A friend and I recently traveled up to La Fortuna to explore and hike around Arenal. When we arrived, we soon found ourselves at Gringo Petes' Too hostel, where after a quick look around the hostel, we decided to stay. I talked with whom I believe was the manager (Seidy, I believe her name was), who promptly told us the price was $7 per person, per night. We were more than ok with the price and being quite happy with how the place looked, we paid her for the two nights we planed to stay, in advance. I watched as she took my passport information and wrote it in their registry, and then Seidy got a calculator out and explained to us how much we needed to pay. She entered $7+$7= $14 + another $14 for the second person, bringing the total up to $28 plus a $10 deposit for the towels and sheets. We paid in colones, which turned out to be exactly 19,000 colones. I asked her a few times exactly how much, and counted the amount out before I gave it to her. Once I handed the money over, she counted it and agreed that the full 19,000 was there. My friend and I then proceeded to our room, where we unloaded out gear and headed out to a swimming hole nearby,
We enjoyed our stay very much at Gringo Pete's Too. The bathroom, dorm and kitchen area were kept clean and the staff were very helpful. However, when it came to checking out, that is when the problem started. My friend and I were planning to take the 8:20 bus to Tilaran that morning, and after a quick breakfast, I got the front desk guy's attention and handed him our key and asked for my deposit back. He nodded ok and then checked their registry, where he said I owned him for one night. I looked at him a bit confused and said I had already paid for both nights. After checking his records, he again reassured me that I had only paid for one night. I asked to speak to the woman, Seidy, who had originally checked us in, thinking surely, this was a mistake and she would clarify it the moment she got in. She was not due to come to work until 8am, so I waited, hoping we would not miss the bus, especially since she did not arrive until 8:10. Before even looking at the book, and completely ignoring our "buenos dias",she agreed with the man and said I had only paid her for one night. I explained our entire check-in process to her, including exactly what we said, how she added everything up on the calculator, turned it into colones, etc. As we talked, Seidy and this other man looked at their registry and said the amount in the cashbox from the day before and their registry added up. When I argued that maybe there was a mistake, I was then called a thief by the man behind the desk, and made to feel guilty about the situations. He actually sort of raised his voice and said "quieres robar de esta mujer?" which means "do you want to steal from this woman?" and gestured toward the manager, Seidy.
After getting nowhere with the manager, I then asked my friend to talk to them. She talked with them for several minutes, where they denied again and again that we had already paid, saying several times that their registry and the cash box added up, there was no mistake. The manager, Seidy, explained that we had originally planned to pay her for two nights, but at last moment decided to only pay for one and then before we left, to pay for the second. And thus is why we were confused. However, no such conversation took place. I knew from the moment we got there that we would stay for two night and I paid for two nights without any second thoughts.
It was getting near 8:20 at this point and I was very worried we were going to miss our bus. I was also worried that if we simply left, then the manager might call the police. I explained this to my friend and after again asking the manager to see if there was a mistake and again being told there was no, they said "OOPS!" and suddenly found a mistake in the book and gave us our deposit back, saying we had indeed paid for two nights.
Now, I understand very well that mistakes can happen, everyone is human. However, I don't believe this was a mistake with the registry. They were lying to us, and therefor they were being the thieves. During the start of this "confusion" the guy behind the front desk showed me their registry book, where I saw my name with $24 written in next to it. Neither my name, nor my friends name were written anywhere else in the book, so I don't see how they found a mistake in the end. Also, they said several times that their cashbox balanced at the end of the night according to their registry. So if there was an error (as they said they found in the end), then wouldn't their cashbox have shown just that? It would have been over by $14.
Also, having worked in the tourism industry for a number of years, and having reserved many people and settled many bills, I don't see how it is possible that the hostel manager did not even recognize my friend and I, nor did she remember how much we paid. Maybe it is just me and my attention to detail, but I remember exactly how much my clients have paid and or owe.
Also, in most cases the customer is always right, and although I know customers can lie about a bill, the issue should at least be open for discussion and the customer should not be called a thief right off the bat.
So, this is my review of this hostel. Although it was clean, quiet and a nice place to stay, in the end my friend and I were called a thief. So if you want to have to argue with the management over your bill and be called a thief, then by all means stay at Gringo Pete's Too, located in La Fortuna, just up the road a bit from the bus stop. However, be sure and get a receipt or some sort of paper saying exactly how much you paid, or else risk the dishonesty of this hostel's staff.
And just to be on the safe side, any hostel you stay at, just ask for a receipt, it will save any confusion in the future.
- Also Known As:
- Gringo Pete`s Hotel La Fortuna De San Carlos
- Gringo Pete's Too Costa Rica/Arenal Volcano National Park