When we arrived in Puerto Montt we had made a reservation for a tour to the island of Chiloe for the next day. So we were ready and waiting at the 9:30am pick up time only to wait for 55 minutes for the van to finally pick us up. We decided we would either get a discount or go on our own and not put up with the lack of professionalness of this tour company. We get in the van and the guy that sold us the tour was going person to person asking for the final payment. We gave him 10USD short of what we owed him for the 4 of us. He asked for the rest and we said no, and that he was basically an hour late and it was unacceptable. I jumped in and asked if he spoke English, he said yes, so I went off and told him this would never happen in the U.S. and if it did, we would receive a discount. He responded by saying Chile isn’t the U.S. and this is how things work in Chile. Okay, great excuse! If only I could speak my mind super quickly in Spanish!!
Pablo continues to refuse to pay him so he asks Pablo his name and then introduces Pablo to the entire van (about 8 other people) and explains how he wants a discount. Pablo wasn’t embarrassed and just waves to everyone. We explain that we either get the discount or get out of the van, no big deal, so he, get this, ASKS IF WE ARE JEWISH? I’m seriously in shock by this point and ask if this is seriously a professional tour company?!?! Pablo says he is Jewish and still refuses to pay. Finally the money collector gets off the van at his office location without his extra 10USD and we continue on the tour. He had to accept that we wouldn’t pay because the driver/tour guide was not even a part of his company and he had already paid him, so whatever money he lost would be his personal loss. “The customer is always right” does not exist in Chile and I guess “try to guilt and embarrass your customer into giving you money you don’t deserve” is the new thing. (Tip: Don’t book a tour with Franco in Puerto Montt)
This is kind of a cultural point in Chile that really bugs me. Chileans seem to accept things when they are less than promised (Edit: “Promised” is the point here, I’m not saying that Chileans should ask for more, I’m just saying that if a tour says they will pick you up at a certain time, one should complain when it doesn’t happen). An hour late for a tour they paid for? No problem! Bad expensive meal? Please bring more! And the horrible cycle continues and some companies or employees can get away with being mediocre. I think this explains the some of the poor customer service I’ve seen in Chile. If only Chileans knew their rights and spoke up, maybe things would improve and be more efficient, whether it be restaurant food or tours. It is so frustrating!!
The rest of the tour was great. We saw a lot in very little time. Hitting up Ancud, Dalcahue, and Castro and getting back to Puerto Montt around 10pm (on the map, Puerto Montt is a short ferry ride and short drive north east of Ancud)
Here are the pics:
A traditional dish of Chiloe, Curanto. They cook everything underground with smoldering coal for a few hours.
A tiny island off the coast.
A super old canon
Most of the boats were sitting on land because the tide was down at the time.. pretty crazy.
A fresh fish and ceviche market..
There was a wedding going on in the historical church in Castro.. had to snap a shot. And I wasn’t really invading, since I didn’t see any other professional photographer.