How to Avoid Getting Overcharged by Taxis in Cancun, Mexico

To avoid scams, book your ride from the airport in advance. This can often be done through your hotel.
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Written by Ramsey Qubein
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Edited by Meg Lee
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Cancun, Mexico, is a vacation paradise with beautiful resorts, sun soaked beaches and delicious food. It’s a great destination to redeem hard-earned points and miles to make a vacation more affordable.

Unfortunately, there is also a so-called “taxi mafia” that has been frequently accused of overcharging unsuspecting tourists in the region. These scams can cheat travelers out of extra cash or even overcharge them on credit cards.

The latter may not even be something you notice until you've returned home. Here are some of the details on what to look out for and what you can do about it.

What is happening to some unsuspecting tourists

When exiting the airport terminal, tourists are often greeted by a barrage of drivers and handlers to help arrivals find their transfers. The chaos is fertile ground for fraud.

Here are some of the common scams you may find:

  • Drivers taking travelers to multiple terminals in the same ride and demanding the full fare from each person.

  • Drivers taking your luggage to help, but then not returning it until you pay them.

  • Promising one price, but then charging another at the destination claiming there was a misunderstanding. A common scam is to say a ride costs 200 Mexican pesos, for example, but then charge 2,000 pesos in the hopes the customer doesn’t notice or thinks they misunderstood.

  • Charging one price, but then the credit card bill shows another higher price.

  • Quoting a price in Mexican pesos, but then charging it in U.S. dollars on a credit card machine.

🤓Nerdy Tip

There is further unrest between local licensed taxi drivers and drivers who use personal vehicles for ridesharing services, as the former have to pay special fees to provide services that are not required of latter. The disputes have led to violence in the past.

How to avoid being overcharged

Know the general cost before you travel

Being familiar with the price and distance of your destination before arrival can help you more quickly notice if something is abnormal.

Coordinate your transfer in advance and pay online

The best way to avoid being scammed by taxis in Cancun is to organize airport transfers in advance.

Ground transportation is best organized through your hotel, which sometimes may offer a shared transfer option. You can also turn to online travel agencies so that travelers can review the one-way or round-trip rates in advance.

Even better, if you pay online, you can be assured of being charged the price you were promised.

Hire official taxis only

If you still want to take a taxi, look for an official taxi, which in Cancun is white with a green stripe. Be sure to look at the driver’s uniform, which should be white with a green taxi logo over the pocket. There should be a license plate on the front and back of the car, and riders should take note of the identification number on the side of the car.

Ask for an official rate card, which the driver must have.

Pay in cash instead of card

Paying in cash means there is no way for the driver to charge you more after you leave the taxi, whereas with a credit card, there may be more opportunity for fraud.

🤓Nerdy Tip

Paying in pesos instead of USD can sometimes lead to a better price.

What to do if a taxi overcharges you

Always ask for a receipt, and if paying with a credit card, take a photo of the receipt as well as the machine showing the rate.

If you notice a different charge later, you can try to contact the taxi company to get the price difference remedied. If that is not successful, you might consider filing a chargeback with your credit card company.

Disputing a credit card charge is not something to do often since it hurts the businesses you are filing fraud against. But if you have exhausted other methods, a credit card chargeback can be a useful tactic to get your money back.

Watch out for taxis in Cancun that overcharge and know what to do about it

Most taxi drivers are trying to make an honest living, but Cancun does have a reputation for taxi scams that are taking advantage of unsuspecting tourists.

Being knowledgeable about what to look out for and how to avoid being tricked can help make a vacation go more smoothly for some fun in the sun.

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