Touts can be the scum of the Earth
Trip Start Jun 25, 2009
23Trip End Jul 05, 2009
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Where I stayed
Hostal Santa Maria
a person who solicits business, employment, support, or the like, importunately
That excerpt is from dictionary.com. Touts are basically the dudes you find at airports, bus terminals, ship ports, front of hotels... basically wherever tourists can be found. They are there to either get you to take a particular taxi, stay at a particular hotel, or sign you up on a particular tour.
I came across one of these scum bags (I know, not all of them are bad) departing the Lima airport on our way to Cusco. This guy shows us a nice hotel in his pamphlet and tells us that their counterpart would be meeting up with us at Cusco to take us to their hotel for free. My spidy sense went off but not enough to complete ignore the dude
When we get to Cusco, there are two ladies and one dude who make a bee-line for me and Rowena and tell us that they have a van ready for us to jump in. I felt kinda comfortable since there was a couple of teachers from San Francisco already in the van. After getting to know them, they were promptly told to get into another van so that a group of young adults (2 guys and 2 gals), from San Francisco coincidentally, could take their places. I tell the new guys, we can still take these touts if they drive us to a back alley somewhere.
After a short ride, they drop off the group of young adults and whisk Rowena and me to another hostel. Shit. I could probably take a couple of them still I thought. At the new hostel, they sit us down at the lobby and they start their sales pitch about how their company can plan the rest of our trip, including tours, transportation, and accommodations... everything. They throw out more colored pamphlets and travel packages with crazy prices from US$1200+. My spidy senses are now on full alert... US$1200 what?! More pressuring from the dude, and I just about had it. Bottomline, Rowena and I ended up walking out the door. The lesson here boys and girls is to stay away from all these losers! Maybe some of them are legit but most of them are out to scam you. Stay the independent traveler.
After a quick look on the map in my book, Rowena and I try the Cusco tourist information center but no one was there to help us for some odd reason. We turn a corner and find the quaint Hostal Santa Maria hostel. We were now officially in Cusco.