If the meter isn’t working, agree to the fare before getting into the cab. Many hotels post official cab fares. Desk clerks can also give you an idea of what you should pay. Hourly and daily rates are available for many cabs. Such rates may be fixed or subject to haggling. Ask for the precio por hora or por día (by the hour or by the day). When done by the day, ask how many hours the driver considers a day to be; it might be only three or four. If your Spanish is weak, enlist a desk clerk to help you make the deal.

If you’re nervous about flagging down a cab at random, especially if you’re a single woman or if it’s late at night in a big city, get your cab from a taxi stand (sitio), or have your hotel, restaurant or host call one for you. The issue of taxi safety is mostly a concern in larger cities, especially Mexico City.

Most bus terminals offer pre-paid taxi tickets in the lobby. Look for a booth with a sign saying “Boletos de Taxi.” In Mexico City, for example, ticket sellers display a large city map showing concentric rings or zonas. Point to your destination or tell the ticket person which zone you’re going to. You’ll be sold a cab ticket good for any address within that zone. Take your ticket to one of the drivers outside. The trip is now completely paid for, though a tip is always appreciated.

The above excerpt is from The People’s Guide to Mexico by Carl Franz & Lorena Havens. All rights reserved.