Taxi tips and tricks in Playa del Carmen
When moving to a foreign country or even just a new city, something as simple as public transportation can be a cultural obstacle. Luckily for those of us who have made the move to Playa del Carmen, using the city’s taxi service is affordable, fast and safe; however, it takes some experience to know the best places to get taxis, what to do when it’s hard to find a taxi, and how to avoid getting overcharged. For this very reason, we’ve developed a guide teaching Playa del Carmen newcomers the ins and outs of using taxis in our beloved beach town.
Image Source: Wanderable.com
Where to Pick Up a Taxi
Finding a taxi on a sunny day in Playa del Carmen is usually a quick and easy task, no matter what part of town you happen to be in:
- Downtown Playa del Carmen: Almost any street or avenue in the Downtown area will have frequent taxis driving by during the day. If you find yourself waiting for more than 5 minutes, make your way to the nearest busy road, like 10th Avenue, 30th Avenue, Benito Juarez or the highway.
- West of the highway: In this less-touristy part of town, your best bet is to head straight for the nearest busy road. Constituyentes and Benito Juarez especially have plenty of taxis going by.
- Playacar Phase 2: Paseo Xaman-ha is an avenue circling all through the Playacar Phase 2 area, and you can typically flag down a taxi on this road in less than 5 minutes. Anything off of Paseo Xaman-ha might be more difficult.
Site taxis look just like regular Playa del Carmen street taxis, but they are more expensive and only located in designated site taxi stands. Usually, you can find them parked outside of supermarkets, right by the Playacar Phase 1 entrance, near 5th Avenue, at popular intersections, or by the ADO station on 5th. These site taxis typically charge $5 - $10 pesos more than regular street taxis, or whatever official rates they have posted, but they’re a great option if you’re carrying luggage or grocery bags that are too bulky/heavy to walk out to the road.
Another kind of site taxi can be found at Playa del Carmen resorts. Most hotels will have a large sign with the site taxi rates posted at the hotel motor lobby, and they tend to be considerably more expensive than regular taxis, mostly due to the longer distance from the hotel to other parts of the city. Typically, resort site taxi rates start around $100 pesos. Despite their higher cost, resort site taxis are often the only way to leave the hotel grounds without renting a car or making the long trek out to the highway.
Site taxi stand at Sandos Caracol Eco Resort
This relatively new Playa del Carmen taxi service allows you to simply text their number via WhatsApp texting service with your exact location, and they will send a taxi right to you! The cost is only $10 pesos more than the official taxi rate, a great deal considering they drive to your location in addition to your fare. WhatsApp Taxi is ideal for many situations, whether you’re looking for a safer taxi situation (because they document your taxi number and location), less hassle when trying to find a taxi, an easier way to get out of the house with small kids, an easy way to get around in the rain, or a way to get around when carrying heavy bags. We recently wrote up a full article on WhatsApp Taxi service, which you can find here.
The numbers for WhatsApp Taxi are (984)197-0814 and (984)138-1075. They are available 24 hours a day.
Playa del Carmen Taxi Rates
Taxi rates in Playa del Carmen are non-negotiable, so haggling is a no-no when paying your taxi driver. That being said, local taxi drivers will sometimes try to charge you extra, anywhere from $5 pesos to $100 pesos, over the official rate, assuming you won’t know any better, especially if you look/sound like a tourist. The best way to avoid being hustled is to 1) know the rate ahead of time by checking the rate sheet, and 2) ask what the price is BEFORE getting into the cab. The rates as of May 2016 are on the below sheet, organized by city zones:
**Keep in mind that going into and out of Playacar will typically cost at least $70 pesos, and taxis TO nearby resorts just outside town (like Sandos Caracol) don't have an official rate but typically go for $50 - $80 pesos from the downtown area.
Additional Tips and Tricks for Using Taxis in Playa del Carmen:
- Tipping taxi drivers is not standard practice in Playa del Carmen. However, we recommend a small tip when the driver helps you with bags or luggage.
- When possible, try to flag down your taxi in an area where it’s easy for them to pull over without blocking the flow of traffic.
- At night, try to stay in well-lit, busier areas when waiting for a taxi.
- Always close the taxi door as gently as possible; door-slamming is typically considered rude in Mexico as they worry about causing damage to the door.
- If you find a taxi driver you like, ask him for his phone number; many taxi drivers like to have additional business through loyal customers who call to be picked up. Having the number of a few reliable and honest taxi drivers is a great option for whenever you end up stranded somewhere with no nearby taxis, but keep in mind you will be charged more for the pick-up service.
- When it’s raining hard, you might just have to wait it out and accept that you won’t find a taxi until the streets dry up a bit. Many taxi drivers prefer not to take their car out when the streets are too wet (to avoid potholes and possible flooding), and there are simultaneously more people searching for a taxi in order to get home as dry as possible. If you are desperate for a taxi when it’s raining, the safest bet is to search for a site taxi stand.
- In Mexico, it’s typical for businesses and taxis to not have much change on-hand. To avoid frustration and possible overcharging, we recommend keeping plenty of exact change in your wallet.