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Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

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Tacoma, Washington
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Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

I have heard people on various blogs, boards and travel sites talk about Gringo and Tica/Tico pricing in Costa Rica in general.

My question is are people expected to barter? When I have traveled in the past in other countries bartering was expected so I am curious, if you can get a better pricing if you are willing to haggle or will people take offense?

Thank you,

Costa Rica
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1. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

No one expects you to barter except for street vendors.

Supermarkets, shops and farmers markets all have set prices so no haggling. It's an entirely different culture.

As for haggling with street vendors or something similar: Look at the item and see what you think it's worth. If it's a bit more than you think it's worth and you want it.... just buy it.

How good would it make you feel to save $1 or $2 which could be important to the person selling the item?

nebraska
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2. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

I totally agree with Hattie. After coming to Costa Rica for several years, I now also apply the thought to other countries where bartering is "expected".

How important is to you vs. to the vendor?

Costa Rica
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3. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

I once lived in a little town in Costa Rica up a very steep hill. One day, a young man came to my house selling papayas. He was pushing a wheelbarrow full of papayas and I know that he walked up that hill to try and sell those papayas because I had seen him earlier in town. He had four left and I bought them all! They were cheap..... about $1.50 each...... and they were big. I kept one and gave the others to my neighbors. Anyone that works that hard, I will do anything to help. It's funny, but a lot of people who give generously to various charities won't consider that the person selling you something could use a bit of help.

Not trying to shame you zsazsa - I know that haggling is a way of life in some countries. Just not Costa Rica.

Tacoma, Washington
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4. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

Honestly, I don't feel shamed at all, however, I think that is exactly what you were trying to do. I merely asked a relevant question, and clearly if I didn't give a squat I wouldn't have asked.

You are showing your colors :O

Edited: 21 February 2013, 02:41
Costa Rica
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5. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

No, I was really not trying to "shame" you. Perhaps I could have written my post in a different way....

What "colors" am I showing by asking people to be compassionate?

Well, at least you have your answer. I am sure you will enjoy your visit to Costa Rica.

Grecia, Costa Rica
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for Province of Alajuela
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6. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

Haggling is not really the norm here. Prices in stores and markets are what they are for Gringos or Ticos alike.

When you are in the tourist areas like Arenal, or the beach of Manuel Antonio for example, there are plenty of vendors selling overpriced items. You can try and haggle here but IMO its just better to pay what they are asking unless it is ridiculous.

I agree with Hattie on the haggling thing, and not trying to shame you at all, but it is a poor country, very much so... A couple of dollars to us does not mean much, but can mean the world to them.

I think the overall message is "Haggle with Care"

Have a blast on vaca and let the forum know how it all went when you get back.

Cheers

Grecia, Costa Rica
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7. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

GRINGO PRICING - I just want to follow a bit about this. YES it does occur but not on every day things and most tourists I do not think will ever run into it much.

This happens on things that you run into while living here, but not while visiting. Things like car repairs, or specialty work are where this typically comes into play.

Case and point, I needed to have a gate made. There was metal work and welding involved. My neighbor had basically the exact gate I wanted, he gave me the number of the guy who did his work. They tried to charge me double what they charged him for the exact same work.

Now this sort of thing does happen a lot, in that particular case I simply told them I knew what they charged my neighbor, and the price came back down to a Tico level.

Again, this is just something that happens on "services" more than it happens on items.

In terms of travel, the only time it happens is on hotels and tours. There are discounts for locals and residents here so we pay less than a tourist would staying at the same hotel. Some might think that's a bit unfair, but if you think about it long enough, it makes sense.

Cheers

Edited: 21 February 2013, 17:36
Tacoma, Washington
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8. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

If someone is asking a price I think is too high and haggling is not an option I just won't make the purchase.

Thank you for the information, perhaps the Gringo pricing is more for everyday items. When I'm on vacation I don't purchase much that I can't go without.

Costa Rica
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9. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

Probably the best idea, zsazsa.

Things in stores and shops and most restaurants will be priced in colones, so you can just figure 500 colones to the dollar and that will make it easier to "convert" in your head. The exchange rate changes all the time and it could be as low as 492, but those few colones won't make a big difference in the price.

As Inca wrote, "gringo" pricing is mostly for services and mostly for people who live here. Of course, you can expect the more touristy areas to have higher prices on many things.

10. Re: Prices at stores/farmers markets etc,

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