Getting around a new country can be overwhelming. What is the easiest way to get around? Is there Uber? Do I need to call for a cab? Well we can tell you that after traveling for a few weeks, we learned a lot about the transportation in Colombia!
Here is everything you need to know about taking taxis in Colombia, and how to not get ripped off!
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Taking Taxis in Colombia Vs. Uber
We can say that this is one of the only instances we've ever had where we found taxis to be much cheaper than Uber. Not to mention, Uber is illegal in Colombia! So it's a no-brainer when it comes to choosing transportation in Colombia.
Things To Keep In Mind Before Getting in Taxis in Colombia
Before just hopping in a taxi, you will want to be sure of a few things. Here are some important things to keep in mind:
1. Don't Hop in a Cab Before Making Sure It's Legal
There are many cars that are unmarked and they claim to be taxis. Never get in these, as they are not legal, and you could potentially be putting yourself in a dangerous situation.
2. Don't Hop in a Cab Before Setting the Price
This is key when getting transportation in Colombia. Taxi drivers will never put on the meter, nor will they offer you a rate to begin with. If you decide to hop in and ask the price after you've ridden, you have now given up your right to a fair fare.
Taxi drivers will most likely try to charge you up to 10 times what the price really should be!
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When asking a price for a taxi, the driver will always start very high, so the first instinct would be to negotiate the price. You will end up agreeing on what seems to be a fairly decent price, and you may even think you are getting a stellar deal. The Truth? You're wrong!
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The Cheapest Transportation in Colombia
Like we said, a taxi driver will never offer to turn the meter on. In fact, most will fight against you in the matter. "It will be cheaper without the meter" or "My meter doesn't work" are two statements you will hear over and over again.
This is not true, or the cabs wouldn't be allowed to operate. Kindly tell them to put the meter on, and if they refuse or have an excuse, just get out. Here's why:
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Taxis in Colombia are Cheaper by the Meter
The reason taxi drivers don't want to use the meter, is because the rates of taxis are extremely low in the country. The taxi drivers rely on making a much greater amount of money by simply ripping off tourists.
Be Aware: You Still May Get Ripped Off
So now you're in the taxi and you have the meter on, but that doesn't mean you're safe from overpaying! This is the key part of not getting ripped off.
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Taxis in Colombia Have Meter Guides
There is actually a laminated paper with a chart of all of the prices for the distance traveled, and for how much exactly you should be charged. See below:
Simply keep an eye on the number, and it will correlate with the price that you need to pay. There are no extra surcharges, so make sure to pay exactly what the chart says.
It is always better to pay in the local currency. If you have US dollars the current rate is about 3,500 pesos to 1 USD.
The charts include all of the official details of the driver, and the police are really on top of the taxis in Colombia, due to many people getting ripped off.
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Taking Taxis From the Airports in Colombia
If you happen to arrive late and there are no buses running, then private transportation will be exactly what you need to take. Many times there will be people claiming that there are no metered taxis. People will bombard you and offer to take you to the city. This is exactly what happened to me in Medellin, so there is a way to avoid being in an uncomfortable situation.
Here are a few different rides that you can book in advance from different airports throughout Colombia:
- Bogota Airport to Bogota City
- Medellin Airport to Medellin City
- Cartagena Airport to Cartagena Center
- Barranquilla Airport to Barranquilla City
- San Andres Airport to Your Hotel
- Cali Airport to Cali City
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Now you have all you need to know to confidently travel with private transportation in Colombia! This applied throughout the country, especially in the big cities. If you find yourself in a rural area and you clearly see there is no meter, then that's where your negotiating skills will come into play.
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Carry cash on you and keep your wits about you! Colombia is a beautiful country, and although there can be some corrupt people, the police are there to protect you. As long as you are knowledgeable and confident than you will do great!
Want to learn more about some cool spots to visit in Colombia? We also have plenty other guides for the best places to visit around the country.
Looking to plan your next trip? We're here to help! Unlike normal travel agencies, we strive to save you money instead of taking a percentage of the sales. Want to learn more? Check out the details of our Travel Planning Packages.
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