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A word of warning

Leeds
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431 posts
103 reviews
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A word of warning

Having just come back from two weeks on Cayo Levantado I would offer a word of warning regarding the shopping trip to Samana offered by the hotel for $3.

The whole trip from start to finish was non stop harassment from start to finish and most people on the trip took refuge in a bar for most of the time as this was the only way of avoiding the hassle.

It is clearly a very slick operation designed to extract as much money from visiting cruise ships in the minimum amount of time but it was impossible to do any meaningful browsing and completely spoilt what could have been a pleasant trip.

The locals don't seem to realise that their tactics work against them as potential customers are put off by their pressure and walk away.

Bedford
Destination Expert
for Samana Province
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4,663 posts
74 reviews
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1. Re: A word of warning

We have heard the same story, Ivor. Compete waste of time. One of the features of the Zipline trip we took with Terry' Tours was the visit to a small farmers' co-op, where you could buy items like cinnamon, local chocolate, vanilla etc all at a set price, 5 dollars, so no irritating bartering, and absolutely no pressure to buy. It was all local produce or artefacts, no imported tat. Save your money for that. The zipline and barbecue on the beach were pretty amazing too.

Toronto, Canada
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9,090 posts
29 reviews
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2. Re: A word of warning

That's one of the reasons I have never had an interest in cruising. You are simply game to be fleeced. It's not unique to Samana. It's best to visit towns not in a group and on non cruise ship days.

Swindon, United...
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3,859 posts
29 reviews
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3. Re: A word of warning

It's a shame that in countries where shopkeepers and stallholders go in for the harrassment style of selling they're likely to lose custom that way. We dislike people trying to pressure us into buying something.

Las Galeras...
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1,015 posts
1 review
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4. Re: A word of warning

It's a little late but, if it's any consolation for future visitors to the Samana Peninsular - especially Las Galeras - we are now working closely with our local 'vendors' to introduce them to the concept of hassle free shopping! ie grabbing people by the arm does not work. It's a slow process but we are making headway and hopefully it will spread across the peninsular!

Alberta
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282 posts
2 reviews
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5. Re: A word of warning

tda,

I'm glad to hear that vendors are being educated. I hope that this information is being shared in Las Terrenas and Samana as well, before it kills the tourism in those areas. High pressure sales really turns people off. I will be in the area early March and I am hoping to have ta hassle free vacation. Someone grabbing me by the arm would put me off buying from that vendor, even if they had something I wanted to purchase.

London, Canada
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5,568 posts
26 reviews
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6. Re: A word of warning

There are vendors right on Cayo Levantado on the way to the Public Beach. We walked by them every day for 2 weeks and never once were we hassled. A couple of times we were asked if we wanted to take a look and we just said no or that we would later and that was the end of it.......just FYI that you don't have to leave the Island to do a little shopping for souveniers

:-)

Toronto, Canada
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9,090 posts
29 reviews
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7. Re: A word of warning

Some vendors are getting the message. The onsite vendors at Cat Royal last fall were well behaved and their initial asking price wasn't ridiculous. We hadn't planned on shopping but ended up buying several things because shopping was a pleasure rather than a hassle.

england
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3,098 posts
118 reviews
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8. Re: A word of warning

Unfortunately with the rise in AI holidays the local vendors are missing out - so I am sure that they feel it necessary to rise to these tactics.

To be honest last year in sharm Egypt we did not leave the resort for two weeks... cos it was just too stressful to venture out. When we go to Greece we love to shop and spend at least and hour a day looking in shops and always come back with additional adornment for our homes lol ...

We love the Samana area but have noticed that these tactics are not usually employed out of cruise ship season, perhaps the vendors do see this as their only window of opportunity to sell, during the ships trip on shore.

When we were on a nile cruise you could not get away from the vendors when the boat was cruising lots of little kids would come up to the boat in small craft offering merchandise for sale, and were quite adept at the sales pitch and pitching the produce onto the boat ... very entertaining.

Cardiff
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1,153 posts
36 reviews
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9. Re: A word of warning

VHT, our experience with the vendors in Egypt on a Nile cruise was similar - but horrendous when embarking/disembarking from the boat - had to almost fight your way back on board -definitely a "bucket list" holiday to do before you die ...but only once!!!

The Caribbean vendors are a walk in the park compared with either Egypt or Kenya.!!!

england
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3,098 posts
118 reviews
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10. Re: A word of warning

Brewerdave we had a great time in Egypt as you say something to do before you die but the hassle you get is really horrid at times. We took Nicks Dad a gentle easy going guy who always wanted to give the kids some coins etc., Nick and I were distracted at the valley of the kings looking for a charger for the camera and lost him, only to find that he had been hussled down an alley way I really lost it with those guys - not a nice experience. However, coming from the UK we had had some experience in Tunisia and Turkey both hot spots for a little haggling - so I really quite enjoy the experience as long as it is good natured and I really want to buy something.

Bottom line is wherever we go in the world these days we feel the need to put something back into the local community and vendors should see that it is in their best interests to make it as easy as possible for us to spend our money. With most people that generally means no hassle / haggle.