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THE CAB IN SAN JOSE

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COSTA RICA by KRISS on 04 december 2015

THE CAB IN SAN JOSE You can get ripped off by cabs in San Jose, Costa Rica and this is what happened to us recently on our way back from Puerto Viejo.

Just so you know, the normal fare for a cab ride from or to the airport to or from the bus station is about $30 which is already a rip off in itself but this is not the purpose of this post to drag on about excessive prices in Costa Rica once again.

We took the bus from Puerto Viejo to San Jose which was a shorter ride than on the way to (5 hours instead of 6 hours).
As soon as the bus stopped at the station in San Jose taxi drivers forced their ways in the bus to ask people if they needed a ride even before anyone had had the time to get out.
I left the bus behind the rest of the family and by the time I was accepting one driver’s offer, Kate made a sign that she had already said yes to another.
I enquired about the rate and the driver told be not to worry because he would put the taxi meter on (which usually results in more advantageous fares).
We jumped into the cab and I chatted with the kind driver all the way to our hotel which was 5 km from the airport.
The guy seemed genuinely nice and understood we were leaving his beautiful country because we couldn’t afford to live here because of the high price overall.
We discussed about many other things and at some point I checked the taxi meter which was awkwardly placed in the cab.

We were a few minutes from arriving and I knew there was going to be some trouble, I patiently waited for the cab to deliver us to the hotel before making any fuss.
The taxi meter read 22000 CRC ($44) by then.

By the time he parked it was reading 33500 CRC ($67) and I pretended to naively ask how much I had to pay him.
The driver simply answered to check the meter.
I asked him if it was broken and he replied it wasn’t.

That’s when things started going funny.
I told him the normal fare was $30 and that anyways all the money I had left on me (which was true) was 16500 CRC ($33) which I was glad to pay but not a cent more.
The driver started to get angry and immediately lowered his price to 25000 CRC.
I said I would go to the reception to get 10000 CRC but instead told the story to the receptionist who followed me outside.
The taxi driver lowered again to 20000 CRC but the hotel receptionist told him to go away or he would report his taxi to the police.

The driver angrily took my money and drove away.
I politely said thank you nonetheless without even any sarcasm in my doing so.

Had it not been for the receptionist I would not have paid a penny more but things could have got worse and this is the kind of situation you want to avoid in central America travelling with your family.

My advice to anyone traveling anywhere is to be confident in saying NO firmly but with a smile any time you see fit and not be afraid to ask and make people repeat before you do anything.
This is a poor country and being a white boy in there (especially with a family) will get you looked at as a tourist, a rich walking wallet and if it’s not the case, well tough for you because you’ll be categorized as such anyways.

.

COMMENTS

2 comments

Andrey on 2016-02-25
This saddens me to read, I am really sorry this happened to you. I really hope you can see that the taxi driver does not represent who we are. I am sure that if you went to Costa Rica was probably because you read or heard great things about the country, while yes I admit from what I have heard, if you are not native you will end up paying more in some places. Once again, I am sorry you went through this problem, other than that I hope you were able to enjoy the country, and like we ticos say, Pura Vida!

Kriss on 2016-02-25
Hola Andrey, thank you for your comment. To be honest I was very sad to leave Costa Rica because I knew I was going to miss the wonderful nature that somehow made me feel where I had to be. But I think we perhaps traveled to the wrong side of the country for us. We wanted to tour the whole of Costa Rica but hadn't anticipated the high cost of doing so. You know, cons and people who try to rip you off are perhaps even much more common from where we come from (Europe) so this misadventure with the cab couldn't have put me off. We wish one day we will travel again to Costa Rica because I feel like I have seen 5% of what I was supposed to see !

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