A Tale of the Free Walking Tours

Today we took a free walking tour in the central core of San Jose.  These walking tours are offered around the world in major cities and the guides are compensated by a donation at the end of the tour. Our meeting point was to be at 9am in front of the National Theatre.  You can find the guide because he or she holds up a white umbrella and wears a white shirt that says San Jose free walking tour.

I did a little research beforehand to find out what people thought about the free walking tours, and for the most part they are positive reviews. However, a number of people warned that there are some scam artist fake free walking tour guides that trick unsuspecting tourists to think that they are taking the correct walking tour. These guys prowl the same area in front of the National Theatre in the morning looking for people that do not know any better.  As Lisa and I were walking to the meeting point, one of these fake tour guides approached us and asked if we were wanting to go on a free walking tour. He looked all official with a white shirt and even had some papers in a manila folder like he had a bunch of tour notes.  But we knew better. We found the right guy and during his introduction he did mention the competing fake walking tour guides but there wasn’t a whole lot that he could do.  We also noticed a second fake walking tour guide wandering around the area as our tour began.  Wow!  

Our walking tour lasted for 3 hours and we learned a lot of history and received tips for shopping and eating.  Many visitors skip out on San Jose and I admit that I had different plans for this last day on our trip. However, I was not interested in any more driving in the crazy traffic so we ended up staying the day and I am glad that we had the opportunity to learn more about the country and about the city of San Jose.  Bottom line is that this was a great tour and we would highly recommend it.

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