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Koala Tours, Potosi, Bolivia - Overpriced & Unethical

This message is intended to warn persons travelling in Bolivia about the unfair pricing and deceptive business practices used by Koala Tours in Potosi, Bolivia.

In June of 2002, I and another traveller booked a Uyuni Salar tour offered by Colque Tours through Koala Tours in Potosi. At the time of booking, we were told that the tour price was $90 (all prices in this message are in US dollars) and that an additional $10 was required to transfer to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile, bringing the total price to $100 each, or $200 for two people.

Upon arriving in Uyuni we checked the price with Colque and were shocked to discover that the normal tour price was only $75 US and that there was no additional $10 charge for transferring into Chile. As proof of this, Colque Tours showed us a fax that had been sent from Koala Tours to their office confirming a bank deposit of $150.

While I understand that all agencies have to charge a commission for tours that are booked with another agency, a $15 (20%) commission is neither fair or warranted, and to charge an additional $10 for a non-existent transfer payment is simpy unethical. After speaking with other travelers on our tour, I learned that the normal mark-up charged by other agencies is $5.

In an attempt to rectify the situation, I contacted Koala tours and explained the situation. Although they originally agreed to refund the monies in question, they suddenly stopped responding to my email messages and, after attempting to contact them a number of times, I was forced to assume that they were no longer going to honour the agreement.

Since Koala Tours is recommended by a number of travel guides, I felt it necessary to share my experience with other travelers like you so that, at the very least, you could be aware of the fact that you will be paying an inflated price if you book tours through Koala Tours in Potosi.

Happy Travels,

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