Tax/tourismi scammers at ZIH
Upon arriving at the Zihuatanejo airport, look for a taxi kiosk. I learned this the hard way. Do NOT buy a ticket before you see the cab and definitely do not pay for a round trip ticket. A man named Jorge Grotewold Sanchez gave me a voucher saying I had paid upfront and that's the way it was done there, that I would have to pay for both ways. I was skeptical and thought his price high for Mexico but I trusted him anyway because in Mexico City there is only one taxi company allowed to pick up passengers. So I paid 35 dollars for a ride there and 35 back. 70 USD total. I ended up not getting a ride back to the airport. I paid 23 USD to get a taxi back. So if you look at it this way. It cost me 70 USD for a one way trip that was maybe 15 miles.
I called Jorge's secretary multiple times as well and to verify my ride, (cell phones were out the last few days I was there because of big storms so I had to call her instead of Jorge). But before this I talked to Jorge about setting up a tour because there were a few I wanted to do. Because of the storm I mentioned though there was nothing I could do. I went to the airport demanding my money back. On the "voucher" it says the 50% deposit was refundable at the office. Funny thing is Jorge's "company" doesn't have an office, nor a name as far as I can tell. Las Brisas hotel, where I stayed, said they worked out of the airport. The hotel tried helping me to get my ride back but had no luck either, they were the ones that suggested I find the men at the airport and tell them to pay me. They said they had trouble with these people before and a another couple recently had to get a ride because their "return taxi" never came.
I found Manual, Jorge's coworker at the airport and he told me Jorge was in another city pretty far away. I told this this was unacceptable. Manuel said I didn't do a tour so the 50% back wasn't possible (Note: when I took the taxi from the airport, Jorge casually mentioned the tours they did and if I wanted to do one, I would receive the money I had paid for the return trip back, or $35.) Manuel told me that since I didn't do a tour I couldn't get my money back. That made no sense and that's when I realized I fell for the scam. I don't care so much about the money as the fact that it will most definitely happen again and again. Get a taxi one way. Don't fall for this trap.
Unique Suggestions: I don't think anyone would have to ride with this man. I think if it was necessary ride with the people but pay one way. They most likely wouldn't do that though and paying their one was fare is still much high than a regular taxi.
Fun Alternatives: Go to a kiosk or walk outside and ask for prices before you get into a cab. Some might have a meter but if not negotiate.
- Diving and Snorkeling
Sometimes you just need to exchange cash. Be sure that when you do, you keep a REALLY good eye on what they are counting back at you, and that they do it on top of the counter where you can see. One time we needed $1200 pesos but the girl only gave us $1100, and when we asked her to recount, she "slyly" slipped that extra 100 in. She seemed pretty annoyed and offended by us, but hey.. its our money!
Unique Suggestions: Try to find an exchange thats in a pretty public area, and make sure their legit.
Taxi ride from the Airport
Aparently there are busses that are at the airport that are available to take you to Zihua. We couldn't find them, so be prepared to shell out some money for a taxi. Its about $20 - 30, depending on how much they think they can take advantage of. Although this is definatly a major rip off, it might be easier to find your hotel unless you are already familiar with Zihua.
Unique Suggestions: Just shell out the money for the taxi, get to your hotel safe and sound. Be relieved with the knowlege that the ride back to the airport will be considerably cheaper, we paid about $8 back.
- Budget Travel