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Bargaining in Guatemala

Costa Rica
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Bargaining in Guatemala

I am planning a trip to Guatemala in January and have been reading the posts on this forum and others. When it comes to "bargaining" I am a little perplexed.

As tourists - not rich, but with enough money to travel to Guatemala - how rewarding can it be to bargain with some poor Guatemalan so that you can save a dollar or two? Then, you can turn around and donate to some worthy cause. I don't get it.

OK, so the prices are inflated thinking that people will want to bargain. I get that. But wouldn't paying the price quoted be a way to "donate" money to a Guatemalan?

Lake Atitlan
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for Lake Atitlan
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1. Re: Bargaining in Guatemala

It looks like you have been a third world traveler for some time. Well OK, so Costa Rica is not really a third world country. . . back to your question.

If you are shopping in the Chichicastanango market or on Santander St. in Panajachel you are buying from a retailer who has already purchased the product from the wholesaler (or the person who made the product). They expect you to bargain, and in fact will consider you to be a stupid rich person if you do not bargain. Bargaining is part of the culture and is really a fun game if you make it so. If you end up paying 60% of the original asking price, everyone is happy. The vendor makes money and you get the perception of getting a bargain.

Some people (tourist) will take this to an extreme and in the end everyone ends up mad or frustrated. Know the game and play it well and fairly.

Another situation is if the products are marked with prices. Then there is no bargaining. The price is set.

Enjoy and happy planning.

Bethesda, MD
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2. Re: Bargaining in Guatemala

The things is, prices may be inflated by a lot more than a dollar or two. And the person selling the product is not necessarily the person who made it, and that person, who almost certainly needs an extra dollar or two more than the vendor does, has probably already been paid. I expect to pay more than the locals. But I don't want to be ripped off.

3. Re: Bargaining in Guatemala

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Removed on: 25 April 2011, 06:16