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Taxi Question

Michigan
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138 posts
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Taxi Question

I am a single female meeting a group in Costa Rica. I will be arriving a day early. Is it safe for me to take a taxi by myself? Is it better to pay in U.S. dollars? Any advice? TIA!

Michigan
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138 posts
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1. Re: Taxi Question

bump

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2. Re: Taxi Question

I'm not a single remale and so not as sensitive to this issue as others might be, but I would say in GENERAL it is safe to use the OFFICIAL taxis.

They do have what are referred to as "pirate taxis", which doesn't mean they're all like pirates but does mean they're not officially registered with the authorities. I'd definitely avoid those at all costs. Sometimes they're cheaper but often they'll try to rip you off in various ways since they're unaccountable. In the case of a single female such as yourself, there is the risk that something far worse than being overcharged could happen. Besides, the amount you MIGHT save is really inconsequential compared to official taxis which are fairly cheap to begin with. So just don't do it.

The good news is that the official taxis are easy to spot. At the airport, licensed taxis are orange. Taxi vouchers (fixed prices) can be purchased at the official taxi stand located in front of the airport building. Otherwise, you can pay the driver in US dollars and it should cost about $12. Other official taxis throughout the city are red with a yellow triangle on the side.

Some more safety tips: Do not ride in the front seat with the driver. Taxis in SJ take a real beating on the city streets, but if you get a cab that really looks beat up (e.g. the driver has to wrestle with the door just to get it open) don't even get in and just wave them on. Also, its probably agood idea for you to take notice of and remember the name of the driver on the placard in front since the driver's risk of being reported is your best defense. Also insist that they use the meter (a not uncommon tactic some use to overcharge their passengers) and that its working. Most driver's do not speak much if any English so having a hotel card with directions printed in Spanish is often helpful. It still surprises me how many SJ taxi drivers seem to not even know their way around town as much (or little ) as I do.

After all these warnings, you might wonder why I say its still safe but it really isn't as bad as it may sound. Most of my recommendations are just common sense that could be equally well applied to taking a cab in the US. Another possibility if you're still uncertain is to hire a driver for the day. There are several reliable and recommended drivers whose names you will find on this forum and with whom you will have nothing to worry about as they wouldn't want word getting back here to kill the golden goose.

Tampa, FL
Destination Expert
for San Jose, Costa Rica
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2,234 posts
1 review
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3. Re: Taxi Question

Oh yeah, one more thing. If taking taxis around town paying in colones (the local currency) is probably better. Fares are denominated in colones. You'll usually get a fair exchange rate if you pay in dollars but it just adds another way the cabbie could try to bump up his earnings. Also always have smaller bills as cabbies will often claim not to have change for bigger bills. Most fares within SJ should run less than 1000 colones (about $2).