In many locations across the Caribbean, if you are able to order a taxi in the local language, you’ll typically pay half the price for it. For example, a taxi from the ferry terminal in Cozumel to a hotel a 15-minute drive away costs $10. But if you ask in Spanish, it’s just $5. Just remember to ask the price and agree on it before you hop in.
The same rule is true in many other Caribbean destinations, and you can also apply it to other things such as bartering in markets.
If you studied Spanish or French at high school, you probably can handle this. But even if you didn’t, it’s very simple to learn basic phrases (depending which island you’re on). Use Spanish in Mexico, Cuba, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico, and French in Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique, St Barthelemy, French Guiana and St Martin.
Here are a couple of handy, very simple phrases in Spanish and French you can use when ordering a taxi in these destinations:
“Hola! [Insert destination/hotel name], por favor.” (Hello! [Destination], please.)
“Cuánto cuesta?” (How much is it?) Pronounced “kwanto kwesta.”
“Vale, gracias!” (OK, thanks!) Pronounced “valley, grah-zee-as.”
“Bonjour! [Insert destination/hotel name], s’il vous plait.” (Hello! [Destination], please.) Pronounced “si-vou pleh.”
“C’est combien?” (How much is it.) Pronounced “say com-be-an.”
“Bien, merci.” (That’s fine, thanks.)