Have you ever been on a guided tour while you were on vacation? Whether it is a bus tour, a sport fishing tour, a hiking tour or something else, did you ever wonder what the tour guide is really thinking? They meet and interact with several groups of people every day, so they must have some great stories. Here are 10 things that your tour guide might be thinking:

Relish in a Tropical Mojito after a long forest hike
Relish in a Tropical Mojito after a long forest hike


1. Why are these people drinking?

Sure, YOU’RE on vacation – but it is just another day for your tour guide. Watching you drink while they are working is basically torture. And, is it really appropriate to drink on a zip lining tour in Costa Rica? No, no it isn’t. Some tours do lend to drinking, like maybe a wine tour or a tour of a beer factory, but keep in mind that not all vacation activities are appropriate for drinking. And if you do choose to drink against all the odds, you should know that your tour guides are probably judging you.

2. Couldn’t you have learned the language?

OK, your tour guides are likely multi-lingual – and you expect that, but you haven’t done the same? As a tour guide, you never know which nationalities you might encounter, but as a tourist, you know exactly where you are heading to and what language the locals speak. You could at the very least learn some of the local language, and some of the basic, common terms. And if you haven’t really learned anything, don’t try to speak it at all – you sound silly, it’s difficult for everyone, and your tour guides just feel bad for you.

3. What ARE you wearing?

OK, fanny packs aside, your tour guides are really wondering what you are wearing. You think it’s an adorable vacation outfit, but we think you’ve taken vacation wear too far. Wearing local clothing isn’t that awesome either, no matter how much you love it. Try just wearing your regular clothes, and you’ll actually blend in better.

Scared Tourist next to a Danger sign, Huacas
Scared Tourist next to a Danger sign, Huacas


4. Are these people from California?

Let’s all just face it: Californians have a bad reputation. Any time an American vacationer comes off rude or whimsical, it is automatically assumed that the person is from California. While it isn’t always true, you should try to keep your attitude in check while you are visiting a new place, if for no other reason than to keep Californians from getting an even worse rep.

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5. Are they CRYING?

Yes, some places that you visit on a tour do have a deep history and might be sad, but your tour guides do not want to see their customers crying. It makes them uncomfortable. You are basically strangers, but now your tour guide has to try to decide if they should pretend like they don’t notice, or if they should try to console you.

Santa Elena Nat. Park cloud forest sanctuary
Santa Elena Nat. Park cloud forest sanctuary


6. Why are we doing this in THIS weather?

Your tour guide understands that this might be an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for you, but for them it is their everyday. When they have to show up in bad weather to give a tour because YOU had to show up, it makes for a bad day. Of course, making some money is never bad but neither is having a day off for bad weather. Consider looking for an alternate adventure if the weather turns. You never know – changing your plans could change your live. OK, probably not but you could still have a great day.

7. Please don’t ask me any questions

We can do this job in our sleep. Please don’t interrupt our flow for silly questions. If you just keep listening and paying attention, your question might get answered anyway. Be patient and don’t interrupt your tour guide every few minutes.

Gallo Pinto - traditional Costa Rican breakfast
Gallo Pinto - traditional Costa Rican breakfast


8. Yeah, this is a bad time to eat

For real. Don’t eat during your tour unless it is an eating tour. If you’re eating during, say a crocodile tour in Costa Rica, you might actually end up getting eaten. That’s extreme, I’ll admit, but you could definitely attract some unwanted company. Eat before or after, but not during, your tour.

9. Why did you come on this tour if you can’t wait for it to be over?

Your tour guides can tell when you’re bored. It makes them feel bad. They start to question their talents, double check their facts, stumble over their stories. If you aren’t interested, then don’t show up. Someone else that is interested can take your spot, and you can find something else to do that day.

10 Thousand Colones - Back with Sloth in the Rain Forest
10 Thousand Colones - Back with Sloth in the Rain Forest


10. I hope these tourists know how to tip

The information that your tour guide shares with you is worth something. And that something is a decent tip. Yes, they could do the job in their sleep, but they showed up on that day and brought their A-game just for you. They got their facts right, they were on point with their jokes...they deserve a little appreciation!