Costa Rica's Taxis
Taxis are abundant in Costa Rica and are ready to whisk you off to your vacation destination. Costa Rican taxi drivers are usually very friendly and honest people just trying to make a buck while providing a necessary service for tourist and locals alike. Prices are very reasonable with the base fair starting around $1.00 and an additional fee of roughly 50 cents per kilometer. Hailing a taxi in Costa Rica is a little different than what you see in the movies. The sign for "I need a taxi" is to hold your hand out about waist high and shake it when you see a taxi coming your way. All licensed taxis are red and will have a meter (called maria in spanish) Avoid pirate taxis (taxis with no meters) as they have no license and therefore don't have to obey the rules and regulations enforced by the Costa Rican government. If a legal taxi says that his meter is broken you can either negotiate a fair price or choose a different taxi.
There are orange taxis that operate out of the San Juan Santamaria Airport. These legal taxis sell tickets that must be purchase at the desk to the left as you exit the airport. The charge is based on distance to your destination and payment is made up front. Do not try to hail one of these taxis if you are not at the airport, I tried once and ended up paying over double what the fair should have been.
Taxis in Small Towns
You will find that most taxis operating in smaller towns such as Dominical, Tamarindo, and Jaco will not use the meter but give you a fixed price for your trip. While this is quasi illegal, it is standard precedure and most drivers won't over charge you.
- Always ask your hotel about free transfers to and from the airport.
- If you befriend a local that knows the area, ask if they use a certain driver.
- Only ride with people you feel comfortable with
Photo Contributed: By Haakon S. Krohn (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons