Taxis in Cancun: While public transportation is the best option when traveling around the heart of Cancun, sometimes you need to get somewhere in a hurry, such as when it's raining. Or you might need the luggage space for a heavy grocery run or when heading out to the airport, or as already mentioned, just to avoid the rain. In either case, taxis are readily available throughout the city, but there are right ways and wrong ways to use them...and get ripped off if you aren't careful.
Taxis in Cancun are affordable, and they can be found anywhere, anytime. Unless it is the dead of night on a backwater alleyway, you can generally find one within 30 seconds of needing one. Simply hail them from the side of the street with a wave of your hand. Most drivers will honk lightly and flash their lights at you if they see you standing on the side of the street and they are empty, or you just wave one down when you need it.
As of 2013 rates start at a minimum of 25 pesos for anywhere in the downtown/suburban area. It is 25 to 30 pesos from downtown to the suburbs or vice-versa. If you think the fare might be more than 25 or you are a cheapskate you can give the cabbie 25 and then if he doesn't say anything you don't have to stress. If he voices some concern about giving him a couple extra pesos, don't skimp and just hand it over.
Tipping these guys isn't expected, but just as anywhere else in Mexico the people are a very tip-friendly culture, so if you feel like it, go for it. Most people don't tip the cab drivers for general trips, but if you are negotiating a private fare (such as to/from the Hotel Zone) you will want to include a tip for services rendered.
Going to the Hotel Zone by taxi is not recommended unless you want to pay an arm and a leg. 70 pesos one-way is the lowest rate from downtown to the Hotel Zone, and it takes the same amount of time as a bus, which only costs 9.5 pesos (as of November, 2013). Always negotiate rates to/from the Hotel Zone if you are going to downtown or anywhere else in Cancun.
If you prefer calling ahead for a taxi, such as when you need to head to the airport, you can either arrange transportation through your hotel/apartment/friends (nearly everyone who you will meet in Cancun will know someone personally who drives a cab in the city; it is one of the most common everyday jobs), or you can utilize the Radio Taxi service.
They do not have a website, but you can call them at 998-840-0651 or 998-840-3746. They are reliable, and while they're slightly more than regular taxis (depending on the destination), it is an easy way to have reliable transportation when you need it if you prefer having a ride waiting on you in advance.
Taxis in Cancun can also be negotiated for on a first-name basis if you know a driver...so if you find someone who has a clean, reliable car and they are friendly, get their business card and hold onto it for a rainy day. You never know when you might need to head down to Playa del Carmen or out to the airport, and having a private driver on hand who can pick you up and give you a discounted rate will help you avoid getting hit with the "gringo tax" when you need specialized services.
The author of this article, Tim Anderson, lives in Cancun. His book offers valuable insights not only for expats, but also for those of you that would like to vacation there...short stays or for a longer duration.
For more information about Tim Anderson and his travels, visit Marginal Boundaries
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