In the Caribbean, taxi drivers know the best ways to negotiate back roads and the quickest routes to tourist spots. They'll even serve as all-day tour guides if you'd like. On some islands, taxis may be your only choice for getting from the airport to your hotel.
On almost every island, the best way to find a taxi is simply to visit a hotel. In most places they wait for passengers outside the hotels' front doors. If not, the hotel front desk can call a cab for you. Certain island's taxis may charge an additional airport or hotel fare if you depart from those locations.
On many of the islands, taxis look like all the other cars and are only identifiable by their license plates. Taxis may not be well kept up by their owners, and roads are often rough in the Caribbean, so taxi rides may not always be comfortable for long journeys; however, they may be safer and quicker than other forms of transportation. Taxi drivers are generally knowledgeable and helpful. They may know the best places to eat, most beautiful beaches, and other insider tips. If your driver is helpful in this way, or helps with heavy luggage, be sure to tip a little more. Average tips are about $2(USD) for in-town fares, but exact rates vary from island to island.
These additional tips and fare information will ensure a pleasant ride:
Always look for prominently displayed credentials and licensing. Do not hire an unlicensed driver.
In most cases, taxis are not metered, so don't expect to pay by the mile. Fares are often regulated by the governments of each individual island and drivers will often have rate cards.
Rate cards are often available through a country's official Tourism Board if the rates are government-regulated.
Be sure to agree on a rate as well as currency before you get into the car, and don't be afraid to negotiate if the driver is not bound by standard government rates.
Taxi services are generally available 24 hours a day, but some are legally permitted to charge much higher rates at night.
Hail a Caribbean taxi by holding your hand palm down and patting the air.
With these tips in mind, you'll fit right in with the locals when it comes time to hire a ride to get you from one place to the next.
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