Airport taxis in Costa Rica have been around since the 1950s, even before the Juan Santamaría airport was moved to Alajuela, in 1958. The same taxi drivers also made the move and continued to operate with permits.
A new tender to offer the service came about in 2011, according to need determined by the Ministry of Public Works and Transportation, which resulted in 107 specialized licence plates by order of the Transportation Administrative Tribunal for the new orange taxis.
Among the orange taxis there are sedans, minibuses and vehicles for people with disabilities. Some drivers work individually and others in groups. Many speak multiple languages which facilitates easier tourist travel.
The ratings for orange taxis are terrible, 2 out of 5 stars on Google Reviews and 1.5 out of 5 on Facebook. This is likely due to the rate. The rate is only slightly higher than that seen in red taxis but much higher than Uber’s prices, which many tourists are accustomed to in other countries.
It’s higher than city taxi prices because the service offered is different. There is much more wait time and the airport drivers cannot pick up passengers who stop them on the street. Worked into the fare is their return trip. Red taxis charge ¢645 base and ¢615 distance whereas orange taxis charge ¢955 and ¢815, respectively. Only orange taxis are legally allowed to enter the airport.