Touts keep terrorizing bus stations in Huaraz, tourists don’t respect their reservations

¨Twice this week I had two rooms booked but my guests never showed up! Actually one couple did the next day after they told me that they were taken to another hotel in the city but found it dirtyThe Huaraz Telegraph was informed by two different hotel owners that touts keep terrorizing the bus stations in Huaraz.

The plight of disturbing touts hanging around bus stops and terminals is known among most travelers which raises the question why would someone make a reservation in the first place and then later not honour it? Already three years ago we informed our readers about a scam in the Cruz del Sur bus station which finally lead to the sacking of its administrator.  Apparently that administrator is back in charge. Unfortunately, tourists travelling to Huaraz will most likely meet with touts because until this day, there is no combined bus terminal where touts or jaladores can be locked out from.

A captador (tout) is most frequently a person with a poor education without a permanent job and is paid by agencies or hostel/hotel owners to bring in tourists, the last word being a synonym to “money”. These captadores or jaladores are trying to earn cash by providing tourists with any possible information they want to hear, transferring them from A to B and gaining commission, or selling tours and hikes. Most of them work as taxi drivers during the day and entertain close relationships with the owners of poor-reputation agencies, hostels or hotels and charge exaggerated rates for tours or treks.

As touts exist in Asian, African and South American countries, it remains unclear why experienced travelers would fall for comments like: ¨that hostel burned out last night¨, ¨that hostel is really dirty¨ and ¨my brother has a better hostel¨ and ¨I can get you a discount if you follow meHuaraz Informa briefed two years ago that captadores would be fined by the municipality of Huaraz in case of street vending or bothering tourists at the bus stations.

However, two years later and despite having changed mayor and government, nothing has improved. Those who get up early and visit the Oltursa, Movil Tours, Linea, Cavassa or Julio Cesar bus station, can witness with its own eyes that there is no one that sticks up for the visitors of our city. Once more is proven that municipal ordinances and even laws in Huaraz are not respected nor obeyed by anyone. Fining the bus companies might be a solution but again, authorities have not shown to have any interest in (improving) the tourism sector of Huaraz.

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