Finding Cheaper (and Safe) Airport Taxis in Mexico City

For the inexperienced, finding a taxi in Mexico City can be an unusual, if not daunting, task. Not only are there many ways to catch a taxi, from calling one, to finding a taxi stand, or sitio, to hailing a green bug, or even una pirata, on the street, or even getting a special taxi that serves a hotel or the airport; but rampant stories of express kidnappings and nefarious taxistas feed the imagination and fears of tourists, ex-pats, and locals, alike.

Of course, taxi drivers, companies, and hotels, are keen to these perceptions of safety. Those taxis that are supposed to be safer; those that your agent/guide/friends/etc. tell you to take; those that you call or find at a sitio; are more expensive, often significantly so, and especially at night. Even more expensive are taxis from a hotel, where rates may be double of those from the sitios. For example, a taxi off the street from the airport to my house would likely run about 80 pesos, a taxi from a sitio 120, and the official airport taxi (or one from the Camino Real hotel by the airport) 240 or higher.

Although taking a taxi off the street requires a bit more savvy for the sake of safety, those from sitios and hotels are equally safe and accessible and recommended for the inexperienced; such that the doubling of the rate at the hotel is merely an unofficial “tourist tax.” Nowhere is the fleecing of tourists more apparent than at the airport (at some point, I should break down on this blog all of the surcharges that get added to a ticket when you fly into AICM), where the “official” airport taxis are all astronomically expensive. A few pirate drivers will cruise the airport halls, but I usually avoid them on principle. Instead, with a little initiative and a short walk, it’s possible to find a sitio taxi and halve the cost.

Mexico City Airport Taxi Sitio

As the airport makes a ton of money by having really expensive taxis, the airport sitio (for Terminal 1) is located just off airport property. To find it, cross the skybridge that houses the airport tram; it’s located near Puerto 5. Terminal 1 is linear and the doorways, or puertos, are numbered, in order. Cross the bridge, walking past the tram, and then walk down the stairs to street level — the sitio is the little kiosk on the side of the street at the base of the stairs.

México, D.F.

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