Gringo Prices – Real or Myth?
First, what is a gringo?
noun: gringo; plural noun: gringos
(in Spanish-speaking countries and contexts, chiefly in the Americas) a person, especially an American, who is not Hispanic or Latino.
That leads us to ‘Gringo Prices’ and what they are. If you do a quick Google search for the term, you will find it usually means that a traveler is being taken advantage of when it comes to the purchase of goods or services. I’ve talked to many of my friends before writing this post and most say that gringo prices are a real thing. I feel that it’s 100% lack of knowledge and can and does happen even in a traveler’s home country.
Gringo Prices – Real or Myth?
The biggest reason that people feel like gringo prices are real is that there is a severe lack of information about how much things should cost. We at Gringo Taxis are very transparent with our pricing. All of our rates are available before you book and are the same no matter where you are booking your trip from. However; if you go to the local public market, you will find most vendors do not have posted prices. The main reason for this is not because they are trying to take advantage of you, but because prices change quickly depending on many market factors. Such as: the highway is closed, there is flooding, strikes, etc., and prices will trend higher.
The problem of Gringo Prices
The problem of gringo prices extends to services and rentals as well. Do you need a toilet unclogged, are you are locked out of your apartment? Are you are trying to take a street taxi? If so, you will find that prices are almost random. When renting an apartment or even getting a room for the night, you may be taken advantage of, as a tourist or expatriate, it can be maddening!
The question is how can you avoid the trap? Read on….
Some tips to avoiding ‘Gringo Prices’
Don’t dress like a tourist! If you are in the market with a huge backpack, 90% of the time you will suffer price gouging.
Join Facebook groups specific to the country or city you are planning on visiting. They are an invaluable source of information and you can ask knowledgeable locals very specific questions. In Peru – Expat Support is a great place to find answers about pricing.
At the market, listen to what others are paying. Ask at multiple stalls. Walk away(you will be offered a better price). Bring a local! Haggle!
For services, request prices from at least 3 different places. If possible, have a local friend make the call for you. Always negotiate for their ‘mejor precio’ or ‘best price’.
When renting a room, home, or apartment try to use local online services. Urbania.pe, craigslist, adondevivir, etc. Get a local friend to help, if possible.
Booking a hotel room should always be done online, if possible. They can and will charge you higher rates in person. AirBnB is great in Peru. You can easily save 50% or more versus a hotel.
Using public transportation? Download TuRuta or Moovit. They will help you get to your destination with minimal stress.
Street Taxi? Don’t do it! Use Beat, Cabify, or Uber. If you still want to take a street taxi, look for one with a license plate that’s white with a yellow strip across the top. Check the price for your destination using one of the apps mentioned. That should help you have a sense of security and know the price before you try hail a street taxi.