TRAVEL BY TAXI

 

GENERAL INFORMATION & HELPFUL TIPS 

In Acapulco,  taxis are plentiful  -  especially along the city's main arteries,  La Costera Miguel Alemán and Avenida Cuauhtémoc,  in the bay areaand overall,  they are considered to be a safe mode of travel at any hour of the day or night.  Being able to identify the city's different types of taxis  -  and knowing some of the general rules-of-thumb  -  will come in handy for most travelers,  especially first-time visitors.

One should first understand that Spanish is the city's primary language;  and though there are many taxi drivers in Acapulco who now speak and understand English (to some extent),  there are just as many who don't.  Because it's their livlihood,  some drivers may give the impression that they understand your English  -  when in actuality they may not fully comprehend what you're saying or asking.  Keep in mind,  however,  that the vast majority of taxi drivers are hardworking men who will make every effort to communicate with you,  treat you fairly,  and get you to your destination as safely and quickly as possible;  and on occasion,  it may require some patience and reciprocal effort on your part.  Consider it to be a learning experience  -  and most times everyone ends up satisfied;  but before getting in the cab,  be sure that you've reached an amenable agreement on the fare and that the driver clearly understands where you want to go.

Tip:  Carry a small pocket-sized notepad  -  or even just a piece of scrap paper  -  and a short pencil or pen.  Then,  whenever necessary,  you can jot down the name of the place you're going to (be it a restaurant,  a store,  a beach,  a hotel,  or some other attraction),  the name of the street (if you know),  and what you're willing to pay (specifying Pesos or U.S. Dollars);  and hand it to the driver.  It won't take more than a few seconds to do this  -  and the driver will appreciate your honest effort.

Hailing a taxi in the bay area is relatively easy.  Simply standing by the curb,  with or without a raised arm,  will frequently draw the attention of several drivers in a matter of seconds;  and it's very common for taxis to swerve toward the curb,  tooting their horns,  if they sense that someone's waiting for a ride. 

Being as how none of Acapulco's taxis are metered,  it's always best to ask the fare to your destination before you hop in  -  politely negotiating the rate if it sounds too high.  The majority of drivers want (and need) your business and will rarely pass up a reasonable fare;  but if you feel that a fare is too far out-of-line,  simply say  'no gracias',  smile,  wave him on,  and hail another (or walk a few feet to the next waiting cab).  Note that all taxi rides,  with the exception of colectivos [see below],  are private  (i.e. drivers will not stop along the way to take on any additional passengers) and that fares are per ride,  not per person.

Tip:  After sunset,  tourists may be quoted slightly higher cab fares all around  -  but more so late at night (after 11:00pm,  when the local buses stop running).  While not all taxi drivers inflate their fares as such,  many do;  but the same general rules apply and tourists shouldn't be too shy to negotiate for the best possible fare.  Likewise,  during the crowded Christmas/NewYear holiday period and springtime's 'Semana Santa',  it's not uncommon for taxi fares to increase across the board (just as hotels capitalize then by raising their room rates).

Some drivers work independently,  and own their cabs outright  -  and sometimes two or more drivers have a mutual 'sharing agreement',  to cover the streets round-the-clock.  Others,  those who don't own their vehicles,  are employees who might typically work a set shift for a certain pay.

With regard to tipping,  many foreign travelers are unaware that it's not as common a practice in Mexico as it is,  for example,  in the United States.  Taxi drivers in Acapulco are usually paid the agreed-upon fare after the passenger(s) have exited the vehicle;  and they have no expectation of a tip.  However,  in Mexican cities which have become popular vacation spots (Acapulco included),  foreign visitors typically do as they would in their own country  -  and add a tip to the cab fare.  While most drivers will be very appreciative of a tip (and there's certainly nothing wrong with the gesture),  travelers from the U.S. often have a tendency to over-tip  -  just as they do in restaurants.  Generally speaking  -  if a driver has given you a fair quote,  engaged you in some helpful or friendly conversation,  and/or shown himself to be a decent hardworking human being,  a small tip of several pesos (or even ten,  if you like) is sufficient enough to express your gratitude.  Though almost every cab driver will accept U.S. paper currency,  it's more advantageous (for the traveler) to pay with Mexican pesos.  On that note,  it's also rather important that you carry some small-denomination bills or coins  -  as many drivers will likely refuse to accept large bills (or say that they're unable to give you change).  With either currency (U.S. or Mexican),  one should also be advised that if a bill is ripped or written-on or missing a corner,  the driver may reject it  -  and most will.      

 

Acapulco Taxi

 

THREE DIFFERENT  'TYPES'  OF TAXI SERVICE

Throughout the city and even into the outlying tourist and beach areas northwest and southeast of the bay,  travelers have several taxi options from which to choose;  and it's virtually impossible for anyone,  at any time,  to find themselves stranded.  Taxis generally fall into one of three categories:  economy taxishotel taxis,  and colectivo taxis.  A separate travel article offers a full discussion regarding independent  private drivers  in Acapulco (which is a fourth option)  and can be found at the following Trip Advisor webpage:  Private Drivers & Tour Guides . 

'Economy'  Taxis:

In the city proper,  from one end of the bay to the other,  one can't help but notice the hundreds of blue-&-white Volkswagen Beetles zipping along the Costera and maneuvering through just about every side street.  As a rule,  these  economy taxis  are cheaper than the larger sedan-style hotel taxis;  and as a group,  they are the most visible and most frequently used mode of transportation in Acapulco.

For travel within the city,  a general rule-of-thumb is this:  if your destination is somewhere along the main boulevard (La Costera),  offer 30 pesos and settle for a bit more if you have to  -  up to 40 or 50 pesos at most;  and if you're going north into one of the city's colonias  or  to a more distant location  or  from one end of the Costera to the other,  offer 45 to 55 pesos  -  and settle for up to 75 if necessary,  depending on the distance.   Having some basic knowledge of the city's layout  -  and where places are located along the Costera  -  can prove to be most helpful.  Some repeat visitors eventually become comfortable enough to  'do as locals do'  ...  hail a VW,  hop in,  state their destination,  and pay  'an appropriate fare'  on arrival  -  typically with no questions asked.

With the passing of time,  Acapulco's humble 'VW Bugs' are aging fast;  and though still plentiful and certainly in the majority,  their numbers are slowly beginning to diminish.  With the demise of the original Beetle in 2003,  the city has begun to see the emergence and increasing prescence of small Nissan-style sedans zipping along the Costera,  though the fares remain comparable to that of the VW  -  and some even offer air conditioning.

Note:  VW taxi-cabs do not offer air-conditioning.

'Hotel'  Taxis:

The city's larger more-comfortable sedan-style taxis,  often parked in front of hotels,  aren't as numerous in the bay area as the VWs;  yet there are more than enough to accommodate travelers' needs.  These taxis command higher rates (as much as 50% more,  on average);  and some won't budge without a minimum fare,  even if one's destination is only a quarter-mile away.  Though all of the same general rules apply to hotel taxis as well,  drivers may not be as receptive or flexible (as their VW counterparts) when one tries to negotiate a fare.  Some tourists gladly move about the city during daylight hours in VW taxis,  hopping from one place to the next;  and at night,  especially when heading out to dinner,  they often choose to spend a few extra pesos for an air-conditioned ride in a hotel cab.   

Note:  While almost every hotel taxi has air-conditioning available,  not all drivers will turn it on.  Travelers would be wise to discuss  'an air-conditioned ride'  (if that's what they want or expect) when inquiring about or negotiating the fare.

Tip:  Sedan taxis stationed in front of hotels or condominium buildings  -  some of which might actually have the hotel or condominium name emblazoned on their vehicle  -  commonly offer  'set fares'  to certain popular destinations.  Most often,  the fares are posted on a board ('Tarifas de Taxis' or 'Taxi Rates') in a conspicuous location near the entrance to the facility.  Anyone can hire the services of any 'hotel taxi' (i.e. you don't have to be a guest at the facility to hire one of these drivers).     

'Colectivo' & 'Combi' Taxis:

The smaller 'yellow-&-white' sedan taxis which operate along the Costera Miguel Alemán in town are called colectivos;  and though travelers are free to flag one down,  the vast majority of colectivo passengers are local residents.  In short,  these taxis offer shared rides.  You hop in with other passengers,  and the driver will let you out wherever you request.  The fixed fare is 12 pesos per person (rising to 13 in 2012, less than one U.S. dollar).  For veteran Acapulco visitors and those who know the city well,  colectivos are often the quickest and least expensive way to get from point A to point B (aside from boarding a local bus);  but most tourists should probably avoid them,  especially women traveling alone,  for personal-safety reasons.  Occasionally,  you may spot a colectivo carrying as many as six or seven passengers,  with young children seated on adults' laps. Standard practice is three in back seat, and two sharing front bucket seat. Some of these drivers give new meaning to the expression 'All aboard!'

Combi taxis are most frequently seen outside of the city,  in the Puerto Marqués and Pie de la Cuesta areas  -  and sometimes along the stretch of road leading to Barra Vieja.  They are usually small mini-vans (some of which aren't in the best of shape) that offer shared rides,  just like the in-town colectivos.  Overall,  combis operate in the same manner  -  though the fare is only about half the cost of a colectivo ride,   four or five pesos per person.  

 

TAXI SERVICES ALONG THE SCENIC HIGHWAY

Although the Carretera Escénica (the city's 'Scenic Highway') flanks the eastern shore of Acapulco Bay,  it's generally not thought of as being in town;  and taxi services along this stretch of road are much more limited.  There,  travelers won't see the same frenzy of VW Beetles and colectivos and buses as one would find along the Costera  -  and must generally rely on hotel taxis to bring them into the city.  As might be expected,  taxi fares from locations on the Scenic Highway are most often higher than average.  For example:  from the Hotel Las Brisas,   it's not uncommon for a typical fare downhill to the local WalMart (just a short two-mile ride) to cost as much as the peso equivalent of ten U.S. Dollars  -  and further along the Costera,  even more.  Though it's not advisable,  some travelers staying in that vicinity do cut their transportation costs by flagging down a passing VW or colectivo.  For the return ride,  however,  a less expensive fare can be easily negotiated with any taxi on the Costera. 

   

TAXI SERVICES IN  'ZONA DIAMANTE' 

Most taxi fares in the city itself are likely to be no more than the peso equivalent of five U.S. Dollars;  but for those travelers staying in the Diamante Zone  -  the area of the Mayan and Princess resorts  -  most nearby taxi rides are comparatively more expensive.  Average fares for travel to and from the center of the city are approximately the peso equivalent of US$10-$15 each way;  and given that taxi options at these resort properties are generally limited,  you may be quoted as much as the peso equivalent of US$20-25 for a one-way ride,  especially during peak travel periods.  Returning to your resort in one of the random Costera taxis will typically cost you much less (than what you were charged for the ride into the city).

 

CAR RENTALS