Before arriving to Costa Rica, a friend had recommended a private driver that his parents had met while vacationing here. He requested $30 for the trip verses $45 from an official Taxi.
Once off the plane and past customs, I walk out of the airport to find a man casually dressed. He had black hair and green eyes. He was my driver.
During the ride he had pulled out his phone to use a translation application in order to communicate with me. I had not been prepared to communicate with him and his app only communicated in one way. He had informed me that the ride would cost $45. Unable to argue I agreed.
Upon arrival, we called my director and figured it was the wrong house, but it was not far from the destination. After additional 5 more mins of navigating the streets, he said that it would cost a little bit more because of the extra kilometers. Once I got out of the car, he told me the price. It was $60. I felt so helpless because I didn’t want to cause trouble nor could I communicate.
According to my research Costa Ricans were claimed to be nice and generous according to my research. My thoughts were naive. I obviously had not traveled alone before.
The experience with my driver had left a bad impression on me about the Costa Rican people. This experience also made me determined to learn the language and learn more about safety for my personal well being. I understand that situations like this happened and not all Costa Ricans are like this, but I should always exercise precaution and prepare for any type of situation.