Author: CindyT (---.hsd1.ga.comcast.net)
Date: 04-13-09 14:39
I found this type of business-practice common on my visit to Culebra last week, April 3 through 10.
1. Publico drivers: The publico drivers consistently said round drip costs were $10 per person, when actually to PR natives, the cost is $5. One driver claiming a $10 rate even had $5 written on the front of his bus in big black letters.
2. Flamenco beach grill operators: Each operator would quote wildly different prices on the pork/chicken/marlin skewers. A PR native who ordered ahead of me bought two skewers and a pina colada for $6. I was asked to pay $12 for the same order.
3. Culebra scooter operator at the airport: Do not pay the $50 daily rate for scooters. By this day, I was so fed up with the scamming, I had a friend who spoke Spanish, pretend to be PR and get the scooter for us. Guess what rate we got: $40.
4. Parking in Fajardo: Do not pay the $15 per day rate as requested by both parking lots, just 20 seconds north of the docks and the one one minute south of the docks.
Parking can be negotiated down to $5 per day if a PR native speaks for you.
5. Restaurants in Dewey: Heather's Pizza charges an "island tax" on their pizza. Your pizza totals will be illogically higher than listed price. For example our medium pizza with one topping was $16, while listed as $10 with $2.50 topping. On another occasion, this same pizza cost $14.
Potential visitors: There seem to be very few restaurants where dishes are under $10 per person. I suggest staying somewhere with a kitchen and cooking one meal per day.
6. Fruit stand near airport: Fruit per pound prices are calculated based on US or PR citizenship. Buyer beware.
7. Villa operators: Some of the villa operators charge a 9% PR tax as opposed to a 7% PR tax. Buyer beware.
8. Tamarindo beach - Resaca beach - Brava beach - Dakity or Punta Soldado beach: No one seems to "know" how to get to these beaches. The publico drivers only know how to get to these beaches if they take you. The Culebra airport porters don't seem to know either. It doesn't help that the roads don't have signs but still, landmarks would have helped.
I consistently felt veiled messages stating that Culebra locals prefer tourists to stay away from these beaches.
Final comment: I've traveled all over the Caribbean and enjoy bargaining. But negotiations down to the dollar and treatment disparity between mainlanders and PR's was very disappointing.