F**k the Gringo

Arcadas Entrance at NightThere have always been clip joint strip clubs in San Jose, and as long as there are suckers, (1 born every minute, they say) there will always be. But back in the day there was a pretty clear difference between the clip joints and the “honest” places.

I have never been to any of the clubs that I was warned about, such as Atlantis, Tango India, Hollywood, Elite and a few others I can’t recall. I have just heard enough stories to avoid them. Instead, when I was in the mood, I would visit places whose prices and policies were reasonable, as such places went.

Among those were Arcadas, Monaco, and Las Margaritas, which were (relatively speaking) modestly priced. A bit more expensive but still not clip joints would be Pantera Rosa, Alcazar, Nicole/Josephine’s and Le Grillon. Unfortunately, Arcadas, Monaco, Las Margaritas and Nicole/Josephine’s are now all owned by the same folks. There have been changes in all of these clubs, and other than some remodeling in Las Margaritas, none of the changes have been for the better. Prices have been raised, and Monaco now requires a cover charge, unlike before. The “quality” of the chicas in any of these places hasn’t changed in any noticeable way.

Still, it’s management’s decision how much it wants to try to charge and the customer’s decision if he thinks it’s going to be worth it. But on a very recent visit to Arcadas “Internacional,” I witnessed a nasty change in policy that is a pretty obvious attempt to screw gringos.

It had been years since I had taken a chica upstairs. A friend I was with took a liking to one of the girls there, but he spoke no Spanish, so I ended up interpreting. The last time I asked, I think the price of a half hour was around 15k colones, with an hour being somewhere in the mid 20s. Therefore I was stunned to hear the chica quote me a price of $80 for an hour. My first thought was that the girl was trying to rip off my friend. Using the current exchange rate of 528 colones to the dollar, it came to over 42k colones, or 21k per half hour. Up until that night, hourly rates were always less than 2 times the half hour rate.

271110235_ebc26bf5c4I had one girl I had known for several years who was there that night, and I asked her what the price was for a half hour. She said it was 17 thousand. I asked for the hourly rate, and was surprised to hear it was 34 thousand, or exactly the price of 2 half hour sessions. She then told me the price in dollars, and to my amazement it was $80, just as the first girl said. So in addition to doing away with the discount for an hour versus 2 half hours, the bar was pocketing a hefty 8000 colones just in the exchange rate gyp, or around $15. Considering that there are places where you can get a half hour of full service for about that much on Calle 6, it seemed a pretty hefty “gringo tax.”

And really, unless your negotiating skills are atrocious, you should be able to have your pick of dozens of Del Rey hotties for $80 an hour. I will be honest here and say I wish the owners of the aforementioned strip clubs all the LACK of success in the world. I certainly don’t plan to visit again. F*** ’em!

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