Tourist Inflated Cost in Guatemala

Tourist conspicuous consumption is inflating the prices in Panajachel, Guatemala. Tourist are welcome to pay 20 dollars for a pizza, three dollar for coffee, and other ways of proving we are not from Guatemala and rather --- you know -- special.

I boarded a boat over Easter Weekend, and decide to ask this loving Mayan Kaqchikel couple how much I was overpaying because I was a foreigner.

Panajachel, Lake Atitlan, Guatemala --- Tuesday, April 6, 2010
By Andy Graham of


It took some prodding and prying, but I insisted, and did not allow this man to evade the question.

(In Spanish of course.)

He fidgeted in his seat; he evaded the question, and finally answered.
"I am paying 25 Quetzals."
I say,
"That is the same as me!"

He pauses, looks away, I know he wants off the hook; he does not want to talk about it. I then asked,
"How much do you normally pay?"
"15 Quetzals."

He slowly looks at me and say,
"We have to pay more because there are tourists here."

I think to myself, this is not how it is suppose to work, they should have raise the price of the boat to 30 or 40 and allow him to pay his normal 15. I guess that is not the way of the world, I know what my tourist dollars did this Easter Weekend in Guatemala. They forced people who earn 50 times less money than me to pay more.

I cringe every time I see a tourist overpay, I know the end game, the inflation is not going to hurt me, because I am the privileged class.

Tourist Inflated Cost in Guatemala