Around the World Drug Tourism

Travelling is one of life’s greatest joys. However, for many the intrepid explorer, cheap and available ways to elevate that joy well beyond the body’s already soaring levels of dopamine and serotonin remains a primary reason for the journey in the first place, and with that I bring you...drug tourism.
A sneaky Google of “drug tourism” will bring you countless articles on the infamous red light district of the Netherlands’ cosmopolitan capital. Despite the city’s many other charms, the thrill of getting stoned within the boundaries of the law no doubt helps to pull in the roughly 2 million tourists every year.

Where? Unless you enjoy the company of frat house jocks, oiled up European men or those wearing bum bags, sneans and wrestling with maps, I’d recommend avoiding the red light district. You can find good quality marijuana in any of the city-wide coffeeshops for $15-$30 per gram. Hash brownie, aka “space cakes”, are available for about $10 and are deceptively potent – I personally was convinced I was Indiana Jones for nothing short of four hours.

Marijuana not your cup of tea? Unless you have local friends who are in the know, the harder drugs are not easy to come by and the chance of being ripped off far outweighs the potential benefit, although ecstasy can be found easily enough in the larger nightclubs for about $20 a pill.

One is unlikely to travel to London for the drugs themselves, however due to an unquestionably decent late night scene, the quest for drugs is on the priority list for many. Ecstasy has fallen out of favour in recent years and in its place mephedrone has found its niche. Cocaine is easy enough to obtain in most nightclubs at roughly $100 a gram, and E retails at a measly $10 a pill, although the percentage of MDMA will be more than a little questionable.

Buenos Aires
With arguably one of the best nightlife scenes in the world, Buenos Aires is not a city for the light-hearted. Most clubs are only worth showing up to after 2am, and with little reason to leave before the sun has risen, a quick “pick me up” is on the agenda of many.
This being South America, cocaine is easy to obtain and won’t break the bank. If you are a large and confident male, a large percentage of the city’s taxi drivers will be your new best friend. However, for those who aren’t too eager to risk it with unsure sources, an easily available and 99% risk free (unconfirmed) option lies in waiting outside the old Milhouse Hostel. Mario, a jolly, fat, Santa-esque taxi driver is there every evening. Although you may pay more going through him ($30 a gram), and your gram may be a little short, the convenience and guarantee that he’ll have exactly what you want makes this a pretty desirable option.

Ayahuasca, a hallucinogenic plant mixture that has been taken by Amazon Indians for centuries, has started to become something of a tourist attraction. However, it isn’t one for the party crowd. It produces intense hallucinations, bowel movements worse than the gastro you got from Bolivian street food, and what many have described as a “near death experience” - which allegedly helps to cure psychological, emotional and physical problems.

La Paz
The world’s first cocaine bar, Route 36, is infamous across the hostels of South America, and you would have to avoid every other tourist in the continent to avoid hearing about it. As opposed to lowering rates in Colombia, Bolivian cocaine production is on the rise and nowhere is more evident than in La Paz. For a max of $30 a gram (depending how evident your bum bag is), the waiters at Route 36 will provide you with all you need for a coke-filled night...or week.

Opium, marijuana and yaba (speed pills) are easy to come by, and CHEAP. The best way to go about it is to arrange a local guide to take you on a trek to one of the hill villages, away from the risk of encountering officials, although this is easier done in Thailand. Laos, newer to the tourist market, has a multitude of seedy opium dens where for no more than a couple of dollars you can enjoy the tranquility of sewer-like surroundings and blissful, spaced out tranquility.


Disclaimer: Drug use in many countries is illegal, and penalties can be far harsher than those in New Zealand. Being a tourist won’t save you from the wrath of the law, and the New Zealand embassy cannot intervene in the legal processes of a foreign country if a New Zealand citizen runs into trouble. Readers should also remember that travel insurance will be voided if mishaps occur as a result of illegal drug use. Critic in no way endorses breaking the law and cautions students to be careful in their travels.

Posted 5:53am Thursday 14th April 2011 by Anonymous.