The one thing there are more of than taco stands in Playa is taxis. They are EVERYWHERE! You shouldn’t have any trouble getting a taxi to pick you up in most areas. BUT there are some tricks to catching a taxi in Playa del Carmen that you might not know about. It’s not as simple as those metered taxis you’ve likely grown to expect! With the advent of Uber, we’ve gotten used to a different system of public transportation. But since Uber isn’t legal here (yet?), we’re left with the taxi system that those of us who live here have a love/hate relationship with.
To help you navigate using a taxi in Playa del Carmen, I’ve put together this list of tips!
Catching a taxi in Playa del Carmen:
- If you don’t speak Spanish, have your destination written down to show the driver. It helps if you can pull it up on your map or smartphone if (s)he isn’t sure where it is.
- If the first driver you flag has no idea where your destination is, take the next one.
- They usually fit 3-4 people maximum, unless you can flag down a van. If you need to transport more than 4, the van will often charge almost double what a car would so catching 2 cars might be easier.
- Tipping is not required especially if you don’t use the chart below. Drivers will often boost the fare for tourists. However, keep in mind that most drivers make barely a living wage, especially in ‘low season’ (April to October), so tip as you see fit.
- Taxi stands, or ‘sitios’ always charge more than hailing one off the street. If you can, walk a block or two from the main tourist areas (like 5th Ave) to avoid paying 5-50 pesos more (depending on your destination)
- Most drivers in the downtown will speak enough English to get you to where you need to go, but many won’t know enough to carry a full conversation.
- If you don’t know how much your taxi ride should be, ask before you get in. If you wait until you get out to ask, you may be surprised with the fare.
- Use the chart below- print it off for ease of use- to figure out your rate. Easiest way to avoid overcharging is to know the rate and just give it to the driver when everyone is out of the car. (The $35 peso routes are often quoted as $50-80 pesos if we ask. When we handed 35 pesos, nothing was said to the contrary.)
- If you do ask the rate before getting in, don’t be afraid to wave for the next one if you don’t like the price. He’ll either lower his price, or drive away so you can bargain with the next driver.
- If you are staying outside of the chart below, ask at your hotel what the price of a taxi will be.
- Tourists often pay more than locals (this is true for many things in Mexico, thanks to a locals ability to bargain in Spanish), that is why knowing the price ahead of time or using the chart below is helpful.
Do you have any tips to share? Any stories about taking a taxi in Playa? Comment with them below!