Why Resorts Are Racist Garbage

Lisa Martens
Published in
3 min readMar 24

Photo by Cory Bjork on Unsplash

I know an American woman who wanted to come to Costa Rica and stay at a resort. Since she has three kids, it made sense: No cooking, no cleaning, and no taxis. Just beach and sunshine.

She’s also Latina, and after a night there, she started to notice something.

White guests received more attention and received help faster. When she asked something in Spanish, she had to wait to be helped. When she asked in American English, hotel staff got on their walkie-talkies and made shit happen ASAP.

This is why I don’t stay in resorts. I’m not their target audience. I feel very “othered.” If the people working there are Latino, I feel like a traitor. I always wonder where my money is going.

I’ve known hotel owners who only play English music to keep locals out, or have guards preventing you from walking to a public road in the dead of night.

But once you speak English, they’re nicer to you.

Now you might be saying: But aren’t these resort workers Latino also? Yes, they are. But usually, the person on top is an American or European. And they want a certain clientele. They don’t want to walk into their hotel and see a bunch of Latinos in the lobby, especially with kids.

White with their kids? Fine. Latina mom with three kids? Another story.

Hotel owners in Costa Rica tend to think of other Costa Ricans as cheap — they want to pack their entire families into a room, and they don’t want to pay for meals or drinks…instead opting to bring a cooler of sandwich meat and beers for the weekend.

But that’s in part because hotel rooms are so, so expensive, so bringing food makes sense. And don’t locals deserve to enjoy their own beaches…bring their food, BBQ, set up a tent? You know, enjoy their own country?

When white people come and set up tents on the beach, they’re wild, free spirits. Hippies. When Latinos do it, it’s considered cheap, dirty, trashy.

There’s always the assumption that white people do it for fun and have money and are being “smart”, but when Latinos do it, they’re genuinely broke.

Resorts and large hotels are racist. They’re not made for me. They’re made for a very specific audience, and that’s…

Lisa Martens
Writer for

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