this problem is going to be solved in 2 minutes flat, but instead, that’s when I REALLY GOT PISSED.
Daniel had the NERVE to tell me that this is NOT his problem & $6 sounds way too little. Ok, great, he’s sticking up for the taxi driver. So I asked him how much it is. Get a lot of this, the idiot asshole doesn’t know how much it should be.
How in the WORLD can you run a hotel & NOT know how much taxis cost to get to your own hotel??? These aren’t metered taxis, these are flat rates that he should know since Rio Claro is a stopping point to get to his hotel.
I didn’t know if he was lying to me or what, all I knew is we were going in circles & this guy who had been soooo nice in the e-mail was a totally different person. Now he could care less what his hotel did to cause this problem, he was sticking up for the taxi driver & putting his hands up in the air. He was NOT taking responsibility for Andres screwing up & giving me misinformation. I got the message loud & clear, I have to handle the terrible situation all on my own.
Then a woman who I assumed was Aradelia Hernández, part owner, finally appears & she starts speaking to me in English & I tell her the story expecting HER to solve the problem. I state again that the woman behind the counter should dial Andres number that I have, since obviously the other one she originally dialed wasn’t right.
Andres picks up, & I think the entire problem WILL BE SOLVED, but then HE gets on the phone & says …. Get a load of this now… “Listen ma’am, I was just trying to help you.” LOL Help me???? How is giving me misinformation & then not taking responsibility for this HUGE error helping?
No apology from him or his brother Daniel. I can see everyone is very mature at this hotel AND, they really care about their guests.
In the end, his attitude was just like his brother’s… I’m NOT responsible for giving you the WRONG information, that’s your problem, I was just trying to help.
I had to literally get him to admit to Aradelia that he DID tell me $6, because I thought he was going to lie. At this point they were all starting to make it seem like I was lying & was just trying to get out of paying the taxi.
After hearing their conversation amongst one another, I surmised that the ONLY way to get the $6 deal is to go with others which I wouldn’t have had a problem with HAD Mr. Andres there known what the hell he was talking about & told me this from the getgo.
And by the way, it wasn’t $16 I thought the taxi driver was trying to charge me, it was BLOODY $25!!!! But, the taxi driver was supposedly only going to charge $20. Oh how nice of him.
And when I asked Aradelia why the taxi driver didn’t say NO when I said sies TWICE, she shrugged her head & didn’t bother to ask him that VERY important question.
I had been more than willing to take a bus for like $2 had I known the real cost of the taxi. I did NOT have that kind of extra money to give him, nor had I agreed to that extra amount. And when I asked someone days later how you say $20 in Spanish, I can tell you 100%, that the taxi driver NEVER said that word.
So it looks like this was one big scam on the taxi driver’s end and Andres was just a COMPLETE moron.
In all my months of being in Panama, I’ve never had a taxi driver do this to me. Maybe he’ll try to rip me off a few dollars more, but not by this much. And when they can see I don’t understand what they are saying in Spanish, they ALWAYS put up their fingers to tell me how much it costs. Plus when I say in Spanish how much I want to pay, they are very clear when they say NO!
The price was a rip off anyway. The entire ride took maybe 20-25 minutes. I wasn’t really paying 100% attention, but I know it wasn’t longer than that. In Panama a $25 taxi ride would probably take me to Coronodo, or even further, which is an hour away or more, depending on where you are in the city when leaving.
Anyway, back to the DRAMA at the Hotel Mar y Luna, I was like… “no way am I paying $20, let’s try to negotiate here. I’ll give him $14 altogether.”
I really did NOT want to pay anymore, but I just wanted this nightmare over with. I was starting to become very stressed, as I was thirsty, exhausted & hungry. This Mar y Luna hotel was turning into a nightmare.
Then Aradelia says no, I’m going to pay him, I have to, so she went to the cash & got out the money & handed it to him. This made me feel bad even though I shouldn’t be feeling that way. They screwed up, not me.
She apologizes to HIM, he leaves, then she comes back around the counter & picks up a magazine to start reading it.
I’m like HELLO, are you NOT going to check me in???
She never even asked me if I had a reservation, she just starts ignoring me even though I’m standing there sweating, clearly have been traveling for hours WITH all my luggage.
She’s like, “Okay, what is your name?”
I said why does it feel like you don’t want me here?
She’s like… “I don’t like you, what is your name?”
I’m like EXCUSE ME??? You don’t like me?
I had to think real fast now, as this relaxing 3 day visa run was turning into the most stressful thing I’ve encountered since I got to Central America.
I said to her… “I’m not going to stay here with you treating me this way.” In my head & I think I said this out loud, I can only imagine what they would do to my food, to my room, the dirty looks, etc.
That’s when she says THEN LEAVE, GO!!! I think she even said “WE DON’T WANT YOU HERE”
So, she threw me out onto the street & I had to go to the washroom too.
I was beyond stressed. I was in the middle of nowhere, as I didn’t know how far up the road I had seen the other hotel when we came past that area.
I had no choice, I had to start walking in that direction.
I was hungry & exhausted & sore from my trip. I was ready to cry, but I didn’t. I was away from those nasty people, & I wasn’t going to let them get me down.
More on what happened in my last post…