It’s a well known fact that in lesser developed countries, there is a “gringo price” that is charged to foreigners which is higher than a local would pay.
Getting Our Taxi Cab in Costa Rica
Upon landing in San Jose, Costa Rica and bypassing the rental car counter that was closed, we went outside to get a taxi cab to our hotel for the night, the Aloft San Jose. As is customary in tourist spots, there were cab drivers lined up shouting prices and trying to get our business. They were all giving us flat rate costs to go to our hotel, but I knew that the price was a gringo price and told a guy we would use him if he ran the meter instead of a flat rate.
As we hopped in the taxi cab and started to drive, we got a little nervous. We knew that the hotel was right off the highway but we were being driven down a lot of residential streets. Our minds immediately went to the worst case scenario of the cab driver taking us somewhere, stopping the car and getting robbed. Luckily for us, it was just a different way of getting to the hotel, probably a roundabout way to get the fare higher. Even with the “scenic route”, the $20 quoted fare was actually $16 when the meter was run.
Throughout the rest of the trip we did a good job getting fares negotiated before we got in the taxi cab and all fares were reasonable.
A Lesson Learned
The morning that we left Costa Rica we had to get a taxi cab at 4:30am to catch our flight. We were still half asleep and did not negotiate our fare before getting in the taxi cab. The meter was not run as the driver was obviously trying to make as much money as possible. Upon arriving at the airport, we were told our fare, $25. Being exhausted and not knowing enough Spanish to challenge the price, we took it as a $9 life lesson.
Always make sure to negotiate your fare or have the driver run the meter before you get in a taxi cab in a foreign country to avoid being overcharged.