The word “Tucateca” is ubiquitous on social media and even in popular travel guides.
Yet, for tourists who live and work in Costa Rica, the word is not a thing of the past.
“Truciales” are people who, by word of mouth, have been to the country and they know the locals, the local cuisine, the beaches, and the people.
And if you’re looking for something new, they can be downright charming.
“They don’t really talk to the tourists, they just say things like, ‘oh, this is good.
I saw this in Costa Rican restaurants.’
And it’s just a really cool way of communicating, ‘this is a tourist spot,'” said Melissa Hirsch, a Costa Rican journalist based in Miami.
And that’s exactly what happened to a couple of local men, when a couple vacationing in the beautiful Costa Rican resort town of Punta Cana, stumbled upon a fake tourist review posted on Facebook.
“The guy in front of me on the street told me that they didn’t have a restaurant, that they don’t have the right to eat here, and then he showed me pictures of the food they had in their hotel,” said Hirsch.
“I just couldn’t believe it.”
And the photo they posted to their page showed that the couple had booked a room for four people at a hotel that was actually a hotel and not a restaurant.
They were in for a shock.
“We had a little bit of a scare because we were expecting a tourist review, but we were very careful,” Hirsch said.
Hirsch’s husband and the two other tourists who were there at the time shared their story on her Facebook page.
They said they had been to several hotels in Costa Rico and that they thought the reviews were fake because they were posted in a local newspaper.
Hinshe said they were disappointed and frustrated.
“It’s just that the first time I saw it, it was really funny, but now I’m really, really upset,” said the husband, who also goes by “Cali,” and also goes under the name of “Pablo.”
“It was so surreal, we were like, okay, this guy is joking about being here and then we’re like, no, no.”
“You can’t really blame the hotel for what he did, because it’s a very bad idea to go on a trip that is not authentic,” Hinshee said.
As a journalist, Hinshea says she has been told that people are not as polite to tourists as they used to be. “
And that’s what I really worry about now: Is that the way the world is going to change?”
As a journalist, Hinshea says she has been told that people are not as polite to tourists as they used to be.
“People are not friendly at all anymore,” she said.
She also said the country is facing a growing problem with counterfeit tourism products.
“There are more counterfeiters, and they are more creative in their techniques,” Hines said.
The country has recently become a major market for counterfeit goods, which are also used to buy luxury goods like luxury watches, designer watches, and luxury cars.
“Costa Rica is very popular with tourists, but these counterfeit goods are really popular because they can’t be tracked, so they are easy to get,” Hops said.
A report from the International Organization for Migration in 2015 warned that counterfeit goods could be a serious problem in Costa Ricans hotels and tourism, and that the number of fake reviews had increased by about 70 percent since 2014.
Costa Rica is not the only country where tourists are being hit by fake reviews.
In 2015, a woman in Costa Río was arrested and charged with a crime for posting a fake review of her hotel in New York, and she was released without being prosecuted.
In the US, a man who was in Costa Vallarta for a three-day trip posted a fake, fake review in the New York Post, but he was soon deported.
And while some travelers are trying to stay away from Costa Rican websites entirely, other are taking it on the chin.
“If you’re a tourist, you’re going to feel that if you post something on the internet, you’ll probably be taken down,” Hips said.
And even if you do post something, you might be met with a barrage of negative reviews from Costa Rican travelers who claim that they’ve been treated poorly by the hotel.
And it could all add up to a lot of negative press for tourists.
“So, it’s not a big surprise that we’re seeing a lot more fake reviews,” Hics said.
As a result, people are starting to take action to protect themselves from the growing issue of fake tourists.
Hines and Hops are among those who are starting a new initiative to make sure that they stay away.