The guides used on our tour, an older gentleman and 2 younger men are not paid for their work. One of them shared with me that they were asked to work for free with the hope that they can get tips. The man said they agree because even with tips, it helps them financially survive. He told me this while we were watching my kids wade under the small waterfall. After he told me this, my heart sank. I could not enjoy the rest of the ride. I told him we paid $70 per person for the excursion, and asked if I misunderstood, that he was not paid anything out of the $70 per person we paid. He said again he is not paid. I told my fellow companion, and she too was distraught. After our 1 hour ride, they brought us to the home of the owner where they provide a "dinner". My friend point-blank asked him if it is true that the guides are not paid any salary. After a couple of seconds of dead silence and going pale, he confirmed that it is true that they are not paid. We ended up giving them a much larger than normal tip because we felt so bad for them. This was an unexpected cost to the tour so in fact, we paid much more than $70 per person. The tour was advertised as 4 hours but it was only about 1 hour including 30 minutes we spent at the water fall. About 30 minutes each way drive to the place as it is not that near the hotel area of Manuel Antonio. Another hour spent on having the included "dinner". I would have preferred they not offer a "dinner" and instead let us ride as that is what we paid for after all. The "dinner" was more of a snack or child-menu dinner. It consisted of 3 string beans about 2 inches long each, 3 wafer-thin strips of carrot, 3 pieces of squash 1 inch long each, about 1/2 cup rice, and 1/2 cup of some chicken mushroom mush. Our kids were not privy to our conversation with the guides, so they had a great time. I'm not saying the ride wasn't fun, because it was. It was just not worth the amount of money spent, and definitely not worth contributing the the abuse of their employees. Find a reputable company that pays their employees.
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