Airport Taxis in Cheap Countries

When you travel, it’s often apparent whether you are in a cheap destination or not as soon as you get a cab from the airport. I was reflecting on this last night as I bought my 127 peso official taxi ticket in the Mexico City airport. Last year at this time that would have meant a shade over $12 U.S. Now with the peso over 13 to the greenback, that comfortable ride from the airport to the very center of the city cost me less than 10 bucks.

I also just paid $10 in December to go from Lima’s airport to Miraflores, and only $3 to get from the airport to the center in Cusco. (OK, a little bargaining was required on that one.) You’ll also pay around $10 or less in Bangkok, Saigon, Kualu Lumpur, or Kathmandu.

Now compare this to the more expensive cities in the world. An airport cab in Madrid or Paris will usually run you at least $40. To get from Heathrow to central London can set you back 60 pounds, which is $80 to $120 depending on exchange rates. The long airport ride in Japan can top $200. (You can find sample fares for specific routes on some of these at worldtaxifare.com, though be advised this only works for fares TO the airport. Most of the city governments or airport authorities tack on additional fees for taxis FROM the airport, just as my greedy one does in my own home town.)  

In fact, you can get a cab from an airport to a neighboring city in much of Latin America for what it will cost you to get from the airport to the city center in most of Europe or the U.S. Guatemala City to Antigua, for instance, or the Leon airport to Guanajuato in Mexico.

In places where tourists seem to outnumber the locals, all bets are off of course. You will pay $8 for a taxi in Merida, in the Yucatan state of Mexico, but you will pay $30 or more (depending on your bargaining skills) to get to your vacation factory hotel in Cancun. Same goes for Ixtapa, Cabo San Lucas, or Puerto Vallarta.

As usual, avoid the tourist hordes and your wallet will thank you.

Comments
  1. Alexander Basek

    Hi Tim,

    When I was there in October, KL cabs cost about $20 from the airport, not $10. Also, they were the only cabs in the whole of the country that use their meters, but that’s another story.

    On the high end, don’t forget the price of the water taxi in Venice, which usually hovers around 100 euro.

  2. I gave up years ago on the idea of walking out of customs and getting an airport taxi. What I normally do is go up to the departure area and walk out and grab a taxi that has just dropped off another passenger who is leaving on a plane. Also when I am on the plane, I am always asking the price of the taxi to the area of the city I want from the locals on the planes. Those two tips will cut all those price in half. I have traveled perpetually for over 10 years and visited 79 countries. I am in Pucallpa, Peru today, January 2009. Thanks from Andy of HoboTraveler.com Travel Blog

  3. Marie Javins

    I was just reflecting the other night on how when I was in Bolivia and Peru last week, I caught taxis to and from airports and paid very little for them. I ate like a king at fine restaurants and could afford lots of cool stuff.

    Then I got home, got off the plane at LaGuardia, and caught the M60 bus. Cuz a taxi in these parts would set me waaaay back.

  4. tim

    Thanks for the great comments and advice everyone. And Alex, I must admit I got my KL info in late November and early December when working on my book update, when the exchange rate was better than when you were there. Sorry!

  5. Chris fernandes

    Hi
    I have tried Hummingbird Cars http://hummingbirdcars.co.uk/index.php
    For London airport Transfer and they are pretty good and Affordable. They Provide Transfers from all the five London Airports: Gatwick, Luton, London City, Stansted and London Heathrow Airpots. They have very well behaved Drivers who respect their customers. They also provide a MEET and GREET Service. They have well maintained Saloon, Estate, People Carriers (MPV’s) and large Public Carriers.
    They also dont hike their prices anytime they have standard prices throughout the year. They also provide good discounts on bookings.

    Chris Fernandes

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