Quito is unique among major South American cities in that it has metered taxis. What is not unique is that 4 in 5 drivers refuse to use them, quoting you inflated prices to get from point A to point B. Moreover, most travel guides give lousy advice as to what taxi rides ought cost in Quito.
For example, at least three web-sites state that it costs about $8.00 to get from La Mariscal (“Gringolandia”) to the northern bus terminal, “Terminal Terrestre Carcelen”, where you can catch buses to Otavalo and Imbabura, but this is cr*p! On the meter, from the “Centro Historico” which by the way is further away from Carcelen than Gringolandia, this trip is $5.80. From La Mariscal, it should be no more than $4.00.
So…as a public service, we’ve cooked up a little table that’ll give you the skinny on what it should cost to get around Quito by taxi.
|Where to Where…||On the Meter…||Negotiate for…||You got soaked!|
|Aeropuerto Mariscal Scure to el Centro Historico||~ $4.00||$5.00||>= $7.00|
|Aeropuerto Mariscal Scure to La Mariscal (i.e., ‘Gringolandia’)||~ $2.50||$3.00||>= $5.00|
|La Mariscal to el Centro Historico||~ $2.00||$3.00||>= $4.00|
|Terrestre Carcelen to el Centro Historico||$5.80||$6.00||>= $8.00|
Keep in mind that taxis in Quito charge by time, not by distance. So a trip from Gringolandia to the old city, is a bit more expensive than the distance would normally indicate, given the horrible traffic. Also, most taxi drivers will quote a couple extra dollars at night. So keep that in mind when you negotiate. In addition, *USE SPANISH* when negotiating with taxi drivers. They’re much less likely to try and soak you if you use a well placed, “…demasiado!” (“too much!”) and a counter offer. And finally, if you have to negotiate the fare…don’t tip the driver! He (she) has already included a percentage for themselves.