If you have never been to Costa Rica, or any other second/third world country, you might be in for a surprise when you walk out of the airport. Don’t expect loads of people picking up their friends or loved ones. Instead, be prepared to be bombarded by cabbies, bus drives, homeless people, and the occasional drug dealer.
If you are unprepared for this it’s easy to not only be scared, but get taken advantage of. There are a few things you can do to make sure you get your money’s worth and get to your destination safely.
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- Official Costa Rica cabs are bright red and have a yellow sticker on them stating such. There are lots of privately owned taxis and “pirate” taxis. Avoid these if you can.
- Always ask the price for the ride before you get in.
- Some cab drivers will tell you that your hotel or hostel is full; don’t believe them. They are simply trying to take you to a hotel where they will get a commission from dropping you off.
- If you are traveling with a few people your best bet is to have the airport set you up with a private van. These cost about $20US total. Find the information booth once you get off the plane and the agents will handle this for you.
- Be ready for a roller coaster experience. Driving in Costa Rica probably isn’t anything like where you are from. Dodging oncoming traffic, regular use of the horn, yelling, and high speeds down one way streets are all very common practices.