A while back we received feedback from a guest that was very positive about our services, but extremely critical of Costa Rica for charging higher entrance fees for tourists than for locals. I promised to think about it and respond.
Before I do so I’d love to know what you think. Should destinations like Costa Rica charge tourists more than locals? If so, why? If not why not? I’ll send a bag of coffee to person who sends the best answer.
Read what she has to say and let me know what you think.
“My last point deals not with CRE but with the country as a whole. We were told several times that many fewer tourists from the US were coming than had come in the past. I’m sure this is partially due to the state of the US economy. However, we felt almost as though we were being robbed by the huge difference in the prices charged foreigners compared to those charged locals. The implication was that Costa Rica only wanted us there to take as much money from us as they could. The admission prices were generally noticeably higher than those charged by an equivalent attraction in the US. The National Museum in San Jose (the one in the converted fort) seemed especially expensive and provided very little content. We felt that we were being taken advantage of, since having traveled so far we would pay almost any price to see what we came to see. I don’t know how much, if any, ability you have to make comments to whoever in the government oversees this sort of thing. We are quite sure, however, that the high prices to enjoy the museums and national parks contribute significantly to the decrease in US tourist traffic. We always mention this situation to anyone who is interested in a complete description of how we found Costa Rica, as I am sure do most US citizens returning from Costa Rica.”
Actually, she makes two points. One is that charging tourists more then locals is not right. The other is that the entrance fees for tourists are a bad value..
Since the writers specifically mentioned the entrance fee at the Costa Rica National Museum, to get some perspective I checked to see what Museums charge in New York where Yolanda and I are on vacation.
The American Museum of Natural History Charges $16 for adults, $9 for children and $12 for seniors and students with ID. (Every time I ask for the senior rate I pray they’ll ask me for ID and they never do.)
The National Museum of Costa Rica charges ¢1,500 (a little under $3) for locals and $8 for Tourists.
Since the AMNH dwarfs the Costa Rican National Museum, I looked for a completely different kind of attraction. I came up with the USS Intrepid a World War II aircraft carrier that is permanently docked on the Hudson River and open for tours. Admission to the Intrepid, which includes, “access to Intrepid, Growler Submarine, and the film, Story of Intrepid,” costs $24.00 for adults, $20 for Seniors (62+ w/valid ID) and US College Students (w/valid ID). Youth (7-17) cost $19.00. Veterans cost $17.00 and U.S. Active Military, Retired US Military, and Children Under 3 are free.
I have not done the tour so I cannot opine on whether it is worth it, but I’d sure like to know how they figured out that veteran should pay $5.00 more than children from 3 to 6 and $3.00 less than seniors and college students
Then by coincidence on Memorial Day we joined a Five Borough Bicycle Club Ride to the The USS LING, a Balao class W.W.II submarine, that is permanently berthed on the storied Hackensack River in New Jersey. When we got there, we took a tour of the submarine. As is often the case, the guide was more interesting than the attraction. The tour cost $9 and lasted about 45 minutes. It was a relief to get out of the bowels of the submarine, but the guide made it worth it.