TULUM, Mexico – In the heart of Quintana Roo, where the turquoise waters of the Caribbean meet the lush jungle, a persistent issue continues to tarnish the image of this paradise: exorbitant taxi fares. David Ortiz Mena, Vice President of the Caribbean Hotel Council of Mexico, spoke out today, highlighting how the legal framework surrounding mobility in Quintana Roo, favoring taxi unions, perpetuates monopolistic practices that drive up transportation costs for tourists and cast a shadow over the region’s economic prosperity.
In an interview, Ortiz Mena emphasized that many unfairly characterize the All-Inclusive resort model as the “enemy,” claiming that it keeps tourists within hotel compounds. However, he poses a crucial question: Could the real hindrance be the prohibitively high fees charged by taxi drivers for journeys from hotels to towns or attractions?
As an example, Ortiz Mena mentioned a comment made by a tourist staying in Tulum. She described the place as “wonderful” but was taken aback when she had to pay 1,900 pesos for a round-trip journey to Xcaret from her hotel—an unexpected expense. Her advice to fellow travelers was to budget at least an extra 3,000 pesos to cover these rides, which significantly exceed market prices or those found in competitive destinations.
“Considering the fares of some new airlines, these taxi rates can represent a higher expense for tourists than their airfare,” lamented Ortiz Mena, who also serves as the President of the Tulum Hotel Association. “In Quintana Roo, our mobility infrastructure falls short of the standards,” he added.
Ortiz Mena went on to explain that this de facto monopoly, coupled with the absence of fair competition from digital platforms, leads to, at best, a tarnished tourist image and, at worst, situations of violence. “Mobility issues must be reevaluated; we need comprehensive legislation,” he remarked.
The hotel leader reminded us that the initial entry of digital ride-hailing platforms often sparks controversy. However, it eventually forces traditional taxi services to lower their fares and, significantly, improve their quality of service. “It’s a sensitive subject throughout Quintana Roo, but for instance, Cozumel is a monopolized destination, which affects tourist flow,” he noted.
In addition to the taxi fare problem, deficiencies in road infrastructure further discourage tourist mobility. In Tulum, specifically, traffic to the coastal area is increasingly congested, and the city center, a mandatory passage for the future Tulum airport, is experiencing occasional bottlenecks.
“Currently, our hotel occupancy rates are not at their best, so efforts should be directed towards enhancing our visitors’ experience rather than burdening it with taxes like the ‘visitax,’ intermittent blackouts, and exorbitant taxi fares,” Ortiz Mena concluded.