Top 5 worst tourist rip-offs - Backpackmojo Team on 02/02/2012

While travelling, it is not rare to encounter scams which sole purpose is to take as much money as possible from your travel budget. Ripping off travelers has indeed become a very profitable sport in some countries of the world. Here is a list of the Backpackmojo team top 5!

photo Top 5 worst tourist rip-offs
5) Machu Picchu - Peru: 200$ Walk

It is one of the most popular destinations in South America and with this status comes its share of expensive surprises. Sure you don’t have to pay for the expensive 4-days Inca Trail that will get you to the Ruins; sure you can skip the train up the mountain (Backpacker way); but unless you know your way through the Inca Valley, you will rely on Tours often booked on the Plaza de Armas in Cuzco. And this is where the Rip Off begins! The entry fee to the site itself is around 50 $, not negotiable, then you will pay the fee of the Tour you get. Even for a 2 days walk to the Top with 1 accommodation and a guide, most Tourists pay up to 180-200 $ price, which is insane considering it is around 25% of a 1 month Backpacker trip in Peru ! For 2 Days! Be aware that you can get this for 90$ or less (including entry fee) by negotiating a bit! Easier in low season ;)

4) Mount Batur – Bali: A lot

Mount Organized-tourist-extortion is a good name for it. If you’ve tried the ascension without taking a guide in the last 2 years and made it to the Top with your ass unkicked, I need your tips. let’s be honest , the straight and easy slopes to the Top DO NOT require a Guide, but try to go on your own, even at 5 in the morning, and you will be cornered by a group of “Guides” that are willing to engage in a fight if you don’t pay your unofficial “ticket”. And they’re expensive! Oh, and it’s not worth complaining to the local Police officer, he obviously takes his share on this. Sure Local people need to live off Tourist rent, but come on… Punching tourists? Girls and boys alike? Weird!

3) Komodo Island – Indonesia: 250$ journey

Everybody coming to Indonesia wants to see the deadly dragons, but it is a costly adventure. There is indeed no way to take a cheap boat going to Flores (the main island near Komodo) and then another cheap boat to komodo 20km away. You have to spend 4 nights with 20 other people on a fishing boat and pay more than 200$ for this. When you finally arrive in Flores it is not over, you have to take a 24 hour ride to get back to Bali and it costs another 50$. In the end you spend 4 hours seeing Komodo Dragons, an animal as fearful as it is lazy, and 24 hours in a bus to get back to Bali.

2) A coffee at Florian Caffè – Plaza San Marco – Venise: 18$ coffee

The most famous café of one of the most famous square in the world ought to be expensive, so I understand to pay 10$ for a verysmall cup of coffee (to be honest I don’t truly understand…). What I don’t get though, is that I, and everybody at my table, must pay an additional 8$ if the piano starts playing for any reason. Did I ask for it ? Was I warned ? Nope, but still I have to pay…

1) Tea festival in Shanghai/Beijing: 200-500$ Coffee

Ok this one is not really a tour-related Rip off but a famous Con that you have to know of before visiting Shanghai or Beijing. It takes 3 different forms but always start the same: one or two nice young Chinese (guys or girls) want to practice their English by offering you one of the following : a small tour of the City that ends with a coffee, an invitation to a Tea tasting party, or an Art Gallery exhibition. In each case, you will end up having to pay the venue you’re in between 200 and 500 $ (it’s not a cheap con) for the coffees/teas/gallery tour you had. Oh and if you don’t want to pay, there’s always one or two huge Chinese guys to make you do it. 2 things: never accept such offers, and if you find yourself in this situation, call the Police (you have an English speaking help you can contact, the phone number is in every taxi in town).