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Taxi Safety in Managua

Travelers are usually told that, when in doubt, they should take a taxi. That advice holds in Nicaragua, but with with a caveat: be very careful about which taxi you use. An increasing number of visitors, especially in Managua and a few other tourist hotspots, have been targeted in taxis for so-called “express kidnappings.” The taxi's driver, usually joined by an accomplice or two, will force passengers to hand over their money, valuables, credit cards and bank cards (as well as the PIN number) at gunpoint or knifepoint. The robbers then drive around town extracting money from different ATM machines until the victim's accounts are emptied out. One way to stay safe is to refuse to get into a taxi with passengers in it already, and to make sure that the taxi you're riding in doesn't stop for additional passengers, as is the norm. This will cost extra, but reduces the odds of a robbery. In Managua, officially-licensed, red-plated cabs are somewhat safer than the unlicensed ones plying the streets, but the safest vehicles are the radio taxis that are parked outside the airport, the business hotels and the ritzier shopping malls.

By Nick Rosen
A staff-writer here at V!VA's offices in Ecuador, I came to Quito after having worked on public health and development projects in Africa. Naturally,...
13 Oct 2009

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