Next to buses, taxis will probably be your most popular form of transportation throughout Costa Rica. Taxis here are easy to find and can be an affordable and safe way to get around if you know what you are doing. Here are a few tips to make sure you don’t get ripped off on taxi rides.
As with any road based transportation in Costa Rica, you are putting your life in the hands of the driver. Most taxis don’t have seat belts, but if they do, I suggest wearing one. Costa Rica has the highest vehicular mortality rate in the world, so a seatbelt can’t be a bad thing.
That said, most taxi drivers tend to be fairly good drivers and most cab rides aren’t but a few minutes long. I don’t think you have to be scared for your life in a taxi ride, but just be ready for a mini adventure every time you sit down in one.
Protecting Your Belongings
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Although it is uncommon, taxi drivers have been known to drive off with peoples luggage in the trunk. This is a very rare activity, so you don’t always have to be afraid of putting your gear in the trunk. Just use your best judgment. If there is room in the cab, just insist on sitting with your bags.
Not Getting Ripped Off
More than likely you will always get ripped off to an extent, but there are a few things you can do to lower the amount you get ripped off. The first thing is to always take a certified taxi when available. These taxis are red or orange and have a yellow triangle on the side.
If you manage to find a certified taxi, insist that they turn on the meter. If they say it is broken, get another cab. These meters are your best way of preventing yourself from getting ripped off.
If you can’t find a certified taxi, ask your hotel how much they think a taxi ride would be to your destination. This way you know if the quoted price by the taxi driver is a rip off.
Taxi drivers often try to tell you that a hostel or hotel is booked up and try to take you to another hotel that pays them a high commission. Don’t listen to them. If they won’t take you where you want to go, just find another cab.