Costa Rica Scam: Liberia Airport
I have to confess, I’ve been scammed in most of the countries I’ve visited. Whether it’s paying ‘tourist prices’ in overpriced markets, or having my cheap ‘local guide’ demand money to guide me back out of the medina he’d just guided me into, I kind of consider it the price of being adventurous.
However, in Costa Rica, I encountered a scam that was completely new to me. We were traveling to Playas del Coco as a large group – six adults and three children – and had pre-booked a van to transport our group from the Liberia airport to our condo in Playas del Coco.
We were tired and distracted when we arrived in Liberia, especially since my son was sick, and being a handful, and none of the kids had slept well the night before or napped on the plane. After retrieving our bags, we exited the secure area. As we were walking into the main area, several men were waiting, calling out names of parties. We heard our name called, and “party of nine”, so we went over to the fellow. He loaded our luggage onto a cart, and took us out of the airport.
…where our van driver was waiting, with our name and “party of nine” written on a card. So who was the guy with our luggage?
Being such a large group, and disoriented from hours on the plane, communication between us wasn’t stellar, and the completely unnecessary ‘porter’ managed to wrangle a tip from one of us before we all realized it was a scam.
However, in the grand scheme of things, it was a fairly cheap and harmless scam, and I guess a little lesson learned.