Getting scammed in Flores
Flores Travel Blog› entry 6 of 20 › view all entries
July 13th, 2009 – by: sophiewil24
Long story. Yesterday when we were getting off our return shuttle bus from Tikal, a man approached us and asked where we were heading next (when we left Flores). When we told him, he said that he could sell us tickets there for $20 each. We told him that we didn´t have enough money on us, but he said he could just take $20 as a deposit and pay the rest in the morning. He seemed reputable as he knew the driver and issued us with official enough looking tickets and told us that a minibus would pick us up from outside our hostel at 9am the next morning. Later on in the afternoon we began to have our doubts about the validity our our ticket and so decided to go to the San Juan (the tour company)´s office and ask them if we could pay the rest of the money now. Our worst fears about Flores´coyotes (who attempt to sell you nonexistant or rubbish products such as tours and bus journeys) that we had been warned against in our guidebook were confirmed. We´d been done! The ladies in the office said that they weren´t sure but that it didn´t look like a real ticket.
To add insult to injury, later on, we had to use the cash machine (as Lanquin doesn´t have one). We had been warned against using the machine as locals had been caught tampering with the machine to swallow cards and then trying to ´help´ you by getting you to talk to a helpline (their friend on a mobile) and enter your pin number. They did this on Sundays as they took advantage of the absence of armed security guards. And sure enough it was Sunday when we needed to use the machine. We took the advice of the hostel and pretended to get a card swallowed and see if anyone approached us, they didn´t, so we continued to use it normally. We were so pleased with ourselves that we hadn´t had my card stolen that we failed to notice (until back in the hostel) that the machine had shortchanged us! It had only given us 1900 quetzales instead of 2000 that I had been charged for! I don´t think the locals are that clever!! So the bank cost me about 10 pounds.
Rusty and I had been been officially done. Twice! So we took both of these ´mishaps´ on our shoulders and decided to buy new bus tickets for 150 Q each.
So the next morning, you can imagine our dismay when guess who turns up with our shuttle bus? Only the same man who sold us the original tickets!! And predictably, he basically said that it wasn´t his problem that we´d effectively paid for our tickets twice. But I think this confused them slightly as they now had 2 less passengers than expected, and kept counting and asking to see tickets. So by the time our 9am minibus left Flores it was actually 9.50am. And what a journey!
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