Monday 7 October 2013

Avoiding taxi scams at Costa Rica's airports (SJO, SYQ)

Backseat in San Jose, CR Taxi
"The taxi driver did not speak any English. He did recognize the name of the hotel and was able to get us back.
I took this picture from the backseat of his taxi as we zipped through the streets of San Jose, Costa Rica.
I thought the little Santas and the small shoe were interesting, as was the reflection
that I got of the front seat passenger and the driver."
randysonofrobert on Flickr

It's kind of important to have a taxi driver who speaks English, don't you think? For anyone who has been in the back seat of a cab with a driver who doesn't speak the same language, that would be an understatement. This is especially important if you are travelling to anything other than the most well known hotels.

So it might seem like a relief when, upon your arrival in Costa Rica, your San Jose airport taxi driver greets you with "Hello". It would be natural to think how great it is that you found an English speaking driver.

But that may not be the case.

In September 2013, an investigation revealed that hundreds of Costa Rican taxi drivers had fraudulently obtained their English diploma, which is mandatory to obtain an airport taxi license. The scam involved language-school workers selling fake English diplomas to drivers who had not attended a single class.

Dealing with the Fake English Diploma Scam: We suggest that some small talk as you greet your driver, and your bags are stowed, may reveal if your driver had adequate English to understand your directions.

Taxi Driver - Costa Rica - San Jose
Try conversing with your Costa Rican taxi driver before you get in the cab!

Costa Rica's capital city of San José is served by two airports. San José Juan Santamaría International Airport (SJO), handles most international flights, whereas San José Tobias Bolaños International Airport (SYQ) handles general aviation, private aircraft, charters, domestic flights and international flights to nearby Nicaragua and Panama. Costa Rica's 2nd busiest airport is Liberia Daniel Oduber Quirós International Airport (LIR).

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