Overcharging tourists is nothing new

The cost of admission to milongas increases once or twice a year without fail.  About twelve years ago, there was one milonga charging a higher entrada to foreign visitors than local dancers.  That policy didn’t help the bottom line and word got around.  It’s widely known that teachers don’t pay an entrada, supposedly because they bring their students, which most do not.  It’s only logical that the milongueros viejos who are the best dancers in Buenos Aires gain entrance without charge wherever they go.  Foreign female visitors come to Buenos Aires specifically to dance with the milongueros.

I thought that this policy of overcharging tourists at the milongas wasn’t around anymore until a friend mentioned that she was told the entrada was 235 pesos.  She had been away from the city for several weeks, and knew that 100 to 235 was an outrageous increase.  The cashier knows who the locals are and who the foreign visitors are.  My friend is a foreigner, living many years Buenos Aires.  She wasn’t about to pay 235 pesos, and ended up paying the general entrada of 120 pesos when she questioned the cashier.

What can you do if you are a newcomer or a returning visitor to the milongas in Buenos Aires?

  • write the organizer asking the price of the entrada when you make a reservation.  All milongas have FB.
  • ask me or your friends about the entrada at various milongas
  • wait to see how much others in line pay, and then pay the same.
  • have bills for the exact amount ready to pay the entrada (like a regular) without asking the cashier.  Very few milongas put a sign on the desk announcing the general entrada.

This same cashier, who was unsuccessful in overcharging my friend, quietly avoided giving me change one night when others distracted my attention.  We don’t know if the organizers are aware of the situation.  It’s not about the money, when the entradas are less in Buenos Aires than in many countries.  It’s the discriminatory policy charging unaware foreigners more than the local dancers and then pocketing the extra cash.

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5 Responses to “Overcharging tourists is nothing new”

  1. R. Bononno Says:

    Well, that’s pretty terrible. One thing I can say about the local scene – we welcome visitors and no one gets overcharged.

  2. Lina Says:

    I have never experienced this. I have been to Buenos Aires ten times. Always felt welcomed in milongas.

  3. Janet Rieck Says:

    Nothing like biting the hand that feeds you. Bad business practice. No wonder the milongas are closing,

  4. jantango Says:

    How would you know that you weren’t overcharged during your visits? Tourists are as welcome as locals because they help keep the doors open.

  5. jantango Says:

    This post is about one person who is trying to make extra money for herself by overcharging tourists who aren’t prepared. I wanted to let people know. Milongas are closing for a variety of reasons, a primary one is lack of suitable venues with affordable rentals. From 134 in 2000 to 78 in 2017. Lo de Celia is on the endangered list because of poor management. I won’t be surprised if it’s closed by the end of the year.

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