Posted December 9th, 2008, 08:03 PM
Last edited by greatam; December 9th, 2008 at 08:06 PM
greatam & Keith1010
Can I ask why you would advise against taxis?
Have you heard of people being assulted, or robbed, or of frequent breakdowns and crashes?
I haven't been to South America, but I used taxis in a lot of places in the world, and apart from a few over-speedy drivers I haven't encountered any real problems.
A friend of mine who is longhaul cabin crew, and has used taxis in Rio, Sao Paulo and Buenos Aires hadn't heard of any problems. The crews have not been warned of any potential dangers (things like that are covered in their safety brief on each destination)
Although I can see the benefits of pre-arranging tours, sometimes we just want to see what we feel like on the day, and just hire a cab to take us somewhere.
As I posted previously-you may not be able to find driver who speaks enough English to act as tour guide. How's your Spanish??? Do you KNOW where you want to go, what you want to see???? Most of the drivers in SA (other than in large cities) are NOT tour guides. They are taxi drivers-transport between point A and B, NOT sightseeing.
You MAY luck out and find a PERFECT driver-one who wants to act as tour guide and speaks enough English to actually understand what YOU want. Would be a bad day if you wanted to see architecture, museums and buildings and instead spent the day at the beach, watching surfers. This kind of mis communication is a REAL possibility unless you are a fluent Spanish speaker.
And if you insist on taking a taxi, MAKE SURE you KNOW where you are going, how you are going to get there AND BACK, and HOW MUCH IT IS GOING TO COST YOU BEFORE you get in the cab!!!!!!!
While there is always a chance of a "bad" taxi driver, those are most likely found in the cities. I DO NOT take chances with street hailed taxis in Santiago, Valparaiso, Cusco or especially Lima. But there again, I am usually a woman alone, so don't have the added safety of another person with me.
I will bet your air crew friend takes cabs that are called by hotels, clubs, restaurants, bars-as do I.
IF you had a couple of days in a place, you COULD be OK with a taxi. But with only a few hours in each port, you could have a VERY boring experience, a VERY bad experience, or NO experience at all (can't find a cab, non English speaker, no communication). AND you have to worry about breakdowns.
I would feel comfortable in places like Montivideo, Santiago, BA, Rio getting a taxi from a REPUTABLE source. But in Puenta Arenas, Puerto Montt, Tierra del Fuego-long drive from the port to most interesting things. IF you would breakdown, help may be a long time coming.
I was on a tour to see the elephant seals in Puerto Madryn a few years ago. This was an organized tour arranged by a reputable company. 2 hours each way on gravel/dirt roads Our van broke down (fan belt). The van that was sent to rescue us had a flat tire. All in all, the drive took about 3+ extra hours between changing tires and replacing the fan belt.
If it would have been a taxi I hired at the pier and mechanical problems would have happened, who would have come to rescue me???