Don’t get scammed
When you are on vacation you do want to get the best deals on shopping and items to take back with you, but you do not want to become a victim of a scam.
What is a tourist scam? It is a situation that traps you into thinking you are getting a better deal. A situation that targets tourist and traps you into the idea that you are getting something authentic when it is not.
Deceptive advertising makes you think they are closing for ever and you are getting a great deal. Just look at this sign: Everything must go! All items 15%-50% off. Maybe they think you will fall for it, but the reality is nothing is on sale, yet everything in Mexico is always on sale, so these are normal prices.
So when walking around, don’t gravitate toward the going out of business signs, just go to the stores you want to go in. Plus, don’t buy because it is “on sale” buy because you like it, want it or need it.
Many people know that timeshares and vacation clubs are tricky investments with many things you need to look at. There are also direct scams targeting owners of timeshares and vacation clubs you need to know about!
This photos is from the very first stretch of 5th Avenue in Playa del Carmen. It starts from the Cozumel ferry street 9Calle 3 Sur) to Calle 1 Sur. This one block area of 5th is almost 100% cheap tourist stuff. You will find the same items in Cancun and now in Tulum. Most of the stores have people out front to get your attention. They come up with some pretty creative way to get your attention. If you walk on 5th for 1 block, you have heard it all!
“You are a lucky man” or “Where you staying” When a couple is walking down the street.
“Where are you from?” and then “I have a family there” This is a tactic to get common ground with you and start a conversation so will trust them and will spend money with them.
“Do I look familiar? I am the busboy/waiter at your hotel” if you ask them what hotel they will say something like “Grand” or “Royal” and then you say “No I am at the Mayan Palace” then they will say something like “Yes Grand Mayan Palace!” They are not your busboy or friend, but just trying to get your attention and also gain your trust.
Remember that most guest staying at all inclusive resorts will be wearing a colored wrist band. These guys know a lot of the colors and look of each resort wrist band. They have all day long to practice their skills to get you to tryst them and spend your money with them. If you are wearing a wrist band and they guess where you are staying do not be surprised.
They do this to get you in their store and they try to sell to you. Most of these places have the same items, so unless you see something you must have and can not live without, shop around. You must be able to walk away or you will pay too much. You can always come back in 10 minutes or the next day.
Remember you are in control of where you want to spend your money. Don’t let people make you feel bad for now stopping. You don’t have to waist time on your vacation looking around these traps.
The 2 for 1 Drink Special
This might seem like a great deal and something you must do on vacation, but this is happy hour-ish and you are getting lazy after walking around. Restaurants often offer 2 for 1 specials to get you inside everywhere in the world, but think about it. If it is such a good deal?, why is the place empty? Also, make sure they have not jacked up the normal prices? If the normal price is 1000 or about there, that means the 2 for 1 drinks are 500 pesos each. That is not a great deal because along 5th Avenue you can get drinks for 700-1000 pesos each.
These drinks are often less of an alcohol pour and more mixers, so the quality of these specials is often 1/2 the alcohol.
Restaurant people in the street will often watch you looking at the menu and then entice you to stay with a 2 for 1 offer that is not posted. Sometimes this special offer gets lost between the street and the restaurant. So if you are offered a special, confirm with your waiter that you are getting the special price when you order. It is very easy to take a paid for drink and split it into two cups and add a little mixer to it just so you spend $40 USD on dinner, so don’t base your whole dinner selection on getting a “free” drink.
There are a lot of honest hard working taxi drivers in Tulum, but it only takes one to steal from you to mess it up for all.
Basically they will trap you into paying more. If you ask the price then usually it is 5 pesos more even if you live here. Taxis have no meter but there are official rates per zone. Take a look at the taxi rate chart in each cab,
Knowing the actually prices will keep you from falling into this tourist trap.
Note: If you have been out drinking, taxis love to pick up buzzed people and try to take advantage of them.
Tourist Information Booths
Many people think that the tourist trips booths are from timeshare salespeople. Actually most offer tours and they get a commission. Some of them are honest hard working people that try to make a living off selling tours to tourist. You will always get better prices dealing directly with the tour operator. Just don’t fall for the fast talking of some of them that promise too much and in the end they have trapped you into wasting your time there talking to them.
The one thing that they can sell cheaper to you is the ferry to Cozumel. The ferry companies allow they to sell for less then you can get at the official ticket booths. They use this as bait to get you in and then try to sell you other tours.
You will find massages offered on the beach and downtown. Normally prices are offered anywhere from $25USD-$50 per hour. I see nothing wrong with getting a massage, but at this price, do not expect an certified massage therapist. It is a good way for them to make money since $35 a day is a decent wage here and it only takes a few massages for them to make that much in commission. For a certified massage therapist, plan on paying the higher price at the hotel spa.