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Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

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Tampa, Florida
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Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

There is a common scam pulled on cruise ship tourists and we fell for it. I speak Spanish well but was not familiar with Cozumel. We signed up for a Chocolate factory tour "Chocolates Kaokao Factory Tour" which we found here on Tripadvisor (not thru the ship). We walked out of the ship pier and across the street and a few blocks down just to get a feel for the area. We had considered renting bikes but after seeing the busy traffic and obstructed sidewalks, That seemed out of the question.

We saw taxi's lined up in front of a major hotel and took one. We had a print out of the address of the chocolate factory and the driver said it would be $10 USD. He took us down the same street till we got to a very commercial area and told us to walk a block. I should have NEVER let him drop me off anywhere except where I could clearly SEE the place we wanted to go. After walking around for a while some nice men in one of the many "Tours" booths told me we were very far away. He apologized and said this was not uncommon and offered to call the Taxi dispatcher for me. They also tried to get me to just go to another chocolate tour ( All of these guys get $$ for referrals) We thanked him and tried to walk it. We eventually found ourselves hungry and lost. We walked into a dentist office and explained our situation. They said right around the corner was a great Fish Taco "Mariscos" place and right across the street from that was the Taxi terminal!

After eating the most delicious octopus tacos, we explained to the dispatcher what happened. He did not bat an eye and had the nicest taxi immediately take us at no charge to the Chocolate factory.

Apparently the economy has dropped this year and desperate drivers will do this to make a quick turnaround to make another run without going too far out of the area. One person describes this as a mafia type situation here: http://www.cozumelinsider.com/TAXICZM

My advice is to have a map with your address & destination marked and to track where you are and not allow yourself to be dropped off anywhere else.

Colo Spgs
Destination Expert
for Cozumel
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27,869 posts
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1. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

Good advise. It is bad when visitors are treated like this.

Texas
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5,812 posts
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2. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

Oh no...I'm so sorry. FYI-there is only 1 chocolate tour. Your last sentence says it all.

cozumel
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1,157 posts
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3. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

Sorry, but you over thought the situation or relied on your Spanish too much. The driver probably thought you meant the chocolate shop on calle 3 where they do make candies. He dropped you off to save getting caught in traffic as it was less than a half block up the one way street. You should have given the address as it is not that well known and not in the tourist area where 99% wish to go. Not a scam, but a misunderstanding.

Now Isla Bella has tanked in travelers ratings, dropping from the number 1 recommended restaurant, all the way to #3. tripadvisor.com/Restaurant_Review-g150809-d2…

Ontario
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4. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

How is (was) Isla Bella #1??? It's chocolate!

Tampa, Florida
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5. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

No over thinking here. I had a print out with the name of the business and the address.

He saw it and said he knew where it was.

My mistake was to not ALSO have a MAP so that I could track where we were going street by street and know we were not being dropped at the right place.

We also mentioned a restaurant by name with the address. As he dropped us off, he said you'll find good marisco's (seafood) there. He was substituting at best and dumping us at worst. Either way - we did not get to our destination. In any other city this would not be expected - but in Cozumel - Beware it is the way it is!

Tampa, Florida
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7 posts
47 reviews
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6. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

Just to be very clear - I spoke clearly in Spanish telling the driver where to go. I handed him the address with the name of the business. There was no error on my part - only the drivers. How can a person "over think" and know too much Spanish?

Both the mend in the booth and the manager at the Taxi Dispatch were very familiar with this taxi problem. They were all very apologetic. Even the ladies at the dentist said "It is so sad that they do this to tourists" Hardly the first time it's happened.

And the now #3 chocolate place might be great for eating chocolates, but I came to learn first hand how they are made. That experience was amazing and I am so glad we finally made it there to Kao Kao. Only $10 and you get to keep the chocolate you make by hand!

For others wanting to do the Kao Kao trip, they told us in the future to call them and have THEM call the taxi. They tell the driver they will be paid when they bring the person to them.

St. Augustine...
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98 posts
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7. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

We've been to Cozumel several times (3 times in the last 18 months) on cruise stops. On those last three visits we have taken a taxi to same beach club. The prices are clearly listed on a sign at the taxi area in port for various locations and had always been reliable, except for last Thursday. Once we were in the taxi and on our way the driver told me how much he was going to charge and it was higher than the sign stated. On the way back we had a different driver and the same thing happened but a different price than before but still higher than the one posted on the sign. I did not really care about it for two reasons: 1) I had already figured what I was going to pay including the tip before we even got into the taxi and it was higher than the price offered, and 2) the taxi driver was going to have to pay his dispatcher the price listed on the sign. So I figured why let this ruin our vacation mood when ultimately I was going to spend the same regardless.

However it did tell me that the taxi situation at the cruise port has changed towards the corrupt. In your situation being dropped off at the wrong place is completely unacceptable. You give good advise about following a map as you go. I will use this on future trips especially at ports where I already know that the taxi service is suspect. My main objective when in port is to get to where I'm going safely and timely and most important getting back to port in time to catch the ship. I'm sad to think that Cozumel is trending towards the way other islands have gone with a corrupt taxi system.

Regards,

Brian

Cozumel, Mexico
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for Cozumel, Merida
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8. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

¨ I'm sad to think that Cozumel is trending towards the way other islands have gone with a corrupt taxi system.

In my opinion, they are not trending towards a corrupt system but have been one of the most corrupt groups on the island for as long as I can remember. . Of course, it isn´t just Cozumel. A very corrupt taxi union situation in Tulum, Playa del Carmen and Cancun where the taxi union has long been known for its ties with the drug trade. Its sad but the taxi union is one of the most powerful groups on the island. And almost no one in power is willing to confront them.

9. Re: Cruise Ship Taxi Scam

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