It looks like so called “Tour Operators” in Punta Cana have sunk to a new low. Today I have found Caribbean Route, a Tour Operator doing business within Punta Cana. You have to have a sharp eye to differential the scams from the legitimate tour operators here (they actually do exist). But these guys, amongst many others are illegal “pirates” scamming off of trusting tourists and giving the this place a bad name.
Someone at this company either read a marketing book, or looked at other legitimate and successful tour operators, and decided to copy what they do… post reviews. You see, reviews give you the feeling that the person you are about to do business with is legit. After all, you expect the owner of the company to say they are great, but when other people pledge their allegiance to the company, it makes you feel much more secure about opening your wallet and spending your hard earned money.
Well, Caribbean Route has just lowered the bar on sleazy tour operators. Let’s take a look at their review page:
Today is March 18th, and all the reviews on that page are from November 27 until December 5th. Hmmmm… they were only in business for a little over a week? What’s the deal here? Let’s look into this a little further.
The entire site is in English, but about 1/2 the reviews are in Spanish. So I have to ask, why is a English website attracting Spanish speakers and getting a very high percentage of Spanish reviews? Not to mention all the reviews are 5 stars! This doesn’t make any sense, unless they are fake.
Look at this:
Todo excelente desde la puntualidad hasta el trato. Precio justo. 100% recomendable. Si volviera lo tomaría sin pensarlo. ~ Familia Costa submitted 2014-11-29
Now, lets move on over to TripAdvisor and check something out.
Todo excelente desde la puntualidad hasta el trato. Precio justo. 100% recomendable. Si volviera lo tomaría sin pensarlo.
This person left the exact same review. He is from Guadalajara, MX, and left this review when he visited Cancun. Check it out for yourself
Just in case you think this is an anomaly, lets look at one more. Caribbean Route claims that they delivered service to Gonzalo Alvarez on July 28th 2014.
El servicio fue perfecto. Que más se puede decir? Nos esperaron en el Aeropuerto aún aún cuando nos demoramos en salir porque una de las maletas se perdió. Nos llevaron en una van al hotel muy confortable. Estamos muy conformes y el precio para cinco personas es muy conveniente.
However, low and behold, this exact same person left a review on TripAdvisor when they visited Rome from Argentina!
Servicio perfecto El servicio fue perfecto. Que más se puede decir? Nos esperaron en el Aeropuerto aún aún cuando nos demoramos en salir porque una de las maletas se perdió. Nos llevaron en una van al hotel muy confortable. Estamos muy conformes y el precio para cinco personas es muy conveniente.
Here is the exact same review from Lanza Larga from Argentina when he visited Rome last here. You can read it here.
There are even more red flags with these guys. I have never meet him, but some guy named Cesar Rosado owes this site and lives in Higuey. Lets check out his facebook page. Wow!!! 135 likes! These guys must be really popular. But wait, this doesn’t make any sense.
If I remember correctly, lets look back at their excursion pages. On their excursion pages they have one of those cute little Facebook Like button. You know, you click on the button if you like the page and share it with your friends. Well, these guys are frickin amazing!! They have over 22 million Facebook Likes!!
Bottom line, Punta Cana is a great place to spend your next vacation, but you have to do diligence, there really are Pirates in the Caribbean, and most of them live in Punta Cana.
But be careful, before you book look around. Reviews are Very important. Maybe I should say, legitimate reviews are VERY important. So make sure you check out TripAdvisor and also double check that the reviews on the site are current.
You might also want to check out their presence on social media. Do they have 100 followers, or do they have thousands? Have they been on Facebook or Twitter for a couple months, or have they been there for years!
Im sorry to say that people like Caribbean Route give everyone here a bad name. If you have any questions on the legitimacy of a tour operator here, feel free to ask using the comment section below.
Ken HarringtonPunta Cana, Dominican Republic
When I'm not traveling or hanging out of the beach, I'm a Consultant for Tour Operators in the Dominican Republic. I also dig Linux and FOSS, loath TV, enjoy cooking, and I'm an adrenaline seeking adventure junkie. I try not to take life too seriously if I can avoid it. Oh yeah, and I’m the guy that sort of keeps this site from falling apart.