Sunday 4 June 2023

ICT: Tourists should do their homework before visiting Costa Rica

Mexican vlogger got taken for a ride by a shady taxi driver!

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QCOSTARICA – Brian Villegas, better known as “Paponas” on social networks, came to Costa Rica last Friday, but his first experience wasn’t great.

Official taxis at the San Jose airport are orange colored

The vlogger, who has millions of followers on Facebook and Instagram, among others, said he had a bad experience with a red taxi driver when he left the airport, taking an official taxi from Juan Santamaría to a car rental place, but first asked to be taken to an ATM to get cash.

Even though he said the driver was polite, he was charged ¢60,000 colones for a 10-minute ride, which he thinks was too much.

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The content creator confessed he messed up by not converting the money they told him to pay.

According to an estimate by the regulatory authority on taxi rates, the Autoridad Reguladora de Servicios Publicos (ARESEP), the rate Villegals should have been charged, at the current rate for a trip from the Juan Santamaria International Airport (SJO) to Tibás, some 17km (22 minutes at that time of day), would have been ¢15,980 colones.

The Mexican has been sharing his Costa Rican experience on social media, and he’s already got thousands of views on more than seven videos he’s posted in the past few days.

This is a situation that many tourists have faced over the years.

But adding insult to injury is the response by the ICT, the Instituto Costarricense de Turismo (Costa Rica’s Tourism Board), who in an official statement to the press said:

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“We regret the situation to the Mexican blogger Brian Villegas on his arrival in Costa Rica. It is a fact that occurs sadly to many travelers in many countries of the world, so it is recommended prior to a trip, to investigate on the official tourism or government websites of each country.  In the case of Costa Rica, all tourists who visit us from different parts of the world who travel alone, as a couple and as a family should, before visiting our country inform themselves”.

Yes, you read that right. The official line from the top tourism authority in the country says that if you’re planning on visiting Costa Rica, no matter if you’re traveling solo, as a couple, or as a family, it’s important to do your research beforehand.

Taxis who charge an amount other than the rates authorized by Aresep, that is a rate shown on the taximeter (or a rate previously agreed to between the driver and passenger) are exposed to sanctions, including the loss of the taxi concession.

Share your experience with Costa Rica’s taxis on our official Facebook page, Twitter or send an email

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"Rico" is the crazy mind behind the Q media websites, a series of online magazines where everything is Q! In these times of new normal, stay at home. Stay safe. Stay healthy.

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